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Week of February 21, 2020

150 Years Ago: February 19, 1870
Rockland County Journal


     To the Editor of the Journal: —
     On Monday evening, 7th inst., two persons whose names we decline to mention, were on a freight train bound west, but intending to get off at Ramapo, where the train did not stop. To effect their purpose, they invited the brakemen who were then on their way home from their labors to participate freely in the contents of a jug in their possession; the brakemen promising to compensate them by putting on the brakes and so check the speed of the train as to allow their two enemies—not friends as falsely styled —to make good their landing on terra firma. One of the said brakemen, who was then top-heavy from an overdose from the jug, climbed to the top of the cars while between Suffern and Ramapo to put on the brakes, and fell off. His body was found about three hours afterwards literally cut to pieces. The remains were picked up and brought to Suffern and subsequently sent to his family in Chester.
     This should be a severe warning to his associates and brother workmen, to touch, taste or handle not that which makes a beast of a man. and which if continued or persisted in will bring him to a drunkard's grave.
               Tell me I hate the bowl?
               Hate is a feeble word:
               I loathe, abhor: my very soul
               With strong disgust is stirred.
               Whene'er I see, or hear, or tell
               Of the dark beverage of hell!

     The Wyble children, of Wynockie, were found about a week ago, by William Ramsey, son-in-law of Truxton Williams. They were found dead lying near a large rock, about two miles distant from their home. Your readers doubtless know already of the details connected with the discovery of the bodies, and so I shall not repeat them here. It was a sad and agonizing affair.

100 Years Ago: February 17, 1920
The Nyack Evening Journal

COST $3,300 FOR REMOVAL OF SNOW – Blow to Board of Trustees for That Sum Would Have Represented Balance at End of Fiscal Year
     Nyackers again skidded to work over ice today, though not made so uncomfortable by an arctic gale that swept over the village yesterday. This morning several street workers continued handling picks in gutters, and, in some places, it required more than half an hour to remove a square yard.
     Thaw alone can relieve the grave condition of Nyack streets, but freezing weather still continues and there is no telling when the last of the ice and snow will be gone. The cost of removing snow from the streets so far is $3,300 and the expenditure of this money has put a crimp in the village bankroll.

50 Years Ago: February 18, 1920
The Journal News

Peaceful Revolution: Is It Possible?
     The nation's blacks and draft-resisters are victims of "suppression" by an exploitive "system" which does not "make peaceful revolution possible," and thus is itself the real cause of violence in society.
     This was the promise of talks and playlets sponsored last night by the Rockland County Moratorium Committee at the Tiger’s Den, Spring Valley.
     At one point the group of 150 to 200 people were asked by a Spring Valley patrolman to remove illegally parked cars some of which extended halfway across the street.
     But the majority of the crowd vocally indicated they felt the policeman had “orders” to try to break up the meeting. The point was emphasized by the speaker, Robert Webb, a self-proclaimed violent revolutionary from the Brooklyn branch of the Black Panther party.
     Webb had been giving his views on a national "conspiracy," in which he said, "pigs" (policemen) were the government's civil rights repression weapon, when the patrolman entered the Tiger's Den.
     Questioned outside, the patrolman said it was "a shame it has to be this way," but he said cars were blocking the street and would have to be moved. At police headquarters, the desk sergeant said the patrolman had called in to ask what should be done and had been advised to enforce the parking ordinance.
     The topic of the meeting had not influenced the police decision, the sergeant said. He noted that the patrolman, seeing a traffic obstruction and a potential hazard, was carrying out "a normal part of his patrol duties."
     Webb told the crowd, after the patrolman had left, that "this is our country and why should anyone tell us where to park."
     As a Panther, he said he did not hate while people as such. "I hate a person because of his deeds," he said, adding that hatred was reserved for the "oppressors."
     He said he had gone on the integration marches in the South several years ago and had followed the non-violent doctrines of the late Dr. Martin Luther King.
     "But those rocks were putting knots on my head," he said, adding he had gradually become more militant as a counterbalance to the guns and strength of the establishment.
     "We want power to control our own community," he said.
     Ronald Young, a draft resister who is being defended by the American Civil Liberties Union, said some people advocate violent revolution because "they see no other way."
     He said Fortune magazine has reported that in the past several years corporations have increased their profits from 50 to 60 per cent while the working majority could not even keep abreast of dollar-loss inflation.
     That, along with politicians who vote for military spending while cutting back on funds for health, education and welfare, and courts which refuse to hear some civil liberties cases issue and the contested constitutionality of the draft, are the causes of social violence, he said.
     The meeting opened with a dramatization from the text of the Chicago Seven conspiracy trial. It presented an exchange between Bobby Seale, a Black Panther leader, and Judge Julius Hoffman, who separated Seale from the seven other alleged conspirators and sentenced him to more than four years in prison on several counts of contempt.
     Seale was played by Sidney Curry; Stanley Lachow played Judge Hoffman, and Robert DiMaggio was the defense lawyer, William Kuntzler.
     James Finney, a lawyer on leave from the Legal Defense fund, told of personal experiences which he said should make all people wary of distortions in reports about Black Panthers as presented by the news media.
     A local black militant, Walter Brooks, told of his experiences in the county. He said a recent knifing of a patrolman at a high school basketball game had involved police brutality and suppression of black citizens.

