2016-11-30 / Looking Back

Looking Back

100 Years Ago, SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 1916


What We Are Talking About at the County Hub


Home Talent Mistral Show-Saw the Lady Bird Over Hancock-The Coal Situation.

Mrs. J. B. Brandt of Oneonta, formerly of Walton, fell recently and fractured an arm near the shoulder.

The party of Walton men who had been deer hunting in the North Woods came home last Thursday evening. Robert Holley and Cyrus Connor were the only ones successful in killing a deer.

Ramona, the little three-yearold daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Seth Davidson of Rock Rift, fell from a couch Friday and struck on her shoulder, fracturing the collarbone. Dr. W. R. Gladstone reduced the fracture.

Furs are bringing far better prices this season than last year. The following prices are paid by one Walton dealer: Muskrat, 35 cents each; fox, good pelt, $6; skunk, $1 to $3, depending on stripe; mink and coon, $3 each.

The return of several National guard units to their home stations from the Mexican border has renewed rumors that the First Regiment, N. G., N. Y., might yet be called out. Those familiar with the matter declare that this is improbable.

Walton friends have received announcements of the marriage of Miss Bernice Sayers to Floyd Collins at South Colton, N. Y., on November 14. Miss Sayers is a former member of the Walton school faculty. Mr. and Mrs. Collins will make their home in Potsdam.

Delaware County will pay $4,011 this year as it share of maintaining the armories in this brigade district. This is about the same amount as the county raised for the Walton armory under the old system when each county supported the armory located within its borders.

C. W. Archer, who is working in the Remington Arms plant in Illion, was home on business for the first of the week. W. R. Hall accompanied him to Ilion Wednesday. Among the Walton men working in the Remington Arms plant are: J. F. Doyle, John McNeely, A. L. Pangburn, Howard Archer and Malcolm Wright.

It is reported that in order to cut expenses the Ontario & Western will take off trains 13 and 14 and double them up with trains 9 and 10. Train 13 is the morning train which carries passengers from Livingston Manor to Walton and its discontinuance would be a hard blow to Walton business men.

Grover Merritt of Walton was in Hancock Monday, when Miss Ruth Law, the aviatrix, passed over that place in her aeroplane flight from Chicago to New York. Sunday Miss Law established a new American nonstop air flight record, by flying from Chicago to Hornell, N. Y., a distance of 590 miles. She stopped in Hornell to get gasoline and came from there to Binghamton where she spent the night.

A strange coincidence occurred in the death Friday, at Oriskany Falls, N. Y., of Albert Fagan, brother of Peter M. Fagan of Walton, whose death occurred four hours earlier on the same day. Albert Fagan was a native of Delaware county but had resided in Madison County over 30 years. He was about 65 years of age and is survived by his wife and three children. The funeral was held Thursday afternoon, the same day as the funeral of his brother in Walton.

Both Walton coal dealers, the W. R. Kilpatrick Co. and George T. Johnston, are having difficulty in purchasing enough coal to supply their customers. The same trouble is being experienced everywhere and in some places the shortage is acute. The Walton dealers have been charging the following prices per ton: Stove and nut, $6.75; egg, $6.50; pea, $5.25. It is probable these prices will be advanced. A statement by the Kilpatrick Company, explaining the situation, will be found on page three.

The Fats and Slims evened up matters this week and each team now has two games to its credit. In the third game of the series in the armory last Thursday evening the Slims nearly wiped the Fats off the face of the globe with a score of 17 to 3. Some of the heavyweights talked of protesting the game until after Tuesday when they evened matters up by winning 25 to 19. Tuesday’s game was one of the best in the series and was anybody’s game until the last man was out. The batteries were Berray and Scott for the Slims, Wakeman and Bruce for the Fats.

For several years it has been customary to have a home talent entertainment given in Walton Hall on Thanksgiving night. This year the people of Walton are afforded an opportunity to pass a most enjoyable evening next Thursday when a home talent minstrel show will be presented in Walton Hall. Many surprises in the way of jokes and songs are promised. There will be a ten-piece Orchestra and thirty voices in the chorus. The proceeds are to be applied by Morrow Hose Company, No. 1, toward payment of the motor truck which that organization recently purchased.


