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In These Otsego Hills

May 18, 2012

In These Otsego Hills: Continuing on from 1986 ...

We continue this week by answering the question we asked if anyone remembers the old Cooperstown National Bank?

On May 13, we wrote: “Martha Dickison, Delaware Street, called to tell us about the Cooperstown National Bank where she worked at her first ‘real job’ after her graduation from school. The CNB opened for business on July 5, 1904, with Andrew Smith as president, Dr. D.E. Silver as vice president, and John Kirby as cashier. At first the bank was located on the north side of Main Street, west of the Main and Pioneer corner several doors. In May of 1909, the Cooperstown National Bank moved to the Bowen Block in the space now occupied by the Cooperstown Decorating Center.

“Martha remembers with fondness working at the CNB  ‘a very pleasant place to work,’ she states. At that time Frank Smith, son of Andrew Smith, was president. The Cooperstown National Bank never recovered from the Great Depression and the bank holiday proclaimed by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933. Martha is perhaps the last survivor of the CBN  all the others she worked with there have gone on.”

 The beginning of June, wereceived a history question from Tom Goodyear of the Cary Mede Farm in Springfield Center. Tom wondered if anyone remembered the WONPR, specifically what was it and where was it located?

The answer appeared in the column of June 6 as follows:  “The WONPR mentioned inlast week’s column was the Women’s Organization for National Prohibition Reform and Mrs. Bradley Goodyear, Tom’s mother, was at one time head of this august group from which position she worked tirelessly to bring about the repeal of prohibition. Tom remembers that the organization was headquartered where the Vets Club is now on Main Street.”

In the column of June 25, we were able to answer a question about the hauling of milk by boat on Lake Otsego: “In closing, two weeks ago we asked (thanks to Charles Byrnes) if anyone remembers the different names of the boat which once hauled milk on Otsego Lake. That boat’s name evidently was ‘The Deerslayer’ and according to Charles the original name was the ‘Mabel Coburn.’ Marian Becker Keyes, Beaver Street, remembers riding on the milk boat with the milk cans clanking around her.

“When Marian called to discuss the Deerslayer, she also mentioned a most intriguing subject about which we have read very little. Marian  wonders if there was everway stations located in the village for the Underground Railroad. As a young girl, she remembers hearing references made to certain homes on Elm Street between Pioneer Street and Susquehanna Avenue.

These homes were reputed to have triple basements where slaves could be sequestered until it was safe enough for them to move to the next station on the network. In fact, Marian remembers being in one of these basements, which she says have long since been filled in. We confess that we have not come across anything about the Underground Railroad in Cooperstown. We have read that there might have been such activity in Oneonta so perhaps it is logical to assume that Cooperstown may have been the next stop for the fugitives. Has anyone else ever heard any references to the Underground Railroad in Cooperstown?”

To the question about the Underground Railroad in Cooperstown, we received this in information for the column of July 2:

“John Bowers, Beaver Street, remembers that he, as a boy growing up here, used to play frequently at Pomeroy Place, the large stone house on the corner of Main and River Streets. He was told that the house once had a tunnel to the river which could have been used by escaping slaves.” On July 16, we turned to the subject of the graveyards located within the confines of the village with:

“In closing, we note that one can learn a great deal about the early history of the village by wandering through the three graveyards which still exist within the corporate limits. Last week, we had the pleasure of meeting Marian Starr who lives, with her husband George, on the Allens Lake Road. George Starr is a descendant of one of Cooperstown’s first families. George’s ancestor, Joshua Starr, was a potter in the very early days of the settlement of the village.

Joshua was a man to whom details were most important because when one observes the Starr gravestones in the Christ Church Yard one notices that the two Starr tombstones are askew when compared to the others in the cemetery.

“In many early graveyards, people were buried on an east-west alignment and so it is in Christ Church Yard. However, Joshua Starr made certain that he and his wife would be buried on a true east-west line. Therefore the Starr stones are on such a line while the other stones in the burial ground are set in a generally east-west line.

