News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.



BOUND VOLUMES: July 2, 2020


July 2, 2020


Important to Tanners – The patent right for preparing, using and vending chestnut wood for the purpose of tanning and dyeing in the New England states, is vested in the Springfield Manufacturing Company, who will soon have in operation machinery and apparatus for preparing the wood fit for use, and will deliver it to purchasers in large or small quantities, at any place within the above limits, for a sum that will not exceed two-thirds of the amount of the price of the equivalent of oak bark, on a credit of one year. The proprietors have no hesitation in saying that the above material, for the purpose of tanning, is in every respect superior to oak bark. The leather tanned with it is of a better quality, being firmer, less porous, and at the same time more pliable. It is also very neat and convenient in the application. Letters relative to the above, addressed to Benj. Jenks, Agent, at Springfield, Massachusetts, will be promptly attended to. (Ed. Note: This marks the beginning of the end for America’s chestnut trees which, though once numerous as the oaks, had virtually disappeared by the early 20th century. In replacing the oak tree as the preferred source, the chestnut may have saved the oaks from a similar demise.)

July 3, 1820


(Selected) List of Letters remaining in the Post Office at Cooperstown, June 30, 1845: Miss Polly Ball, Henry Brown. Amos Bissell, Henry Chadwick, Miss Jane Crippen, Marcus Dutcher, Miss Hannah Edwards, Estate of Herman Lord, George Fern, Heirs of Lieut. L. Loomis, Swift’s Continental Regt. Army of Revolution, Miss Mary M. Hicks, Erastus Horth, Joseph Husbands, E. B. Hubbell, Theron Ives, R.S. Johnson, Alver Kenyon, Anna Lum, A.V. and S.S. Moore, Van Booskirk Morris, Mrs. Elizabeth Quackenbush, R.E. Robinson, William Smith, Samuel Tabor, Mark Tomlinson, Walter S. Tunnicliff, Miss Eliza Ann Walker, David Waterman, George H. Webb, Miss Jane Wilcox, Simon Wolf, John Yale.

June 30, 1845


The Fourth (of July) was one of the most delightful days of the whole year so far as the weather was concerned. There was no celebration of the day at this place, and the “boys” had all the noise to themselves. If they had not commenced quite so early, their powder and crackers would have held out longer. After about ten o’clock “firing ceased all along the line,” and during the rest of the day only an occasional “pop” was heard in our unusually quiet streets. The Lake was the resort of a great many parties and individuals, and the “Mary Boden” had a paying day. In one little circle, at least, the day was duly “observed” after the good old fashion, the orator and poet being the great grandson of a soldier of the Revolution; patriotic songs were sung and toasts were given under the shadow of the stars and stripes, and the usual salutes were fired. In the evening enough fireworks were set off by different families about the village to have made quite an attractive display had they been concentrated.

July 7, 1870


Local – One of the handsomest horses which we have seen on this corporation in a long time is a five-year-old dark bay gelding whose sire was a famous Kentucky horse called “Banker.” He has the gait of a fast traveler and the action of old “Snip,” the finest horse ever owned in this county. He belongs to Mr. Barclay, the brother and present visitor of Mrs. Constable.
The Journal for this week is issued on “The Glorious Fourth” and it will be rather a quiet day in Cooperstown. In the afternoon there will be a baseball game played on the grounds of the C.A.A. at 2:30 o’clock between the home team and one from New York.

July 4, 1895


Sunday, when the mercury soared to 97 degrees Fahrenheit, hundreds sought relief in the cooling waters of Otsego Lake. The temperature equaled the former ideal record that stood until it was broken on August 4, 1944, with a reading of 93. Monday, the weather completely changed and became raw, wet and so cold that everyone around the lake had to jump in the water to get warm.

July 4, 1945


Boyd Bissell, son of Mr. and Mrs. A.H. Bissell, Jr. of Cooperstown, and a graduate of the University of New Hampshire’s Hotel Management School, knocked about on ocean liners for two years before coming home. Finding opportunities limited here, he headed for Paris, France where he landed a job cooking for an American family. After many “digestive” complaints he was “sacked.” He then applied to a cooks’ employment agency in Paris and two days later was told to present himself to LePre Catelan, a swanky restaurant in the Bois de Boulogne. To his surprise, he was hired and given a room to sleep in since he had none elsewhere. Recently he was introduced to Oliver, the renowned chef of LeGrand Vefour where he will work in an underground kitchen beneath the sidewalk of an arcade in the Palais Royal.