Pepacton Hotel Man Found Not Guilty on First Ballot


Speed at Which “Ernie” Drove Car and Worthlessness of Detective Evidence Decide Case.

Ernest R. Williams the Pepacton hotel man, was acquitted by a jury in county court, in Delhi, Tuesday, on a trial of an indictment for excise violations by alleged sales on Sunday.

The indictment on which Williams was tried was found by the grand jury of the February term of Supreme Court, and alleged that Williams sold liquor on Sunday, October 24, 1915, to Clarence Champlin and James Oralls.

Champlin, who hails from Roxbury, was engaged by District Attorney Hewitt to secure evidence of excise violations at an expense to the county of $103, and the failure of the prosecution to secure a conviction again shows the worthlessness of such testimony on which juries in Delaware County have time and again failed to convict in excise cases. Oralls, the only other witness for the prosecution, admitted that he had had trouble with Williams. These facts, together with the alibi, alleged on the part of the defense evidently satisfied the jury that Williams was not guilty in this particular instance, despite the unsavory reputation of his hotel.

To those who listened to the testimony it looked as if the whole matter hinged on the speed with which Williams drove his car on the evening of that day between Delhi and Pepacton. Usually “Ernie” is considered quite reckless as to what the speed limits are, in fact, by his own for evidence he does not take other people’s dust. As it took him over two hours to make the 25 miles on that occasion he missed selling the liquor between 6:30 and 7 o’clock.

The evidence of the two witnesses, Champlin and Oralls, composed the case on the part of the state, and both were emphatic and sure as to the sale and the seller. Clarence Champlin, who is acting for the district attorney in the fall of 1915, in securing evidence of excise violations, was first called. He went to Pepacton on October 23, and stayed near town that night. On the 24th he and James Oralls went to the hamlet and to the Elm hotel. Ernest Williams came in and was asked for some liquor, and the three and another man who was not identified went into the barroom. Champlin asked for beer and each had a glass, and the witness paid Williams 20 cents. He then called for a half pint of whiskey which he swore Williams handed him and took 25 cents in payment for it. This bottle was kept intact by the witness and delivered to District Attorney Hewitt. In the grand jury room Champlin opened the bottle and tasted the contents, pronouncing it whiskey. The bottle was kept by the district attorney and produced in court during the trial. Champlin swore that he knew E. R. Williams well enough to recognize him then and now. Champlin was engaged by district attorney Hewitt and was paid $103 for his services and expenses.

James Oralls testified that on the same day and occasion he bought a bottle of apple whiskey, half pint, for twenty-five cents from “Ernie” Williams and paid him for it. That he heard Champlin order four drinks of lager beer from the defendant, also a half pint of whiskey. He paid 45 cents for both items. Oralls testified that he drank the half pint he purchased on the way going to his boarding place, giving Champlin some of it.

Both complainants were positive about the purchase of the booze and that contention remained unchallenged. They were just as positive that E. R. Williams sold it to them and took their money. But here was where the defendant denied the allegation and defied the allegater.

The witnesses for the defendant were called to prove that Williams was not in the hotel at the time the witnesses for the People swore they had made the purchases, which was 6:30 or a few minutes later. Hosea Barnhart, a Pepacton storekeeper, testified that he brought Williams to Delhi that afternoon to get his auto, getting to the county seat at about five o’clock. That he left Williams at the Churchhill Garage.

W. W. Churchhill of the Delhi garage, testified that the defendant came to his garage that evening and they went to the Delaware lunchroom were Williams gave him a check for the repairs on the car, $70, and it must have been nearly six o’clock.

Carl Arnold, one of the lunch room men, testified as to their coming to his place and he saw Williams hand Churchill at paper on which he had been writing. It was about supper time.

Everett Dicks of Walton, testified that he went to the Pepacton that Sunday, got his supper and stayed all night, but did not see Williams there until Monday.

Harley Meisner of Pepacton testified that he went to the hotel to pay a note, but was told Williams was not at home, and did not see him although he stayed until after supper.

Alice M. Williams, wife of “Ernie,” swore that he left for Delhi about 2:30 In the afternoon and did not return until 8:30 in the evening, or later, when he called her downstairs to get him and Barton Paul a lunch.

