In an earlier installment of the Police Blotter of Yesteryear, I gave credit to some online newspapers that are great sources for local news items from the past.
By Paul Hicks
In an earlier installment of the Police Blotter of Yesteryear, I gave credit to some online newspapers that are great sources for local news items from the past. One of these, which has the quirky name of “Old Fulton NY Postcards,” is a site created and maintained by an individual named Tom Tryniski, at his upstate home in Fulton.
On his own, Tryniski has grown the site into one of the largest historic newspaper databases in the world, with 22 million newspaper pages. By contrast, the Library of Congress site, “Chronicling America,” has 5 million newspaper pages. Most important, at least to fans of Police Blotter of Yesteryear, is the news that Tryniski is in the process of adding digitized pages from old issues of The Rye Chronicle to his website.
He has already digitized microfiche copies of issues published between 1905 and 1979 that were filmed for the Rye Historical Society (with some gaps). Later this year, Tryniski plans to make it possible to do word searches in these issues. In the meantime, old issues of the Port Chester Journal are the best source of old Rye area news, along with national newspapers when the story had enough general interest, like the following:
New York Times, December 12, 1874
A few days ago, portions of Long Island and Westchester County were visited by an earthquake, which greatly excited the people of those localities. On that occasion, the shock was first noticed in the vicinity of Flushing and Whitestone. Its course appeared to be across or under Long Island Sound to the Westchester Shore, visiting New Rochelle, Mamaroneck and Rye, thence westerly to Tarrytown and vicinity. In many instances, persons who had retired were aroused from their slumbers by the shock and sprang from their beds in the utmost alarm…
New York Times, February 27, 1885
Four young gentlemen who live in Rye made up a skating party on Washington’s Birthday, and decided to spend the day on the ice… The ice-covered Sound gleamed and shimmered in the sunlight as far out as the eye could see so they decided to skate to Greenwich, about six miles along the coast to the northeast.
After enjoying a hearty lunch at a local hotel there, they decided to skate to Captain’s Island, a distance of between two and three miles. After reaching the island, one of them decided to turn back, but his companions laughed at his fears and started out again across the broad expanse of ice. Those three then found themselves on thin ice, and one of them fell through, but was able to stay afloat.
Meantime, their companion had reached the island and, hearing the shouts, found a rowboat, which he pulled as he skated out to the rescue. They were able to get the near-drowned skater into the boat, although he was almost insensible after spending twenty-five minutes in the frigid water. Back at the island, they were fortunate to find Dr. Thomas Edwards of Harrison at the lighthouse, who tended to the skater until he regained consciousness.
After spending the night in a room prepared by the lighthouse keeper, they were able to return to Rye the next day. Yesterday, the lucky young man was up and about at his house. He said that the only effect that remained of his cold bath was a slight muscular stiffness.
New-York Tribune, January 8, 1904
The home of Mulford Martin, a wealthy horse show exhibitor at Rye-on-the-Sound, was burned to the ground yesterday. His three children were rescued by a governess, who found them in a room filled with smoke and dragged them down a stairway. The house and contents, including a collection of old paintings, were a total loss. Mr. and Mrs. Martin were in New York, having remained over night after attending the theater.
The Chicago Daybook, October 30, 1913
Who is Miss Lonesome of Rye? Only Reginald P. Sherman knows, and he won’t tell. Sherman is the editor of the Rye Courier, in which weekly publication the following advertisement recently appeared:
“Wanted-by a fair (not fat nor yet forty) gentlewoman, with a large tract of land not far from Port Chester, an unselfish, decent self-supporting man for a husband; would prefer a good natural fool to a crank; no flirts nor elderly men need apply. Address Lonesome, care of Rye Courier.”
The day the advertisement appeared, the village of Rye just about stood on its head. Who was Miss Lonesome seeking a husband in this brazen manner? Then came the reporters from New York, but even though they could not get Mr. Sherman to “put them wise,” they wrote pieces for their papers anyway. Then the answers started coming to Miss Lonesome, and the Rye mail carrier had to make special deliveries to the Courier’s office.
Miss Lonesome finally told a reporter over the phone, after Mr. Sherman placed the call, that she had received over five hundred offers and answered three: one from Chicago, one from Butte and one from Los Angeles. She said that the man in Los Angeles was a doctor, and she thinks “he will be the man.” So Los Angeles may discover who Miss Lonesome is before Rye does.
Norwich (CT) Bulletin, May 24, 1918
Reginald Sherman, a great grandson of the Revolutionary patriot of Connecticut and signer of the Declaration of Independence, Roger Sherman, died at his home in Rye, N.Y. today, aged 57 years. He was the founder of the Rye Courier, being editor of the latter at the time of his death. In his early days he was a sailor before the mast on the sailing ship Saratoga and made two trips around Cape Horn.
(Note: Both Sherman and Everett Gedney, editor of the Rye Chronicle who died in October of 1918, appear to have been victims of pneumonia following the Spanish Influenza.)