April Mystery Tool Answer

The tool is a currier’s knife and is used in the production of leather. A currier’s work was to scrape and soften the rough hides after the tanner had treated them.

The hide was stretched and then washed and scrubbed to soften it. Next the inner side of the skin was made more even by the use of the currying knife. The blade was set at a right angle so it could shave the leather like a wood plane. If the currier made a mistake, the hide could be ruined.

The leather could also be split into different widths and thicknesses and then treated (one method used beef tallow and cod liver oil).

After that it could be stained or dyed and turned into the finished product.

(Illustration from A Museum of Early American Tools by Eric Sloane)


April Mystery Tool

It looks like a blade, but the handles are so odd. It is a specialty tool, so you would be an expert in a particular trade if you knew how to use this one.

Happy Birthday New York State


New York State is 240 years old today!

Read more about it at:
(Article on page 2 of the newsletter.)

The New York Public Library has many old maps available on their website like the one above from 1795.

The original state constitution is held in the New York State Archives, and you can view it online in their digital collections.


100 years ago at the Village Board, March & April 1917

(A silent policeman was authorized by the board in March 1917.)

Minutes, March & April 1917

[As March was the time village elections were held and the beginning of the fiscal year, there is a lot going on!]

March 5, 1917

The office of the Treasurer will be at the Village Hall and all transactions will take place there, and all records and village property kept there. Salary will be $300.

Village Clerk salary is $1200.

Propositions to be published and posted before election day, which is March 20th:

  • Sanitary sewer to be placed in Sacandaga Rd. between Sixth & the village line at Toll St.
  • Surface sewer to be placed in Sacandaga Rd. from Mohawk to the village line at Toll St.
  • To appropriate funds for a building on the Village Water Works property for use of the engineer to maintain the pumps.

Annual reports were accepted from: Street Commissioner, Water Committee, the Board of Fire Commissioners, Sewer Committee, Light Committee, Finance Committee, Treasurer.

The Treasurer’s report to be printed, along with summaries of the others, and mailed out with the water bills.

The budget for the next fiscal year was submitted, as follows:

General Fund                                                    $8, 785                 Water                                                                   $18, 978                 Sewer                                                                   $8, 463                 Street                                                                   $7, 905
Drainage Sewer                                                  $ 1, 607                 Fire                                                                        $2, 051                 Light                                                                      $2, 589                 Health                                                                   $1,108

Total is $51, 486, with $38, 122 to be raised by taxes.

Interesting items: the Street fund included money for a driver and horses, and the Health Fund planned to cover expenses for milk inspection. (No details provided.)

March 19, 1917

Bills submitted to be paid.

March 26, 1917

Following the village elections.

New Trustees elected to serve until Mar. 25, 1918: President: Augustus H. Lasher Trustees: Frank H. Field, Stanley E. Ford, Horton S. Potter, LeRoy R. Wood

Mr. F.F. Lamboy appointed Superintendent of Water & Sewers and Plumbing Inspector for one year at a salary of $1200.

Charles W. Matthews appointed as Assistant to the Superintendent of Water & Sewers at a salary of $1000. He will pay rent of $12.50 per month for the village house at the pumping station when it is completed.

The Superintendent of Water & Sewers can employ laborers at a rate not to exceed $2.25 per day.

The Street Commissioner may employ George Keefer as driver of the village team for $70 per month, and he may hire laborers as needed at a rate not to exceed $2.25 per day.

Maurice B. Flinn was appointed Village Attorney at $500 per year for regular services. Any litigation will be paid separately. He may also earn a 1% fee on bonds or obligations he may sell.

The village will carry bonds as follows: Treasurer, $10,000; Clerk, $5,000; Street Commissioner, $100.

The Schenectady Trust Company is the official depository for Village funds.

The President is empowered to provide police protection as necessary, not to exceed $25 per month.

W. F. Chadsey is appointed Village Engineer at $7.50 per day.

“The Village President [will] be given full power to direct the Village Engineer to furnish grade stakes when he deems it necessary and proper.” [No indication of what grade stakes are–]

The Schenectady Gazette is the official newspaper for all required notices and ordinances.

Carl Henry Krueger is appointed Fire Commissioner for a 3-year term.

Dates for future board meetings listed.

The village will continue to rent a safe deposit box at the Schenectady Trust Company.

Burglar Insurance for the Village Hall to be purchased at $1000 coverage for the year.

Accounts for the fiscal year ending Feb. 28, 1917 were examined and were found to be true and correct by the Finance Committee; also the Treasurer and Clerk have accounted for all monies.

The Street Commissioner may purchase such gravel as he may require, not to exceed $25 per month.

The Water and Building Committees will prepare plans and specifications for the building near the water pumps, proposition approved by vote at the elections, and submit as soon as possible.

The President is authorized to enter into a contract with GE for equipment at the pumping station, as quoted Feb. 2, 1917.

The Building Committee will have the Hook & Ladder Company rooms repaired and redecorated, not to exceed $80.

One silent policemen to be purchased from the Traffic Sign Co. for use of the Police Department. [http://theoldmotor.com/?p=139408; also see http://www.crotonfriendsofhistory.org/dummy-forever/. You may have seen the “silent policeman” still in Canajoharie. We don’t know, however, exactly what the Scotia one looked like.]

