Flashback Friday Archive 2019-20: Flashback Friday: Week of December 4

2020-12-04 TWIR Image-Stag Hill

December 3, 1870 – 150 YEARS AGO
Rockland County Journal

       We learned from an esteemed friend residing in the western part of our county that on the 28th inst. E. Davidson and R. Canning of Ramapo performed the feat of walking from that village to Ramsey’s station on the Erie railroad, a distance of six and one eighth miles in one hour and 21 minutes. If any of our amateur pedestrians can equal the above, we would like to be informed of the fact. Mr. Davidson and Mr. Canning are two young men who reside at Ramapo

       We are informed by our friend George Cook, who was a passenger on the train at the time, that on Tuesday evening last soon after the upbound train left Tenafly station the engineer discovered a man walking on the track ahead of the engine. The usual signal of “downed brakes” was given and the officers on the train did everything in their power to avert a calamity but without avail as the doomed man paid no attention to the warnings. Seeing that he must inevitably be run over a fireman ran along to the front of the engine and endeavored to catch the man before he was struck, but before he could do so, the pilot caught him and rolling under the wheels he was crushed to death, almost instantly. The name of the ill-fated man was Michael Nolan.

December 3, 1920 – 100 YEARS AGO
Rockland News

       The Salvation Army has opened a home for drug addicts at Tappan. Only men patients will be accepted at first, but if the home proves the success that is anticipated for it, a similar retreat for women will be opened. During the first year of operation the army expects to house 250 men at Tappan. Each inmate or guest will stay from two to five weeks, according to his needs and the time which it takes for him to pass the period of temptation.

       Since the advent of prohibition, the sale of ice cream has doubled. This tremendous increase in the demand has created a scarcity of skilled men to make this delightful and nourishing product. As a result, the New York State School of Agriculture at Cobleskill announces a short course of eight weeks to prepare men for this work. This course begins January 3 and closes February 25. It is stated by the school that any man of reasonable intelligence can master the art of commercial ice cream making in this period if he applies himself to the task. The school has excellent facilities for giving thorough training in this field, applicants for enrollment must be at least 18 years of age, the number accepted will be limited to the number that the school can handle to good advantage tuition is free to residents of the state, a brief description of the course may be secured by addressing HP nap. Director Cobleskill New York.

December 3, 1970 – 50 YEARS AGO
The Journal News

[Image: Houvenkopf Mountain, c. 1913, courtesy of the Suffern Free Library. Houvenkopf or Hovenkopf Mountain is a mountain in Bergen County, New Jersey, extending into New York, where it forms the western side of the southern entrance to Ramapo Pass. The major peak on the New Jersey side rises to 931 feet and is known as Stag Hill. It is separated by a deep saddle from the major peak on the New York side, the "Hooge Kop" proper, which rises to c. 770 feet and overlooks Hillburn to the north and Suffern to the east. It is part of the Ramapo Mountains.]
       Mahwah and Bergen County police continued combing Mahwah’s Stag Hill mountain region yesterday in an effort to apprehend a 30-year-old, heavily armed man sought for questioning in the murders of two gas station employees.
       The man, John Parker Jr. of 91 Ramapo Valley Rd., described by police as being heavy, over six feet tall and sporting a beard, has thus far eluded police who have hunted him with men, bloodhounds and a helicopter.
       Bergen County authorities reported that Parker is armed with a brace of .45 caliber pistols and more than 300 rounds of ammunition. The man evaded police two days, apparently after being tipped off that a woman believed to be an accomplice, Helen Acker, also of Ramapo Valley Road, had been taken into custody.
       New York State Police yesterday lodged a murder warrant at the Bergen County Jail for the woman and Parker in connection with the Oct. 26 holdup and murder of Gordon Scharrenberg, 20, of Park Ridge who was employed at a service station in Sloatsburg. Police believe Scharrenberg was shot to death with a .45-caliber weapon at or near the station and then carried to a point off the N.Y. State Thruway near New Paltz in Ulster County where his body was discovered.
       Parker is also sought in the Nov. 14 slaying of Michael McGraw, 26, of West Nyack who was found shot to death with a .45 caliber pistol at his brother's service station on Route 17 in Mahwah.
       Mahwah Police Chief William Russo joined with Capt. G.F. Dirska of N.Y. State Police in Middletown in warning that Parker should be considered extremely dangerous. They reported the suspect is familiar with the wooded regions around Mahwah.
       Russo said he has spent much time talking with people who live in the hills but who, he said, reported that they have not seen the man.
       Russo said people living in the Stag Hill region have always cooperated with him in the past and that they take a dim view of a stranger, especially one being hunted by police.
       On Tuesday, a third suspect in the murders was arrested at his Ramapo Valley home. He was identified as James Jesse Mott, 22, and was charged with murder in the slaying of Michael McGraw.

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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