This Week in Rockland: Newspaper Excerpts: Flashback Friday: Week of January 17

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January 14, 1868 150 Years Ago
Rockland County Journal

PIERMONT The weather for some days past has been very cold; yesterday it seemed inclined to have a little mercy, but all things don't look quite as gentle yet as we could hope. The old saying:  "it's an ill wind that blows no one any good," is in force now, however, for the lovers of the sport of skating have a good time of it and they seem to enjoy it too, by the way. Every night the river, along our town front, is full of the rougher and gentler sexes, gliding about like so many fast fleeting shadows.
     The boys, too, have had a fine time " riding downhill" on their sleds, but the risk attendant is a little too great for the sport. I suppose, however, that to boys the very danger connected with it lends it a charm which, if absent, would destroy the pleasure, and on the principle of "nothing venture, nothing have," the youngsters are willing to venture legs, arms, head and all else for the pleasure.
     A few evenings since, two of our young townsmen had a very narrow escape from serious injury, in this sport. They were gliding downhill at a rapid rate, near Donovan Hotel, when they suddenly collided with a passing vehicle. Henry Blake, the name of one, was taken home in an insensible condition. He is now convalescent, yet badly bruised. David Onderdonk, the name of the other, escaped with only a few scratches and a big scare. The evening following one of the stage horses slipped and fell, when opposite the store of Mr. Stines. It was thought a leg was broken, but after being pried about for some time with rails, he was got upon his pins, and was found to be all right, and ready for another jaunt to Nyack and back.
     The extra meetings in the Methodist Church are still in progress but no special interest to date; still the attendance is good and the spirits hopeful.

January 16, 1920 100 YEARS AGO
Nyack Evening Journal

FINAL WAKE OVER BOOZE FRIDAY NIGHT AS NATION GOES DRY – FAREWELLS WILL CONTINUE WITH DIMINISHED VIGOR UNTIL MIDNIGHT FRIDAY – “SHAKE UNCLE SAM’S HAND AND BOARD WATER WAGON,” SAYS ANDERSON  The two night wake for Uncle Sam’s oldtime stewed friend Jawn Barleycorn, started Thursday night and where and when and how it will end no man knoweth, not even Col. Porter, the Big Gloom himself. The Colonel opines that at 12:01 am Saturday, one stingy minute after midnight Friday, Constitutional prohibition will be clapped on—no more foolishnesss about it. Maybe so, probably so; but for the time being this community is as wet as if the two rivers were made of booze and all one had to do was dig it up.
     The realization by most people who ever liked a drop or two of likker [sic] that the end was actually at hand, as Brander Matthews might say, that the stuff was off, led them through well known psychological processes to extremes they never would have contemplated in the old, easy days when a cocktail was not criminal or the absorption of a highball a felony. It was that comprehension that hope is gone, that there will never be any more booze in the land, which sent people in thirsty droves for their last fling with the Demon Rum.

January 17, 1970 50 YEARS AGO
The Journal News

CARTOONIST DAVE BREGER IS DEAD Dave Breger, 61, creator of "Mr. Breger" died Friday at the Nyack Hospital. His home was at 26 Smith Avenue, South Nyack. The celebrated cartoonist had been a Rockland County resident for more than a quarter of a century.
     Breger, whose experiences as a buck private in the early days of World War II led to creation of the soldier cartoon character "Private Breger," never forgot the American soldier. Only last spring he toured U.S. military hospitals in Japan, Okinawa, and other Far Eastern countries, cheering up the wounded who had been flown to hospitals from Vietnam.
     The famed cartoonist was credited by H. L. Mencken with giving the American language the term "GI Joe." One of the greatest admirers of his work was General Eisenhower.
     Breger was unique among the nation's leading cartoonists, holding a degree in psychology from Northwestern University and was once office manager of a sausage factory in the Chicago stockyards where he created the slogan "Our Wurst is the Best."
     He was a victim of five holdups and was once shot at point-blank by a gangster. He lived with primitive Indians in the Mexican mountains. He never had any schooling in art or cartooning.
     Born and raised in Chicago, Breger first demonstrated his cartooning and writing abilities for his high school paper. At Northwestern, he was editor and chief of the monthly humor magazine.

This Week in Rockland (#FBF Flashback Friday) is prepared by Clare Sheridan on behalf of the Historical Society of Rockland County. To learn about the HSRC's mission, upcoming events or programs, visit or call (845) 634-9629.


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