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She Was A Player

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Carrie Turner, playerI was intrigued some years ago when I came across this gravestone in the Albany Rural Cemetery:

wife of
John Mack,
1863 – 1897

she was a player, that
taking her all in all
we shall not look
upon her like again.

A contemporary publicity piece said of her: “An excellent actress, who has created many important roles in favorite
modern dramas is Miss Carrie Turner, favorably known to American
playgoers, and especially to those of New York and Boston, where she
was for several years leading lady in prominent companies. She was the
original of ‘Niobe’ in the play of that name, and also
created the part of Mrs. Eastlake Chapel, in ‘The Crust of
Society.’ She was the leading lady of the Boston Theatre Stock
Company for some time before starting out as a star in ‘The Edge
of Society,’ for the season of 1893-94. Miss Turner has earned
her way to public favor by hard work and careful study, and is
thoroughly artistic in all she does, showing great versatility as well
as ability.”

When she died, it was noted in the New York Times with the following


She passes away at the Dansville Sanitarium After a Long Career on the

Albany, Oct. 12 (1897) — Carrie Turner, the well-known actress, and
the wife of John Mack of this city, died at the sanitarium at
Dansville to-day. She was born in Albany, and made her first public
appearance here.

Carrie Turner was for years a favorite in New York. She was a member
of Daniel Frohman’s Madison Square Theatre company, and appeared as
leading lady in several of the most successful plays produced by it.
While yet on the stage she was married to Albert J. His, a Swiss.
After her retirement she went to Switzerland to live with him, but the
marriage was not a happy one, and she returned to this country,
bringing her child with her. She obtained a divorce here, which the
Swiss courts refused to recognize, and as the husband continued to
demand possession of the child, there was for a time an international
question, over which there was some diplomatic correspondence. A
compromise was finally made.

Miss Turner returned to the American stage, and with Steel Mackaye,
played in “Paul Kauvar.” Later she appeared here and
elsewhere in Charles Frohman’s “Sporting Duchess” company.

And not to beat this to death, but a book available on Google Books,
“The Drama, Painting, Poetry, and Song” by Albert Ellery
Berg, says: “Actresses like Miss Carrie Turner, Miss Clara
Spence, Mrs. Davenport, Mrs. Drew, Miss McHenry, and others who might
be named, have won their places by force of talent and

34 years old when she died. Carrie, we hardly knew ye.

Never let it be said that Hoxsie is a player hater.

William H. Hallenbeck, Popular Milliner

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1898 CFL History Hallenbeck Milliner.png

There just aren’t enough milliners in today’s world. Or at least they don’t go by that name. It specifically referred to one who designed, made or trimmed women’s hats. According to Amasa Parker’s “Landmarks of Albany County,” William Henry Hallenbeck was born in Knox in 1859, and was of an old Albany Dutch family. His family moved into Albany in 1868. He clerked in a grocery store for five years and then became a clerk for J.&J. Doran, dealers in woodenware, In 1889 he set out on his own with a wholesale and retail millinery business at 92 South Pearl Street. In addition to being a millinery man, he was a bit of a joiner: he was a member of two lodges of the Knights of Pythias, a Free and Accepted Mason, and an Odd Fellow. His fine store was probably just about where the South Mall Arterial flies over South Pearl Street today.

Nailed it!

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1898 CFL History Nails required.png

Also from the 1898 history of Albany’s Central Federation of Labor, a very useful guide to how many nails one might need for a particular carpentry task. From having done extensive renovations on old houses, I can attest that a pound of nails in a single doorframe wasn’t considered excessive.

Blackboard Jungle

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1898 CFL History Coating Blackboards.png

The Illustrated History of the Central Federation of Labor of Albany from 1898 is a delightful collection of the informative, historical, and unusual. Not apropos of Albany in any way, but Hoxsie was tickled to find this recipe for creating liquid slating to coat blackboards. Yes, the liquid could be purchased ready for use, but if that wasn’t convenient, then all one had to do was mix up shellac, spirits wine, ivory black, flour emory, and ultramarine. Hoxsie wants to live in a world where those items are just lying around when the pre-mixed stuff is hard to come by.

D. Powers and Sons, Lansingburgh

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Before linoleum, ceramic tile, and hardwood veneers, there were two ways to cover the floors in your home: paint, and oil cloth. The first manufacturer of oil cloth in the United States was William Powers of Lansingburgh. Weise, in his “The City of Troy and its Vicinity,” writes: “The first oil-cloth was made in Lansingburgh by William Powers, who, on June 17, 1817, advertised himself as a manufacturer of it. His wife and sons, Albert E. and Nathaniel B. Powers, under the firm-name of Deborah Powers & Sons, have for many years continued the business in the large buildings on the west and east sides of Second Avenue, (State Street), in the south part of the village.”

