This Week in Rockland: Newspaper Excerpts: Flashback Friday: Week of August 13

2021-08-13 TWIR Image-Grocery Grab

August 12, 1871 – 150 YEARS AGO
Rockland County Journal

       A Rockland County hen who has the honor of her native heath at heart, and unwilling to be outdone by the Osceola biped of which we spoke in our last issue, has produced an egg which measures eight inches one way by six and a quarter the other, and the weight of which is the merest fraction short of four ounces. This one we have in our possession, but Mr. Blauvelt, on the turnpike informs us that the hen has laid two more just like it and of equal dimensions. A hen of such towering ambition is a good thing to have.

      Some young scapegraces, who deserve to be well spanked, on Wednesday night tied several pieces of twine across the sidewalk on upper Main street, and consequently persons who were traveling that way in a hurry were brought to a sudden stand-still with the breath nearly jerked out of them, the string catching them across the stomach. A few feet of birch would, we think, be very beneficial to the moral welfare of the young scamps.

August 12, 1921 – 100 YEARS AGO
Rockland News

       Rockland County is not the farming community it was a score or even ten years ago. There are fewer farms today than formerly, though the population of the county has increased only a few hundred since 1910.
       There are now 831 farms here as against 1,133 in 1910 with 778 male farmers and 53 of the feminine gender. The approximate land area is 147,120 acres, the land in farms being 40,140.
       The value of farm property in the county is $10,793,693. The value of the implements and machinery is $554,064 and of livestock is $644,557. There are a total of 1,180 horses and 47 mules, 1 burro and the cattle number 2,641, with a total value of $295,775; 206 sheep valued at $3,241, 16 goats and 1,957 swine. Chickens number 57,852 and other poultry 1,870, valued at $110,636; 368 bees valued at $3,387.
       Of the farms operated by owners, 318 are free from mortgage debt.

August 11, 1971 – 50 YEARS AGO
Rockland Independent/Leader

Image: George Peterson surveys his net yield from the Grocery Grab. His look of puzzlement asks, “Where am I going to put it all?”]
       As soon as George Peterson of Pearl River found out he had won the Pearl River Jaycee Grocery Grab, giving him 10 mad minutes of free shopping in his town’s ShopRite store, he set to work.
       Disguised as a mild-mannered shopper, he cased the store, furtively scribbling notes on the back of a shopping list locating expensive items. Once home he studied the notes and destroyed them to prevent detection. With [a] well-thought-out plan in mind, he was ready to wage war against time and claim victory in the form of almost $1,000 worth of free groceries.
       Rules were established for Peterson’s conduct: His objective was to grab all the groceries he could within 10 minutes. But he could not confiscate any beer, cosmetics, toys, cigarettes, drugs, and other non-grocery items. Bill Gutt, Jaycee chairman of the event, spelled out the other orders Peterson received.
       “Using one cart at a time, he had to run down the aisles, fill the cart, and bring it to one of three registers on the side of the store. He was allowed a maximum of two carts per aisle so he wouldn’t concentrate on just one aisle. People could coach him, but no one was allowed to help him in any other way.”
       Orders well understood, Peterson met Gutt at ShopRite a few minutes before countdown.
       Peterson’s Panzer squad, 25 shopping carts, were lined up near the front entrance, as were about 100 shoppers who stayed to cheer and to enviously watch the outcome.
       Surprisingly, Peterson was calm and level-headed as Gutt announced he was starting the stopwatch.
       On the dot of 8 p.m., the war began with a flurry of activity and loud cheers.
       The first campaign netted canned hams and two carts of meats. For a while, at the meat counter, it seemed as if Peterson would lose his composure when employees, lined behind the counter, threw legs of lamb into his cart.
       As the employees shouted, “Beer!” Peterson lost his head for a minute and started to run for the banned item. But he caught himself in time and headed for the frozen food section.
       Canned and frozen shrimp, crabmeat, and lobster tails came next, topped by chocolates for his wife. As Gutt announced that 15 seconds remained, Peterson returned to the cash register with his last loaded cart and sighed wearily, “I’m done.”
       For a half-hour, Derra McClarnon, ShopRite cashier who now holds a new record for the longest tape, rang up Peterson’s victory spoils. Although he used only seven of the 25 carts, he easily beat out the $500 winnings of a New City Jaycee grocery grab waged last year. Final total for 10 minutes work amounted to $918.67, which the Jaycees paid, leaving the Pearl River service organization a net profit of $1,100.
       Next on the list of Jaycee projects are bus shelters for Pearl River residents. Although it won’t be quite as exciting as the Grocery Grab, Gutt said he hopes it will be just as fruitful.

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.


Add a Comment:

Please signup or login to add a comment.