The ‘‘Our towns’’ column is compiled each month by Carol Johnson of the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection. The entries have been copied from the December issues of the New Paltz Independent. To get a closer look at these newspapers of the past, visit the staff of the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection at the Elting Memorial Library at 93 Main Street in New Paltz, or call 255-5030.
Jesse Elting, custodian of the Memorial House, has received for safe keeping and exhibition in the building, a large and beautiful banner made by New Paltz ladies 75 years ago during the exciting presidential campaign of 1844. The banner was presented to the Huguenot Memorial Society by Mrs. E. D. Carpenter and Mrs. Sleight, daughters of Charles B. Hasbrouck, a prominent merchant in this place 60 years ago. The banner is embroidered and it bears the following inscription, surmounted by an eagle: Clay and Frelinghuysen. Protection for American Industries. Presented by the Ladies of New Paltz. Clay and Frelinghuysen were the Whig candidates for president and vice-president in 1844 and were defeated after a very exciting campaign. The eagle, which formed a prominent feature of the banner, was drawn by Ezekiel Elting. Mrs. Carpenter sends the names of the ladies who assisted on the banner as follows: Mrs. C.B. Hasbrouck, Mrs. A.V.N. Elting, Mrs. Solomon Elting, Mrs. Benj. Smedes, Mrs. Aldert Schoonmaker, Miss Alvina Freer, Mrs. Daniel Relyea.
A Gardiner man named Van Leuven was in our village with a lot of fox, raccoon and skunk skins on Saturday. He took them to Poughkeepsie.
”The best book I have read in as long as I can recall,” says F. P. A. in the N.Y. Tribune, in alluding to Main Street, a recent publication of Harcourt, Brace and Howe.
There is a strong movement on foot to change the structure of the Poughkeepsie Bridge so as to allow autos and foot passengers to cross on it. The old engineer, who built the bridge, says it is plenty strong enough to have this done. The ferry cannot carry all the traffic on busy days. Some autos have to wait and sometimes there is a line of waiting autos, extending up Main Street. The whole matter is to be brought before the Hudson Valley Chamber at its meeting in a few days. It would greatly increase the auto traffic in Ulster County, especially when the concrete road is built from New Paltz to Highland.
Eltinge Post has had its last meeting. For some time, past meetings have been held only once in three months and the question of disbanding has been under consideration. At the meeting on Saturday the following were present: Commander W. H. D. Blake, Moses Young, Zadoc G. Rhodes, Rufus Palmer, Andrew Decker, Sam Paltridge and James Paltridge. Two members of the post are in Soldiers’ Homes. It was decided to give up the charter. There are only about 10 or 12 members of the post now living and several of them are suffering from the infirmities of age.
They have done well in maintaining their organization with its association with the Grand Army of the Rebellion, which has done much to keep alive the spirit of patriotism in our country. Gradually, their numbers have grown less till there are but a few left. It is not likely that ever a body of men who will be so near to the hearts of the American people as the G.A.R. has been and still is. For in the World’s War, which has just ended, comparatively few Americans were killed or wounded. Now that the Elting Post is about to disband, we think the citizens of New Paltz should show in some special way their appreciation for the brave men who fought in the Great Rebellion and maintained the integrity of the Union. Let us show the old soldiers that their noble deeds have not been forgotten.
Miss Louise Beche of Washington, D.C., who attended the New Paltz Normal 15 years ago and whose mother and sisters at that time lived in our village, is now a contributing editor of the Red Cross Magazine and in that capacity is visiting a number of countries in Europe.
Children have been going from house to house selling Christmas wreaths of ground pine this week.
The snow on Sunday night was only about eight inches in depth, but it was followed by a little rain and cold weather, making good sleighing and there is no trouble in turning out to meet on the highway. Most people are riding in sleighs, but autos run quite well. Sunday morning brought the coldest weather of the season, so far, eight above zero. The Wallkill has been frozen over for several days. The sidewalks in our village have been quite slippery and many people prefer to walk in the center of the street.
The case against the trolley road by the state comptroller for unpaid taxes, which was to have taken place at Albany, was restrained by an order granted by Judge Nichols, at the opening of the Supreme Court Monday afternoon until the courts can determine various questions involved in litigations between the trolley owners and the towns of Lloyd and New Paltz. The company has not paid taxes to either town for six years.
Many people wondered what caused the failure of the electric lights on Wednesday night last week, when at 7:30 they flickered and then went out. The lights were out for nearly an hour before employees of the company succeeded in getting current moving over the wires again. The whole section on the west side of the Hudson River, comprising Newburgh, Highland, New Paltz, Montgomery and other places were affected. This is how the trouble came about. A brakeman employed on the Central New England [Railroad] had a pair of overalls that had outlived their usefulness. He bought a new pair, and shortly after leaving Poughkeepsie on his run to Maybrook he made the change, and going to the rear of the caboose threw the dirty pair over the edge of the big Poughkeepsie bridge with the thought that they would fall into the Hudson River. Instead, they landed on the high tension wires of the Central Gas and Electric Company, which are carried across the river on the bridge, causing a short circuit and burned out a long section of the high tension wires on the bridge, shutting off all the power from the west side of the river. Plants on this side were started up at Newburgh, and current from Honk Falls, High Falls and Rifton was turned on and after about an hour the lights came on again.
There never was such a Christmas gathering in New Paltz as that which assembled in the beautiful big auditorium at the Normal School on last Sunday night after singing carols around the Christmas tree down in the village. Principal Bliss said in his welcoming remarks that apparently every family in the town was represented. And though the audience must have numbered a thousand, there was room for everybody. Eighty, at least, including the speakers, the committee and the community chorus found seats on the stage. The simple decorations, a gleaming star above the stage, surrounded by a wreath of Christmas greens enhanced the architectural dignity of the room.