Mrs. Frank Williams, widow of the brother of E. R. Williams, now deceased, testified that the start for Delhi was about three o’clock, and that the defendant had not returned when she went to her room.

Barton Paul testified that he rode home from Delhi with Williams that night, but they stopped once on the way home at least, and it took them over two hours to drive to Pepacton. They got home after 8 o’clock.

Then Williams capped the climax when he took the witness chair. His statements was in accord with the previous witnesses as to time of leaving Pepacton and he left Delhi for the return trip as it was growing dark. He took two hours and ten minutes or more to drive home, for the reasons that the differential was new and the road from Shavertown home was the worst ever. He further put in evidence the statement that “The roads in Colchester are the worst in the world.” He thought it was nearly nine o’clock when he got home and everybody had gone to bed. Sunday nights they go to bed before nine o’clock in his hotel. Williams admitted to the district attorney that he usually made the trip as quick as any of them, but that night he did not hurry, although for three-quarters of the distance the roads were good. He also swore positively that he did not see Champlin or Oralls on that 24th day of October, 1916, did not sell them any liquor, and never sold any liquor on Sunday. He had thrown Oralls out of the hotel a short time before because he refused to pay for treating the company, and did not think said Oralls was back in his place for several months after that.

The charge of the Court was not long but fair, and jury reached an agreement of acquittal on the first ballot.

The case of Henry G. Haynes against Ward Shaver for lumber and millwork, amounting to about $88 was called at once. E. E. Conlon and John P. Grant appeared for the plaintiff and Chas. R. O’Connor for defendant. This case was tried at the previous county court but not decided. There was a question as to whether the plaintiff had loaned the defendant $80, which the latter denied. Plaintiff claimed the money paid to him by defendant was for the borrowed money and not on the lumber account, which plaintiff alleged that was not true. This case went to the jury at adjournment time Wednesday evening. At 9:20 that evening a verdict was reached, being for the defendant of no cause of action.

Mrs. Pearl Houck of Walton pled guilty to an indictment charging adultery and sentence was suspended.

There are two other causes to be tried, the next being that of Odwell Brothers of Downsville, against A. B. Martin, for breach of contract in the sale of goods to the plaintiffs. This matter has also been tried before.



Started in Fuhrer’s Pool Room and Spread to Each Side and Across Street- Woman’s Leg Broken by Jump-Buildings Will Rise From Ashes

The business section of Roscoe, Sullivan County, was swept by fire early Sunday morning which left two-thirds of that section of the village in ashes.

Twenty-three buildings in all, varying in sizes from two large hotels to small barns and sheds, were destroyed by the flames which swept everything clean for a wide area on both sides of the street. The loss is estimated at from $200,000 to $225,000 about half covered by insurance.

Mrs. Lena Sipple had her ankle broken when she jumped to the street from her apartments in the second floor of the Mauer building where the fire started. Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Gibson, of Walton, who were visiting Mrs. Sipple, made their escape in safety. Mrs. Gibson is the sister of Mrs. Sipple. Walton People Jump to Escape.

The fire broke out about 2 o’clock in the morning in the bowling alley of B. F. Fuhrer. Mrs. Lena Sipple occupied rooms over her sons’ meat market, which was in the same building. The fire was first discovered by Mrs. Sipple. She aroused her son Weasley and Mr. and Mrs. Gibson by her calls of “Fire! Fire!” Mr. Gibson barely had time to put on his pants when the window of his bedroom fell in with a crash. Mrs. Gibson jumped up and was standing near the window. As the window cracked the flames swept in burning Mrs. Gibson about one hand and ankle. She jumped out of the window facing the hardware store and was caught by her nephew, Wesley Sipple. Mr. Gibson grabbed his vest and a gold watch belonging to Mrs. Sipple and a minute later jumped from the same window. Mr. and Mrs. Gibson and Mrs. Sipple saved nothing but a few clothes, escaping in their night robes. Mrs. Sipple jumped from a window in the front of the building and struck on the walk in her bare feet.

Mrs. Sipple’s calls for help were heard by Jay Dreher, who lived over the Roscoe hardware store of Shaw and Dreher, and by Mrs. C. A. Faubel, owner of the Faubel House. Alarm was given by the ringing of the fire bell. Nightwatchman Andrew Schad blew the “Scoot” whistle watch which soon aroused enough help to get the hose carts and the hook and ladder truck out.

