One Hundred Years Ago at the Village Board

Scotia Village Board Minutes November-December 1917 (summary)

Nov 1, 1917

Financial matters related to the Special Street Fund.
The Building Committee instructed to purchase a new American flag for use at the Village Hall, and if money is available, to put a flag staff on the roof.
Schenectady County will be paid $333.13 in 1918 for repairs and maintenance of the State Highway within the Village (22,209 square yards). This will be included in the Village budget and tax levy.
Pay Ellis B. Edgar towards sewer work.
Payroll and bill payments approved.

Nov. 19, 1917

A meeting was set up for December 3 about the assessments for sidewalks on Third St. All interested parties to be notified 10 days in advance.
Discussion of payoff of Ballston St. improvement bonds from 1914.
Board to offer a reward of $10 to anyone supplying information leading to arrest and conviction of any person or persons breaking street lights in the Village of Scotia.

Dec. 3, 1917

Meeting opened with request for any complaints related to the Third Street sidewalk construction. No complaints were offered. Therefore the following amounts were payable by December 17. [A list of the lots, owners and amounts payable followed.]
GE has repaired the leak in the suction pipe on the new water pump installed by them at the Scotia Water Works. Therefore, pay balance due of $190.27.
Clerk to purchase another section of book case for the office, not to exceed $5.50.
Bids opened and read for decorating the inside of the Village Hall. Low bid of $125 from Joseph Clark accepted [range was $125-$295. The work to be done included paint and varnish.]
Pay Ellis B. Edgar for sewer work.
A petition from property owners on First St., headed by L.E. Dempster, about correcting the grade of a portion of the street. This is not possible now, but it will be looked at in the spring.
Payroll and payment of bills approved.

Dec. 17, 1917

Discussion of financial matters related to sewer bonds.
Transfer money from Street Fund to Special Street Fund to pay the Village part of the Third Street sidewalk.
Pay D. G. Belcher $170.44 for constructing the sidewalk.
Payroll and payment of bills approved.


The Tree at Wallace and First


This tree, which many of us pass almost daily, has a very interesting history. It was planted in 1932 to commemorate the bicentennial of George Washington’s birth. The story was told in a newspaper clipping from the Scotia-Glenville Journal, January 1962. Under the photo is a transcription of the caption, followed by the article that appeared next to it.

Caption to photograph:
Planting a tree
The magnificent and stately green spruce tree at the corner of Ballston Ave. and Wallace St., which this year delighted residents with gay Christmas lights, was planted on May 5, 1932, by the Eaglet den of cub pack 2, shown here conducting a simple tree planting ceremony. Those cubs of many years ago are from left to right: Garrett Veeder, Robert Beuchner, Richard Dunham, Douglas Bainbridge, James Muddle, and Warren Burnham. The photo is in the possession of Mrs. G. H. Bainbridge.

[The accompanying article]

Fun starts
Christmas tree story reveals history of tree

By Bobette

​Mayor Earl Campbell first told me of the tree—Scotia’s own living Christmas tree at the corner of Ballston Ave. and Wallace St. Bill Adams of the Scotia department of public works gave me the few facts he could find about the tree’s planting and its present decorations. And a small article appeared on the editorial page of the Dec. 20 Journal.

But then things started happening. Mrs. J. H. Steadwell, 10 Vine St., contacted the Journal. She had some clippings on the original planting of the tree! And here is the rest of the story.

From Mrs. G. H. Bainbridge, 32 Washington Rd., I received a clipping about the planting of the tree. On May 5, 1932, the Eaglet den of cub pack 2 held a simple tree-planting ceremony in honor of the George Washington Bi-Centennial. The entire pack under the leadership of Harlan H. Barney, cubmaster, attended the tree planting. Mr. Bainbridge, then committee chairman of pack 2, received permission to plant the tree on village land. The tree, donated by Mr. Bigwood of the Bigwood Nurseries on Saratoga Road, was a Colorado green spruce less than tree feet tall. The cubs planted the tree, placing at its roots a container with information about the cub pack and about the tree-planting ceremony. The Eaglet den put on the program, with Garrett Veeder, Thorman Hulse, Douglas Bainbridge, Richard Dunham, Robert Beuchner, James Muddle, Warren Burnham, and “Cubs Franklin and Scott” taking part.

According to this original clipping, “it is the wish of the cubs that this spruce may grow into a beautiful sturdy landmark, not only to honor the great Father of the country but to make the village more beautiful by its presence.”

“The Eaglet’s Spruce” written for this original ceremony is as follows.
A tree! A tree! Let’s plant it here
And watch it grow from year to year,
Its leafy branches spread on high
Always reaching towards the sky,
Rain to quench its thirsty roots,
Sun to make it grand in looks,
Snow to shield from wintry blast,
And loved by all who this way pass.

All the boys of the Eaglet den who helped plant this tree received a certificate from the American Tree Association, stating that they had planted a tree in honor of George Washington and that they were members of the association.

More than fifteen years later, near Christmas 1947, cub pack 2 had an informal reunion at the tree. It was now more than 30 feet tall and was being decorated by the village. In a heavy snow storm, the original Eaglet den, now grown men, told the story of the tree’s planting, and Douglas Bainbridge read “The Eaglets’ Spruce” just as he had at the original ceremony. The reunion was supervised by cubmaster Adolph Pinkney and the pack committeemen. About 60 members, parents, guests, and former members of the pack attended. Among the official guests was Mayor William Turnbull.

​Now 15 years later, the tree is in the news again. 55 feet tall, it is decorated by the village department of public works, with the assistance of a fireman and the fire department’s long aerial truck. And now it requires 250 lights.

