Ogdensburg news from 100 years ago

By Ted Como

It’s been said that news is that which you didn’t know yesterday and for sure, you didn’t know yesterday the news of Ogdensburg from a century ago. So here’s a bit of what was going on in and around the city in the fall of 1921.
The big story was fire that broke out at the Ogdensburg Public Library while it was undergoing renovations, believed caused by an overheated “hot air furnace” placed on the first floor of the east wing to dry newly plastered walls. The bigger story, most fortunately, never came to pass. It would have been the loss of the entire collection of Frederick Remington paintings and bronzes which were being stored in the basement even as the library’s burning roof collapsed.
Fear reigned supreme until the ashes sufficiently cooled to allow entry into the fireproof vault that contained the priceless collection. It was found that very little water had entered and that little or no damage had resulted.
This period in the city’s history was nearly two years into prohibition and as Ogdensburg was an entry point for illegal liquor from Canada, there were lots of related stories:

  • Bootleggers failed to halt between DeKalb and Richville when ordered and as one of them was preparing to return fire of pursuing state police, trooper Charles Spink shot twice, one of the bullets grazing the driver’s arm and the other killing Wilbur Hunt, his companion.
  • Thomas Turner, 22, wanted for three or four crimes in Canada, was arrested in a cottage five miles below Ogdensburg on a charge of shooting Charles Livingston, a local taxi driver, at Camp Overbrook. Turner said his motive was to steal Livingston’s car for a liquor-running expedition.
  • Malone federal officials, sheriff deputies and state police particiipated in one of the most sensational roundups of whiskey runners that has occurred in Franklin County. Trooper J. Carroll was wounded in the right ankle by bullet fired by an occupant of one of the booze-laden cars. Nearly 60 cases of liquor were seized together with a new Cadillac roadster and Dodge Brothers truck, both loaded with booze.
  • A Cadillac roadster containing 20 cases of Scotch whiskey was seized on the state road between Canton and Potsdam. Agent Hackmeisiter is proving to be a terror to the nest of boot-leggers which operates in Northern New York.
  • William Dishaw, 43, of Pine street, was arrested Saturday and locked up on a charge of making moonshine liquor. The police confiscated a still and several gallons of hooch. The still was found in a hole under the kitchen floor of a vacant house.
    Other news notes:
  • One hundred trees were blown down and much property damaged during a fierce windstorm which swept the city. Never in the city’s history has a wind and rain storm brought about so much disorder and damage.
  • A Morris street resident reported that the residents of his neighborhood were being annoyed by the actions of an unknown man who was peeping into the windows.
  • A stray cow was taken into custody last night and impounded in a box stall at the farmers’ sheds. The same cow was pinched by the cops several weeks ago and impounded, but she broke jail during the night.
  • A report was received at police headquarters that two shots were fired in the vicinity of Mayor Lynch’s residence at 2221 Ford St. Officers ascertained that some person had shot a skunk and thrown the carcass into a tree.
  • Mrs. J. H. Moncrief notified Chief of Police John McCormick yesterday that 11 turkeys were stolen from her premises the previous evening.
  • Mrs. William Breen, a resident of Oak street, came near catching two chicken thieves in the act of robbing her hen coop on Monday night.
  • The body of a prematurely born female child wrapped in a newspaper was found by John S. Mills, foreman of the Board of Public Works alongside the walk at the corner of Greene and Linden streets at 9 o’clock Saturday morning.
  • Roy Dennis of Detroit spent a few days in town visiting relatives. It was his first time in Ogdensburg and he was delighted with the city and said it was one of the best kept of its size he had ever seen.
  • P.C. Bennekow, marine firman, 88 Irvin St., Ogdensburg, says “My kidneys became disordered and I suffered from a dull, constant ache. When I stooped, sharp pains shot up my back. The kidney secretions were discolored and I felt tired all the time. Four boxes of Doan’s kidney pills gave me fine relief.” Sixty cents at all dealers.
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