What the New Paltz newspapers said 100 years ago

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 March issues of the New Paltz Independent. 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.


Memorial Boulder, photo from Halt Whazaa by Capt. T.R. Hutton

On March 23, 1919 this memorial boulder and its great bronze tablet were unveiled in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Tarrytown for the men of the 1st Provisional Regiment who guarded the aqueduct during the war.  Of those who died or were killed during aqueduct service, 30 were the victims of pneumonia resulting from the Spanish influenza.
The inscription on the tablet is as follows:

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THIS ROCK SYMBOLIZING THE REGIMENT WHICH RAISES IT HEWN FROM BONITCOU CRAG ON THE LINE OF THE CATSKILL AQUEDUCT BY THE STORMS OF AGES WAS ERECTED HERE MARKING THE SPOT WHERE ONE OF ITS FATHERLESS BOYS WAS BURIED BY THE REGIMENT AT THE REQUEST OF HIS MOTHER, A HELPLESS WIDOW AND AS A MEMORIAL TO THOSE WHO MADE THE SUPREME SACRIFICE FOR THEIR STATE IN SERVICE WITH THE FIRST PROVISIONAL REGIMENT GUARDING THE 100 MILES OF THE WATER SUPPLY OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK FROM ASHOKAN TO HILLVIEW DURING THE GREAT WAR 1917, 1918, 1919.



Abm. C. DuBois has lately had two souvenir postcards from Myron Vandemark and one from Benj. Ean. The former is now back with Co. B. 11th Engineers, A. E. F. He writes “Back with the outfit at last: coming home, soon; get ready; have souvenirs saved up. Ho! Ho! Old boy. Give regards to all.” Both of the cards have pictures of old castles in France.  


In the show window of Ed. Elmore’s Store are a number of trophies picked up on the battlefields of France by Elting Clearwater. They attract much attention. They comprise of a German gas mask and flare pistol, French and English coins, a German belt and buckle and a German mark.


The Women’s Auxiliary of the 15th regiment (colored) have rented ground near Puts Corner from Mrs. Cora L. Washington on which they expect to put tents and care for wounded soldiers here.


Morgan W. Rose of Walden, 27 years old, who was blinded in the Argonne Forest, was led to the witness chair in court in Newburgh Saturday to testify in his divorce suit against his wife, and was granted an interlocutory decree of absolute divorce. His wife is now living with John Miller, New Paltz, says the Newburgh News. She was Frances Williams of Gardiner.


Mrs. Simeon Scott of the Town of Lloyd has received a letter from a hospital at Nantes in France stating that her son, Amos D. Scott, died there of pneumonia, December 19, that he had a military funeral and is buried there, that each grave is marked by a cross and a wreath of holly placed on each grave at Christmas.


Memorial services will be held on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in the Methodist Church for Randolph A. Shafer, who died of wounds last July 18, from wounds received in battle in France. Rev. James Douglass will preach the sermon. The Fire Department will attend in a body. The old soldiers will attend. There will be patriotic music.


Ulster County has a car for every 18 of its residents. In the whole state, the ratio to population is 1 to 20. There were ten dealers exhibiting cars at the automobile show at Kingston last week.


The annual village election in New Paltz passed off as usual with no excitement. There were about 70 votes cast, of these about 12 were cast by women. This is the first village election at which the women voters of the village could take part. Harvey G. Gregory polled 65 votes for president of the village; for trustees Warren Craig polled 59 votes and Josiah P. LeFevre polled 63. For treasurer, Dan Shaw received 63 votes and Charles H. Litts 65 for collector. John Lucy was given 66 votes for street commissioner.  Two propositions came up this year to be voted upon. The first was whether the village should expend $951.94 to insure the State Normal School building, including the new building, the cost of the premiums for three years. This proposition was carried by a vote of 49 in the affirmative. The second proposition was concerning the street commissioner whether he should cease to be elected by the people and should be appointed by the Board of Trustees. On this proposition, 33 votes in the negative to 29 in the affirmative lost the proposition. The office of street commissioner will continue to be elective.


After April 1 the list of unlicensed dogs will be put in the hands of the dog catcher, who will charge an extra $2 or seize the dog. Anyone refusing to get a license is subject to a fine of $10.


At Oscar’s Farm on the state road north of New Paltz about 25,000 Leghorn chickens have been hatched this Spring. Hamlin F. Andrus of Yonkers ordered 1,000 Leghorn eggs for hatching of James O. LeFevre, a short time ago and has just ordered another thousand. The price of eggs is positively $15 per hundred.


About a dozen plasterers are at work on the addition to the Normal School. The finishing coat is on the upper portion of the building. Some of the window frames are fitted. Herbert LeFevre and one or two other carpenters are at work. Work on the heating apparatus is completed. Mr. Adams is not now superintendent. Mr. Martin is in charge.


A party went from our village on Monday evening to catch suckers by spearing at the mouth of the Plattekill. It is quite an exciting sport. Each fisherman has a light and a spear and wades the stream wearing rubber boots. But the water is cold. John Denzlinger has done some scapping for suckers in the Wallkill with fair success. Dennis Williams continues to catch a considerable quantity of suckers in the Wallkill, which he sells to our village people. He has a license for fishing with a net.


Tramps have already commenced their travels. A number were observed by the side of the trolley a few evenings since. They had a fire to keep themselves warm.


New Paltz was visited by burglars sometime Monday night when the clothing store of E. C. Elmore was entered and considerable value was taken. It was also thought by some that an attempt was made to enter the post office which is next door to the clothing store, but no harm was done there. About 20 suits of clothes were taken, all in small or medium sizes and these had evidently been packed in suit cases, four or five of which were also missing. A card of watch fobs, a shirt or two, some neck ties and one overcoat about comprised the rest of the booty. No money was taken from the cash register as the attempt to open it was unsuccessful. This clothing store was entered several years ago when it was owned by the late John Schmid and articles were taken. Shoes then were the principal booty and a mismatched pair were later found in a barn on upper Main Street together with some castoff underclothing. No traces of whom the thieves might be were found on that occasion.

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