July 1, 1970


Gallery 53, having been under the charge of Interim Director Susan Friedlander since April, will officially welcome back Beth A. Bohling, a former Arts Administrator at Gallery 53, as the new Director on July 10. Bohling has recently been Director of the Pyramid Arts Center in Rochester. “While I was in Rochester, I missed the small town community. Living in a rural area is more for me than living in an urban area. I missed the camaraderie of Cooperstown, and I missed the hills.

July 2, 1995


It was a 35-day sprint, and Price Chopper crossed the finish line Tuesday, June 6, opening its new Cooperstown supermarket in time for the Fourth of July weekend. “It was an incredibly quick turnabout,” said Mona Golub, vice-president for public relations and consumer services. “To build a store from scratch takes nine months to a year,” she said. Interest was high in this super-market-starved community as 150 people gathered in the parking lot awaiting the 8:30 a.m. ribbon-cutting and opening.

July 1, 2010

BOUND VOLUMES: June 25, 2020


June 25, 2020


A new Republic appears to be rising in South America, at Caracas, including a vast territory and a population nearly equal to that of the United States in 1776, to the government of which, the people and their leaders are strongly attached. Should they succeed in becoming independent, they will be the second Republic on the globe, as, until this event the United States are not only the first, but the only republic on earth.

June 23, 1810


Newspapers – The man who takes no newspaper cannot reasonably expect to occupy a very high station in society.  How can he expect to know what is passing in the world, what mankind is about, and what he ought to occupy himself about, unless he has access to those chronicles of the times, which disseminate intelligence, and herald in due form all earthly Monarchs, to the birth of Mrs. John Smith’s twins – from the conquest of empires to the capture of a hummingbird? How can a man expect to rank equal with the best, unless he takes a newspaper?

June 29, 1840


Few men in this county are more widely known throughout the State than George Clarke of Hyde, Otsego County, and none have more marked personal peculiarities. Favors may be obtained of him; he has the reputation of being kind and indulgent to good tenants, though not inclined toward many improvements; but it is questionable whether his opinions or actions are influenced by any one; in politics an independent; a good conversationalist; educated well and well read; fond of music and the drama; caring nothing for everyday personal appearance, yet thoroughly at home in the drawing room. With an immense landed estate – much of it very valuable, extending over several counties in this state – which we think he could close up in his lifetime, meet all obligations, and retire on not less than a million and a half of dollars. He will run an expensive lawsuit if crowded for money as long as he can, or till he gets ready to pay, sooner than sell a valuable town lot or farm – because his income exceeds his expenses. On his farms are over 100 acres of hops. Mr. Clarke is about 63 years of age, is a hard worker, and wastes little vitality on fret or worry.

June 23, 1885


Cooperstown Topics – Judge L.J. Arnold, Harold T. Basinger, C.R. Hartson, and Wm. Macdonald danced a jig on the four corners Wednesday morning. The cause of it was the Fenimore Farm Milk Wagon, which was running away up Pioneer Street. Upon seeing the terpsichorean efforts of the
gentlemen above mentioned the horse stopped before any damage was done.

June 25, 1910


Carl Sandburg, winner of this year’s Pulitzer Prize in history, will give an address July 4th in Cooperstown at the Dedication of the Hall of Life Mask in the Museum of the New York State Historical Association. The dedication of the Hall of Life Masks will have patriotic significance as the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, is represented in the collection by a remarkable mask for which he sat at the age of 82.

June 26, 1940


On Thursday, June 16, about 54 parents and younger brothers and sisters of the 31 Kindergarteners in Mrs. Rutledge Manchester’s room were entertained at a play day. The children presented a circus in which they demonstrated many of the songs and rhythm games which they have learned this year. The “Circus McGercus,” as it was called, was complete with a ring, a band, wild animals, tight rope acts, and refreshments. Mrs. Manchester was ringmaster. Taking part as galloping horses were Charles Jennings, Mark Butler, Jimmy Robinson, Billy Snoad, Richard Weland, Craig Phillips, John Cook and Michael
Kraham. High-stepping horses were Michael Mondore, Danny Dodge, Danny DeSena, Randy Selan, Michael Frey, David Wilfeard, Danny Coons, Charles Ainslie and Michael Kraham. Bareback riders were Kathy St. John, Randy Selan and John Cook. Elephants were Peggy Norwood, Aleyne McRorie. Shelly Schallert, Teresa Petrucco, Patty Larbig, Barbara Mahlum, Melody Williams, Susan Walrath, Peggy Rees, Karen Bozosi, Cheryl Newell, Kathy St. John and Patty Weir.

