Busted for baseball
Mickey Major was among 18 men arrested in one of the most talked-out police cases of 1913 in Auburn, N.Y. The crime? Playing baseball on a Sunday.
 


Have teasels, will travel

Our family includes the McLaughlins of Skaneateles, NY, whose unusual business had them setting up offices in Europe.

Three Major brothers emigrated from Ireland in the mid-1800s, and settled in Skaneateles, NY, but one soon moved to Buffalo.

In the early 1900s, three Smolinski brothers from Kolno, Poland, then controlled by Russia, came to the United States. Two of them settled in Solvay, NY, the third joined the U. S. Army, and was assigned to West Point.

James "40 Acres" McLaughlin left Ireland in 1848, and settled in Skaneateles. He owed his nickname to the 40 acres of land he purchased. Some of his siblings followed; one of them, John McLaughlin, had a daughter, Rose, who married John W. Major.

Christmas tragedy
Sixteen-year-old Leo Major was behind the wheel, driving fellow students on a shopping trip for Christmas decorations for the high school, when he was involved in a 1929 automobile accident that rocked the village of Skaneateles.
 
Tony Kane's last voyage
The marriage of Viola "Lola" Major and Tony Kane could have been a story in a New York State version of "Boardwalk Empire."
 
Adventurous job
Andrew Cardigan discovered that being a motorman on the electric railroad had its hazards.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Flip for it
In 1916, there was a tie in the vote for Solvay village president (as the mayor was called in those days). After considerable discussion of ways to settle the election, it was decided to flip a coin.
 
No escape from work
When old Solvay was the subject of a newspaper story, the treatment the village received was usually unkind. However, in 1918, an anonymous reporter for the Syracuse Herald had Solvay pegged perfectly.
 
Shades of the Old West
In 1892, the Solvay Process Company paymaster and his driver were in a horse-drawn carriage, headed for the Split Rock quarry to pay workers when they were held up by two brothers who were compared with Jesse and Frank James.

The Big Bang

At least 50 men were killed in the explosion in 1818 at the Semet-Solvay plant in Split Rock. It was one of the worst disasters in local history.
 
Murder on Montrose
Solvay most compelling story of 1930 was the murder of James Bixby, who worked as an attendant at a gasoline station at the intersection of West Genesee Street and Montrose Avenue.
 
Shoot-Out Near St. Cecilia's
In 1910, Black Hand extortionists targeted an Italian immigrant in Solvay. There was a gunfight that nearly wounded a priest hearing confession at St. Cecilia's Church.

The original Blob

A dike on the Solvay Process waste beds broke in 1943, and sludge flowed over State Fair Boulevard, ruining Thanksgiving for hundreds of people.
 
No bedroom farce
When Dominic Chiovitto caught his wife cheating on him in Solvay in 1906, it was the first chapter in a long, often heart-breaking melodrama.
 
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Widow dazzled jurors
Jessie Costello, accused of poisoning her husband wrapped an all-male jury around her finger during a much-ballyhooed Massachusetts trial in 1933.
 
The marrying Mdivanis
They passed themselves off as princes, and had little trouble marrying and fleecing rich American women. Along the way, one of the Mdivani brothers married heiress Barbara Hutton.
 
Empress of
the Galopagos

Eloise Wehrborn de Wagner-Bousquet left Europe in 1932 and settled on an island in the Galapagos, where she tried to set herself up as an empress. Her "reign" was brief, and what happened to her remains a bit of a mystery to this day.
Sent by Capone?
One of the craziest afternoons in Central New York history was Saturday, June 6, 1931, when four would-be gangsters, driving from Chicago to New York City, made a stupid mistake that led to a wild chase from Fairmount Four Corners to the woods of Wolf Hollow, where they were captured by a large posse, while interested onlookers blocked area roads.
 
Before Trump, there
was W.E.D. Stokes

Millionaire William Earl Dodge Stokes Sr. had two trophy wives, two ugly divorces, and hundreds of lawsuits. He also built what at the time was considered the fanciest hotel in New York City.
 
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American Princess and
her pampered little boy

When multi-millionaire William Bateman Leeds died in 1908, he could not have imagined what kind of lives his money would buy for his widow and their son, William B. Leeds Jr.
 
He talked a good game
Self-styled "master thief" Arthur Barry made local news in 1929 when his escape from Auburn prison included an emergency stop in Solvay.
 
Welcome to America
Life wasn't easy for many Italian immigrants in the 19th century, but one Syracuse family endured in a fashion that would make an entertaining mini-series.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Favorites from A to Z
My trip starts at Arntzen, ends with Zuber, or from "Old Folks" to "Goober."
 
Animal house
Meet "Hippo," "Moose," and "Weasel," not to mention "Mule," "Squirrel," "Toad," and several "Bulls."
 
Baseball's pesty fellows
From "Bugs" to "Flea" to "Jigger," "Cricket," "Grasshopper" and a swarm of mosquitoes
 
"Dazzy" and "Dizzy"
There's also "Daf," "Daffy," Dummy," and a bunch of names that rhyme with "olly"
'Cannonball' Crane
Outfielder-turned-pitcher Ed Crane liked to enter contests to prove he could throw a baseball further than anyone else. He became a hero in New York City, before he drank himself to death.
 
More title than nickname
Examples: "The Mechanical Man", "The Meal Ticket" and, of course, "The Chairman of the Board."
 
"Kings" and other royalty
Mike Kelly was baseball's greatest "King," but the game also gave us the "Sultan of Swat" and a 'Rajah"
When in doubt, alliterate
It's the surest way to create a catchy nickname; from "Boom-Boom" Beck to "Zip" Zabel.
 
Pop culture's contribution
Several nicknames come from comic strip characters, including "Suitcase" Simpson, who was not so nicknamed because he traveled a lot.
 
We've got you, Babe
From Ruth to Dahlgren, Adams and Herman, too
 
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Ralphie would understand
I had a BB gun. And I did not shoot out either one of my eyes.
 
Hotchee Botchee!!
Halloween has changed a lot since I was a kid.
 

The First Spin Doctor
Ethan Allen created my favorite board game. Turned out he thought some of us who played his game were a bunch of nuts.

Destination Earth
My two-cents' worth: Charles Darwin was wrong. Earthlings are descendants of very strange, indecisive creatures banished from a faraway planet.
 
Sleeping with snakes
We had no choice when our power went out.
 
Ride an elephant
It's something you no longer can do at the Syracuse zoo.

The French Fort
This re-created piece of history was a childhood fantasyland.

 
No comparison
Fleet Walker may have been important in the history of black professional baseball players, but he was no Jackie Robinson. If he were, there would not have been a Jackie Robinson.
 
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