Category Archives: Uncategorized

Fannie Hayner: License to Teach

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CertificateofMerit3.jpgAmazing what you can find at the Library of Congress. For instance, a whole envelope of certificates marking the accomplishments of Fannie Hayner, from her own school days to when she became a school teacher.

Fannie Orintha Hayner appears to have been born around 1850, and lived in the Town of Grafton in 1860. These certificates or rewards of merit are undated so we don’t know how old she was when they were awarded by David Manon (?) or Mary Abel, or the fabulously florid H.B.(?) Burdick, her teachers.



CertificateofMerit1.jpgBut we do know that in 1869, Amos H. Allen, School Commissioner for the Second Assembly District in the County of Rensselaer, found Fannie qualified to teach second grade, in any town in the district (!).

How long she taught, we don’t know. She was married to Calvin B. Dunham on May 16, 1870 (says a family tree on Ancestry).

She and Calvin apparently had four children, the last in 1879, which was also the year that Fannie died, very young. Could have been childbirth, of course. Her last child, Marcia O. Dunham, was living in Washington, D.C., when these certificates and more were sent to her in an envelope from Shroder’s Studio, 20 Third St., Troy.

Fannie is buried in Grafton Center Cemetery.

Besieged, I tell you!

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Altamont boarding houses.pngIn 1948, the Altamont Enterprise, listed in the New York State Vacation Guide as “a source of information,” was besieged – besieged, I tell you! – with cards and letters from New York, Brooklyn, perhap even as far away as Staten Island, beseeching them to provide information on guest farms, boarding houses and other summer resorts in the hilltowns. “Especially desired are listings from Berne, East Berne, West Berne, Gallupville, South Berne, Thacher Park area, as well as those ‘below the hill.'”

It was a different time.

Time, something I’m short of

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Afraid that Hoxsie has no time to come up with anything new, possibly for the entire week. It’s just that kind of week. So instead of something new, enjoy something you never read before anyway: some historical thoughts on time. Which I’m out of.

And while you’re at it, how about a little Twitter love? Hoxsie’s not doing this for his health, ya know. Well, maybe he is. That’s not the point. The point is, you’re on Twitter, Hoxsie’s on Twitter, and you want to know when the new stuff starts up again, don’t ya? Okay then. Click the button.

Comedy History

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rooster fly over a fence.pngHistorians of comedy, please take note. Hoxsie has found an important moment in the evolution of The Joke. The Altamont (N.Y.) Enterprise of July 21, 1888, featured on its front page what is clearly an early evolutionary form of one of the most important jokes of the 20th century (and beyond). Like most predecessors, it looks both familiar and yet not quite right. The punchline has almost reached its final form, though the pronoun and verb will eventually be cast off, brevity being the soul of wit, and the preposition will shift, as prepositions are wont to do. The set-up, however, is clearly from the Pre-Humorous Period. The “rooster” of this set-up will be replaced by the less specific “chicken,” always presumed to be a hen and much more likely to be found by the side of … well, not by a fence. The fence proved to be an insufficient separation to provide much humor, and flight too easy a way to get from the set-up to the punchline. The tense will shift to the past, where all 1-2, Q&A jokes reside. But somewhere, somewhen, an oldster has to have told a youngster, “You know, in my day, that joke was about a rooster flying over the fence.” And he liked it better that way.

Rubber salesman

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WH Cleary.pngSadly, there’s no Albany connection to this one, but I just thought it worthy of note that in 1919, “Boot and Shoe Recorder” saw fit to inform us that W.H. Cleary was the oldest rubber salesman in active service. On his mustache, they had no comment.

Control your garage door . . . by radio!

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1964 Crawford Door Sales.pngApparently, in 1964, opening your garage door by remote control was something akin to magic. That’s the only explanation why you’d want to find a creepy wand-waver in a tux and top hat waiting for you when you arrived home. Actually, I guess he’s the reason you’d want to be able to open the door by radio from the dash of your moving car . . . never slowing down for the creepy magician.

Crawford was around for a long time but is now part of Pella Windows and Doors.


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Grand StaircaseIn 1917, George wanted to let Miss Blanche Barker of Turin, N.Y., know that he’d be spending his vacation in Albany Sunday.

Hoxsie’s taking a little vacation, too. Back in a few days.