Originally published in September, 1975, Historical Memories of Otsego County [New York] is a collection of “memories and reminisces” collected from the senior citizen clubs of the County.
I found the book while going through a box in my cellar. I searched and came across just a single copy available for sale and instantly decided to archive/republish it because, really, if I don’t, it’s likely to be lost forever. I got permission to make the text available, scanned the book and – finally – have started editing. It’s a slow process.
I’ll share on this site some stories regarding education/schools in the County starting with Mr. Harley Goodspeed of Edmeston, New York.
Harley’s memories before enrolling in school:
The first state road was between West Burlington and Edmeston was built as a test road approximately 71 years ago by labor imported from Italy. If you will note, there are very few stone walls around this section, but those that we have were brought in on stone boats by local people. The stones were broken up by sledge hammers and you will note today there are very few pot holes. This road really held up well. The Italians put up a large building which they used as living quarters. Their foreman was the only one who could speak English. I was 6 years old at the time, and the Italians, being away from home, took quite a liking to me. They invited me for supper at which they had a big pot of delicious stew. I asked the foreman what kind of meat was in it and he said robin’s legs! I nearly lost my supper! I found out that every Italian had a slingshot and could knock a bird off a post. They were happy-go-lucky people. Every night they would sing and play their accordians as there was nothing else to do.
Remembering the Edmeston school:
The reason I went to school so young is because my mother picked strawberries for Jerry Robinson, as we had a big family and times were hard. My teacher at school was Adrian Pierson who later on became the District Attorney of Otsego County. I attended the Edmeston school in a covered wagon with seats on each side where we sat. Riding on this bus were: May Saywer Patrick, Merle Sawyer Palmer, Bill and Jim Diamond, Harold Mack, and Lucille Welch. That is all I can remember. The school had Prof. Carpenter as principal, Mrs. Lee Lock as teacher of the high school, and Miss Costello and Anna Jeffery. The Palmer Method of penmanship was taught, and you will note today that we older people have very good penmanship. One instance that stands out in my mind quite vividly is that the bathrooms were downstairs in the school. On my way down, one day, I discovered a fire under the stairs. I had quite a time putting it out.
Early Edmeston High baseball:
Baseball? Yes, we had a baseball team, and had to furnish our own baseball suits. The catcher, pitcher, and first baseman were the only ones with gloves. I remember going to South New Berlin on the train. VanNess Robinson loaned me his baseball suit. I really thought I was some guy with that baseball suit on!
I suppose it’s time to get a textbook for the Palmer Method.