Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wide Awake Clubs of Franklin County

The political campaigns and elections of 1860 between the Democratic and the newly-formed Republican Parties were fraught with many thorny issues, among them slavery in the United States.  Into this hot political contest came the formation of local groups called "Wide Awake Clubs" made up of Republican-affiliated young men.   These groups held rallies and host speakers and police the polling stations, but their most remarkable feature was the torch-lit parades at night in which they engaged, many wearing capes and other military-like uniforms. 

These clubs, which encouraged support of local, regional and national Republican-Party candidates and platforms, while springing up throughout the Northern half of the country, were organized on the local level.  Wide-Awake rallies in large cities such as Boston, New York City and Chicago consisted of hundreds of thousands of particiants.  While not nearly as huge as in more populous areas, Franklin County had several Wide Awake Clubs.

This article from the June 7, 1860 Malone Palladium noted the spread of the Wide Awake campaign to Chateaugay and urged the formation of a Malone group:

By August, it appears that such a club had, indeed, been formed:

From August 16, 1860 Malone Palladium

The Palladium was effusive in its description of huge Wide Awake rallies in Malone in July 1860:

... and in Brush's Mills (Brushton) in August 1860.  (The whole article can be found here, but it is difficult to read parts of it.)

After the election of 1860, the term "wide-awake" continued to be used to describe those that were politically active and usually progressive in outlook.


Additional Resources:

"Young Men for War": The Wide Awakes and Lincoln's 1860 Presidential Campaign by Jon Grinspan (Journal of American  History. 96.  Sept. 2009.  357-78)

Wikipedia entry "Wide Awakes"

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

1864 Report of the County Poor House

From the 1853-1867 Minutes and Account Book of the Franklin County Board of Supervisors (forerunner of the Board of Legislators) in the collection of the Franklin County Historical and Museum Society (1984.118.1):

Among the reports to the 1864 Board of Supervisors from the Committee on Noxious Animals, Committee on Equalization (similar to property assessments), and the Committee on the Court House and Jail, is the November 18, 1864 report of Loyon C. Lathrop, Superintendent of the Poor for Franklin County.

click image to enlarge
List of animals and goods in the inventory of the Poor House

 Transcription of Report:
"The expenditure on account of the Poor House and Farm:  2874.77.  Includes the general supply bills, such as merchants' mechanics', physicians', undertakers', provision, clothing, bedding, fuel, labor hired and also funeral expenses, and all the incidental expenses connected with the house and farm, from which is to be deducted as having been realized from the sale of products of the farm the sum of 280.61 - leaving the amount of expense chargeable to farm from this last amount mentioned deducted as having been expended for the benefit, use of and permanent repairs for the poor house and farm the amount of one hundred and twenty three dollars and fifty cents - as shown by schedule G, leaving the actual expenses of the poor house and farm thus - 2470.66.  The whole number of paupers relieved and assisted at the poor house during the past year, is one hundred and nine persons, an increase of nine over last year, of which number forty five have received permanent relief and support, and sixty four have received temporary relief, as shown by schedules D & E, annexed."

click images to enlarge
List of "permanent paupers" -- those who resided at the Franklin County
Poor House for 52 weeks each year

Transcription of Report continues:
"The number of deaths from among the inmates of the poor house for the year ending with the date of this report, is nineteen, as shown by schedule H. hereunto annexed."

It appears that disagreements in public policy regarding the financial and moral responsibility to provide for the indigent is nothing new, to wit:
"The superintendent would further state that he is well aware of the many denunciations uttered by those unwilling to inform themselves against those upon whom the duty falls, to make or call for the making of appropriations from the peoples money, for the (to them) seemingly reckless and unwarranted calls made upon their generosity for the support of the unfortunate and oppressed who from some sad cause are doomed to eke out a pitiful existence, supported by the charities of those more highly favored or fortunate. To such as may be disposed to find fault with the present call for appropriating for the support of the poor of the county, I can only ask them to review the different schedules hereunto annexed, make a minute of the several amounts noted as the actual expenses of the several towns, notice the list of permanent paupers, as also that of the temporary ones relieved, to which after allowing in all candor actual or necessary expense as he or they in their judgment may deem proper, add the necessary incidental costs occasioned by sickness, death and transportation from the several towns to the county house, at the same time having reference to the present high price of those things most needed for their care, comfort and support, and I fear not but they will consider with me in the present call which I have herein made upon your honorable body as an appropriation for the care and support of the poor of the county which it may fall to our lot to nourish and protect, and not repine that they out of their abundance are permitted to thus contribute their mite. Being about to retire from the position of superintendent of the poor I could not in justice to the poor of the county, the superintendent elect, your honorable body, or to myself do less than I have in stating to you my opinion of the necessary amount to be appropriated for the benefit of the unfortunate under your supervising care, while much more might justly be appropriated to meet this class of expense for the present incoming fiscal year.

