June 30, 1938

Vol. No. 59, No. 5

A Special Issue of the Paper Devoted to Historical Articles

Although this issue contained no articles about Beech-Nut, many of the advertisements contain expressions of gratitude for what the company has done for the community.

Upstate Company Develops
Into Great Network From
Four-Phone Line in 1876

In 1876 J. S. Glen Edwards visited the Philadelphia Centennial and among other things, viewed the first telephone built by Alexander Graham Bell. He was impressed with the possibilities for use, as explained by Mr. Bell, and when he returned to his home in Glen, N. Y., he continued to keep in touch with the early development of the telephone, and three years later had four telephone lines installed on a line connecting his store in Glen with several nearby points. This was the real beginning of the present Upstate Telephone Corporation of New York and was among the very first of independent telephone companies to be organized.

The number of stations was not increased until 1891, when Mr. Edwards commenced real active work in extending the telephone service. Lines were extended to take in Fonda, Fultonville, Rural Grove and Auriesville.

The first switch board was installed in the Edwards' store at Glen and the second in Baird's store in Fultonville. In June, 1899 the Glen Telephone Company, now the Upstate Telephone Corporation of New York, was incorporated. Mr. Edwards continued to serve as President of the company until his death in 1917.

Telephone service was first established in the territory around Canajoharie by the Hudson River Telephone Company during the last ten years of the 19th century. About 1899, the Glen Telephone Company extended their lines westward from Fonda to serve subscribers in and around Canajoharie. In 1904, the interests of the Hudson River Telephone company were purchased by the Glen Telephone Company and the two exchanges consolidated. At that time there were but few telephones in this section and the number of local calls were comparatively few. Long distance calls could be made only to a limited number of localities in the United States and none to any foreign countries. Today there are in this section, several thousand telephones from any of which, calls can be passed at any time of day or night to telephone stations located in almost any country on earth.

On January 1, 1934, the Black River Telephone Company, the North Creek and Chestertown Telephone Corporation, and the Walker Telephone Company, Inc., were merged by the Glen Telephone Company. In order to more clearly define and describe the territory served, the name of the Glen Telephone Company was changed to the Upstate Telephone Corporation of New York. The Upstate Telephone Corporation of New York is the third largest telephone company in the state and has exchanged located at Broadalbin, Canajoharie, Fonda, Fort Plain, Glen, Gloversville, Johnstown, Lake Pleasant, Tribes Hill, Mayfield, Northville, St. Johnsville, Adams, Adams Center, Belleville, Blue Mountain Lake, Boonville, Chestertown, Constableville, Crogham, Eagle Bay, Forestport, Henderson, Indian Lake, Long Lake, Lowville, Lyons Falls, Mannsville, Newcomb, North Creek, Old Forge, Pulaski, Raquette Lake, Remsen, Sandy Creek and Luzerne.

The Upstate Telephone Corporation of New York has its principal office at Johnstown, N. Y., and the operating personnel is as follows:

Vice president and general manager, L. H. Meyer; plant superintendent, L. E. Pack; commercial superintendent, J. E. Wells; traffic superintendent, G. E. Slusher; general auditor, E. B. Babeaux; district commercial manager, E. G. Valk; district plant superintendent, W. C. Sponenberg.

Fred Spraker Has
Practiced Law for
The Past 56 Years

Attorney B. Fred Spraker was born in Canajoharie August 18, 1855, the son of Frasier Spraker and Catherine Fredenburgh Spraker.

He attended the Clinton Liberal High School, and was graduated from Union College in 1876, Albany Law School in 1878. For four years he was a student in the office of Cook and Barnes and was admitted to the Bar in 1882.

Attorney Spraker was supervisor of Palatine for 13 years, and member of the Democratic State Committee for 2 years. Since 1900 he has been a trustee of St. Mark's Church, and until 1932, was president of the National Spraker Bank. He is affiliated with the Delta Kappa fraternity and the Masons.

On November 5, 1885, he married Florence Morrell and has one son, Livingston and two granddaughters, Barbara Anne and Catherine.

