What the newspapers said 100 years ago

Pictured is a fragment of the Civil War flag of the 156th Regiment. At the Battle of Winchester, color-sergeant, James Brink, was wounded in the arm while carrying this flag and it was then taken by Corporal Alexander Cameron, he was killed, and it was then seized by Corporal John Scott, who soon fell mortally wounded. The stains of blood may yet be seen upon the flag. (Courtesy of Historic Huguenot Street)

The ‘‘Our towns’’ column is compiled each month by Carol Johnson of the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection. The entries have been copied from the October 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.

The local baseball pennant will wave over the firehouse as a result of the game on Thursday last. The Regulars and the All Stars have played a series of 12 games this season and the teams were tied 6-6. The deciding game was played on the Normal grounds on Thursday last. The regulars won by a score of 7-4. These teams have been very evenly matched and have played some very close games. Much interest has been manifested by our local baseball fans and a goodly number braved the freezing weather to see their favorite team in action at the deciding game.


The new plant of D. H. Starr and Son, Incorporated, sometimes known as the Acme Bending Company, at Highland, which has just been built on the site of the old factory which was destroyed by fire several months ago, was formally open on Saturday. The stockholders of the company, the employees and many guests from the surrounding territory inspected the plant and enjoyed refreshments, which included sandwiches, coffee, ice cream and cake. The new factory is complete in every detail and is now open for work. The company manufactures wooded parts for wagons and automobiles.

The new Gartex Company plant at Highland was closed a few days last week on account of the Jewish holidays. It is advertising for more operators on trousers. They have about 20 hands at present.

In a communication in the Highland Post, John Schule says that the Grape Juice Factory at Highland bo’t only 150 tons of grapes this year because the men for whom he is working would not allow him to pay a large enough price. He says he could have gotten 600 tons at $100 a ton if he had been allowed to buy two weeks earlier than he did. He says through this mistake the best vineyards from which they had been buying grapes for the past 14 years were lost to them this year.

Our townsman, Peter Ean is an expert bee hunter and has been giving so much time of late to gathering honey from trees and from buildings where it has been stored by fugitive swarms of bees that have escaped from their owners. The season just closing has been a remarkable good one for honey making. Mr. Ean has gathered in all about 580 pounds of honey. He has sold a large quantity of honey to Col. Holt of West Park. No one is very extensively engaged in beekeeping at New Paltz at present.

The following is a list of words used in the final contest in the spelling contest at the state fair at Syracuse: osteopathy, protoplasm, hieroglyphics, sarcophagus, pyrites, gladiolus, cataclysm, phthisic, fuchsia, chauffeur.  Seventeen boys and 35 girls, each representing a county of the State, competed. The first prize of $20 was won by Virginia Cook of New Rochelle.

At the Memorial House, Mrs. Lyons not only keeps everything in good order about the house, but finds time to make some beautiful rugs, for which she finds a good demand. The old soldiers are expected to visit the Memorial House as usual to see the old flag and army relics. Among the names of visitors recorded in August is that of Walter King Cooley and other members of the Cooley family from Mt. Vernon, N.Y. It will be recollected that Mr. Cooley had the old flag of the 156th, which his father, Capt. Alfred Cooley had had for 35 years, ever since the battle of Cedar Creek. He sent this old flag to New Paltz with the understanding that it should be placed in the Memorial House.

With diminished numbers, but with cheerful spirits, the members of the old 156th met in annual reunion at the Blue Crane Inn (now P&Gs) on Wednesday, October  19, the anniversary of the battle of Cedar Creek. They came from widely scattered territory, only one being from New Paltz. The veterans held their business meeting in the upper portion of the Blue Crane Inn. After prayer by Sol. D. Barnes, secretary James Paltridge called the roll. There were 16 former members of the regiment at the reunion. After the reunion, the former members of the Eltinge Post had a meeting at the Village Library, where their books are deposited.

The regular summer schedule of the Hudson River Day Line was discontinued on Sunday. There have been no boats this week and the last boats will be on Saturday and Sunday, after which the service will be discontinued until next spring. The boats will go into dry dock at 42nd Street, New York and at Albany.

There were 18 ladies in attendance at the quilting in the Reformed Church parlors on Wednesday afternoon.

Mrs. Charles W. Townsend of 98 Pinckney Street, Boston, Mass., writes inquiring concerning a pillow for lace making together with a bobbin and unfinished pattern of lace which has been for many years in the Memorial House at New Paltz. She quotes at considerable length concerning this old relic from a magazine article written 20 years ago by Miss Ada Sterling of the staff of Harper’s Bazaar. Mrs. Townsend says that she herself proposes to write a magazine article concerning lace making in the early days and she asks for further information. The only information we could give is that these articles came to the Memorial House from the family of Floyd S. McKinstry shortly after the death of Mrs. McKinstry’s aunt, “Aunt” Gitty LeFevre, and they were her property. She was nearly 100 years old when she died. At the same time there came to the Memorial House from the same source, the old family Bible of great-grandfather Daniel LeFevre, with his family record. It seems certain that the lace pillow accompanied the family Bible from Bonticoe to the home of Great-grandfather’s daughter Elizabeth LeFevre, who married Matthew LeFevre and lived on the Plains, and then became the property of her daughter, “Aunt Gitty”. It seems evident therefore, that the Huguenot maidens of Bonticoe understood the elegant accomplishment of lace making.

Voting machines are gradually coming into use. Montgomery, Orange County, will use them for the first time this fall. Voting by machines is said to be cheaper, quicker and more accurate than the old system.

One of the strongest evidences that the world is growing better is the change in the method of electioneering of candidates for public office. At this stage of the campaign in bygone years, candidates would think it essential to success that they should go from one hotel or saloon to another and walk up to the bar and ask everyone to take a drink. Now there is no more buying of rum by candidates, but they spend some money in advertising their qualifications for office in the newspapers.

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