All of which is most respectfully submitted.
Dated Malone N.Y. Nov. 17, 1864"

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Shell Gasoline Stations

From the June 29, 1962 Malone Evening Telegram:

click image to enlarge

1867 Arithmetic Textbook

From the collection of the Franklin County Historical and Museum Society (1974.68.1):

This 1867 edition of the Greenleaf's Common School Arithmetic textbook contains not only mathmatical theory and exercises, but also a preface that is surprisingly inspiring.  Benjamin Greenleaf writes,
        "The examples are of a practical character, and adapted not only to fix in the mind the principles which they involve, but also to interest the pupil, exercise his ingenuity, and inspire a love for mathematical science."

Indeed, some of the problems are very practical in nature:

The preface goes on to say:

Four girls signed the front of the book:  Frances Douglas, Katie Caldwell, Maria Caldwell and Margaret McNeirney.  It's impossible to say whether the students who used this textbook were suitably inspired in their mathematical studies, or whether they had their young minds on other pursuits.  The concluding pages and inside the back cover are covered in short poems expressing school-friend wishes, such as those scrawled in yearbooks today. 

Jennie C. writes:
"Remember me and bear in mind
That a true friend is hard to find,
But when you find one just & true,
Change not the old one for the new."
An unsigned, and rather maudlin verse:
"May the roses of Love
Encircle thy cot
And flourish long after
This friend is forgot."
One more:
"When distant land divide us,
And you no more see me,
Remember it was Eliza that wrote these lines to thee."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Paddock Block

The Paddock Block (also known as the Gorman Building) on the corner of West Main Street and Harrison Place in Malone, ca 1910-1920.  Note the pre-1930 Franklin County courthouse and Kirk-Maher building in the background.

Reprinted in the June 5, 1991 Malone Telegram from a photo belonging to Leland Martin.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Chateaugay Basketball

In honor of the Chateaugay highschool basketball teams past and present:

1901-02 CHS Basketball Team
Top row L-R: James W. Duffy, John Lyons, E. F. Prairie
Bottom row L-R:  David Wills and Elmer Barnes

1917 CHS Basketball Team
Back row L-R:  Babe Douglass, Bill Dupree, Clarence Terry, Henry Bergevin
Front row L-R:  Clarence Wills, George Fitzgerald, Joe Rovelle, Walter Silver and Principal and Coach Irving Gladstone
(from March 31, 1965 Chateaugay Record)

1924-24 CHS Basketball Team
Back row L-R:  Jerry Dwyer, Art Hammond, Principal Ceylon Wheater, ___ Fitzgerald
Front row L-R:  Bill McKenna, Howard Fay, John Franklin
(from March 1976 Chateaguay Record)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Roberts House Hotel

From the September 30, 1964 Chateaugay Record:

According to Seaver (1918) in his chapter on Chateaugay, "The Roberts House ... was originally a log structure, built in 1837 by John and Alonzo Roberts, who were landlords there for a considerable time, and who replaced the log with a frame building."

Friday, March 11, 2011

1870's Weather

Appearing in the December 18, 1878 Franklin Gazette:

January 17, 1879 Franklin Gazette:

April 11, 1879 Franklin Gazette:

The "Breed's Thermometer" referenced was a thermometer hung at C.W. Breed & Co. Druggists on Main Street in Malone.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

1932 Winter Olympics

Much like its sister event in 1980, the 1932 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, NY involved the greater Adirondack North Country region.   Two Franklin County men were part of the organizing committee:

Member, New York State Olympic Winter Games Commission

Member of III Winter Olympic Games Committee

Saranac Lake voted to provide $10,000.00 in funding and housing for athletes and dignitaries, as well as lodging for spectators.  The housing issue was of particular concern, and help was enlisted from neighboring communities and local Housing Committees were formed.  In Tupper Lake, P.J. Hickey agreed to be the committee chairperson, in Malone it was Dr. John E. White, and in Saranac Lake, Francis Leggett.   A formal system of cottage rental in locations such as Paul Smiths, Vermontville and Rainbow Lake was also employed. 

During the Games, a detail of 53 New York State Police (including 23 from Troop B in Malone), led by Lieut. H.C. Herrick, were stationed at Lake Placid.  The detail also had at its disposal 3 automobiles and 4 horses. 

- Official Report of III Winter Olympic Games, Lake Placid 1932
-'s 1932 Winter Games website, including video of the winning U.S. 4-man bobsled team
- 1932 & 1980 Winter Olympic Museum