Past Memorial Day Observances
in Hamilton County
Newspaper Articles

Source: Hamilton County News. Donated by Annie Weaver. Permission for posting graciously provided by the Hamilton County News.

May 30, 1926

Special Memorial service were held at Grace Methodist Church in Speculator on Sunday, May 30, 1926.

May 1929

Memorial Day was observed with appropriate exercises at Long Lake. Following a program at Masonic Temple, a parade was led by a car carrying the towns only surviving Civil War Veteran, W. D. Jennings. American Legion Men carried the silken flag present by Mrs. Harper Silliman. Members of the Masonic fraternity, about 100 school children and members of the Eastern Star came next in line. Following decorations of the graves at the cemetery, the return march was made to Masonic Temple.

In honor of the dead, the Junior Red Cross of the Wells High School furnished flags for the graves in both cemeteries, which were placed on the graves the day before Declaration Day.

May 1937

Memorial Day was observed at Wells with a fitting parade that assembled at Over Rock Inn and exercises at the Catholic Cemetery. Stanley G. Schoonmaker was marshal, with aides George R. Babcock, Ralph Wilhelm, Judge Dennis Dillon, county Treasurer John Ostrander, District School Superintendent Charles B. Handley and county Clerk William B. Ronald.

The procession included: Civil War Veterans, Spanish War Veterans, Stanley Steves Post 1157, Harold Wilmot Post, World War veterans, Hamilton County Gold Star Mothers, Wells Central School, Ladies Aid Society, Post Ladies Auxiliary, Northville Band, Lake Pleasant Central School, Firing Squad, Boy Scouts, Red Cross, Speculator Fire Department, Civilian Conservation Corps Company, Women's Club of Speculator and Piseco Rural School.

Long Lake held a parade; formed at the schoolhouse, headed by Amos Lewis, flag bearer, and William Helms and John Clement, World War Veterans, as color guards. Graves were decorated. Aldis Lamos played "taps" and Gilbert Helms played the echo.

May 1938

The weather was perfect as 3,000 jammed Indian Lake for Memorial Day celebrations which featured Samuel Anibal, 91, as guest of honor. He was the last surviving Civil War veteran in Hamilton County.

The sun shone brilliantly all day and sunburns were numerous. One casualty occurred when a youth collapsed from the heat while listening to the addresses. He was taken into the school and quickly revived.

"Dad" Anibal, as he was familiarly known, braved the heat and made the still formidable 60-mile trip from his home to Benson to the services at Indian Lake. Anibal had handled cannons, been a farmer, a lumberjack, hotel man, caretaker of estates, square dance caller and knew all the best fishing holes in the region.

Anibal was an ardent card player, frequently went fishing alone, rowing his own boat, and enjoyed to the utmost the modern "swing" music on the radio. Only three years earlier he had been official square dance caller for all the jam sessions held in and around Benson. He had been for about five years caretaker of the summer home of attorney John L. Hill, New York, at Piseco Lake. He lived with his daughter, Mrs. George Darling, in Benson. Also surviving was one brother, Charles W., also of the area.

Anibal met up with a temperance worker about 1936. One thing led to another, and the temperance worker marveled at his fine physical condition, declaring that anyone who indulged in intoxicants certainly couldn't have any stomach at all or even be alive at his advanced age. In other words, Anibal was the living model of the temperance worker's ideal. Anibal didn't take that lying down. "Why I've been drinking gin straight for 60 years and I'll stack my stomach up against the digestive organs of any temperance worker!" he retorted.

In 1938 Anibal still insisted on his gin straight, except, when there were only a few drops left in the bottle. Then he cut it with water to conserve the last drop until he hi-balled it down to the nearest dispensary for refueling.

The Parade and unveiling of the World War Soldiers monument was said to be the biggest day Indian Lake had ever known. The granite monument located at the right of the school grounds was inscribed:

In memory of
Sheridan Farrell, Clarence Tracy,
who Died in Action, World War, 1917, 1918

Honor Roll:
Aaron Arnold,
Irwin Arnold,
Charles Bennett,
Joe Benton,
Ralph Bonesteel,
Bert Brown,
Ernest Brown,
Vinton Burgess,
Melvin Campney,
Benjamin Cleveland,
Claude Cleveland,
Frank Cleveland,
Gerald Cross,
William Cross,
Bernard Farrell,
Guy Fish,
Bert Fish,
Albert Hall,
Leo LaPrairie,
Frank McGinn,
Arvin Moulton,
Louis Ovitt,
Wallace Payne,
Francis Rea,
Eddie Saunders,
Byron Smith,
Gideon Savarie,
Ernest Virgil,
George Virgil.

Mrs. William McCane was credited with raising the money to make the celebrations possible. The school and church in Blue Mountain Lake united in a memorial service, after which, the children and a number of older people went to the cemetery where prayer was offered and the graves of soldiers decorated.

May 1940

Hamilton County celebrated its Centennial Celebration and honored its war dead on Memorial Day. The observances began at the Courthouse in Lake Pleasant at 11 a.m. where speakers commemorated the existence of Hamilton County for 100 years.

Then at Speculator, a parade formed at Camp Maryland, went east along the state highway to the intersection at the village, then to Downey's Garage and finally to the village baseball field where the speakers' stand was located. Assistant Attorney General Edward G. O'Neill presided over the Memorial Day observance.

The Junior Fife, Drum and Bugle Corps of Johnstown Post of the American Legion gave an opening selection followed by the invocation by the Rev. Clarence Winchell, Speculator. Acting Mayor Charles Downey gave the welcome. Edward Perkins recited the Gettysburg Address. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Capt. M. J. Tighe, Assistant Collector, Internal Revenue, New York City.

The benediction was given by the Rev. Father Charles Neukirch. Charles Greybeck played "Taps" and the Northville High School Band played the National Anthem. The Centennial Committee of the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors consisted of Chairman Kenneth Sturges of Lake Pleasant, Leon Perry of Wells, Arthur Fowler of Benson and Edward Call of Hope.

Last Updated: Wednesday, 14-May-2008 13:36:12 PDT
Copyright © 2007:  Annie Weaver