June 22, 1960


Portable signs became an official part of Cooperstown Monday night, following a packed public hearing on a proposed amendment to the sign ordinance. The village board voted 4-2 with one abstention to pass the amendment and quiet a controversy that had reverberated through the community for almost a year. The amendment goes into effect immediately, Mayor Bill Purcell said. The village planning board was to begin defining the amendment and possibly begin hearing requests from business people at its meeting on Tuesday, June 25. The amendment allows the signs from May 1 to October 15 from 7 a.m. to sunset when the businesses are open. Proper papers and a sign permit approved by the planning board must be obtained before a business can display a portable sign. Trustees Bill Burnett, Gerald Wilson, Tom Malone and Mayor Purcell voted yes; Pam Washburn and Stu Taugher voted no. John Mitchell abstained.

June 26, 1985


The provisions of a new dress code for students at Cooperstown Central School include the following: “Shirts may not be off the shoulder, sheer, nor low-cut; shirts worn outside the waistband must be of sufficient length that no flesh is exposed when the student fully extends one arm above the head.” Long-slung pants “exposing underwear” are outlawed as are “holes, rips or tears” in “inappropriate places.”

June 24, 2005


When Price Chopper opens its doors in Cooperstown Tuesday, June 29, it plans to have produce from at least one local farmer on its shelves. Gaia’s Breath Farm, Jordanville, was expecting Price Chopper inspectors at his farm Thursday, June 24, the last step to supplying the 127-store grocery chain – Cooperstown’s will be 128 – with locally grown food.

June 25, 2010

This Week April 2-3, 2020


The Freeman’s Journal • Hometown Oneonta

April 2-3, 2020


Green Earth’s Rachel Shaughnessy discusses the grains section of the health food store on Oneonta’s Market Street. Beginning April 1, Shaughnessy made a dream come true, launching Community Ties: meal kits for three healthy meals a week, which can be picked up at the store or delivered within a 10-mile radius. (Jim Kevlin/


First Victim ‘A Good, Kindhearted Person’

Bassett Hospital Holds Its Own, So Far

Animal Shelter Prepares For Challenges

Health Officer’s Job Suddenly Demanding

Doing What They Can To Lift Community


Green Earth Stars Delivering Meal Kits

Green Toad Brings Books To Your Door

Your Neighbors Recommend These Books


We’ve Avoided ‘Reactionary, Emotional’ Steps

A Charming Couple  – And A Warning To All


Here’s What Pastors Have To Advise Us

BLISS: Text Of  ‘Safer At Home’Advisory

STERNBERG:  More Should Have Been Done

BENNETT: The Question Of Out-Of-Towners


NORTHRUP: Heroes Of The Plague So Far

DILLINGHAM: Put Fracking Ban In Budget

WILCOX: 2nd Amendment Relic Of Past Times


BOUND VOLUMES: April 2, 2020



Richard McVinney, 68; Civic Leader, City Judge

John Murtha, 87; Retired From Electronics Firm

Clarence Travis, 47; Hit By Truck In Schuyler Lake



Previous Edition Click Here

BOUND VOLUMES: Feb. 6, 2020


Feb. 6, 2020


Court of Sessions – The following convictions were had in the Court of Sessions, held in this village the past week: John Gardner, indicted for Grand Larceny – sentenced to confinement at hard labor in the State’s Prison, five years; John Havens, indicted as an accessory before the fact for larceny – sentenced to imprisonment in the State’s Prison, four years; Benson Nichols, indicted for assault and battery – sentenced to two months in the County Jail; Reuben Saunders, indicted for Larceny – sentenced to imprisonment in the County Jail, three months; Charity Saunders, indicted as an accessory of Petit Larceny, after the fact, sentenced to imprisonment in the County Jail for one month.

