THE WAY WE WERE – January 2021

Culled by Judy Garrison With commentary by Jim Andrews
From January 1920 issues of 
The Andes Recorder
100 Years Ago


Events of a week as chronicled by
the Man on the Street

Unless there comes a change people living in rural districts must either learn to be their own doctor or go without medical attention, and in a few years there will be no trained nurses. The cities are swallowing them up and to-day the young doctor prefers to starve in the city rather than go to the country and make money Thousands of communities are without a doctor. Andes has one physician but he is unable to attend to the surrounding territory, with an area extending from eight to fifteen miles, now without a physician. [Jim Andrews: It is interesting to note that the editor seems to feel that there is more money to be made in the country than in the city and that the young doctors would starve there. Country doctors were spread very thin, as this item suggests, and were over-worked and most likely very underpaid.]

During the past year Earl Smith, the Arena blacksmith, has driven seven hundred pounds of horse shoe nails. [JA: This indicates that even in 1920 horse power was still “king”.]


Charles Felter, aged 78, who lived alone in a small shack, between the residences of Ernest Leal and W. J. Thomson, on Scotch Mountain, was found dead in his abode January 16, about noon, by the children of Ernest Leal who following their usual custom of visiting the lonely man on Sundays, had gone in to see how he was.

From the appearance of the place it is surmised that Felter had been taken ill and had arisen from his bed and tried to make a fire to warm by. The bedclothes were strewn about the floor, and the stove showed that an attempt had been made to kindle a fire. The dead man was in a sitting posture on the floor, back of the stove where he had probably sat down while waiting for the fire to start and thus passed away. He had probably been dead four or five days. The last time he was seen alive was the previous Sunday, Jan. 9th, when the Leal children had been in, and had at Felter’s request, gone out and got him bread and tobacco, returning a second time to bring him these things. [JA: This is the way it was in the days before widespread telephone use and the availability of ambulance services.  It must have been quite a shock for those children.]

A fashion note says that the extremely décolleté evening gown has disappeared. Maybe it slipped under a hook-and-eye or something.

Wednesday the much talked of case of Anthony Banuat, a Bovina school collector, against Jean Muller for assault, came up for trial before Justice T. C. Strangeway at the town hall…The whole affair will be presented to the grand jury when it convenes in March.

ALBANY, Jan. 10–The Delaware & Northern railroad runs from Arkville to East Branch, Delaware County, connecting the Ulster & Delaware and the Ontario & Western railroads, with a branch line from Andes Junction to Andes…The railroad to-day asked the Public Service Commission, Second District, for permission to increase its passenger rates from 3.6 cents a mile to 5 cents; minimum fare 10 cents. [Ed.: The article goes on to say that the company alleges that increased revenue will not be sufficient to cover expenses of operation, let alone a return on investment.]

One hundred and fifty men are now employed at shaft No 1, a mile west of Prattsville, for the New York city water supply. Approximately a mile of tunnel has been completed at this shaft.  [JA: This is for the Gilboa Dam.]

William C. Oliver, the Andes merchant, who had been confined to his home for the past two weeks with a sore on his foot, caused by his shoe rubbing it, went to Delhi on Monday to remain for a time, in order that he may have it treated by Dr. Silliman. [JA: “Square” Oliver was a large man and the availability of proper shoes for someone of the size was probably limited.]


The barn of Archibald Bryden on what is known as the John Shaver farm in Basin Clove, near Pepacton, was entirely destroyed by a fire that was discovered about 11 o’clock Wednesday morning. There was no insurance.

Mr. Bryden had started for Downsville with a load of wood and soon afterwards his wife discovered the barn on fire. By the use of the telephone she stopped her husband at Don Northrup’s. Unhitching his team he jumped onto the back of one and hurried back home, but arrived too late to be of much service….The origin of the fire is shrouded in mystery. Apparently the blaze started in the hay mow and burned very rapidly. It is thought that a tramp may have stayed in the barn and had been smoking. Mr. Northrup is keeping the new milk cows and another neighbor the dry stock until Mr. Bryden can make other arrangements. [JA: In 1921, fire department coverage was limited to the villages and hamlets so when there was a fire in an outlying district, it was a foregone conclusion that the structure would be lost. Barn fires were difficult to fight with limited water and pumping capabilities and open wooden structures such as barns burned very quickly.]~