In This Place: June 11, 2014
Here’s to the Dads: Heroic and Otherwise!
by Trish Adams
This Sunday we all celebrate our Dads, Granddads and anyone who has been like a father to us. A search for fathers in the archives yielded a nice mix of heroes, and some dads who faced tough choices... like this one:
September 4, 1908: Father Delivers Son to Police
Young Man Arrived on Coal Train and Walked Openly Home – Not Worried over Arrest
Earl Hill, one of the murderers of Elbridge Davis, was delivered to the Oneonta police by his father Monday morning about eight o’clock. Officer Stapleton was on duty at headquarters when Hill, in company with his father, appeared. “Here is the boy, I want to give him to sheriff,” said the father to the officer. Stapleton immediately locked young Hill up, and notified Sheriff Beardsley, who had arrived in town the night previous to assist local officers in the hunt.
Hill’s father immediately claimed the reward of $50 which the sheriff of Chenango county had offered, and the sheriff said Monday night that he would get it.
Hill and Borst, whom the state will hold responsible for the death of Elbridge Davis, are both ... fairly representative of a type of young men in saloons and other resorts, in every village in rural New York. Unwilling to work steadily, preferring to hang around, getting their support from hard working fathers and mothers, keeping in enough money to supply them with cigarettes and beer by petty pilferings, and forever watching a chance to pick the pockets of some drunken Rube.
At seven o’clock yesterday morning, Hill landed in Oneonta, on a coal train, walked openly to the home, only to be turned over by his father.
He did not appear to be worried over his capture, as he rolled cigarettes, nonchalantly, and said but little.
Well, maybe that choice wasn’t so tough after all, especially if this father had other children at home to consider. I will try to pull together an entire column on the murder of farmer Davis, a brazen and cold-blooded crime that shook the nearby villages unaccustomed to such ruthlessness. Speaking of ruthlessness, this horse was apparently in no mood to share his grub:
August 21, 1902
Tho 9-year-old daughter of George Goodrich of Walton was nearly killed by a horse one day last week. She ran into the stall while the animal was eating his grain, and he seized her in his teeth and tossed her in the air, and when she struck the floor began stamping on her. The little girl was in a frightful condition when rescued by her father.
So many child drownings and house fires have tragic conclusions, that it was gratifying to find these stories that ended on a better note, thanks to Dad:
August 2, 1940: Pine Hill Baby Falls Into Tank Nearly Drowns
Father to Rescue
Frantic Efforts Nearly Given Up When Life Signs Appear
A two year old Pine Hill baby nearly lost her life in a neighbor’s spring Sunday afternoon and was saved only by the first aid methods used by her father, Ralph Thompson.
Three small Thompson children went next door Sunday afternoon to secure a drink from a neighbor’s spring. The water runs into a tank about 2 feet deep. The two-year-old dropped her drinking glass into the water. Endeavoring to retrieve the glass she fell in head first and was under water except for her feet. A three year old sister realized the danger and ran for her father. He was working on the lawn not far away and was not unduly disturbed when the little girl said “Sis is in the water.” He did not realize there was a dangerous situation and walked slowly to the comer of the house where he spied the child’s feet protruding from the tank. He quickly pulled her out but the little form was apparently lifeless and dark in color.
Mr. Thompson immediately started to resuscitate but did not know the method too well and after a few minutes put her down and decided to call a physician. As he was about to start for a phone the child seemed to utter a groan. The frantic father redoubled his efforts and after some minutes signs of life became apparent. After the start the little girl recovered rapidly and the next day was completely well. It was a thrilling experience for father and baby.
February 5, 1943: Father Rescues Boy Who Falls Into Creek
A tragedy was narrowly averted Wednesday afternoon when Rudolph Gorsch Jr., little son of Mr. and Mrs. Rudolph Gorsch Sr., fell into the deep creek while coasting [on a sled?] near the home of Mrs. Robert Nichols. His father, chanced to be watching, extricated him after he had been carried a short distance in the deep current of the river at this point. He has entirely recovered from his experience.
April 23, 1948: Car Tosses Boy From Road Into Raging Esopus
Seven-year-Old Fisherman Rescued by Father and Other Fishermen
Robert Pritchard, 7, of Poughkeepsie was struck by a car at the confluence of the Shandaken tunnel and Esopus creek and hurled over the highway fence into the boiling waters where the two streams join. The boy was rescued by his father, Benjamin Pritchard, and several fishermen. Father and son were fishing at the portal when John Uertz, 26, of the Bronx drove past. His car struck the little boy, threw him up in the air, over the fence and into the stream. When rescued by his father and other fishermen he was given first aid by Dr. E. W. Tucker, veterinarian, of Port Ewen and hurried to the Kingston City hospital in the Gormley ambulance. Uertz was placed under arrest and taken before Justice of the Peace William C. Weyraan of this village. He was released on bail for a hearing Saturday, April 24. Trooper Ray Dunn escorted the ambulance to the office of Dr. Quihn here, then to the hospital.
February 22, 1952: Father Badly Burned Saving Four Children
A father and two of his eight children were taken to Kingston hospital suffering from burns early Thursday morning, when a flash fire swept through a home in which 11 persons were sleeping. In critical condition was Kenneth Glass, who suffered second degree burns about the face and inhalation bums. Marjorie 15, and Patsy Glass, 9, suffered second degree burns. The father was burned as he rescued the older girl and three other children. The blaze was discovered about 12:40 a. m. by Mrs. Glass. She cried out to awaken the rest of the family, including a visiting aunt, Mrs. Julius Ryder.
The uninjured members of the family were given shelter at the home of Mrs. Glass’ mother, Mrs. Vivia Winnie, who lives across the road. Firemen from Ashokan, Olive Bridge and West Shokan used six hose lines to put out the fire. The interior of the house was wrecked.
I thought I would end the column with a typical childhood escapade that explains why Dads get gray hair and some of them even take to drink. This Father’s Day, take a moment to reflect on the trials and tribulations you inflicted on your own Dad:
October 21, 1960: Missing Boys Tire Of Playing Hooky And Hike to Town
Mud Lake Area Youngsters Missed Bus For School and Started Day-Long Trek;
Five-Year-Old Hard Put to Keep Going
Four boys lured by the dawn of a beautiful October day passed the Andes school bus last week Thursday and took off on day-long adventure that ended in a sleepy reunion in a Margaretville backyard. None was the worse for the experience; events beyond their return home were not reported.
The disappearance of the boys was not discovered until they failed to alight from the school bus as it returned to the vicinity of their Mud Lake area homes in the late afternoon. When searches by their parents failed to discover their whereabouts before dark, state police of the Margaretville substation were notified.
While the search was going on in the Mud Lake area, a Margaretville Boy Scout, preparing to go to troop meeting, noticed flashlights and activity in the garden area behind homes along Swart, Academy and Orchard streets. He reported his information to the state police.
Trooper George Robertson and the father of two of the boys, found them preparing to camp out under the stars in the garden patch. The boys, Allen Weaver, 9, Robert Weaver, 14, Donald Miller, 10, and Bruce Sprague, 5, were returned home tired and hungry.
The boys had no explanation for their adventure, which apparently took them afoot up the south side of the reservoir into the village. Trooper Robertson said that Bruce tired soon of the adventure and had to be carried part of the way asleep by one of the older boys.
I guess those boys better start shopping for Father's Day now: