This Week in Rockland: Newspaper Excerpts: Flashback Friday: Week of April 12

2024-04-12 TWIR Image-Rosetown

April 11, 1874 – 150 YEARS AGO
Rockland County Journal

    A boy named Robert Gormley, aged thirteen years, was so injured by being caught in the machinery ot the Print Works on Thursday, ed inst. that he died the next day.
    The spring supply of organ-grinders has commenced to arrive. They bring no monkeys with them, as they appear to have a belief that they can pick up those animals on our streets.
    “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Bro. Stephen Merritt, Jr., will give a friendly, faithful talk to his neighbors of this village on “Temperance,” at the Wayside Chapel tomorrow (Sunday) at 7.30 PM.
    The Annual Catalogue of the New York College of Physicians and Surgeons—Medical Department of Columbia College—contains among the students the names of Geo. E. Brown, of Spring Valley, Geo. M. Edebohls, of Blauveltville, Frank B. Green and C. Hasbrouck Ten Eyck, of Nyack; the first-named under the preceptorship of Dr. D. D. Smith, the second under Dr. James L. Little, and the two last-named under Dr. T. B. Smith.

April 11, 1934 90 YEARS AGO
Rockland County Journal-News

[Image:  Brickyard workers homes in the Roseville section of Haverstraw. Photo circa 1900.  Courtesy of the Haverstraw Brick Museum Archives.]
       Editor’s note: “Rosaville” (Roseville) was an area within Haverstraw. Also, we recognize the problems inherent in reproducing outdated and offensive terms such as “slave,” “darky,” and “negro”; they have been retained here only because they reflect the language in use at the time the article was written.
       “It’s better to be a free man than a slave.”
       This is the opinion of LeRoy Dickerson, aged Rosaville resident, who was one of the thousands of negroes who were freed by the emancipation proclamation of Abraham Lincoln.
       Dickerson, who says he will be 87 years old if he lives until August 12 of this year, recalls vividly the days of slavery and the period of reconstruction in the South which followed the Civil War. In spite of his age, he has a keen mind and is in possession of all his faculties. He is hale and hearty and says if he could walk without the use of a cane he could still do a good day’s work. ...
       LeRoy—the name Dickerson was adopted by the family after the slaves had been freed—was born on the plantation of Hampton Walter in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. His parents were slaves and he himself was a houseboy when the Civil War broke out.
       Included in his duties as a house boy was the task of driving the white children to and from school. The negroes were not allowed to have books but on the journeys from home to school the white children often showed LeRoy pictures in the books. The printing meant nothing to him. ...
       His father was a shoemaker and in November would come the task of making shoes to be presented to the slaves as Christmas gifts from the master. The work continued throughout November and December and then came the big Christmas party. The slaves received in addition to the shoes, blankets, bed quilts, tallow and beeswax. Also, as Christmas gifts the negroes were given flour, molasses and fruits in quantities depending on the size of the families.
       Recalling the events leading up to the war, Dickerson says that in his neighborhood barbecues were held at various plantations, [where] there was much talk of the impending conflict. … Dickerson recalls that at one of [these] barbecues, the possibility of sending the darkies to fight was discussed. The idea was vetoed immediately when one of the men said: “If we send the colored people, they will run right over to the damn Yankees.”
       Conditions on the plantation were not prosperous during the four years of the conflict and the longer the war continued the poorer became the condition of the slaves. There was no time, however, when they were in danger of starvation, Dickerson says.
       Then came the end of the conflict. The slaves were freed but their previous condition of servitude made their newfound freedom a thing to be feared to a certain extent. LeRoy’s father had been sold to Walter by a man named Dickerson and when names became necessary, he took the latter name. His sons followed suit.
       LeRoy and his father continued as slaves until the end of the year and then they made a contract with Walter. The proceeds from half of what they raised were given to them while the master took the other half.
       Arrangements for marrying outside their own plantations were difficult for slaves, Dickerson says. Masters of both plantations must be consulted and give their consent to the courtship. If the consent were granted, the boy was permitted to call on his inamorata on Wednesday and Saturday nights.
       When he became of age, Dickerson hired out to a man who taught him blacksmithing and carpentering. His salary was $105 a year and his keep. He was forced to buy his own clothing from his salary.
       He learned to build many things including wagons and caskets and has a photograph in his home of a casket he built. The casket is an elaborate affair with shiny handles and a glass cover over the face of the corpse.
       Dickerson married in 1877 and he and his wife were the parents of seventeen children. There are now 48 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
       The boys left the old home and several of them came to Haverstraw to work on the brickyards. The father followed them in 1912 and he has lived in Rosaville since that time.

April 12, 197450 YEARS AGO
The Journal News

       One of the few places in eastern Rockland where motorcycle riders can ride on a challenging course off the road is being leveled, and a hamburger stand will soon rise on the site.
       An undeveloped, hilly area on the corner of Central Avenue and Route 59 in Central Nyack has been used for years by novice riders and dirt track enthusiasts to test their noisy machines.
       A McDonald’s restaurant is presently being built on the property. As a result, young riders will probably have to use their trail bikes along area railroad rights of way unless a new dirt site is developed, according to spokesmen at a Central Nyack motorcycle shop, The House of Power.
       “Now, a lot of these kids will go riding along the railroad tracks in the county,” said Miles Devlin, a mechanic at the shop.”They can’t be supervised as they should.”
       But, the future may hold relief for neighbors, customers, and shop officials, owner Sal Mangiameli explained, in the form of a riding area at the Clarkstown town dump.
       The shop owner has been negotiating with the town for the right to build up the area for supervised trail riding and training.
       The “mini-bike park” would be operated as a profit to the town recreation department and there would be a nominal fee for a day’s worth of riding, he explained.
       Leveling the hills has forced Mangiameli, 34, of Orange County, to invest $10,000 in a dynomometer, a device which simulates road conditions and allows both the shop’s personnel and customers to test the motorcycles indoors.
       Other bikes licensed and registered road cycles will still be tested on the streets at the rear of the shop unwelcome news to at least one couple which has been “miserable for six years” in the face of daily noise from the large street bikes.
       “Seven other families were driven out of the neighborhood because of the noise,” said George Wamsley, 69, of 4 Central Ave. “The neighborhood has gone to hell and we’re strapped in.”
       He and his wife say the value of their home has plummeted and that they would be unable to purchase another home for the amount of money they’ve been offered for their present one, located next door The House of Power.
       The owner of the motorcycle shop said, “We try to get our business done without offending other people but some people just don’t like motorcycles.

This Week in Rockland (#FBF Flashback Friday) is prepared by Clare Sheridan on behalf of the Historical Society of Rockland County. © 2024 by The Historical Society of Rockland County. #FBF Flashback Friday may be reprinted only with written permission from the HSRC. To learn about the HSRC’s mission, upcoming events or programs, visit or call (845) 634-9629.


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