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The Old Badger: Salvaging the Mohican

Editor’s note: This column was first published in The Freeman’s Journal on April 7, 1976.

The Steamboat Mohican went down more than 40 years ago, but bits and pieces of information about the boat and its times keep surfacing. Some are pertinent, some impertinent.

The rudder of the Mohican was turned into a coffee table; the propeller shaft is still part of a lawn roller; and the wheel now decorates “someone’s” wall. The lake north of Three Mile was dragged sometime in the late 30s or early 40s, and most of the remains of the Mohican were removed from the bottom. But two other steamers, the Natty Bumppo and the Deerslayer, are supposedly still out there somewhere.
The Otsego Lake Transportation Company leased its lakefront property to the village in September 1934, reserving the pavilion which was already under lease to Bill Smalley.

That same summer also saw, “Mrs. George Hyde Clarke of Hyde Hall treated for a wound inflicted by a stray 22-calibre bullet, which pierced her leg as she was sitting with her husband on the grounds of the Wilcox estate in Pierstown.”

John Logan, inexperienced woodchuck hunter, was thought to be the cause. Over in Oneonta, the “Wild Man of Borneo,” from a travelling circus, was arrested on an S.P.C.A. complaint for eating live chickens. The first sailboat to capsize that season belonged to Spotswood Bowers Jr. It was tied to the dock at the time.

Dr. Davis Kydd joined the hospital staff.

The Blue Anchor Inn, the last house on the right before the golf course, on the way out of town, was featuring a “special quick luncheon for golfers” on its terrace overlooking the golf grounds. (The sign straps still hang from the house).

The winner of the Merchant’s Popularity Election, Miss Hilda Ballard from M.I.B., won a week’s cruise on the Great Lakes. Miss Mary Shaw of Clark’s Confectionary and Music store won three days at Atlantic City.

Sam Sapienza helped put in the docks at the lakefront, and while pounding a post, he missed the mark. The sledgehammer plummeted to the bottom, but all was not lost. “Sam held onto it.” Connie Necrason was accepted as a plebe at West Point; Alan McEwan was the bugler at Camp Deerslayer. In the caddy tournament at the golf course, Tony Feola beat H. Mumford; A. Hall beat La Duke; J. Feola beat J. Shipman; Clancy beat Becker; F. Feola beat J. Parillo; and A. Mumford beat H. Mumford.

Miss Holmes, who had played the piano for Smalley’s silent movies, lived on the corner of Pioneer and Lake in one of the few houses on lower Pioneer where you couldn’t get bootleg booze.
Also, a green seven-passenger Packard sedan is said to have been sort of a mobile unit for bathtub gin when it was parked near the dance pavilion.

The Forsythe Saga won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1932; Babe Didrikson won three medals in the Olympics; and round steak was 41 cents a pound.

Local parents were put out by the language of their children.

Everything seemed to be “the cat’s pajamas” or the “bee’s knees,” and their dancing clothes were “glad rags.”

The latest fads in music and song were even worse, as this editorial in the local paper indicates: “the words are meaningless, while the tunes, like the rest of the so-called music of the day, bears about as much relation to true music as a director’s baton does to a hop pole.”

And so it went.

Next time: The Badger walks off the course.


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