One Hundred Years Ago

Courtesy of Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection, John Arbuckle, 1838-1912.

The ‘‘Our town’’ column is compiled each month for the New Paltz Times by Carol Johnson, coordinator of the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection. The entries have been copied from the April 1912 issues of the Kingston Freeman. If you would like to get a closer look at these newspapers of the past, visit Carol Johnson and the staff of the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection at the Elting Memorial Library, located at 93 Main Street, or call 255-5030. Meanwhile, enjoy these words from a century ago.


The people are all very busy. The men in spraying their fruit and getting ready for spring work, while the ladies are cleaning house and endeavoring to get rid of those troublesome little pests. If your correspondent should enter a house and ask for news, he would probably be met with a broom or whitewash brush. The women are all cross, and so are the men when they come home. Their meals are not ready and in the evening they cannot find their paper, pipe or slippers. Everything is upside down. So we hope to be excused if we are a little short of news for a week or two.

Some of our poultry men are busy hatching out chickens. Mrs. Murlin Abrams has the record of being the first to have hatched out young chickens this year. Ferris Wager also has some incubator chickens.


Those who are in position to know say that the roads of Ulster County have never been in such bad condition in the past six years as they are at the present time. This, they say, is due to the great depth of the frost in the ground. On the road between Ganaghote and Gardiner there are several bad mud holes. On Monday, a horse driven by a lady sunk into one of the holes and it was only with the help of passing travelers that she was enabled to get the horse and wagon back on firm ground. One of those who helped assist her said that only the head and rump of the horse was visible, so deep was the hole.

Mr. Oliver and family, who moved last week from Brooklyn to the O.D. Sutton house on Chestnut and North Front Street, had some difficulty in getting their household goods here. The goods were brought in a large auto van, which became stalled in the mud near Jenkinstown for several hours, but after being relieved of a part of the load by A.H. Donaldson, succeeded in getting here.

The [Ohioville] school ground is now drying up and the children are again indulging in their favorite spring game of prisoners base. There will probably be some match games played with other schools before the term closes.

The Gardiner public school will not have an Easter vacation this year.

John Arbuckle, aged sugar and coffee merchant, died Wednesday at his home in Brooklyn. His death was due to a general collapse, he was about 74 years old. Mr. Arbuckle’s wife died about four years ago. There were no children. He is survived by two sisters and two nephews. Mr. Arbuckle first became a national figure as a coffee merchant. Later he took up the sugar business. Of late years he had devoted much time and a great deal of money to the raising of sunken vessels by compressed air. He was a native of Allegheny, PA and a director of several banks and corporations. He leaves an estate of many millions. The body was taken to Pittsburgh for interment.

The contract for construction of the Wallkill blow-off, known as Contract No. 61, was signed in New York City on Friday by the board of water supply and by Harrison & Boice of this city [Kingston], who were the lowest bidders. The contract calls for the construction of 7,000 lineal feet of concrete pipe, seven feet in diameter, leading from the Catskill aqueduct near Gardiner to the Wallkill creek. The tract price is $182,153. Ex-Sheriff Boice is a member of the successful contracting firm.

The young ladies [of Gardiner], have recently organized a basketball team and will practice in Callahan’s Hall.

Forty couples attended the masquerade dance given by the New Paltz Social Club last Friday evening. The costumes were unique and handsome, as well as original and made a very neat appearance. Music was furnished by Muller’s orchestra of Kingston and dancing was enjoyed until an early hour. A number of out of town guests were present.

M.K. Coutant, superintendent of the Arbuckle farms in New Paltz attended the funeral services of John Arbuckle in Brooklyn.

Miss Laura Harden has been chosen valedictorian from the Normal School class of 1912. Harold T. Sutcliffe has been chosen valedictorian from the high school class of 1912.

A large band of gypsies have camped along the state road near Rifton.

Louis H. Dubois is farming the infield of the Brodhead Driving Park. The track is undisturbed.

A large force of men are now employed by E. A. and G. K. Smiley building additions to the Minnewaska hotels that will more than double their former capacity. The work will be finished before the summer season opens.

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