Inside of ten minutes after the alarm was given there were two lines of hose playing on the fire. This seemed to check the flames and would have held them if at this time the water pressure had not died down so that it would hardly throw a stream on top of the building.

Flames Spread to Voorhees’


This building, where the fire started, owned by Mauer Brothers, was soon a roaring mass of flames and the firemen turned their attention to saving the fine department store of W. B. Voorhees which adjoins on the east. Mr. Voorhees is the present member of assembly from Sullivan County. As the fire got more intense word was sent for help and the Livingston Manor and Liberty firemen responded. Middletown and Hancock were ready to come but before they started word was sent that the fire was under control.

The fire in the Mauer building so heated the brickwork of the Voorhees store and the woodwork inside was ignited and shortly the whole structure was ablaze. Mr. Voorhees had purchased a large quantity of Christmas goods for his fine department store and many of these had not even been unpacked. Albee Building Checks Flames

The building to the east of the Voorhees store was the jewelry store of J. W. Albee & Brother. Here the firemen made their hardest fight and with the help of the Livingston Manor and Liberty departments, which had arrived, they succeeded in checking the flames going further in that direction.

The Albee building was greatly damaged, the fire burned the window frames, broke the glass in the windows on the side towards Voorhees, but the big plate glass windows in front were protected from the heat and were not broken. The optician room was burned out as well as the apartment over the store. Strenuous work was used in cutting through the roof and floor to get water into quench the flames and the damage done in this way was extensive. But the flames were checked from further progress in that direction.

Hardware and Hotel Burn

On the other side of the bowling alley was the building owned by Charles Briener, of Middletown, the first floor of which is occupied by the Roscoe Hardware Company, conducted by Drayer & Shaw. William Shaw, of this firm, is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Shaw, of Walton. This building was a three-story wooden structure and the flames swept through it and into the Faubel House, a three-story hotel building owned by Mrs. C. A. Faubel. Both hotel and barn were reduced to ashes.

The two-story solid stone building of the Roscoe National Bank served to stop further progress of the flames in this direction as Albee’s building did in the east. The store of W. E. & O. Sprauge stands between the bank building in the railroad tracks. This firm had a shed and burned and the fine plate glass windows were broken by the intense heat while the Criternion theater across the highway was burning.

The bank building was badly gutted upstairs where Dr. Frank Holley, a former Walton boy, had his dental office and where D. T. Curry, the insurance agent, had an office. All valuable records were removed from the bank when it was threatened. Dr. Holley’s dental parlors are injured to a great extent and had been closed until the insurance adjustment was made. The back office downstairs in the bank building was also badly charred. The bank opened as usual for business Monday.

Flames Sweep Across Street

While the flames are raging on the north side of the street, sparks caught in the roof of Henry Barringer’s Beaverkill House, across the highway on the south side, and soon this fine four-story building, containing over 40 rooms, together with James Fitzgerald’s residence, the Criterion theater, the drug store of Bennett Brothers and Butler’s five and ten cent store were all ablaze and burned to the ground rapidly. The Livingston Manor and Liberty boys connected a line of hose up and soon had water on the building which was occupied by Otis Porter as Barber shop and living rooms, but it did very little good. Wood’s livery stable next was seen to be on fire but the front part of the building was wet down so well that it did not burn. Barringer’s garage in James Fitzgerald’s barn on this side of the street were among the other buildings destroyed. The sheds and ice house near Heller’s feed mill were dynamited in the hope of stopping the progress of the fire, and it proved successful.

Gardner Saves Depot

During the time the Beaverkill house was burning it was a question whether the depot could be saved. There was little attention paid to that and if it was not for the hard work of Paul Gardner with an inch hose with which he played a steady stream on the side of the building it would probably have burned. The office force had most everything moved out in case it did go.

