Old News – Charity

An editorial on charity and a couple of short articles.

THE MONROE COUNTY MAIL

Thursday, December 3, 1914

ORGANIZING CHARITY WORK.

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It is generally felt that there will be more call for charity this winter. The business disturbances which the country has suffered has thrown many people out of work, and those able to give will need to ope both hearts and purses.

It is vitally necessary that all available charitable resources should be efficiently used. There are a great number of people who have clothing to give away that is perfectly good, it might not look wholly appropriate at a full dress ball, but it would keep a workingman comfortable for many months. Much of such clothing is distributed haphazard. People give it to the first drunken tramp that comes along. Meanwhile, hardworking people in the next street are shivering too self-respecting to ask for help.

It is always possible to raise money freely on a genuine appeal for destitution of deserving people. The hunger your neighbors, in your own home town, will bring larger gifts than any religious, philanthropic, educational, or missionary cause.

Churches and fraternal organizations are supposed to take car of needy members. This allows the general feeling to spread that every one is comfortably provided for. But there are a great many persons who have no ties of this kind.

Every town ought to have some central organization or committee that would take general charge of distributing funds and supplies. Where this is done, the workers acquire a certain expertness in sifting appeals. They are able to distinguish cases of deserving need from those that come from indolent or vicious people, who would better be left to the public authorities. Money spent systematically along these methods will go several time as far as haphazard and unorganized charity.


Arizona is to have a woman state senator as the result of the recent election. Miss Frances Mundza is the name of the lady, and savors of Spanish descent. She led the entire Democratic ticket, defeating her Republican opponent by 600 votes.


Uncle Sam is building a dirigible balloon 195 feet long and 40 feet ub diameter which will carry twelve men, machine guns, oxygen tank and air pumps. Two 100 horse power engines will prpel the ship.

ROC the Day

rocthedayToday is a day of giving called ROC the Day. It is a one day online event to support non-profit organizations in a 9 county area centered on Rochester. There are over 600 non-profit organizations to pick from and you can give any amount you want. The organizations are separated into the categories: Animals, Arts & Culture, Community Benefit & Economic Development, Education, Health, Human Services, Religion and Environment but you can also do a search by keyword. If you were thinking of giving to an organization during the holidays, then this is a good time and easy way to do it. All of these organization can use your help.

A search on the ROC the Day website for “historical” yields 11 organizations. Searching for “library” or “museum” yield 10 organizations for each.

You only have until midnight to ROC the Day.

Top Songs of 1964: #20

The next song to hit the top of the record charts in 1964 was “We’ll Sing in the Sunshine” written and recorded by Gale Garnett. Gale was born in New Zealand and moved to Canada at about age 11. Gale recorded albums through the 1960s but none ever had the success as “We’ll Sing in the Sunshine.” Besides a recording career, Gale also pursued acting and appeared as a guest on TV series as early as 1960 and recent as 2011. She also branched out into journalism in the last decade, writing essays, columns, and book reviews for various newspapers and magazines.

We’ll Sing in the Sunshine” was the number song on the Cash Box record chart for the week of Oct. 25 – 31, 1964. The song only made it up to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart but spent seven weeks at number one on the Billboard Easy Listening chart. The song also won the 1965 Grammy as Best Folk Recording.

Download Gale Garnett songs (for a small fee) from Amazon.com.

Old News – Thanksgiving

Here is an account of the first Thanksgiving.

THE MONROE COUNTY MAIL

Thursday, November 26, 1914

PILGRIM’S THANKSGIVING

Turkey Figured In the Menu When They “Had Things In Good Plenty.”

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Governor Bradford describes the first Thanksgiving of the pilgrims in America.

“They (the pilgrim colonists) now began to gather the small harvest they had and to fit their dwellings against winter, all being well recovered in health, and had all things in good plenty. Some were employed in affairs abroad; others exercised in fishing about bass, cod and other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All summer there was no waste. Now began to come in store of fowl as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first, and beside waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, beside venison, etc. Beside, they had about a peck of meal to a person, or now, since harvest, Indian corn to that portion.”

On Dec. 11, 1621, Edward Winslow wrote the following description of the Thanksgiving to a friend in England:

“our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, so that we might after a special manner rejoice, together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. Amongst other recreations we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming among us, and among the rest Massasoit, their greatest king, with some ninety men, whom we entertained and feasted three days. They killed five deer, which they bestowed on our governor and the captain (miles Standish, a Roman Catholic) and others. Although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God we are so far from want that we often wish you (were) partakers of our plenty.”

From other sources it is learned that besides the exercises with arms that Winslow mentioned there were athletic contests. No doubt the pilgrims played stool ball, an old form of croquet, and pitch the bar, which Bradford named in his journal. There appears no evidence of special religious services having been held. The pilgrims had daily prayers before breakfast. In this service and int he temper of rejoicing that ran through their Thanksgiving they voiced their gratitude.

Book on Frederick Douglass Family

special-deliveryLocal author. Rose O’Keefe, has published a new book of historical fiction, Special Delivery: From One Stop to Another on the Underground Railroad (North Country Books). It  is the story of eleven-year-old Lewis Douglass, son of Frederick Douglass. Lewis hears his father tell the family they are moving from their gracious home on Alexander Street to a homestead on the edge of Rochester, New York, and he feels shocked at leaving their lively neighborhood. But when his father tells him he must learn to drive a team of horses to help with the move, Lewis is at a loss for words at the thought of this daunting task – and has no choice but to agree.

Rose O’Keefe has written four other books dealing with the history of the Rochester area. Her previous book, Frederick and Anna Douglass in Rochester, NY: Their Home Was Open to All tells the story of the former slave, orator and author and his time in Rochester.

Rose O’Keefe grew up in the suburbs of New York City. After graduating from SUNY Potsdam during the Vietnam years, Rose moved to Rochester, NY, and discovered the beauty of the Genesee River Valley and Finger Lakes region on camping outings with family and friends. Since then, she has become an expert on western New York history. Her website is at www.roseokeefe.com where you can buy any of her books.

Rose will also do a short reading from her newest book, Special Delivery: From One Stop to Another on the Underground Railroad, from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 22 at the Fairport Historical Museum, 18 Perrin St., Fairport, NY. The reading will be followed by a book signing and sale.

Top Songs of 1964; #19

In 1964 the next song  to go to the top of the record charts was “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” by Manfred Mann. The song was written by Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich and originally recorded in 1963, as “Do-Wah-Diddy“, by the US girl group the Exciters. Their version barely made it on the record charts.

Do Wah Diddy Diddy” was the number one song on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Cash Box record charts for the weeks of Oct. 11 – 24, 1964.

Manfred Mann was a British group named after their South African keyboardist, Manfred Mann. They were popular in the 1960s with many hit songs. They would eventually have another number one song, “Mighty Quinn” in 1968. The group was re-formed in 1971 as Manfred Mann’s Earth Band. with a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Blinded by the Light.” The group still tours in Europe. They also released a new album in October 2014. Visit their official website.

Download Manfred Mann songs (for a small fee) from Amazon.com

NY Canals on National Register

2308cLast month, the National Park Service announced that it has listed the New York State Barge Canal on the National Register of Historic Places. The Barge Canal was the widened and in some cases rerouted Erie Canal. The National designation covers the period of 1905 when the canal began being enlarged and 1963 when the St. Lawrence Seaway opened. Over 790 features and 550 buildings over 450 miles were evaluated before being places on the Register. Being on the Register brings opportunities for federal preservation grants and an increase in the visibility and marketing potential of the canal.

NY State doesn’t often use the name Barge Canal even though it still is the official name. Instead they refer to the four canals that make up the system; Erie Canal, Champlain Canal, Oswego Canal and the Cayuga-Seneca Canal. The Erie was first completed in 1825 to connect the Hudson River to Lake Erie. The Champlain Canal goes from Albany to Lake Champlain. The Oswego Canal connects the Erie Canal to Lake Ontario. Then the Cayuga-Seneca Canal connects the Erie Canal to those two Finger Lakes.  Commercial traffic on the canals is almost nonexistent. They are used mostly by recreational boats along with bikers and hikers on the canal paths.

Visit the NY State Canal website.

