Monday, February 18, 2013

When Whiskey Was Good and Cheap and Other News Items from 100 Years Ago

The February 7, 1913 issue of the Catskill Mountain News reported on the delivery of new equipment to the Bovina Center Coop Creamery:

A new boiler for the Dry Milk Plant at Bovina Center was unloaded from Delaware and Northern at Andes on to a truck Tuesday and Wednesday was hauled to Bovina. The boiler weighed six tons and three teams were used. At the head of Delaware avenue [today's Route 28] the front axle of the truck broke but was fixed by the use of iron plates and the trip was made without further trouble.
A week later, the paper had this little tidbit on the front page of its February 14, 1913:

When Whiskey Was Good and Cheap.
Sixty and more years ago in the town of Bovina, practically every family kept liquor in the house to use when the new baby arrived or at the raising of a building frame, or other very special occasions. Drunkenness was by no means common although there were at one time three whiskey stills in town. A bushel of rye would buy two gallons of whiskey at the distillery. While this kind of beverage usually tends to pauperism, that class "was so scarce that when one did apply to the town for assistance it was the custom once to let the indigent person to whoever would bid tho least price for care and maintenance. At one town meeting it was voted to abolish the county poorhouse at Delhi.
On the same front page was a report about the start of the delayed ice harvesting season.  "The ice harvest that a little more than two weeks ago seemed a remote possibility, is now in full swing and thousands of tons are being gathered all through this section."  The article went on to report a tragedy on Lake Delaware on the Gerry Estate.

Several horses went through the thin ice of the early week and men who were engaged in the ice harvest went through in thin places and got wet. Tuesday afternoon a pair of fine horses belonging to Commodore Elbridge T. Gerry of New York city, valued at several hundred dollars, were drowned in the Gerry lake. One of the men who cares for the estate escaped death by a narrow margin. It was thought the ice on the lake, was safe and so it was decided to cross. The team broke through, however, and before the animals could be rescued they succumbed.

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