“While chatting with Marian we once again realized how fortunate Cooperstown is to have so many descendants of the area’s “first families” still residing here.”

And finally, on July 23, regarding descendants of the area’s “first families,” we wrote: “In closing, we again make the mention of those early pioneer families whose descendants are still residing in this area. One such family is the Bowers family, many scions of which are still about our village.

“One such is N. Pendleton Bowers who participated in our July 5 candlelight ceremony by ringing the bells of Christ Church two hundred times. Penny enjoyed his participation for, as he related in a conversation with us after the weekend was over, he felt that he was representing all the members of his family, past and present.”

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

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In These Otsego Hills
  • Sharing conspiracy theories on Main Having traversed the village a number of times now, we have come to the conclusion that there is very little reason to mention the current crop of potholes. It seems they are quite able to speak for themselves. In fact, they seem to do so loud and clear.

    April 10, 2014

  • Recovering with family and friends We must say we were somewhat overwhelmed by the telephone calls and emails that we received regarding last week's column. From what we were told it greatly brightened the day for a number of people. In fact, several of our callers told us they were going to cut it out and send it to friends around the country. And just as the column brightened the day for a number of our readers, their responses absolutely made our day. In fact, we are tempted to think it made not only our day, but our week, our month and perhaps even our year.

    April 3, 2014

  • Back to the present Much as we have enjoyed our recent trip through the archives of 1984, we fear we must return to 2014. If nothing else, we were reminded during our journey that the column today is not the column of 1984. But then, we suspect the greater Cooperstown community today is not the community of 1984. And while it is nice to reminisce about yesteryear, it is also important to recognize where we are today. And when we do that, we tend to focus on the one thing that has always made this column seem to work, namely the input of our readers.

    March 27, 2014

  • '84 carnival didn't go as planned This week we begin with one more of our favorite column items from 1984 concerning Winter Carnival which didn't go exactly as planned. We wrote:

    March 20, 2014

  • DAR column sends us down memory lane Of all the scripts we found in our cleaning of the basement, the one that intrigued us the most is one that we had completely forgotten we had written. It was done for a program we presented quite a while ago at a meeting of the Cooperstown DAR. As we recall, Lona Smith had asked us to talk about our experiences with writing this column. And since that could be a rather lengthy presentation, we decided to limit ourselves to talking about our first year of writing the column.

    March 13, 2014

  • Remembering a CCS vote that failed| We note that the next meeting of the Literary Discussion Group, sponsored by the Women's Club of Cooperstown, will be held on Thursday, March 27 at 2:30 p.m. at the Village of Cooperstown Library. Jane Anne Russell will lead a discussion on the book "North to the Orient" by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. The meeting is open to the public.

    March 6, 2014

  • Cookies make a better valentine than MRI We had originally thought that our entire Valentine's Day celebration would be a trip to Bassett healthcare to get a MRI of our lower back. Thus we were most pleasantly surprised when a friend dropped in on us with a bag of heart shaped, frosted sugar cookies for us.

    February 27, 2014

  • Swing and a miss on PumpkinFest We must admit that we are probably not as caught up in sports as some people are.

    February 20, 2014

  • Keeping busy as winter creeps From all that we hear, any number of people are sick of the winter weather. And, given what it has been, it is not difficult to understand why, especially if one is not particularly taken by winter weather in the first place. However, we do suspect that, unlike some years, the weather worked out well for Cooperstown's annual Winter Carnival. We must admit that we have not participated in the Winter Carnival for a number of years for the simple fact that it is held in the winter. And we are simply not devotees of the winter. But, should the decision ever be made, which we find highly unlikely, to hold the Winter Carnival in the spring or the fall, we might be more inclined to participate

    February 13, 2014

  • Looking around into this and that This past week seems to have offered all sorts of information which might well give one pause.

    February 6, 2014