First Mail Brought
To Palatine Bridge
Just 139 Years Ago

The post office in Palatine Bridge was established July 1, 1799, and tomorrow will mark the 139th birthday of the office which is accepted as being one of the oldest in the state. Historical records show that the post office has gone through three phases of mail transportation, by horseback, by steamboat and by rail.

Charles Walton was the first postmaster, serving until 1809 when Jonathan Wheeler was appointed. Peter C. Fox was appointed to the office on June 17, 1814. It was during this period that mail was carried on horseback and by stage coach.

Stephen Bush was the next postmaster, he at that time being the proprietor of a tavern where now stands the home of Menzo England. Boats were plying the Mohawk River under steam power and mail was carried to and from Palatine Bridge on these vessels. Stephen Bush was buried in the Palatine Bridge Cemetery on March 18, 1816.

Edmund S. Calendar was appointed postmaster on December 14, 1816. Archibald Anderson followed and the post office, together with a general store, was located on the site of the present Palatine Hotel. On September 3, 1819, Allen H. Jackson was appointed postmaster and on January 29, 1823, Mr. Anderson was reappointed and served for 10 years.

On June 12, 1833, George C. Johnston was appointed and the next to follow, on August 13, 1835 was Jesse Vincent. During the Van Buren administration, on July 10, 1837, Livingston Spraker was named postmaster and the following year letters were carried from Albany to Utica by rail.

The next postmaster was Webster Wagner, he having been appointed on June 1, 1849, and he had his office at the railroad depot and was assisted by his wife. Abram Hess followed on June 25, 1853, and his sons, Charles and Jacob, assisted him.

President Abraham Lincoln reappointed Livingston Spraker as postmaster on August 25, 1856, and it was at that time that the money order system became effective. In April 1866, Webster Wagner was again appointed postmaster. The office at that time was located on the west side of the building occupied now by Reese's grocery store. Wilbur Thompson was the assistant postmaster.

Horatio S. Bunn was named to the post in April, 1870, and John Isenlord was made assistant. President Grant next appointed John L. Ellithorp and Theophlis Mathew became assistant. During Mr. Ellithorp's term, the postal made its first appearance. From July, 1885, to July 1889, Mr. Mathew was postmaster and Burton Persse was his assistant.

That same year the office was moved to the house now occupied by Mrs. Belle Vosburgh and Henry S. Murray was postmaster and his son, Norman, was assistant. At this time the office was made a money order office. Under President Cleveland and in October, 1893, Augustus Fuller was named postmaster and E. H. Ireland his assistant. Four years later, President McKinley appointed Mr. Ireland to the post and for 13 years Mr. Fuller served as clerk. Later P. W. Coleman took his place and soon after Mr. Ireland's appointment the patrons desired to have a night mail. The superintendent of mails granted the request a short time later.

E. H. Ireland remained in office until May 31, 1934, when President Roosevelt appointed Mrs. Anna W. Wohlgemuth as postmaster, the first woman to hold the important position. Mrs. Edith F. Miller is the assistant.


The first general cleanup day in the village was on June 26, 1832. The first health officer was Dr. John Atwater and the first Board of Health consisted of David Eacker, H. I. Ehle, Henry Lieberm, J. B. Alton, David Spraker and C. McVain.


The first town clock was erected in 1852. Eight years previously the village board contracted to pay $30 annually for the ringing of the bell in the Reformed Church three times a day, at sunrise, noon and 9 p.m.

Sheriff Nellis Was
Police Chief Here
Until January, 1937

Gerald K. Nellis, a native of St. Johnsville and former chief of police in Canajoharie, is serving as sheriff of Montgomery County, he having been elected to that office in November, 1936.

Gerald K. Nellis

Sheriff Nellis was born in St. Johnsville, a son of Frank and Amanda Stahley Nellis, he was appointed a member of the police department in that village in 1922 and later became chief of the department.

It was a few years later that his conscientious work was recognized by officials of the New York Central Railroad and he was encouraged to become a member of the railroad police department. He was at that time chief of police in St. Johnsville and had apprehended a dangerous criminal about to rob the railroad depot in that village.

