This Week in Rockland: Newspaper Excerpts: Flashback Friday: Week of September 23

2022-09-23 TWIR Image-Frederick Douglass

September 21, 1872 – 150 YEARS AGO
Rockland County Journal

[Image: Frederick Douglass, quarter-plate ambrotype photograph, 1856, courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery. Clipping from the Rockland County Journal, September 21, 1872.]
       On Monday evening next, the great orator and statesman, Frederick Douglass, will discuss before our citizens the issues of the campaign. But very few of the speakers in this contest are better acquainted with the public history of Grant and Greeley than Mr. Douglass, and we can confidently anticipate from his lips one of the finest addresses we shall hear this session. As the meeting is announced at half-past seven o’clock, we warn all who desire to listen to Mr. Douglass to come early, as the Hall will be insufficient to accommodate the number who will press to hear him.

September 21, 1932 90 YEARS AGO
The Rockland Journal-News

       Susan Gee, 26, of Sloatsburg, died yesterday from peritonitis resulting from an alleged illegal operation performed on Saturday in New York City.
       A signed statement was taken by Coroner Andrew S. Calyer detailing the circumstances of the case before Miss Gee underwent an operation for treatment late Monday afternoon. Sergeant Bert Tanner of the State Police is investigating the case with the coroner.
       The statement implicates a Dr. Weiss of 1391 Madison avenue, New York City, and names Casper Petronne of Suffern and the girl’s sweetheart who made the arrangements for the operation.
       Dr. Thomas D. McMenamin of Highland Falls took charge of the case in Sloatsburg on Sunday afternoon and immediately had the girl removed to Cornwall Hospital. Following the taking of the girl’s full statement Monday afternoon, an operation in an attempt to save her life was performed by Dr. A. C. Thomson, with Dr. John F. Mars, Resident Physician Harrison, and Dr. McMenamin in attendance.
       Miss Gee was a graduate nurse o St. Luke’s Hospital Newburgh. Her father, William Gee Sr., is a former police chief of Bear Mountain.
       The dying girl explained in her statement yesterday afternoon conditions leading to her death. Last Saturday, with her sweetheart Petronne, she went to New York in her car with the intent to have the operation performed. In the office of Dr. Weiss, Petronne is said to have made the arrangements after which the operation was attempted. But the girl, it appeared, was unable to stand the ordeal.
       Miss Gee and Petronne motored back to Sloatsburg, staying in the home of Mrs. Leo Tonkin. She as she told Mrs. Tonkin where she had been and what had happened. Her illness continued increasingly all Saturday night and on Sunday Dr. McMenamin of Highland Falls was called.
       An autopsy was performed in the hospital yesterday, the result of which will not be revealed by the authorities. The girl is survived by her mother and father, Mr. and Mrs. William Gee Sr., two sisters, Mrs. Eddie Steinman and Miss Josephine Gee, and a brother, William Gee Jr.

September 19, 1972 50 YEARS AGO
The Journal News

       A proposal for a Rockland County sales tax brought mixed reaction Monday in interviews conducted along Main Street, Nyack, by Journal-News reporter Robert Knight and photographer Art Sarno. Most of those interviewed considered a local sales tax an evil unless it would offset or decrease the need for raising property taxes.
       ROBERT FOYTLIN, South Nyack: “If they’re gonna’ do that, it’s all right, but only if it’s going to reduce property taxes. Otherwise, I’m against it.”
       JOHN GLYNN, Nyack: “I think that’s a good idea, cutting down on the property taxes is always a good idea. But an extra tax alone—no!”
       GINA BARNARD, Valley Cottage: “I really think it’s a great idea. I’m all for it.”
       TATIANA RODZIANKO, Rockland Lake: “I think it’s impossible because you can’t just take taxes from one pocket and put it in the other and say you’ve lowered taxes. It’s all the same money, no matter what you call it or how you get it. I just don’t think they’ll lower the property taxes. It’ll be impossible!”
       SAM HARRELL. Nyack: “It sounds very nice because taxes are getting way out of hand. I would favor the idea.”
       PAUL GIACOBBE, Nyack: “It’s always great when you can reduce property taxes because propertyowners now are overtaxed considerably, but I’m sure they can find other ways to reduce them besides going to the merchants. New York State already is known as the land of taxes. I guess there’s nothing left to tax now.”
       MRS. JAMES HELBIG, West Haverstraw: “I know I’m sick and tired of paying taxes. One good thing about this proposal—if they raise the sales tax at least everyone will pay it because lots of people don’t pay property taxes. I feel for the majority of poor people and families with lots of children. However, it will be a hardship because it will hit them especially hard. There’s a lot of pros and cons to both sides but I think the fairest solution of all is to come up with something entirely new, based on each person’s ability to pay, like an extension of the income tax. That’s the fairest of all possible taxes, and no one gets hurt.”

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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