Jan. 23, 2020
200 YEARS AGO
Editorial – Notwithstanding the business talents of Congress, they do not appear to progress very rapidly. Not a single important object of the session has been brought into consideration, other than creating a multitude of enquiries in relation to the expenditure of public moneys. True, there is need enough of investigation upon this subject, because, unless they retrench somewhere, the deficit of five millions, mentioned by the secretary of the treasury, must be put upon the shoulders of the people, and in these times, they would prove restive under the burden.
January 24, 1820
175 YEARS AGO
Great Voyage – The Magnolia arrived yesterday with 3,900 pounds of whale and sperm oil. She has been out 25 months and brings a clear profit to her owners of $12,000 or $15,000. Captain Simmons and several of her crew are Vermonters. It takes the Green Mountain boys to grapple with the leviathans of the deep.
Letters addressed to the following persons are among those remaining in the Cooperstown Post Office at the conclusion of December 1844: E.C. Adams, Oliver Burdick, Mrs. M.A. Cooper, Lorenzo D.
Davies, Mrs. Emily Elson, E.E. Ferrey, Elizabeth Green, Ira Hyde, Edwin Johnson, N.C. Knapp, Mary Lovejoy, Amos W. Mathewson, Hurane Olmsted, Benjamin Pitcher, Hannah E. Rider, W. D. Stocker, Stephen Thorn, Dr. Van Alstine, Isaac Walrath.
January 20, 1845
150 YEARS AGO
Ed Note: So-called Minstrel Shows (viewed today as shamefully racist in every respect) were comprised of white performers disguised as African-Americans. Such were common, public entertainments in the post-Civil War era and featured both professional and amateur actors. The following advertisement is typical of the professional, touring genre: “The Band of the Period” at Bowne Hall, Cooperstown, Thursday Evening January 20, 1870 – The Original and Only Happy – Cal Wagner’s Minstrels and Brass Band, with an entire change of programme (not yet copied by “The Great I Am”) – New Songs, New Acts – In Fact Everything New. Peasley and Fitzgerald in their Silver Stature Clog; Happy Cal with his Wonderful Elephant; The Great Burlesque of The Cardiff Giant – The Best Bill of the Season. Admission 35 cents; Reserved Seats 50 cents. Doors Open at 7 p.m. Happy Cal Wagner, Proprietor and Manager. Geo. McDonald, Agent.”
January 20, 1870
125 YEARS AGO
Hops – There has been considerable activity in this place and Oneonta during the past week. It is estimated that the agents of shippers have bought not less than 800 bales of Otsego County prime to choice hops and 6.5 to 11 cents, according to quality. We still incline to the opinion that really choice hops are likely to advance two or three cents a pound in the spring, especially if there is a general revival of business in this country, when more beer will be manufactured.
January 24, 1895
100 YEARS AGO
As Cooperstown church bells rang in celebration of the advent of constitutional national prohibition, Otsego County sustained one of the severest blizzards in a number of years. A three-days snow, starting on Friday of last week culminated in the force of the blizzard being received Saturday night and Sunday morning, with a 50-mile per hour gale blowing nearly all day Sunday. Traffic suffered most during this period, not only on the trolley and steam lines, but in the rural districts as well. The Fly Creek Valley, the original home of snowdrifts, was almost impassable in most places until Monday. The state road from Cooperstown to Index was in the same predicament. Forces of men were at work Monday morning endeavoring to eat their way through the snow drifts which in some instances almost reached the height of the cars of the Southern New York lines. Lake roads and roads in Middlefield likewise were impassable.
January 21, 1920
75 YEARS AGO
Japanese soldiers in the jungles fell in considerable numbers before the rifle fire of Pfc. Claude Graham, aged 26, an infantryman from East Springfield. Private Graham, the son of Mrs. Reuben Roberts of East Springfield, was a rifleman in the 24th Infantry Division. In the Hollandia campaign he earned the Combat Infantryman Badge, awarded for exemplary conduct in action against the enemy. “The most satisfying thing to me in combat,” he declared in an interview, “was shooting snipers.
We never feared the Japs, because we could see them, because we figured that the superior fire power of our M1 rifles gave us the edge over any one visible. It was the invisible ones that bothered us, and the snipers mostly were invisible. So, when we located a sniper and brought him down, we always felt that we’d accomplished something.
Despite their cleverness at concealing themselves, we located plenty of them, too.” Private Graham’s infantry regiment took hundreds of prisoners, a feat regarded as unusual since Japanese determined to fight to the death, are difficult to capture. He added, however, that he had seen a number of instances of “hara-kiri” in which Japanese soldiers preferred to kill themselves with bayonets and hand grenades, rather than surrender.
January 17, 1945
25 YEARS AGO
Tom Heitz, formerly librarian for the National Baseball Hall of Fame since 1983, has hired legal counsel to negotiate a separation settlement in the wake of his termination on January 2. Heitz is represented by Robert Abrams, the former New York State Attorney General. No reason has been given by the Hall for his departure. When asked if Heitz was fired, William Guilfoile, Vice President of the Hall of Fame declined to comment. Abrams also declined to comment stating, “I believe it would be imprudent to comment on anything at this point.”
Ed. Note: With the help of Robert Abrams I did reach a satisfactory settlement with the Hall of Fame. I remain a Life Member of the Hall where I am welcomed as an occasional visitor in the museum or researcher in the library. The baseball library, its staff and its extensive collections are in the excellent care and direction of my successor Jim Gates, whose now 25-year tenure has brought the library to the first rank of sports-related libraries in the country, if not indeed the world.
January 18, 1995