After serving with the railroad department in Utica for a time, Mr. Nellis resigned and came back to Montgomery County. When Mrs. Sarah Wiers was appointed to serve the unexpired term of her husband as sheriff in 1933, she named Mr. Nellis as county investigator.

On January 1, 1934, he was appointed a patrolman of the Canajoharie police department and shortly there after was made chief. He retired from that office on January 1, 1937, after being elected sheriff.


Fire, one of the most valuable forces in building civilization, has demonstrated from earliest times how easily it can destroy man's building and cherished possessions.

In the present machine age fire is more valuable than ever, but man through carelessness lets it destroy millions of dollars in property and thousands of human lives each year. Business establishments and homes are not the only objectives of fire, for history reveals that fire in the past has wiped out entire communities, causing thousands to be homeless and exposed to myriads of forms of suffering and pestilence.

Canajoharie has twice been subjected to serous conflagrations since the village was incorporated on April 30, 1829. The first fire was in 1840 and the second in 1877, both having been in the principal business district and causing losses estimated at hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Serious fires have also destroyed manufacturing establishments. On December 1, 1898, the Pettit Manufacturing Company, a candy concern, was burned to the ground and immediately the question of rebuilding arose. The village trustees endeavored to persuade the owners to erect a new plant by guaranteeing them no taxes would be levied for 10 years. The fire loss was so great, however, that the company decided against rebuilding.

The history of fire fighting in Canajoharie dates back to the enactment of an ordinance dated September 23, 1830, at a special meeting of the Village Board. The first fire company was composed of 15 men headed by Peter H. Clute as captain. The fire fighting equipment at that time consisted of a hand engine, leather hose, leather buckets, ladders and fire hooks. This hand engine was replaced the following year by another costing $400 and this engine served the village until the advent of the steam fire engine.

On May 17, 1872, Canajoharie purchased a Button Steam fire engine at a cost of $5,000 and a bond issue was voted by the board to cover the payment. James Halligan donated $300 toward the cost and when the necessary steam company was formed, the village honored him by naming the company after him.

Fire wells were the village's first water supply for fire and they were dug at strategical points. Two were located along the creek bank and were cistern-like in construction for they were connected to the creek by tubes.

The horse drawn vehicles were eventually replaced with motorized units. The first local piece thus acquired was a Model T Ford fitted with chemical tanks. This filled the needs of the village until the purchase of the Larabee combination truck, which carried chemicals and also pumped water. The cost of the truck, which was purchased in 1923 and still is in use, was defrayed by a carnival and by donations from individuals.

The present one-company system was created in June, 1935, when by an act of the village trustees the old four-company system was abolished. Twenty-five men were selected by the trustees to comprise the department, they having been chosen because of their interest in fire fighting.

Purchase of the new Seagrave truck has marked a new era in fire protection in Canajoharie. Fire protection today is a combination of fire prevention, fire combatting and fire research. These constitute the ideals of the present department, the members being concerned about the advancement of the village toward a lower fire loss. Last fall the volunteers conducted a training course and plan to have another this summer.

Work To Open
On New Span
This Summer

An important project that will get underway here this summer will be the construction of a new bridge across the Mohawk River between Canajoharie and Palatine Bridge, the new span to be located just west of the present structure, which has served since its erection in 1901.

The state highway department last year allocated $300,000 for the new bridge, this action following the passage of a bill by the Legislature, after being introduced by Assemblyman L. James Shaver of Canajoharie. The bill provided that the state take over the present bridge and approaches as a state highway.

Plans call for the construction to start with the erection of the span from the south bank of the river, this span to be west of the present bridge and extending 140 feet out over the stream. By locating the southern approach in this manner the hazardous turn onto the bridge now in use will be eliminated and the new approach will be wider.

Due to the fact that the north span cannot be erected until traffic on the Barge Canal ceases in the fall, it is not expected that the bridge will be finished until early next year.

The span on the north side will be 300 feet in length and will connect in midstream with that extending from the south. The foundations for the north span can be placed and some other details in connection with the bridge construction completed, but the major problem of the work, including the erection of steel, must necessarily await the closing of the canal.