Arthur Barringer had living rooms over the Criterion theater. Mr. Bennett and Mr. Butler also occupied rooms over their stores. Mr. Porter’s barber shop was in his dwelling house. Joseph Bennett of the firm of L. Sipple Co. had apartments over Albee Bros.’ store. Dr. B. L. Tuttle lived over W. B. Voorhees’ store. Ivan Davidson and Jay Dreher’s families had rooms over the hardware store. All of their household goods and clothes were lost. Olan Misner, of Walton, who works for the Roscoe Review, lost about $50 worth of clothes. He was away when the fire occurred. The Maus residence next to James Fitzgerald’s was badly damaged by water. Sunday night there were thirteen families without homes and twenty three buildings have been destroyed.

Vandals Busy During Fire

The most heartless thing was that many of the goods taken from stores were stolen. In fact, the stores were entered by strangers while the proprietors were trying to get their valuable papers together. W. B. Voorhees carried a large quantity of shoes to the chapel of the Presbyterian Church and they were taken leaving the empty boxes. The adjusters are busy looking over the ruins and the villages slowly recovering from its terrible disaster.

The Hardware Co. is occupying the small building near the Episcopal chapel. Sipple’s meat market has quarters in the Foot building. Mr. Porter has his barber shop in part of the Keegan building and has rented a house across the river. Mr. Barringer has rented the house of W. J. Reynolds. Mr. Fitzgerald’s family are stopping with Mrs. Frisbee. Joseph Bennett and his family are at J. W. Albee’s home, Mrs. Fauble at the Roscoe House and the other families had relatives near to go to.

Will Rebuild in Brick

It is too early to tell what all will do, but Mr. Mauer, of Liberty, expects to replace the building owned by him and occupied by Fuhrer & Sipple, by much better and safer building, and Charles Breiner, of Middletown, who owned the building, will rebuild the hardware store. It is understood that the two hotels will not build such large buildings, but will build residences. Mr. Fitzgerald will rebuild and Arthur Barringer, the owner of the Criterion theater will rebuild a much larger building. Mrs. Sipple is recovering from her accident. While Roscoe village presents a picture of desolation, there is one comfort, that no families are destitute.

Hose Burned in Two

During the early part of the fire the hose attached to the hydrant in front of the Roscoe hardware store was burned in two as intense heat kept everyone away from the hydrant. This allowed the water to escape so that the pressure in other lines of hose was not as great as it should have been. John Miller finally succeeded in turning off the hydrant. After the fire had been stopped it was found in taking the nozzles off the hose and they had become clogged with charcoal which had come from the reservoir. How this got into the mains no one can say as there is supposed to be at strainer in the reservoir to keep it from getting into the main. This evidently was the reason that there was not any more pressure than there was. What Roscoe needs is to have the reservoir enlarged and a larger main, as at a fire where it is necessary to use five or six hydrants, there is not sufficient water. This has been predicted and now that it has come there will probably be some steps taken for better fire protection.

Losses and Insurance

Following is a list of estimated losses and insurance carried:

J. W. Albee and Bro., in building and stock, loss $3,500, insurance $3,500.

W. B. Voorhees, building and stock, loss $30,000, insurance $12,000.

Mauer Bros, buildings, loss $7,000; partially insured.

B. Fuhrer, stock, loss $1,500, insurance $500.

Sipple Bros., stock and household goods, loss $3,500; partially insured.

Chas. Breiner, store and sheds, loss $18,000, partially insured.

Roscoe Hardware Co., stock, loss $25,000; partially insured.

Mrs. C. A. Faubel, hotel and barn, $25,000; furniture $2,500; partially injured.

Roscoe National Bank, damage to building, $5,000; covered.

Jas. Fitzgerald, residence and barn, loss $7,000; insurance $2,500.

Arthur Barringer, Criterion theater, loss $6,000, insurance $4,000.

H. W. Barringer, hotel and other buildings, loss $35,000; insurance $10,500.

H. Butler, stock and furniture, loss $2,500; partially covered.

Bennett Bros., drug store and furniture, loss $4,000; insurance $1,500.

Otis Porter, barber supplies and household goods, loss $500; covered.

Frank Wood, livery, loss $5,000; partially covered.

W. E. & O.P. Sprague, shed and plate glass, loss $1,800; covered.

B. T. Tuttle, household goods, loss $1,500; insurance $500.

Tuttle & Fuhrer, stock, loss $1,800; covered.

Jay Dreher, household goods, loss $800; partially covered.

Ivan Davidson, household goods, loss $800; insurance $500.

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