In November 1970, an 8-year-old Robert Escher dropped by the Oneonta Boys Club and became a member. Fifty-two years later he has stepped back through the door of the now Oneonta Boys and Girls Club—as the new Executive Director. Earlier this month, the Oneonta Boys and Girls Club announced Escher would lead the organization, now in its 75th year of operation. Growing up in Oneonta, the club remains at the center of Escher’s childhood memories: “My brother Steve and I, along with the Central Ave. boys, were at the club every night after supper and on Saturdays.
You name it, we did it—from every sport imaginable along with the wood shop, fitness activities, game room and who could ever forget the snack bar?”
The Swart-Wilcox Barn Committee met on Monday, October 3 to discuss the possibility of a barn for the Swart-Wilcox House Museum complex. There had been a barn on the property from the 1790s until 1968. At that time it was burned down by the City as a fire-fighting exercise.
It is now felt that a barn would help tell the story of the early settlers, who were mainly farmers. Several factors have contributed to thoughts of a barn for the Swart-Wilcox farm property.
Finding an appropriate old barn, or building a new barn with the old floor plan, is the first decision.
On Thursday, October 20 from 5-7 p.m., the Greater Oneonta Historical Society’s “History After Hours!” series at the Oneonta History Center will feature ghost stories and unsolved mysteries, spooky treats, “cup cooking,” a reading of “The Chocolate Chip Ghost” in the Sally Mullen Children’s Corner, and arts and crafts including paper jack-o’-lantern baskets and ghost ornaments.
This “Haunted History!” event for adults and children of all ages is free and open to the public. GOHS first introduced its new monthly history-based series in September; the topic for the November 17 program is to be announced. The Oneonta History Center is located at 183 Main Street, Oneonta.
For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, call 607-432-0960 or visit www.OneontaHistory.org.
135 Years Ago Another of the old landmarks of Oneonta goes with the razing of the old Goodyear saw mill at this village. The mill has become practically useless because of the failure of the water power by reason of the change in the channel of the Susquehanna above the dam. It is understood that the mill yard is to be divided into building lots by Miss Lyman and sold as such.
160 YEARS AGO Voters – Register Your Names – The names of those who voted at the election last fall should see to it that they are duly registered. The register is now posted up in each election district, at the place where the poll is to be held, and the Board of Registers will meet at the same place next Tuesday, from 9 o’clock a.m. until 7 o’clock p.m. for the purpose of correcting and completing the Register. See if your name is registered, and if it is not, have it put on the board by next Tuesday. The Register in this election district is posted up at Keyes’ Hotel. Conscripts – There are, it is estimated, about 525 persons in the Town of Otsego liable to draft; about 35 will be called for to make up the quota of nine months’ men — one in every 15. E.M. Harris, Esq., of this village, has accepted the Office of Commissioner for superintending the draft in this county.
185 YEARS AGO The Common Schools’ Curriculum Questioned – How much of the practical business of life do the children learn in the common schools? Does the young farmer in the district school learn anything of Agriculture — and of the nature of sods and manures? — Anything that teaches him to distinguish the different earths, and their peculiar adaptations to the different grains and grasses? Does he learn anything of the best breeds of stock — of the best manner of raising, keeping, and fattening his cattle, sheep and swine? Is he taught that which makes his profession useful, profitable or honorable?
150 YEARS AGO Released – Mr. Herkimer was released from Fort Lafayette last week by giving bonds for the appearance of his son, or a substitute, in case he should be drafted into the army. He was not called upon to surrender the opinion he holds, that there are some very great scamps holding office under this Republican Administration, and that the people would be benefitted by a speedy return to Democratic rule. The 152nd Regiment (the 2nd Otsego and Herkimer) is now fully organized. L. Boyer, Colonel; Ferguson, Lieut. Colonel; Spaulding, Major; Campbell, Adjutant. Nine of the companies have been organized. Capt. Bingham’s is the ninth, Co. “I” with 83 men rank and file. There are about 825 men now mustered in. Otsego has furnished five companies. Two regiments in three months from Herkimer and Otsego! Who says the Hop District is not loyal, patriotic and wide awake!
