Oscar Beckwith by CaroleOsterink


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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     56    - - " ' CHATHAM COUBIER

       Hudson Resident, 89^ RecMisHangingof Women's Ndn-Partisan Civic                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     THURSDAY. IAN. 28, 1954

                                               Group Studies County Zoning                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   HARTFORD

       Oscar Beckwith, The Austerlitz Murderer    heavy mist hung over the — «~
                                                                                                                                                                                                                The Women's Noji-Partisan Civic,David, Claverack;; Miss Mary Law-
                                                                                                                                                                                                             League Workshop, studying ques- rence, Claverack; M r s . Eleanor                                             H0SP'
                                                                                                                                                                                                             tions of protective zoning, will meet j Skelley, Philmont; Mrs. Frank Held,
        THE SCAFFOLD A                            City of Hudson on the mor- <.,•*.,».,
                                                  ning of March 1, 1888, and in < '
                                           the early morning dawn, carts and , -•
                                                                                                                                                                                                             Thursday, February 4, at the Chat- i Maiden Bridge; Miss Florence Wil-
                                                                                                                                                                                                             ham Library. Mrs. Caldwell Es- liams, Ghent; Mrs. William Harti-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            for FAMILIES
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 diildctn from 1 month wp
                                                                                                                                                                                                             selstyn of Claverack is chairman. A gan, New Lebanon Center; Mrs.                                                  .and pofMttt I t tfcro S»