Plans call for razing the building now used as a post office and Reese's grocery store in Palatine Bridge to make way for the north approach. The Board of Supervisors recently passed a resolution providing for the institution of condemnation proceedings against the land and building which are owned by George Flume. The county must purchase the land.

The New York Central Railroad is contemplating building a new ramp from the depot to the new bridge and because the ramp must be considerably longer, it will be of a less grade than the one now used by pedestrians and vehicular traffic.


The village board in 1874 ordered that a highway tax of 50 cents be levied on all male residents of the village who were over 21 years of age.


Village trustees issued an order on December 29, 1848, that the Whig Pole in the public square be let down by the owners during the week or the superintendent would cut it down.

Municipal Building
Donated to Village

The municipal offices of the village of Canajoharie are located in the White House on Moyer Street. This building is so named in honor of the White family, Mrs. P. Schenck and her brother John White, who donated it to the village trustees in 1923, in memory of their father and mother, Dr. Joseph White and Mrs. Marietta R. White and brother, Joseph H. White.

Both the house and the adjoining land are centers for public recreation and civic affairs. A few minor improvements have been made to the cut stone building and a grand stand for band concerts has been built in the White Park.

This property, one of the most valuable in the village, is still under the supervision and control of the trustees.

Newton Herrick, Jr.
Practices Law In
His Father's Office

Attorney Newton J. Herrick, Jr., was born in Canajoharie, January 25, 1905, the son of Newton J. Herrick and May West Herrick.

Newton J. Herrick

After graduation from the Canajoharie High School at Amherst, Mass. from which he was graduated with honors in 1926. [Note: obviously, some words were omitted from the previous sentence.] Subsequently he attended the Albany Law School where he received his law degree in 1931. Since his admission to the bar he has been associated with his father in the general practice of law with offices in Canajoharie.

Mr. Herrick is a member of the Montgomery County, New York State and American Bar Associations, a member of the State Bar Association's Committee on the Junior Bar and of the American Bar Association's Junior Bar Conference.

He is married to Annette Miller Herrick and has one daughter, Hillary Coleman Herrick.


During 1883 a survey was made and a map completed for the enlargement of the corporation limits, beginning at the river on the east side of the Happy Hollow Creek, thence south along said creek to the lands of Jacob Hadler, thence southeast to the land of J. Yops, then east to the north gate of the cemetery and east to the land of Helen Richmond, then north to the center of the river. It is significant that the motion to extend the village limits was lost at the board meeting on November 9 of that year.

HERE IN 1934

The office of the engineer in charge of state highways in Montgomery County was moved to Canajoharie from Fonda in June, 1924. At the same time, the State Highway Department purchased the David I. Snell quarry and crushing plant to which it transferred the general headquarters of highway maintenance forces from Fonda and Amsterdam.

This plant located east of Canajoharie, produced crushed stone and pulverized limestone for repair and maintainence of state roads in the county.

In 1930 during the construction of Route 5S from Fort Plain to Fultonville, the country built the present brick storage and office building for Harvey H. Glosser, engineer in charge of the county plant and highway work. The crushing plant was completely overhauled and new equipment added in 1935.

There are three branches of highway work in Montgomery County: town, state and county. Gifford A. Hill is superintendent of highways in the Town of Canajoharie, while Harvey H. Glosser has charge of state roads and highway bridges, and Leonard H. M. Whitney, County Engineer, supervises county road work. Snow removal in this county is done by the county superintendent but sanding of highways is done by the state department.

AT COST OF $55,000 IN 1935

Canajoharie has one of the most modern sewage disposal plants of any New York State village. It was the first such system ever installed in a town of this size, and won for Canajoharie the Mohawk Valley Towns Association civic trophy for civic and municipal development during 1935.

It is unique because it combines under one roof both garbage and sewage disposal and requires the services of only one man. Its efficiency, however is not limited to this one service. It is also a source of valuable local publicity. A 70-foot smoke stack bearing the name "Canajoharie" is visible from Route 5 and the New York Central Railroad. At night the 30x30 inch letters are illuminated by powerful flood lights.