This is the way a story grows. And this is the way a tree grows. Cub pack 2 and the original Eaglet den have seen their memorial to George Washington turn into the “beautiful sturdy landmark” they hoped for. Many thanks to the people who helped me enlarge this story. And our grateful appreciation to the Eaglets who thought of beautifying the village thirty long years ago!

[Spelling, capitalization, etc., as in the original. Remember ladies—we were almost always called by our husband’s name only, in newspapers and most other public documents. –B.C.]

Portrait of Martha Reese

This portrait of Martha St. John Reese is a companion piece to her husband David F. Reese’s portrait posted earlier. It is also housed at the Schenectady County Historical Society and painted by Earl Bridges of Albany.

On the back it gives the date of 1836-7, the same as David’s. It also lists her name as Marcy Reese (why it appears rubbed out we’ll never know). Marcy is a possible nickname for Martha. (See

Martha was David’s first wife; they married in 1829, they had 6 children, and she died at age 39 in 1844. David married 3 more times: to Susan Quackenbush in 1845 (one child); to Margaret Clute in 1854; to Margaret Viele VanSlyck (widow) in 1866.

We have genealogy notes on the Reese family, but they were compiled many years back. Information is more easily available today, so it may be time for a new look. (Anyone interested in starting that project? Just email me and we can get together to chat about it.)

Mystery Tool Answer

The tool is a slate (or slater’s) ripper. It removes damaged slates from the roof so they can be replaced. The thin blade reaches under the slate, the hooks at the end grab the nail; the curved part gives you a place to hit with a hammer and cut the nails.
Here’s a simple explanation (there are more detailed ones available too).

100 Years Ago at the Village Board, Sept-Oct, 1917

Village of Scotia Board Meetings (summary) Sept-Oct, 1917

September 4

Pay Ellis B. Edgar $835.53, 86% of sewer contract completed.
Advertise for bids for construction of Third St. sidewalk that was not completed by the owners.
Street Commissioner instructed to fix Catherine St. between Ten Broeck and Center to do away with water hole.
Clerk instructed to sell the 1 ½ “ centrifugal pump at the Pumping Station for $60.
Payroll and list of bills approved.

September 17

Bids for $10,000 worth of Village of Scotia Bonds opened and read—bid of H.A. Kahler & Co. accepted with a bid of $100.18, interest at rate of 4.9% per annum.
Sidewalk construction bids (2). Bid given to D. G. Belcher.
Resolution: Board to serve as committee to talk to State Highway and to Schenectady County about paving Sacandaga Rd. Property owners and village citizens to act if these meetings fail to get action.
Erik Olsen petitioned to construct a sewer from the end of Ten Broeck (s. of Riverside) to his house at 44 Ten Broeck, to be inspected by the Superintendent of Sewers. He will submit the expenses to the Village upon completion.
Nicholas & Elizabeth Paone, whose assessment was in error as the house had burned, were refunded 94 cents in taxes.
Ellis B. Edgar to be paid the final payment on sewer work.
George E. VanVorst to be paid for completing plumbing and heating at the Engineer’s Residence at the Water Works Pumping Station.
Clerk to purchase one copy of Bender’s Village Laws 1917 edition (Matthew Bender Co.) for $6.50.
President authorized to have the sidewalk on Center St. on the property of N.I. Skinkle adjusted to the proper grade.
Street Commissioner is to charge 35 cents per load for all Village dirt delivered on private property.
Payroll and bills approved for payment.

Special Meeting Sept. 27

Legal forms and paperwork related to the previous resolution about the Screening Chamber and Outfall Sewer bonds.
Interest (2 payments of $24.50) to be paid in “gold coin of the United States of America of the present standard weight and fineness.”

October 1, 1917

Petition for sidewalks on Ballston St. to be referred to Street Committee.
GE completed pumping outfit installation except for leak in one of the joints. Pay 90% until fixed.
Payroll and bills approved.

October 15, 1917

Pay James Haley & Sons for completing the house on Scotia Water Works property.
Pay Ellis B Edgar for 85% of sewer work done.
Contract with New York Central Rail Road to access their land to lay and maintain 18” terra cotta sewer pipes under the tracks at Iroquois St., 3960 feet west of the Schenectady station. Cost $10.
Payroll and bills approved.

December Mystery Tool

December Mystery Tool—Take it outside to do some home repair before winter (you probably don’t want to use it when it’s raining or icy).

David F. Reese Portrait

Portrait of David F. Reese, who lived at today’s Flint House, painted by Earl Bridges of Albany, NY in 1837. The Schenectady County Historical Society owns the painting, and we will be able to make a reproduction to hang in the house. (Thanks to Susanna Fout and the SCHS!)

The Reese family was prominent in the local broomcorn and broom industry in Scotia/Glenville in the mid-1800s.

David Reese was born Dec. 16, 1796, and with his age of 40 prominently inscribed on the back it’s easy to date. He died on Oct. 14, 1867.

The canvas is 24 X 30, and the elaborate frame adds another 5 inches to each side.

The painting was originally donated to the Schenectady Museum in March, 1947 by Mrs. John


Fall Open House on Saturday

Open House at the Flint House

Saturday, October 14, 1-4 p.m.

Stop by for a tour of the Flint House and learn about the history of Scotia and the Mohawk Valley broomcorn industry. There will be a craft project for kids, and, depending on the weather, artists painting outside on the lawn.

The Flint House is one of the oldest buildings in Scotia, and the park land surrounding it has been farmed for hundreds of years.

The address is 421 S. Reynolds Street in Scotia.

Here is one of Lillian Flint’s elf pictures. We have several more–as well as some of the actual elves–in the house