Week of February 28, 2020

150 Years Ago: February 24, 1870
Rockland County Messenger

     An adjourned meeting of New-York hotel proprietors was held 17th inst. room No. 223, St. Nicholas Hotel, to adopt measures for the establishment of an “Ice Company of Ice Consumers,” in opposition to the monopoly now wielded by the Knickerbocker Co. Col. French occupied the chair, and. Mr. Stetson of the Astor House acted as Secretary. All the prominent hotels of the city were represented. A committee was appointed to make the necessary arrangements for the organization of a new company, and to ascertain the amount of stock required. The stock of the Association is to be held only by actual consumers, and the object of the organization is simply to keep down the price of ice. The existing Ice Companies have been increasing their rates until the burden upon large consumers has become intolerable; and hence this movement to place the trade in the hands of those directly interested.

     The schooner Henry Wilcox, loaded with bricks from Haverstraw for Newark, while attempting to beat through the draw of the Central Railroad Bridge across Newark Bay last Saturday, came in collision with one of the piers and sunk in a few minutes, about 100 feet from the draw, in the middle of the channel, in about thirty feet of water, where she now lies. She was a good vessel, valued at a about $4,000.

     Died at the residence of his son-in-law Alexander Goldsmith, in the village of Warren, on the 23d day of February 1870, John L. De La Montanya, aged 77 years, 3 months, and 11 days. His Friends are invited to attend his Funeral at the At the M.E. Church, on Friday afternoon at 2 o'clock, P.M.

100 Years Ago: February 27, 1920
The Nyack Evening Journal

BILL TO SECURE FAMED ’76 HOUSE – Measure Introduced by Assemblyman Peck Provides that $16,000 Be Expended – Hagar Bill Expected at This Session
     Assemblyman G. H. Peck of Rockland County has introduced in the legislature a bill appropriating the sum of $16,000 for the purchase by the State of the famous ’76 House at Tappan.  The bill was introduced at the insistence of the Rockland County Society and is now in committee.
     Mr. Peck has also introduced a bill in the interest of the Palisades Park Commission amending the law so that the commission can handle hotels in which it is interested to better advantage.
     Another bill sponsored by Assemblyman Peck provides for the amending of the general municipal law in relation to payments to injured or representatives of deceased volunteer firemen.
     The Hagar bill, which passed both Senate and Assembly last year and which was vetoed by the Governor is again being prepared and will probably be introduced again during the coming week.
     Many requests are coming to Assemblyman Peck to again introduce his water bill, which last year passed the Assembly but was defeated by but a few votes in the Senate, and he is seriously considering another trial.