February 7, 1820


Contemporary Editor’s Note: The proceedings of an Anti-Rent meeting, held at Westville, in this County, on January 2, 1845, have been left with us for publication and are rejected because they contain libelous matter in commenting upon the acts and motives of an individual. At the same time that we decline inserting them, it is proper to add, that several of those who participated in the meeting, whom we know personally to be respectable citizens of neighboring towns, have assured us that they utterly repudiate the idea of “oppugnation” to the laws, and look upon the recent “Indian” outrages upon civil officers as offences requiring a rigid administration of justice. They seek correctives of what they regard as existing evils by constitutional means, and will never sanction violence of any sort for redress of supposed grievances in the operation of laws.

February 3, 1845


Summary of News – The ordination of Rev. C.C. Smith, Pastor of the Baptist Church of this village, will take place on February 10 – sermon by Rev. F. Dodge, D.D., President of Madison University, and ordination in the evening.

The people of Worcester have resolved to build a new District School House. There is not a town in the county where new school houses are not needed – though the necessity is more marked in some towns than in others. Among the wealthy farmers of Otsego there are not a few liberal-minded men, and they should direct their attention earnestly to this important matter

The farmers of this and surrounding towns are about to experience a still further benefit from the construction of the Cooperstown railroad. Plaster, so much in use by most of them, is to be brought here in large quantities over the road, and sold at a price which will make it an object for them to buy it here instead of going to the Central railroad for it. Thus, we receive compensation for the increased taxes caused by the building of the roads.

February 3, 1870


Amusement at the Village Theatre – Like a slave in the market place sold to the highest bidder, Mary MacNeill, heroine of “The Woman Thou Gavest Me” by Hall Caine, passes through the most terrible experiences that could fall to the lot of a woman. Yet, she overcomes them and wins a measure of happiness. In the cast are such well known players as Katherine MacDonald, Theodore Roberts, Jack Holt, Milton Sills, Katherine Griffith, Fritzi Brunette, and others. Fatty Arbuckle in “Back Stage” will also be offered. Ed. Note: The “Village Theatre” was located in a space at 22 Main Street in the building donated by Robert Sterling Clark which now serves as the home of Village Offices and the Cooperstown Library.

February 4, 1920


U.S. Navy Specialist First Class seaman Francis T. Bellhouse, who spent several summers in Cooperstown with his family while employed as a jockey by Mr. F. Ambrose Clark, is reported as a survivor following the sinking of his ship, the newly commissioned USS Cooper on December 27, 1944 off Leyte when it was attacked by Japanese forces. Bellhouse and other survivors of the USS Cooper were in the sea waters off Leyte for 17 hours dodging bullets from strafing Japanese fighters before rescue help arrived. Bellhouse credits Commander Mel A. Peterson, his ship’s Captain, for keeping the surviving sailors alive until rescuing seaplanes arrived to pick them up. Directed by Captain Peterson, Bellhouse and his shipmates remained together treading water and resting periodically in a small raft, a floating life net and a rubber boat.

February 7, 1945


More than 250 people attended the opening program of the New York State Historical Association’s Winter Sunday Lecture Series at Fenimore House on February 1. Leonard DePaur, conductor and arranger, spoke to an enthusiastic audience on “Black Folk Song – A History of Survival.” His research in the field of black folk music has been extensive. He augmented his talk with tapes of African tribal music and early American Negro music. The second program in the Winter Series will be a talk by Clay
Lancaster, an architectural historian on “Architectural Follies in America.”

February 4, 1970


Lonnie Bunch, noted curator and author, will speak on cultural diversity in American museums at the Cooperstown Graduate Program as part of the observance of Black History month. Bunch is the assistant director for curatorial affairs of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C. Graduate program Director Gretchen Sorin noted, “The Graduate Program is a wonderful community resource, and throughout the year we will be bringing exciting speakers here. We are looking to share these programs with the public so that others have an opportunity to hear these historians.”

February 1, 1995


Helen E. “Lizzie” Kiser died Sunday morning, January 31, 2010 at Bassett Hospital shortly after telling her family that she was ready to “leave this Earth to be with the angels.” She was 85. Helen was born January 7, 1925, in Brooklyn, one of five children of Rudolph and Helena (Radke) Platt. On December 31, 1944, she married Arthur H. Kisrr, Sr., and shortly thereafter they moved to and made their home in the Cooperstown-Milford area. Helen was an accomplished seamstress and worked for many years doing tailoring at the Smart Shop in Cooperstown. She was an avid quilter and had many friends in local quilting and sewing circles.

February 5, 2010

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