Definite assurance that Canajoharie would have a $55,000 sewage and garbage disposal plant was received when Mayor Harry V. Bush, and village trustees signed a government contract on February 12, 1934. Entire supervision of the building of the incinerator was in the hands of H. W. Taylor, New York, consulting engineer. Actual construction lasted about seven months. Plans were approved in December, 1933, by Secretary Ickes and staff. Work on the river flats, east of the village commenced on May 19, 1934. P. W. A. cooperation in building the plant meant a thirty per cent reimbursement to the village of the $55,000 cost. Contracting firms included Morill Vrooman, Inc., Gloversville; Morse Boulger Destructor Company, Worthing Pump and Machinery Company and The Pacific Flush Tank Company, New York City. Leland Benjamin, who was employed on the construction job has been operator of the plant since its opening. Official opening of the plant was made on December 15, 1934 when state and valley officials, engineers, citizens, and members of the press were luncheon guests of the Beech-Nut Packing Company at the Hotel Wagner, prior to an inspection of the plant. The Canajoharie village board officially accepted the plant in March, 1935.


The electric power industry in Canajoharie dates its ancestry back to 1895, when the Canajoharie Electric Light and Power Company built a small steam generating station to furnish lighting service.

The 75 horsepower plant standing on the site of the old malt house near the Beach-Nut candy factory, was operated only during required hours of lighting. In the summer, the lights were turned on about 8 o'clock in the evening, in the winter, as early as 4 o'clock in the afternoon. At 2 A. M., the switch was pulled and station ceased operating until the following evening. No one had need for electric service during the daylight hours, as there were no appliances to perform the household duties, such as exist today.

Street lights went on at dusk and continued until 2 A. M. On moonlit nights, the village turned to the "Moonlight Schedule" and lived by natural illumination.

In 1899, Guy Beardslee, a pioneer in water power development enlarged his plant on East Canada Creek to 100 horsepower, sufficiently powerful to supply St. Johnsville, Fort Plain, and even Canajoharie at certain seasons. The local plant operated only when Mr. Beardslee's could not furnish power.

From that time on, the strides were rapid in the promotion of uses for electricity. Motors came into common use for industry. From the first seven and one-half horsepower motor installed by Beech-Nut about 1902, the total has now grown to about 1,000 motors in all sizes from a 200-horsepower down to some rated at one-fifteenth horsepower. Throughout the entire area, electricity is daily put to hundreds of uses in homes and factories and on the farms to cool milk, heat water, cook. During the last ten years, rates have been steadily going downward.

The substation serving this area has been increased to more than 16 times its 1895 capacity until today it is capable of supplying about 2,000 kilowatts. It operates 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, drawing power from the vast state-wide system of transmission lines.

August, 1931, marked another forward step in utility service for Canajoharie with the completion of the butane gas plant to serve about 300 customers in this village and Palatine Bridge. The mixing plant is located on Erie Boulevard, adjacent to the company's substation, and is built in two sections - one containing the vaporizers, mixers and compressors, while the other contains the heating equipment and electrical apparatus.

The butane, in liquid form, is stored in a tank 40 feet long by 8 feet in diameter, having a capacity of 15,000 gallons. From this tank, the liquid is sent to the mechanism in the building where it is vaporized by hot water heat. The gas is mixed with air in proper proportion to produce the required heat units and is then pumped into the storage tanks. From here it enters the distribution mains to be used in home and industry in the two villages for heating the home, for hot water and for cooking.

Note: if you find fairly graphic accounts of game hunting off-putting, you're not going to enjoy reading this. Just scroll on down, and continue on to Part 2.


Back in the "gay nineties" hunting conditions were altogether different. The "season" opened on all game in early September, but while the hunters knew this, the fact was hardly mentioned in the weekly papers or in the course of conversation.

During the first week we had work to do and plenty of it; the corn had to be harvested and as every farmer knows it takes from 30 days to two months to do this. The potato bins had to be filled, the apples picked, the fall plowing don and other chores to be completed. In those days if we didn't have the cellar filled to the roof with food we did not feel right about it because there was no WPA to draw on for easy money. Dad was always there to urge us on and he maintained that when the work was done there would be plenty of time to go hunting.