50 Years Ago: February 24, 1970
The Journal News

     Where can you go if you need a food recipe for tonight?
     If you want to know how to start a new business?
     Or if you want to learn to stuff a deer-head, raise a child, or collect information on almost anything? Sixteen public libraries in Rockland are prepared to serve your needs.
     Of the county's libraries, the newly expanded Finkelstein Memorial Library, Route 59, Spring Valley, is by far the largest. The addition increased that library's capacity from 15,000 to 110,000 volumes. The building now has 16,200 square feet, 13,200 square feet larger than the library before expansion.
     "When I came here 5 ½ years ago," Director Robert S. Ake said, "the library had a little over 13,000 books. Now, we add more than that in one year." The library has more than 80,000 books and additions are made at an average rate of 12,000-15,000 per month.
     Other library holdings include an extensive periodical collection, 1,618 reels of microfilm, most of which supplement the periodical collection, and 2,399 record albums.
     Finkelstein has several areas in which it specializes in its attempt to serve the interests of its patrons.
     ''If we were to be asked if we have one area in which we are strongest, it would be business and investment," Ake said. Included are business and investment services, such as Standard and Poors, and Dow-Jones, which generally appear on a weekly basis, as well as periodicals, industrial directories, and over-the-counter data.
     Other areas in which the library is particularly well endowed are literary criticism, drama, and the children's collection. In addition, the holdings include nearly three times more non-fiction than fiction materials, and students in the area are able to use it extensively for research.
     To supplement its capacity for research, the library is one of 46 in the Ramapo-Catskill Library System. Ake said that materials the library does not have can be requested through the system. If they don't have the material, the request is forwarded to other library systems throughout the state.

     Charles Glass, who for 17 years drove the locomotive used to switch freight cars on the Continental Can Company’s property in Piermont was honored Friday night on the occasion of his retirement at a dinner held at Cornetta’s Restaurant in Piermont. Company representatives, fellow employees, relatives and friends attended.
     Glass had held other positions at the paper mill during his 43 years of employment, his most recent job, that of a truck driver, but very few people ever thought of him as anything else than Continental Can Company’s locomotive engineer. He would still have been at the time of his retirement if trucks hadn’t largely supplanted the railroad in the movement of freight to and from the Piermont plant.
     “There wasn’t enough freight coming in by train for the company to need its own locomotive, so it did away with it,” Glass explained.
     He said that the locomotive was sent to one of the company’s other plants. He believed it was in Louisiana. Glass said that if he ever saw the engine again, he thought he would recognize it from the dents it had accumulated during its long service at Piermont.
     Glass was born in Virginia and grew up on a farm in Pittsylvania County, on which he helped to plant tobacco. The farm was only a few miles from Danville.
     He was 17 when his family moved north to Nyack in the spring of 1926.  Shortly afterwards, the youth got a job with the Piermont Paper Company, driving a horse and wagon taking rubbish to the dump.
     The company had two horses, Glass said. The one which he drove was a white horse named “Dan.”  Although the hostler would feed “Dan,” Glass had to curry and brush the horse before taking him out.
     The company’s dump in those days was not in the marshland alongside the Piermont pier as it is today, but opposite the Piermont Firehouse. Today, the area is the company parking lot. Glass remarked that much of the lot is filled land.
     The youth from Virginia didn’t drive a horse and wagon for very long. He became a brakeman on the switch engine on which he later was to be engineer.  All freight in those days came in by rail over the Erie Railroad and each carload of freight had to be shifted to one of 30 loading doors where it was unloaded.  Later empty cars, as well as cars of freight being shipped from the plant, had to be lined up in readiness for the Erie locomotives which came in to take them out.

Week of March 6, 2020

150 Years Ago: March 3, 1870
Rockland County Messenger

     There is no better test of ill-breeding than the practice of interacting another in conversation, by speaking or commencing a remark before another has fully closed, no well-bred person ever does it, or continues conversation long with one who does. The latter finds an interesting a conversation abruptly waived, closed or declined by the former, without suspecting the cause. A well-bred person will not even interrupt one who is in respects greatly inferior. It is amusing to see persons priding themselves on the gentility of manners and putting forth all their efforts to appear to advantage in many other respects, so readily betray all in this respect.