Native American Day – Nov. 8th

Perry Ground

Perry Ground

Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to noon the Greece Historical Society is sponsoring a Native American Day. The event takes place a the Greece Senior and Community (Vincent Tofany Blvd.) an will celebrate the culture of our first inhabitants in the area – the Haudenosaunee (Seneca).

At 10:15 Perry Ground will tell stories passed down by elders of various Native American cultures. His stories will help you understand the Haudenosaunee. Perry’s mother is of the Turtle Clan in the Onondaga Nation and his father is of the Seneca Nation.

At 11:30 Frieda Schultz will be dressed in a leather dress her mother made for her. She will share what life was like growing up on the Tuscarora Reservation. She will  talk about school day, games she played, festivals, traditions ans some history of the Tuscarora Nation. Frieda will also bring other traditional clothing.

Anthropologist George Hamell will bring Native American artifacts that were found in Greece that are currently in the collection of the Rochester Museum and Science Center. This is a rare opportunity as these artifacts are not often on exhibit.

Old News – Telephone Upgrade

Some technology news from the past. This story tells of having dials added to a telephone so that a person could connect to another without the use of an operator.

THE MONROE COUNTY MAIL

Thursday, November 5, 1914

AUTOMATIC TELEPHONE TREMENDOUS SUCCESS IN BUFFALO.

Federal Telephone Traffic More Than Doubled by Use of New Wonder Instrument and Both Business Men an Housewives Show a Distinct Preference for it.

ad-1914-11-05The Automatic Telephone service has convinced Buffaloians that the Federal Telephone and Telegraph Company has made a tremendous advance along the lines of simplifying and facilitating business by the adoption of the Automatic system.

The first half day of service 112,000 call flashed through the various exchanges, a number that has grown steadily every day until now upwards of 400,000 calls are completed daily. This is twice the number ever handled in one day by the old manual service the company recently discarded for the Automatic. This would seem to prove a distinct public preference for the industrious little mechanical operator, over the old way.

Apart from the superb service the system affords, the instantaneous calls and disconnects and the sharp, clear reproduction of voice tones, what has impressed the Buffalo public more than anything else is the nervelessness and mystery of it all.

To touch a little dial and instantly hear the voice of the very person you want is surely a unique experience. Being a machine, of course, it does not make mistakes; it doesn’t know enough to make a mistake. It affords the same sort of service, which is perfect service, at all times of the day or night. It never tires, never grows ruffled or discourteous and isn’t subject to whims or caprices of persons or weather.

The method of operation, we are told, is very simple. First the caller finds the number of the person desired. Even the Automatic directory is an improvement on the old one, and a unique arrangement of names, numbers and addresses hastens the work of looking for numbers very materially.

Assume that the number wanted is 44327. The subscriber first removes the receiver from the hook, puts the finger in the aperture over the figure “4”, then pulls down; then the same operation on 4-3-2-7 and the call is complete. Almost instantly the number desired answers. If perchance the called party is slow in answering, there is no uncertainty so far as the subscriber is concerned; the subscriber can hear the vibrations and knows the bell is ringing at intervals of seven seconds.

In the case the line is busy when a call is made, a mechanical device so informs the caller by means of the “busy buzz,” a persistent but not unpleasant buzz in the receiver.

Every possible contingency is provided against in this new system. For example, if a person calls a number that has been discontinued, his call goes automatically to a supervisor who says, “You are calling a number that has been discontinued.”

In case of trouble the location and nature of the trouble is shown on a battery of lights in the switchroom and the trouble is remedied nine times out of ten before the subscriber knows his line is in trouble.

In all the large department stores large automatic exchanges have been installed and they promise to revolutionize shopping for Buffalo women. The Automatic is so flexible that the housewife can sit in her own home, dial four figures and figuratively be in the midst of all the rush and excitement of the buying center. A skilled saleswoman answers her and takes her order or discusses requirements.

The first day this system was in operation at the Wm. Henegerer && Co store, four times the usual number of calls were recorded, which indicates that the Automatic is firmly established among the housewives of Buffalo.

It is plainly a triumph of mechanical art and marks a great advance in the telephone business in Western New York.