William Powers was born in New Hampshire, and came to Lansingburgh around 1812, working first in a meat market and then teaching public school. He started the oil cloth business in 1817, later branching into paint manufacture and oil refining. Eventually they moved into the production of linoleum, which was canvas impregnated with powdered cork. He died in an accident at the factory in 1852. Deborah continued the business with her sons, and she lived to the age of 100, dying in 1891. In 1883 she founded the Powers Home for Old
Ladies. The building still stands at 3rd Avenue and 123rd Street, though the grounds have been developed.

Albert and Nathaniel became major landholders in Lansingburgh. When the Bank of Lansingburgh failed, the family stepped in and established the Bank of D. Powers and Sons, which for many years was the only bank in the village. The brothers also owned the Ivoroid Manufacturing Company (a maker of imitation ivory from celluloid, another local invention) and the Green Island Foundry. Albert also became a trustee of RPI, as well as holding local titles.

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The Jackson Corps

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English: Andrew Jackson - 7 th President of th...

English: Andrew Jackson – 7 th President of the United States (1829-1837) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the mid-19th century, there was a proliferation of military organizations, usually politically affiliated militias. They owned armories and guns, they marched in parades and were called on during unrest. One of those was Albany’s Jackson Corps, which was formed from the Young Men’s Democratic Association in 1868 and named for General Andrew Jackson, the hero of New Orleans. A group of Civil War veterans came up with the idea of organizing as a military company; Munsell reports that “the idea was received with enthusiasm, and pushed forward with vigor, resulting int he organization of the Albany Jackson Guards, August 13, 1868.” Among the officers, by the way, was one George W. Hoxsie, the namesake of this site.

To modern ears, having organized groups of armed men with political
affiliations sounds like something less than a good idea. But the
organization, and others like it, was held in high regard. “For a year of two the organization was known as the Jackson Guards, after which the name was changed to the Albany Jackson Corps. In political campaigns the organization formed the popular Jacksonians, and took part in all the great political demonstrations occurring during the ensuing ten years.” They also marked in just about every parade, escorted governors to inaugural ceremonies,  attended the laying of the cornerstone of the New Capitol, and were the Guard of Honor as the body of General Grant lay in state in it. When there was rioting during the railroad strike of 1877, the Jackson Corps was dispatched to guard the upper railroad bridge (the Livingston Avenue Bridge) to prevent sabotage.

As noted earlier this week, the building that had served as its armory, at 38 Beaver Street, was transformed into the Hotel Columbia, which burned along with the Second Dutch Church Building in 1892. 

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As we noted yesterday, there used to be a Second Dutch Church down on Beaver Street, along with a once-sizable burying ground. The graves were mostly moved, and the church was remodeled into a printing office after 1881, which was home to J.B. Lyons, then the official state printer, and the then-small shop of C.F. Williams. On Sept. 12, 1892, the whole thing went up in flames, taking several other buildings, burning clear through from Beaver to Hudson, and destroying several State commissions’ annual reports that had been printed and bound in Lyons’ shop.

“This building ran through from Beaver Street to Hudson Avenue and had been remodelled some years ago from the old Dutch Reformed Church to a commodious building five stories high on Hudson Avenue and two stories on Beaver Street, having a frontage on both streets of about 125 feet,” the New York Times reported. “Mr. Lyons’s establishment occupied the Beaver Street side of the building, except the northeast corner of the ground floor, which was occupied by the C.F. Williams Printing Company.”

The printers weren’t the only establishments; on the Hudson Avenue side of the building were Russell Lyman, shirt and collar manufacturer; Hughes & Simpson, paper-box manufacturers; the Albany Caramel Company; F.G. Mix, agent for the Columbus Wagon Company; W.C. Gell, umbrellas; John Ingmire, paperhanger; and H.H. Walsh, saddlery.

“The flames spread through from street to street with frightful rapidity, and in twenty minutes the whole interior of the building was a seething crater. As the heavy machinery and burning timbers fell they crushed through the lower floors, carrying tons of blazing woodwork.”

The fire spread to the back of the Hotel Columbia on Beaver Street, formerly the armory of the Jackson Corps, and on into the Hotel Fort Orange. “High above stood the old church belfry. About 2:30 o’clock there was a warning cry from the outskirts of the crowd on Hudson Avenue, and a second later the lofty wall swayed for an instant, then bulged in the middle and came crashing into the street. The warning had just given the firemen at work time to flee. Other sections of the wall followed. The debris crashed through store windows on the opposite side of the street.”

J.B. Lyons was offered the facilities of the Argus, owned by Mayor Manning, until he could get on his feet. Williams Printing continued on as well. Happily, even the Albany Caramel Company survived at least another few years.

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