     We may classify the petty incivilities of church life thus:
     1. Smells. — Violent perfumes, especially those containing musk, are disagreeable to most persons, and to some positively distressing. There is no smell so universally pleasing as no smell. Never scent yourself when going into a crowded assembly. The same is true of the residuary smell of tobacco which hangs about the garments and afflicts the breath of those who habitually smoke. But tobacco almost invariably makes men self-indulgent and regardless of other’s convenience. More brutal yet are they who go to church reeking like a Dutchman’s soup, with the smell of onions. They are scores of people who have lost all profit of a Sunday service by the sickening smells which surrounded them.
     2. Sounds. — Whispering in church during the service is an affront to politeness. Much of the coughing which goes on in churches arises from the poisonous gases and personal effluvia which exist in unventilated churches. But the power of the will over the muscles which do the coughing is very great. A heedless person will cough twice as much as needful—will cough at the worst time possible, will cough plumb upon the necks of those before him, instead of embalming the sound in his handkerchief as, with a little skill and politeness, he might easily do. We would not forbid men who cannot sing to “make a joyful noise”—but it should be a softly noise. In all cases—when it is a man’s duty to sleep in church, it is his duty also to snore with the soft pedal down.
     [3.] Sight. — Everyone likes to see the minister. It cannot be done through your body. True, you cannot help being before somebody, unless you are on the back seat. But, with a little thought, you may very much help those behind you. Any conduct which shall divert the attention of others from the service, such as ostentatious playing with a watch, or opening and shutting it, reading books or papers, looking about inquisitively, is impolite. Many churches have the Ten Commandments set up upon the wall, in sight of the whole congregation, although not one of the sins reprobated is likely to be committed in church time. Would it not be well to have another tablet, enumerating the sins which men are prone to commit in church time?

100 Years Ago: March 4, 1920
The Nyack Evening Journal

     Housewives who purchase oleomargarine have to do their own coloring of it.  It is against the law for manufacturers to use coloring matter, so with each block of “oleo” goes a pellet of coloring matter for the housewife, with much trouble and effort to mix through the product.
     Dairy interests have done everything in their power to strangle the oleomargarine industry and at their behest, unjust and discriminating regulations have been adopted by Congress and legislature.  Apparently, it is nothing to the dairymen that millions of families in this country are unable to purchase butter and must perforce use oleomargarine.  If the dairymen had their way, everyone who could not buy butter would have to go without any substance for spreading on their bread.
     As oleomargarine is proving a wholesome and satisfactory substitute for butter and its use cannot be barred, various petty restrictions, ostensibly to prevent fraud but really to discourage business, are imposed in its manufacture and sale and, so far as public eating places are concerned, its use.

50 Years Ago: March 7, 1970
The Journal News

     When Clarkstown's school office workers, all women and most of them married, get together these days, it isn't merely for a cup of tea and chatter. Words like the Taylor Law, bargaining table, wage scales and the like ring around the gavel of Mrs. Annette Raetz of Congers, President of the Clarkstown Educational Secretaries Association.
     While Mrs. Raetz, secretary to the principal of Lakewood Elementary School in Congers, may joke about her spot with remarks like: "I resent being called the James Hoffa of the Clarkstown secretaries," she's dead serious about the some 95 school office workers' need for representation when wages and working conditions come up at budget time.
     Have conditions improved for the women since they organized in June 1968? "They may not be ideal," says Mrs. Raetz, "but they're certainly much better than they've ever been before." She said the Taylor Act, a State law giving public employees the right to bargain, gave the group official recognition.
     "It seemed to us that if it wasn't unladylike or unprofessional for teachers to bargain, it was all right for us to make demands, too," she said. "Our primary reason for organizing was to be recognized at the bargaining table. Not only for better wages but, also, to be sure everyone was treated equally and that grievances were given fair consideration."
     Mrs. Raetz also noted that the Clarkstown contract has a clause saying that the administration must give Association members two weeks' notice of transfer and, if requested, they must also give the employee verbal or written reasons for the transfer.
     Now that the Association is on its feet, members are widening horizons socially and seriously. For fun, there's a Christmas party and a June end of-the-year party. On the serious side? "We decided to establish a scholarship for business students at Clarkstown High," said Mrs. Raetz. In order to get the fund on its feet, the Association is holding a "Summer Fantasy" fashion show, April 14 at the Little Tor School in New City, with all proceeds going to the fund.
     "Any clerical employee of Clarkstown Central School District Number 1 is eligible for membership in the Clarkstown Educational Secretaries Association," said Mrs. Raetz. That includes clerks, typists, library aides, teacher aides, as well as the top-notch niches embracing secretaries to principals, to superintendents and to the supervisor. Dues are $5 a year.