The Street Commissioner will purchase 2 tons of hay at $16 per ton.

A water gauge will be placed in the home of the Water Committee.

A communication from the Mayor of Schenectady will be referred to the Railroad Committee. [Contents was not mentioned.]

Committees for the year: Finance (Wood, Field, Lasher); Sewers and Buildings (Ford); Water (Field); Lights and Railroads (Potter); Streets (Lasher).

April 2, 1917

Bonds for the Treasurer and Clerk accepted.

Property owners to be notified of installments due for road improvements: Schon-o-we, Mohawk from Ballston to the village line; Mohawk & Washington.

Proposals put out for the sewer work in Sacandaga Rd.

The Superintendent of Water will have the hydrants painted.

Bills were submitted for payment.

April 16, 1917

Bids received for the sewer project were all too high and were rejected.

A petition was received for a sidewalk on both sides of Third St. A hearing will be held May 21.

Plans for a house at the pumping station were accepted and will be sent to contractors.

The Clerk will purchase 3500 stamped envelopes for use of the Water Department (maximum $76).

As to the application of Lewis Marino for a street light on Cuthbert St.—“conditions do not justify the expense at this time.”

The President will authorize any necessary steps to protect the Water Pumping Station.

The Street Commissioner is authorized to spend no more than $50 to improve Reynolds St.

The Engineer will prepare a profile showing the proper grade for Wyman St. (between Riverside & Larkin) and Larkin (below Wyman and Reynolds).

Payroll approved; bills submitted for payment.

April 20, 1917

A special meeting held about the bids for sewers on Sacandaga Rd.


U.S. enters World War I (part 2)

The music industry got right to work producing popular songs about the war. Below is the cover art (often quite elaborate) and lyrics to the chorus for several songs. The first two (as well as many other songs) can be found on the website www.firstworldwar.com. There you can listen to original recordings of this music, just as the folks 100 years ago did.

Not sure what our debt to Lafayette and France is? Look up your Revolutionary War history, especially the Battle of Yorktown.

Let’s start with one you probably know already:

You’re a grand old flag you’re a high-flying flag,
And forever in peace may you wave.
You’re the emblem of the land I love,
The home of the free and the brave.
Ev’ry heart beats true under Red, White, and Blue,
Where there’s never a boast or brag;
But should auld acquaintance be forgot,
Keep your eye on the grand old flag. 


Goodbye Broadway, Hello France,
We’re ten million strong,
Goodbye sweethearts wives and mothers,
It won’t take us long,
Don’t you worry while we’re there,
It’s for you we’re fighting too,
So Goodbye Broadway, Hello France,
We’re going to square our debt to you.


One thought of mother, at home alone,
Feeble and old and gray;
One of the sweetheart he left in town,
Happy and young and gay.
One kissed a ringlet of thin gray hair,
One kissed a lock of brown,
Bidding farewell to the Stars and Stripes,
Just as the sun went down.


Somewhere in France is Daddy
Somewhere in France is he
Fighting for home and country
Fighting, my lad, for liberty
I pray ev’ry night for the Allies
And ask God to help them win
For our Daddy won’t come back ‘till the Stars and Stripes they’ll tack
On Kaiser Williams’ flag staff in Berlin.


Now’s our chance to pay our debt
We owe France and Lafayette
And never were we better off than now.
Our boys to France have gone
To drive out the Turk and Hun
And Lafayette, we’ll pay our debt to you.


If I am not at the roll-call,
After the fighting is done,
Won’t you be kind to my mother,
Just for her soldier son?
Tell her I know how she loves me,
And prays for me constantly,
May angels attend her,
Brave comrade befriend her,
And kiss her goodbye for me!


Wake up, America,
If we are called to war,
Are we prepared to give our lives
For our sweethearts and wives?
Are our mothers and our homes worth fighting for?
Let us pray, God, for peace, but peace with honor,
But let’s get ready to answer duty’s call,
So when Old Glory stands unfurled,
Let it mean to all the world,
America is ready, that’s all!

Besides stirring us up to patriotism, the music business wanted to help with the war effort as well.

Below is a close-up of the notice on the front cover, and then two pieces of music together–you can see how much smaller they sometimes made them to conserve paper. (The larger one, typical at that time, is 10.5 x 13.5 inches.)


More resources:

If you didn’t catch the American Experience World War I series on PBS, you may be able to watch it online, or check the schedule for additional airings.

The National Archives has a link to its vast collection on the homepage at www.archives.gov

Gov. Cuomo has also announced a new website for the World War I Centennial Commission at



100 years ago today U.S. enters World War I

This is the front page of the Schenectady Gazette from April 6, 1917. We have a copy in a giant-size scrapbook donated to the Flint House by Marjorie Englehardt.

Below is a list of Scotia men–and women–who served in the war. This clipping is undated. I copied it at the Glenville History Center. Joan Szablewski, the Glenville Historian, has collected lots of information about all the wars Glenville citizens have experienced.

The New York State Archives “preserves the service cards of every New Yorker who served….and over 300,000 photos, letters and records from service members at home and overseas.” (www.archives.nysed.gov)

They also have a link to the free New York records available on ancestry.com.

The Library of Congress has many records as well; they recently posted issues of the Stars and Stripes newspaper, which was published for soldiers of this war.