Cooperstown Crier - Your Source for Hometown News - Cooperstown, Baseball Hall of Fame

In These Otsego Hills

April 26, 2012

In These Otsego Hills: Returning to 1986 ...

 For the past several years now we have undertaken sharing some of the area’s oral history we have collected over the years that we have written this column.

Therefore, this year, we would like to go back to 1986 to share that rather unusual year. Those who were here then no doubt remember that it was that year that the village celebrated the bicentennial of its founding.

And we, the he-we and the she-we, were co-chairs of the year-long bicentennial celebration. And we must say that we think we enjoyed reading about the activities of the year much more than we remember actually enjoying the events of the year. We recall that it was a most hectic year for us and from our current perspective, not to mention age, we have no idea how we managed to survive the experience. However, there were a number of somewhat unusual discussions of history throughout the year.

We began the year, on Jan. 8, by writing:

“As 1986 begins, we find ourselves musing a bit about William Cooper as he wandered about his nascent settlement watching homes and businesses spring up. What were the proprietor’s thoughts as he viewed the lake from the corner of Fair and Second (Main) Streets?

Indeed fortunate are we to dwell in a place whose history has been so well chronicled and so well studied by so many avid students. Thus, the task of procuring suitable challenging historical trivia questions becomes difficult in the extreme. Nathan Howard and Samuel Griffin are two persons who have some importance in the earliest history of the village. Does anyone care to hazard a guess as to why?” Our question was answered in the column of Jan. 15 when we wrote:

“Mac Preston, of Elm Street, and George Tilllapaugh, of Pioneer Street, called to tell us that Nathan Howard and Samuel Griffin were two “firsts” in the village’s early days. Nathan  Howard, son of John Howard,was the first baby born in the new settlement, and Samuel Griffin, a young child, was the village’s first death. Upon the little boy’s dying in October 1792, a piece of land on the corner of Water (River) Street and Third (Church) Street was chosen for a graveyard and Samuel was buried there. Thus Christ Church Yard was the village’s first graveyard and preceded the establishment of the church by almost 17 years.”

In the column of Jan. 22, was the answer to a question that had been posed the preceding week by Charlie Brynes, namely what was the Grey Goose and where was it located? The answer was: “Ruth Ritter, of Forestport, N.Y. (former Cooperstonian Ruth Williams, CCS Class of 1944) called to talk about the Grey Goose. Soon the conversation turned toward the Blue Anchor which, if memory serves, was a tea room located in the last house on the lakeside of Lake Street before the golf course. That house was demolished several years ago and a new one built on the site.

“The Grey Goose, according to Charles Burns, was a pottery shop located near the lake. We confess that we are ignorant of the exact location.” And in a later column of March 5, we noted that: “Several weeks ago we mentioned the Grey Goose, local pottery manufactory, as being located by the lake near the end of Nelson Avenue.

Our sources have confirmed the Grey Goose was indeed located in that vicinity. Our sources also report that in so far as they have knowledge, Grey Goose pottery was not sold locally. Does anyone have a piece of said pottery? Would such a piece be valuable today?”

And finally, we wrote the following, in a column of March 19, about the Gray Goose:

“Bob Cook, of Brookwood, called to say that he has two pieces of pottery produced by the Grey Goose Pottery Shop which has been mentioned several times recently in WNS.

 This pottery shop, run by Dr.Crockett, used an excellent  grey-blue clay obtained from the lakeshore along the golf course. In fact, it was the color of the clay which provided the name for the establishment.”

On Jan. 29 we answered our question of the past week, namely “Who was Isabel Deacon?” By writing:

“Isabel Deakin (yes, we realize that we [actually the he-we] spelled her name wrong---we apologize) taught in the grammar department (grades 6, 7 and 8) of Cooperstown High School from 1910 to 1941. She was principal of that department for over twenty years. Several of her former students including Bill Burnett, Bill Clark, Gladys Balcom and Mary Young called, and Ruth Ritter, Forestport, N.Y., dropped us a note, to share their memories of Miss Deakin. Almost all of her students remember her ruler. Several even confess to having felt the sting of that ruler which, as one noted, was a “very sturdy” ruler. Even though she is remembered as a strict disciplinarian, and a teacher who demanded hard work. Miss Deakin demonstrated her care and concern for her pupils. Gladys Balcom remembers that after her father had been hurt in an accident, Miss Deakin would always inquire after him the first thing every morning.