Week of March 13, 2020

150 Years Ago: March 10, 1870
Rockland County Messenger

     Coroner Sloat was notified on Monday, March 7th, to hold an inquest upon the body of Mrs. Catherine Hefferin, lying dead at the residence of her husband in this village. The jury after viewing the body, were directed by the Coroner to meet at the Hotel, on the following day at 9 A. M. to hear the evidence. The whole day was occupied in the examination of witnesses. The jury after hearing all the evidence, rendered the following Verdict:

“We find that Catherine Hefferin came to her death on the 6th day of March,  A. D. 1870, at the residence of her husband William Hefferin, in the town of Haverstraw; and that her death was produced by a rupture of her womb during childbirth. We do censure S. W. Allen, the attending Physician, that, after he had used the instruments, and failed to deliver the said Catherine Hefferin, he left her in dying condition, and after one hour or more returned, and did not do anything for her, the said Catherine Hefferin, or to relieve her in her dying condition.’’

Signed, SPENCER S. SLOAT, Coroner. LS. Isaiah Milburn, Foreman, Isaiah M. Gardner, John C. Gee, John Eckerson, Abram B. Jersey, John Barrett, Juror.

     The above-named Coroner will resume the investigation, which was begun some two weeks since, to the cause of the death of Rosatta Abrams, at the U.S. Hotel on Monday next.

UNMARRIED WOMEN  “I am not afraid to live alone,” said a noble woman, “but dare not marry unworthily.’’
     Is there no fine heroism here? I think that to submit cheerfully to a single life where circumstances have been unkind, to choose it for the sake of loyalty to a high ideal, is as brave a thing as a woman can do. But, after all, the woman who does this simply demands to be let alone. She begs that you will not suppose her insensible to a stab because she does not cry out. She has her pride and delicacy. She urges no claims upon admiration, but she has no consciousness of disgrace.

100 Years Ago: March 12, 1920
The Nyack Evening Journal

     Never before in Rockland County has so vast a sum of money been distributed among workers as a bonus as that which took place yesterday at the Garner Print Works, Garnerville.
     The sum total distributed amounts to $269,000 which was paid out to between 800 and 900 employees. The checks ranged from $1,000 down and was based on the earning capacity of the workers during the past year.
     In July last a bonus of $17,000 was paid to the employees of the plant.

     Mrs. George Tremper and her three children are all ill. Dr. Miltimore of Nyack has been attending them.
     Miss West of Garnerville has been a guest of Miss McVickers for several days.
     The Girls Scouts meet every Tuesday and Saturday afternoon at the home of Mrs. Weber.
     Helen Manli and Florence Kipp who have been very ill with scarlet fever are convalescing.
     Mr. and Mrs. George Cunningham have written to some of their friends telling of the wonderful days they are having in San Juan, Porto Rico (sic) where they are spending the winter.