But Sundays during the early autumn days we would get the old muzzle-loading shot guns down off the cupboard and walk down in the meadows, usually returning with a bag full of plover picked off fence posts, or yellow hammer we would shoot out of apple trees.

Sometimes we would work on the meadow-larks and by using a little strategy, that is, one of us lay in the grass and the other fellow circle and drive them over so we could pick them off when they would alight, for in those days we did no wing shooting. It was too uncertain and if we missed, it took to much time to load. Also, the waste of ammunition was a big factor. We didn't have much money to buy it. Then on Monday we would have the pot-pie with biscuits and gravy and everything good as only Mother knew how to make.

At this time, after 1890, the wild pigeon was already extinct although I have sat evenings and heard Grandmother tell how in her day when they were migrating in the Spring and Fall it would seem like an eclipse on the sun when they passed over for hours at a time. The farmers used to dread to have them stop for the night in their orchards for in the morning, when they left, the trees would look as though a cyclone had passed through.

When hunting the grey squirrel alone we would usually use the old smoothbore rifle with a light load of powder, shooting them through the head or "barking" them by hitting the limb next to their head and stunning them enough to bring them down so they could be picked up. In this way we would never hurt the meat and then you were considered in class A as a grey squirrel hunter.

Then along in November every morning we would hear the fox hounds singing over the hills. The "Getman boys are at it again," father would say and sure enough from then until Christmas, or until the snow was so deep the hounds couldn't run, they hunted the hill north of us and the "Carpenter boys"," the brush lots to the south of us, around "Wagner's Hollow," and they sure did get that sport down to such a science that Old John Carpenter could tell when his dogs started a fox in the morning what fence-bars old reynard would come through at night.

One of the fox-hunting Getman boys lived to be over 70 years of age and moved later in life to Dutchtown west of Fort Plain, and continued fox hunting until they found him one night when he didn't come home, slumped over on a log, dead, with his faithful hound lying beside him and his old shotgun across his lap. Never again would that dim old eye glance along the sights for the shot he knew so well how to make.

Then along in the turn of the century the breech loading shot gun and rifle began to make its appearance. What a change in everything this did make. Goodbye to the old powder horn, shot bag and cap box. With our new breech loader, and hunting coat with game pockets we passed up the rabbit, grey squirrel and other small game, only taking an occasional shot at them and began to hunt woodcock and partridges. The woodcock hunting was of course, confined to the early part of the season, it being a migratory bird, but the old ruffled grouse stayed right on with us and we would bang away at them until the weather became so cold we could start trapping.

At first we wasted plenty of ammunition but after awhile we would hit one once in awhile and after we got the hang of it would come in nights with 10 or 12 birds. There seems to be something about partridge shooting that gets in the blood for the ringneck pheasant has never been able to take its place, to for me anyway. While it's sport in a way to have the dogs run around in the grass and put the pheasants out, if the dogs work close to you the bird goes up the lumber wagon so fat he can hardly get off the ground and it doesn't require much skill to knock him down. But far be it so with Mr. Grouse. There is the king of game birds. He can leave the ground at a speed nearly the same as when he is in full flight, and in all my experience hunting this great bird I have never known him to make a mistake or do the same thing twice alike.

There are only a few partridge hunters left around here now but I usually get one or two of my old gang together every fall and we go through all the motions and get quite a kick out of it at that. We had been out in the woods anyway and had the old gun in our hands and talked over old times and that was something.

There is just one more thing I want to impress upon the minds of the younger generation, especially the Boy Scouts, and that is always remember that the game in this country was here first and never for one minute forget that game has every bit as much right to live as you and I. Have you ever stopped to think what a dreary world this would be without the birds and animals who, if they could, would be the best friends you ever had if you would give them any kind of a break. Never shoot at any thing unless you really want it for the table and never shoot unless you feel you have a good chance to kill, for a wounded bird or animal rarely lives. They crawl away and suffer for weeks through the carelessness of the unthinking hunter.

Let's start now and see what we can do to help put back the fast diminishing game and every time you bring the gun to your shoulder always think first "Do I or don't I want to kill that little friend of mine."

- Nellis Shaver

Continue on to Part 2

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