“Of course, Miss Deakin is best remembered for all of the letters she wrote to her former students who served in World War II. She wrote each of her former students at least one letter during the duration of their military service. Her letters were filled with the comings and goings of the village and the whereabouts of other area soldiers thus allowing Coooperstonians in service to stay in touch with one another. Isabel Deakin was 81 when she died on July 13, 1956.”

We later received more information on Miss Deakin, which appeared in the column of Feb. 5 when we wrote:

“Martha Becker Dickison, of Delaware Street, remembers  that Isabel Deakin wasalways most fair in her dealings with all her students.

Family connections and social status mattered not to Miss Deakin. Martha recalled that one day as she was daydreaming in class she failed to hear a query from Miss Deakin. She was abruptly jolted from her mental wandering by Miss Deakin rapidly approaching, ruler raised. Martha was spared the ruler that day she still does not know why. Nor did she ever answer Miss Deakin’s question , because to this day does not now what the question was!”

PLEASE NOTE: Comments regarding this column may be made by mail at 105 Pioneer Street, Cooperstown, NY 13326, by telephone at 607-547-8124 or by email at cellsworth1@stny.rr.com

1
Text Only
In These Otsego Hills
  • Thoughts on traffic and roads We recently enjoyed a brief visit from Jon Battle, one of our late husband's college buddies, who always enjoys visiting Cooperstown and passing howdy on the front porch. And while the front porch is not as welcoming as it used to be since there are no chairs on it, we were able to pass howdy from the comfort of our family room. And during the many subjects that we covered in our conversation, the topic of potholes came up.

    July 17, 2014

  • Potholes and oversights bring bumps We have received a number of comments regarding our discussion on potholes in last week’s column. And most of them were in agreement that the potholes are indeed a problem.

    July 10, 2014

  • Potholes need place on village agenda We have long thought that the concepts of perspective and priorities have the ability to present problems for people. As we are inclined to say, getting one's ducks all in a row is often difficult. And as we have learned about issues currently under consideration by the Village of Coopertown it does make us wonder about their ducks.

    July 3, 2014

  • Summer unofficially begins with ice cream Although summer officially arrived this past weekend, we have long thought that the kick off event for the summer season in Cooperstown is the annual Ice Cream Social sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church on Pioneer Street.

    June 26, 2014

  • Splitting logs gives splitting headache We are happy to report that Woodside Hall is continuing with its presentation of programs which are open to the public. This evening at 6:30 p.m., they are hosting Glimmerglass Festival designers Troy Hourie and Erik Teague who will discuss their role in the company's summer production of Strauss' opera, "Ariadne in Naxos: Unplugged."

    June 19, 2014

  • Summer right for driving in the streets We have realized, having consulted our trusty calendar, that next Sunday is Father's Day. And thus this past weekend we were online looking for an appropriate printable Father's Day greeting card which we might send to the wee-we. Since we have been somewhat housebound this year, we have discovered the convenience of printable holiday cards. We used them rather successfully, we thought, when we sent them to the granddaughters for both Valentine's Day and Easter.

    June 12, 2014

  • June musings XXXXXXXX Difficult as it is to believe, it seems we have made it to June which always seems to be a fairly busy month. And this year is no different. In fact when we turned to our calendar to June we were stunned. We always hope to find we are entering a month in which we have little, if anything, planned. But when we turned to June, we quickly realized we were faced immediately with three meeting as well as four follow-up appointments with four different doctors at Bassett. And much as we would have liked to simply move right on to July, we decided that was really not an option. So we are plowing ahead with June.

    June 5, 2014

  • Presidential reading replaces viewing ince we knew we were not in a position to take in any of the festivities surrounding the president's recent visit to the Hall of Fame, we decided we needed to celebrate in another way. And, as luck would have it, we are currently reading the recently released biography, "James Madison: A Life Reconsidered." What better way, we thought, to mark the current president's visit by reading about a former president's life. It seemed perfect. Besides, it gave us a reason to spend the day with our nose in a book.

    May 29, 2014

  • Best not to push luck on spring This week we note that the Literary Discussion Group meeting, originally scheduled for today, May 22, has been postponed until Thursday, May 29 at 2:30 p.m. in the Village of Cooperstown Library. William Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" will be the topic of discussion at the rescheduled meeting.

    May 22, 2014

  • Thoughts on the upcoming votes Next week, on Tuesday, May 20 voters in the Cooperstown Central School District will head to the polls to vote on three important issues, the CCS 2014-2015 budget, the election of members of the school board and a resolution for changing the funding of the two pubic libraries located within the school district, namely the Village of Cooperstown Library and the Kinney Memorial Library in Hartwick.

    May 15, 2014