50 Year Ago: March 12, 1970
The Journal News

WHAT ARE CONDOMINIUMS — "Let’s Get Acquainted"
     What are they, these new dwellings everybody is hearing about? They are not cooperative apartment houses, they are not garden apartments, they are not like renting your own apartment. So, what are they?
     Instead of the usual visit to a new Rockland County housing development, "Let's Get Acquainted" decided to find out about condominiums.
     According to a well-informed source, most people, including government officials who should know better, condominiums are "a legal form . . . they could be anything . . . stores, a high-rise apartment building, offices." They are no different from an apartment house, from some standpoints, and they are a business, like any other.
     In practice, they are better than cooperative apartments, since tenants own their apartments and thus are more likely to improve and repair them.
     Regarding condominiums as opposed to cooperative-apartment owners "in practice, because they are exclusionary," may decide not to sell to a particular person, depending on race, color, creed or nationality. Cooperative-apartment owners do not own their apartments; they are shareholders in a corporation.
     Therefore, they must elect their own board of trustees, hire their own electricians and repaint and take care of their own buildings.
     In a condominium, each dwelling family unit may pay anywhere up to 100 per cent of the cost of the unit or may choose to pay less, according to the banker with whom he is dealing. His costs will go toward taxes, amortization of the mortgage, depreciation each cost varying with each apartment.
     In a condominium, there is an advantage for young people who would not otherwise be able to afford to buy homes; and there is an attraction for older people too. They no longer need their own old, large house neither do they want to move away from Rockland County altogether. So, they put their available cash into a condominium. And depending upon the amount of money they put down they have carrying charges, maintenance fees and the like.
     In a cooperative apartment building, on the other hand, corporation shareholders would hold one entire mortgage on the whole building in which they are living. They elect their board of trustees, and their monthly fees cover maintenance, repair, taxes and so on.
     "As a practical matter," my well-informed source tells me, condominiums and cooperatives are very much the same. Condominiums do not have the restrictions on the sale of ownership that cooperatives do, which, in the latter instance, is considered, only an "unspoken right of first refusal."
     A tenant in a condominium may still sell their apartments back to the condominium for the going price, or the same price they paid. There is no sale of stock involved, as there would be with a cooperative apartment. All renters, owners or dwellers, whichever you choose to call them, are joint ventures in the common facilities, inside, outside and everywhere, including within the apartments.
     The common facilities are taken care of by the management of the condominium cutting the grass, filling the swimming pool, etc.
     To conclude, from the perhaps one-sided view of a well-known builder of condominiums, "the occupant is a much more stable individual and has a vested interest in his condominium and in his community" than the average apartment dweller or purchaser of shares in a cooperative-apartment building arrangement.

Week of March 20, 2020

150 Years Ago: March 19, 1870
Rockland County Journal

     Between the residence of Mr. Tunis Smith and the Steamboat Dock, a gold watch charm in the shape of a star, set with jet, and on the back of which was engraved the words "Charity Perry." The finder of the same will be suitably rewarded by leaving it at the store of D.D.T. Smith.

     The late cold weather has been so favorable to our ice-cutters that they will be enabled to fill their houses this season with a very fair quality of ice; the average thickness varying from six to eight inches. At Rockland Lake, the Knickerbocker Ice Company has now about two hundred and fifty men employed day and night, and the ice is being rapidly transported from its liquid bed to the ice houses. The crop will amount to the usual number of tons. Smith Lydecker has housed about two thousand tons of clear, solid ice, thus far, and he desires to assure his customers and the public that he will be able to supply them as usual.

     The attention of housekeepers is called to the auction sale of John T. Brown, which will come off in Middletown, near Nanuet, on the 24th inst. The following is a synopsis of the articles to be sold: Horses, cows, hogs, fowls, timothy hay, rye straw, corn in the ear, oats, rye, potatoes, hives of bees, carriage, wagons, sleighs and sleds, harrows, plows, cart, forks and rakes. A full and complete assortment of household furniture, comprising live-geese feather mattresses, straw beds, bolsters, pillows, quilts, army blankets, counterpanes, comforters. Also, velvet, ingrain and rag carpets, parlor and bedroom furniture of all kinds, crockery, glass and earthen ware. A farm of 35 acres of land, mostly improved, will be offered at the same time. Sale to commence at 10 o'clock, A. M., when the conditions will be made known.

100 Years Ago: March 20, 1920
The Nyack Evening Journal

     Women who will vote at the next Presidential election, regardless of the ratification of the suffrage amendment, number 17,500,000, according to figures compiled by the National American Woman Suffrage Association and made public yesterday. This number is of voting age in the fifteen states having full suffrage, the thirteen Presidential suffrage States and the two States having primary suffrage.
     If the ratification is complete, then 9,500,000 more women will be eligible to the vote. The total number of electoral votes in which women have a voice is 339, or nearly two-thirds of the whole.

