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Saturday, July 12, 2014 - Updated: 4:08 AM

The Fourth at Scottsville

The editor of the Scottsville Weekly Herald had plenty of good material for last week's issue and he made the most of it. Perhaps you never heard of Scottsville. Well, even so, it is a small and up-to-date community in Monroe County (and it's a 10 to 1 shot you don't know where Monroe County is, either) where July 4 is the Fourth of July with all its ancient grandeur and festal exuberance. That the residents of that aforesaid small and enterprising community were able to carry out a gala program was due in no small measures to the talents of a couple of former Fort Plain boys who have made good. If you are interested in finding out who they are and what happened on the Fourth, just peruse these excerpts from the story as it appeared in The Herald.

"Again Scottsville demonstrated that the spirit of our forefathers is not diminished in the presentation of a Fourth of July program that would have done justice to a community several times this size. From early morning until late at night our citizens reveled in the festivities of Independence Day, with a long list of events that included a mammoth parade at 10 o'clock in the morning, sporting contests at 1 o' clock in the afternoon, including the peanut race, can race, greased pig contest, etc., as well as a ball game between Mendon and Scottsville, with music by the Scottsville band. Enormous quantities of soft drinks, hot dogs and ice cream were consumed by the populace and visitors to the town, for all roads led to Scottsville on this annual observance of Independence Day."

"Much of the success of the excellent program was due to the assistance of a couple of strangers who dropped into Scottsville on the day before the Fourth. Their names, as taken from the register of the Scottsville House, are John J. Galvin, Scranton, Pa., and Paul M. Fay, Amsterdam, N. Y. The first named proved to be an elderly gentleman of the old school and the latter a portly individual of clerical mein. They were noticed by the proprietor of the local hotel, who admired that skillful manner in which Mr. Fay handled the silverware during one of the appetizing dinners served by the management. Engaging the pair in conversation, the host discovered that they anticipated leaving immediately for the celebration at Hamburg, where a butchers' convention was scheduled for the holiday. According to information gleaned from Mr. Fay, his ancestors at one time conducted a public abattoir at a place called Saratoga and he was interested in comparing the present-day methods with those of the past."

"The gentleman from Amsterdam was considerably incensed when the proprietor told him that he looked like a Moose, but the matter was ironed out in the explanations that followed. The local team was scheduled for entrance in the tug of war against the Eagles and a good anchor man was needed. When Mr. Galvin learned the facts of the case, he prevailed upon Mr. Fay to remain over the Fourth in our fair town and to take the place of the regular anchor man of the Moose who broke out with a rash in the crucial moment. Having decided to enjoy the holiday here, both gentlemen proceeded to make themselves at home and to assist in planning the program. Mr. Fay secured an athletic uniform at the engine house and, the fit being tolerably good, he expressed his approval and promised to make the day comparable to those held, as he said, many years ago in the old home town of Fort Plain from which he and Mr. Galvin had set sail."

"During the afternoon sporting events, Mr. Fay acquitted himself much as he had promised on the day previous. With the aid of another good dinner at the Scottsville House he anchored the Moose team as no tug-of-war line has been anchored in this section since the days of 'Big Steve' and his watch (a wrist affair with second hand) was the official timepiece of the day, being the only one of its kind in the village. The sporting events concluded, Mr. Fay and other officials of the events were taken in a handsomely decorated float to the Baptist Church, where they were feted. They later took charge of the fireworks display and brought to a close a program that was one of the best, if not the best, ever presented in this village."

Then follows a glowing tribute to the master of ceremonies, in which the editor conveys the heartfelt appreciation of the village trustees for assistance and expresses the hope that both Mr. Fay and Mr. Galvin will return to Scottsville in the near future. All in all, the article is highly complimentary to the boys and I'm surprised to hear that Fort Plain hasn't been flooded with copies of this issue of The Herald. Perhaps there were not enough copies to go around. Then again, it may have been due to the fact that neither Paul nor John knew they were going to bust into print this way. Of particular interest to both Fort Plain and Amsterdam friends is the quoted reply of Paul when the judges of the tug-of-war complimented the anchor man of the Moose:

"Where do I get my pull? Well, to be perfectly frank, I don't know. It has always been this way wherever I went." And this statement was "corroborated by his venerable companion, Mr. Galvin, who nodded solemnly."


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