210 YEARS AGO Casualty – Another accident has happened from carelessness about firearms. A Mr. Webster, belonging, as we understand, to a new Artillery Company, lately raised in Cincinnatus and its vicinity, being ordered by the commanding officer to drive home the cartridge, which had just been attempted to be fired without effect, had one hand blown off, the other so dreadfully injured as to render amputation necessary, and the flesh on his side burnt and torn to the very ribs. The unfortunate man was in the very act of ramming the piece when it went off. It is not expected that the unfortunate man will live.
This fall, the Greater Oneonta Historical Society (GOHS) introduces a new series of events, History After Hours!
“The program series will offer a variety of events for adults and children of all ages at the Oneonta History Center (183 Main Street) from 5 to 7 p.m., once a month on September 22, October 20 and November 17,” said Marcela Micucci, Executive Director Greater Oneonta Historical Society. “This is going to be a great series.”
The first event is on Thursday, September 22 (5 – 7 p.m.), GOHS’s History After Hours will celebrate Harvest History.
185 YEARS AGO Items – A process has been discovered in Germany by which white crystallized sugar is made in 12 hours from beet root. The deaths in New Orleans from Yellow Fever are said to be 100 daily. More than 40,000 people have been down with Yellow Fever at Sierra Leone. The damage of the late hurricane at Barbadoes is estimated at $500,000. About 1,000 lives were lost in the late disasters in the West India Islands. There has been another terrible gale at Charleston, S.C. Damage not extensive.
185 YEARS AGO Hurricane in the West Indies – On the 2nd of August there was one of the most severe storms ever known in the island of St. Bartholomew. It states that the town, composed of about 300 houses is two-thirds destroyed — among them some of the most substantial buildings, the greater number the dwellings of the poor. As yet between 20 and 30 lives have been discovered to have been lost in the town, most of them crushed to death under the ruins, and others horribly mutilated and since dead, and very many severely injured, with broken bones, &c. Hundreds have lost all they possessed, and are thrown destitute upon the charity of others. The sea, during the gale, had risen over six feet.
135 YEARS AGO We had occasion to step into the telephone office with a friend on Sunday last, when to our surprise we found counselor Brooks in charge. He was busily engaged in pulling out some stops and shoving in others, occasionally shouting “Hello!” and trying to hold a conversation with some party who must have thought that lightning had played mischief with the wires near Cooperstown. It was very warm in the office, and the new operator sweat like a man hoeing corn. He explained by saying: “Brady has stepped out for a few minutes and left me in charge.” After another ineffectual effort to find out “what the other fellow wanted,” he discontinued operations by shouting back: “If you are not drunk at that end of the line, just hold on about five minutes longer, and your wants will receive attention.”
135 YEARS AGO A pleasant affair — Thanks to the kindness and efficiency of the Misses Hamlin, Cuyler, Chase and Cooke, the guests of the Hotel Fenimore and a few friends had the pleasure of attending a very enjoyable impromptu entertainment Saturday evening, consisting of reading, music and tableaux. Miss Hamlin is a very cultured elocutionist, and shows excellent taste in her selections. Miss Cuyler is a favorite, not only on account of the excellence of her performance as a pianist, but for the cheerfulness with which she responds to the many requests for music.
209 YEARS AGO British Monsters – Excerpt of a letter from Captain Cooper to Charles K. Mallory, Esq. Lieut. Gov. of Virginia — “I was in Hampton with my troop; that place having been evacuated in the morning by the British. My blood ran cold at what I saw and heard. The few distressed inhabitants running up in every direction to congratulate us; tears were shedding in every corner — the infamous scoundrels, monsters, destroyed everything but the houses, and (my pen is almost unwilling to describe it) the women were ravished by the abandoned ruffians. Great God! My dear friend, can you figure to yourself our Hampton females seized and treated with violence by those monsters, and not a solitary American arm present to avenge their wrongs! But enough — I can no more of this.”
212 YEARS AGO
Poem – What art thou, Death; that we should fear the shadow of a shade? What’s in thy name that meets the ear of which to be afraid? Thou art not care, thou art not pain, but thou art rest and peace: ‘Tis thou canst make our terrors vain, and bid our torments cease. Misfortune’s sting, affliction’s throes, distraction’s poisonous breath; the world itself and all its woes are swallowed up in death.