     The New York Telephone Company has completed installing in central offices in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Newark a new feature known as the audible ringing signal, and Nyack subscribers may expect hear it on calls to those points.
     The purpose of this signal is to give the calling party definite audible notification that the work of putting up the connection has been performed by the operators concerned.
     The signal is a low, burr-r-ing sound lasting several seconds, followed by a silent interval and then a renewal of the burr-r-ing sound. It starts as soon as the operator has established the connection and lasts until the called telephone answers or the operator tells you that they do not answer.

50 Years Ago: March 18, 1970
The Journal News

     Kim Stanley, the actress, is reported in satisfactory condition at Nyack Hospital, where she is being treated for burns about her neck and face.
     Miss Stanley, 44, was admitted to the hospital Saturday night after she was burned in a fire in the bedroom of her home at 89 Kings Highway, Congers.
     Clarkstown police said Miss Stanley apparently fell asleep while smoking and that her cigarette set fire to the bed.
     Miss Stanley was nominated in 1966 for an Oscar for best actress after her performance in the British melodrama, "Seance on a Wet Afternoon.” An American-born actress, she is also known for her stage roles.

     Rockland letter carriers will meet to discuss the implications of last night's strike vote by New York City carriers, according to Charles Brownsell, vice president of the Rockland chapter of the Letter Carriers Union.
     Brownsell said the meeting date has not been set and will "depend upon the circumstances as they develop."
     "I have not received word from higher union officers with regard to Rockland letter carriers participating in a strike. We will cross that bridge when we come to it," Brownsell said.
     He said the action by New York City carriers was not unwarranted. At one time, he said, letter carriers were paid at a rate far greater than sanitation workers.
     "Today, garbagemen take away what we deliver for several thousand dollars per year more," he said.
     Brownsell noted that in Rockland some full-time letter carriers are on partial welfare.

Week of March 27, 2020

125 Years Ago: March 23, 1895
Rockland County Journal

MR. SUFFERN DEFENDS HIM — An Interesting Divorce Suit in New York City
     Mr. Charles C. Suffern, son of the late Judge Andrew E. Suffern, of Haverstraw, is attorney in a very interesting divorce suit in New York City. The defendant, who has retained Mr. Suffern, is William Sneckner, who is nearly eighty-two years old, and his wife, who sues for a limited divorce on the grounds of cruelty and abandonment, is twenty-five years younger. Mr. Sneckner says her husband once spat in her face, on another occasion threw a hand satchel at her and finally rubbed his fist under her nose, making her face sore. He frequently swore at her and finally deserted her. Mr. Sneckner denies all the allegations against him.

     It is said that the number of ladies who will be seen on bicycles the coming Summer will be much larger than last year. So will the number of men. The sport promises to be exceedingly popular.

THE HESDRA ESTATE — The New York Property to Be Sold Next Tuesday
     The New York property, consisting of four houses and lots, belonging to the Hesdra estate, will be sold on Tuesday next, March 26th. It is appraised at $70,000, which is enough to pay off all the legacies and leave several thousand dollars besides. In addition to the above, there is considerable property in Nyack, besides several lots in New Haven, Conn., all of which comprises the residuary estate to be divided among Mrs. Tordorf, her mother, and son and daughter. Each will have a handsome sum. For the above results much credit is due Mr. E. B. Sippell, committee for Mrs. Tordorf, Ex-Judge Weiant, of Haverstraw, and Attorney George A. Wyre, associated with him.

100 Years Ago: March 26, 1920
The Nyack Evening Journal

DISPUTED YORK’S CLAIM AS YANKEE’S BRAVEST SOLDIER — Sergt. Donaldson of Haverstraw Contends That His War Record Justifies Challenge to Tennessee Man for Biggest Honor of World War
     Sergeant Alvin C. York, the Tennessee Mountain soldier, acclaimed the “bravest man in the war,” has a stalwart rival – Sergeant Michael Donaldson, of Haverstraw, a member of the “fighting Sixty-ninth.”
     Sergeant Donaldson, who was decorated with the Medal Militaire, the Croix de Guerre, Palma and D. S. C. was also recommended for the Congressional Medal of Honor. He contends that his war record justifies his challenge to Sergeant York’s proud position.
     Enlisting in Company I, Sixty-ninth, Infantry, forty-second (Rainbow) Division, the day America declared war, Sergeant Donaldson served nine months in the front-line trenches fighting in five major engagements.
     During the Battle of the Ourcq he acted as personal liaison for Major James A. McKenna, a commander of the Shamrock Division, and was conspicuously constantly volunteering to bring in wounded under fire.
     The real feat, however, for which Donaldson says he received his several decorations was accomplished at Landers St. George, a town in the Argonne Forest, on October 14, 1918, during the fierce fighting which marked the last days of the war. His company was assigned to Hill 288, on the outskirts of the town and in the center of the German offensive.
     In the early morning the enemy started a terrific artillery bombardment, followed shortly by an infantry attack in mass formation and supported by machine guns.
     Caught in an enfilade fire, the company was almost entirely wiped out, and Private Donaldson as he was at the time, was the only man on the hill not wounded or dead.
     Crawling through a veritable “carpet of dead,” as he described it, Donaldson succeeded in carrying eleven of his wounded comrades to safety. Returning to the hill, he continued single-handed to hold the position for more than two hours until reinforced by Company K, under command of Lieutenant Geon. When asked how many Germans he killed during the attack, Donaldson hesitatingly replied, “About a hundred.” He was promoted to sergeant on the field.
     Since receiving his discharge last summer, Donaldson has returned to his home in Haverstraw.

     Because of confusion caused by the wording of several statutes, members of the Sportsmen’s Fish and Game Protective Association, at a meeting held last night in the house of Highland Hose Company, were unable to agree as to how to combat the roaming dog which kills deer. It was reported by Game Protector Knapp, of Stony Point that so far eleven deer have been killed in the county by dogs.
     The association decided to hold its annual election on the evening of April 9.

50 Years Ago: March 28, 1970
The Journal News

     Every spring the swallows come back to Capistrano but the bluebirds, once a most welcome and certain sign of spring, have been giving Rockland the go-by for over a decade.
     This sweet songster — official songbird of New York State — is a victim of Rockland's urban sprawl. Bulldozers have ripped away open fields and tumbled the old orchards and wooded fence posts which provided the hollows bluebirds prefer for housing.
     Rockland Audubon Society counted 135 bluebirds in the 1949 Christmas count (some winter over), only 20 in 1958, and none since 1967.
     Spring storms, pesticides, and competition with starlings and sparrows for nesting sites have played a part in the bluebird shut-out, some experts say.
     But new housing can attract the harbinger of spring. In an effort to bring the bluebirds back, James Hesselgrave, industrial arts teacher at Haverstraw Middle School and a member of the Audubon Society, has set his class to building bluebird boxes.
     “If these substitute homes are strung about 100 yards apart in the open space remaining in Rockland, some happy couple or couples may decide to stop over the summer in Rockland.
     "But there's no guarantee, you'll get bluebirds," Hesselgrave emphasized. Sometimes tree swallows, wrens, or chickadees will use the boxes, "and that's a plus," he said.
     The boxes should provide a 5 ½ inch square floor; an entrance hole 1 ½ inches in diameter small enough to keep out starlings and set six inches or more above the floor to prevent cats from reaching inside.
     The top should be hinged for easy human fall house-cleaning, and drainage holes should be provided. Entrance perches should be eliminated to discourage English sparrows.
     The bluebird, not to be confused with the large, saucy and raucous blue jay — only bird of blue hue recognized by many newcomers to Rockland — is a gentle cousin of the robin, a bit smaller and plumper with sky blue back and a rosy breast.
     They mostly eat tree insects and are seldom seen on the ground, favorite feeding place of the worm eating robin.
     Next month the bluebirds will be flying over Rockland and Hesselgrave hopes the 50 boxes made in his class will be set up in open country in North Rockland, in time to attract migrators.
     “If we get even one pair, it will be worth the work and the boys will get an extra dividend of pleasure in keeping track of their boxes this spring and summer, Hesselgrave said.

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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