                                           wagons left neighboring villages and '•
                                           hamlets for the county seat where                                                                                                                                 pamphlet, "Zoning and Civic Devel-[Jerome French, Chatham and Mrs.
                                           at 11 a.m., Oscar Fitz Allan Beck-                                                                                                                                opment," issued by the Chamber of ; C . B. Esselstyn, Claverack.                                               for INDIVIDUALS .
                                           with, the notorious Austerlitz mur-                                                                                                                               Commerce of the United States, has        The Library workshop of the Civ-                                            og« tmitt, I I thru St
                                           derer, was to hang by the neck until                                                                                                                              been adopted as "guide and text" ic League met Wednesday night at                                              f of W j <Utnll». toll or writ* V . ~
                                           dead.                                                                                                                                                             for the group and is available at a the home of Mrs. Thomas Morris-
                                                                                                                                                                                                             small charge.                           sey, Chatham Center, to study pos-
                                               On January 10, 1882,. Bockwith,
                                           who. had been mining for gold near                                                                                                                                   Members of 'the Zoning W o r k | s i b l e methods of working for exten-                                    Wm. J. Reynolds
                                           the hamlet of Austerlitz, had killed                                                                                                                              Project include: Mrs. Ralph Barrow, | s i o n o f l i b r a r > ' s e r v i c c i n t h e c o u n t - v -
           A'                              a fellow prospector, Simon.A, Van-                                                                                                                                Old Chatham; Mrs. Walter Finch.            Two new members Joined the
                                           dercook, in a shanty on a remote                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Tel. Mur. 4-3231         VaUtie. N. Y.
                                                                                                                                                                                                             Canaan; Mrs. Francis' Fargo, Ca- Workshop at the last meeting, Mrs.                                                         itpttHltting
                                           woodland road. Beckwith, according                                                                                                                                 naan; M r s . Anthony      Palladino, Townsend Morey and Mrs. Paul
                                           to witnesses who arrived at the
                                           crude structure when Vandercook
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Chatham Center; Jean Beach Wich- Tilson, both of Old Chatham, bring-                                          Kim     MOTT asl IOTIT CCXNl
                                           was reported missing, had carved up                                                                                                                                mon, Chatham; Mrs. B. Edmund ing the membership to 15.                                                               Hoitfotd. Connecticut'
                      , . - • " " ' '   '   '
                                           his victim in tiny pieces and placed
                                           them in a pork barrel..His victim's
                                           heart and liver he had saved, how-
              EXECUTION OF                 ever, and was eating them when a
                                           posse broke into the cabin.
                                               Beckwith escaped, made his way
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           BUY A USED CAR
        Oscar FJfiWli;                     by foot to Canada and was not ar-
                                            rested until February, 1885. He-was
                                            extradited to Columbia C o u n t y
                                            where he was tried by six separate
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           WITH THIS TAG-ond
        HII: TIIK      y renin: OF HM N January 21, 1888, to be executed on
                                     I O    juries before he was sentenced on                                                                                                                                                               E -A
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           you'll buy with N WC R
                A. VAM»K!UOOK.              March 1 of that year.
                                               Great was the excitement in all                                                                                                                                             CONFIDENCE!
        Dei Almost l i t i t e i . :        Columbia County as the day of the
                                            execution approached. Among those
                                            who received an invitation to watch
                                            Beckwith swing from the gibbet was
        HISTORY OF THE CHIME. a young man on the staff of the
                                            HUDSON REPUBLICAN, David C.
                                             Neefus, who on May 3 of this year
        I t ' w With trot t-Vn Parallel-, will mark his 90th birthday.
                                               Mr. Neefus, who now resides at                                           . . . .                       . . . .                    .» .
                            in the Hudstm    538 Union Street., not far from thrJ H E V I S I T E D J A I L * . D a V , d C " N e e f u s ' p o p u , a r ! , u d s o n r e s l d c u t M " !
       HEADLINES                            present court house where the gal                                        well known philatelist, who will note his 90th
                             Republican of  lows was ^erected, recalls-that -oll-of- hlrthriav-in-SVraT-.-visiied-Oscar-Beckwith In M L a few days before he was
       March 2. .1888 described Beckwith's -thc—newspaper staff was granted hunt:. Mr. Neefus had an invitation to the hanging but could not eel close
       execution and carried_a_Jihuto—of— free passes to t h e event by Colum- to the sallows because of the large crowds'In the court house square.
       the_murdererr      . Courier photo   bia County Sheriff John M. Felts.                                                                                           Courier photo
                                                     VISITED DEATH CELL                            left their warm beds' hours before               It was exactly II in the morning
       Mr: Neefus                                       For several weeks before the
                                                     hanging, Mr. Neefus, along with al-
                                                                                                   for the occasion.
                                                                                                      Several persons, including a large
                                                                                                                                                  as the church bells in the city tolled
                                                                                                                                                  the hour that Beckwith mounted
                                                                                                   number of women, attempted to                  the scaffold. He had embraced the
                                                     most every other resident of. Hud-,
       Just Missed                                   son, visited Beckwith at his cell in
                                                     the county jail. Mr. Neefus describes
                                                                                                   break through the- line of soldiers,
                                                                                                   claiming that they had purchased
                                                                                                                                                  Catholic faith the day before his
                                                                                                                                                  execution and he was accompanied
                                                                                                   "reserved seats" at 50 cents each.             by Father Smith of Hudson, to the
                                                     a jail visit- as follows: "He was a                                                          gallows.
                                                     powerfully built man, though in his           Some swindler evidently was mak-
                                                     70's, with a jutting Jaw; leonine             j n p mrmny    -it tVip pypprKP nf    Qcrnr      The priest placed a crucifix to the
                                                     head and small, beady eyes. He was            Beckwith.                                      doomed man's lips and Beckwith
          David C. Neefus, 89-year-old Hud-          chained by,one foot to his bunk and              By 9:30, teams of horses, children          whispered,' "Jesus have mercy."
       son resident, is probably the only            a sheriff's guard was placed over             and bearded gentlemen filled the               These were his last words. A black
                                                     him 24 hours a day. At first he               court house square. Within the jail,           cap was fastened over his face and
       Columbia County resident who was
                                                     would brag about his exploits, but            all was quiet as Sheriff Felts pro-            the noose was adjusted about his
       invited to see the hanging of Oscar                                                                                                        neck, the knot just below his left
       Beckwith but didn't make it.                  as the years passed, he wouldn't              ceeded with the business of the day.
                                                     come out unless a dime -was thrown            All prisoners were locked in their             ear.    -'
          In 1888, Mr. Neefus then on the                                                          cells and an unusual quiet prevailed.             Atkinson, directing the hanging,
       staff of the HUDSON REPUBLICAN                between the bars. Then, from the
                                                     back of the cell, a pair of beady, red           At 10, Beckwith was served his              struck a blow with his fist on the
       received an invitation. He had vsited                                                                                                      box where the executione^ was con-
                                                     eyes would peer out and then r e -            last meal which included steak,
       Beckwith in his cell at the county                                                          toast, tea and coffee. He was given            cealed. The sharp blow of an axe
       jail and watched the erection of the          treat into the darkness. Just before
                                                     his execution, Beckwith had to be             a clean white shirt to replace the             echoed the fist blow as the rope was
       scaffold where the Austerlitz mur-
       derer was to be hung.                         chained hand and foot when he
                                                     would become violent, and often he
                                                                                                   soiled gingham garment he .was
                                                                                                   wearing, a Prince Albert style black
                                                                                                                                                  cut. A weight of 600 pounds was cut
                                                                                                                                                  loose by the axe blade and Beck                                                                                               Abrams ^Boright,. Inc.
           On March 1, 1888 the day of the           would go on hunger strikes for                coat, a black tie, trousers and felt           with's body was jerked almost four                                                                                       Central Square                     Dial 2-1501                Chatham. N. Y.
       hanging, Mr. Neefus was busy at the           days."                                        slippers."                                     feet in the air; his head hung down
       REPUBLICAN office and by 11 that                                                                                                           ward for a second, and then the
        morning, he had almost forgotten                The tension increased to its high-         FAILED TO CONFESS                              body spun on the end' of the rope.
       the event. He headed for the court            est point in Hudson when a gentle-                                                           The crowd remained hushed.
                                                     man, dressed in the fashion of a         It was 10:15 when the press, in-
        square and saw the tremendous
       crowd, but he was seconds too late.
                                                     New York dandy, arrived at the of-    cluding representatives from Chat-                      HUNG 14 MINUTES                                                                                                        For the reason and
                                                     fice of Sheriff Felts and announced   ham, Hudson, Albany and New-
        Oscar Beckwith -was dead.
           Mr. Neefus clearly 'recalls these
                                                     himself a s J. B. Atkinson of         York newspapers, were allowed to                          Doctors Lyle Smith of Hudson,                                                                                        value behind the OK PLUS cars
                                                     Brooklyn,, who -would direct the      speak to the condemned. He read                        and Isaac C. Washburn of Chatham,
        events and others in the late 19th
        century with an extremely agile
                                                     hanging. Atkinstff directed the exe-
                                                     cutions at Tombs Prison, New York,
                                                                                           them a letter he had written to his
                                                                                                                                                  were summoned forward by the
                                                                                                                                                  sheriff. The body had hung for four
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          listed below, read this
        mind. Following his employment at            and brought with him an unidenti-           Dear Daughter,                                   minutes but the pulse continued at
        the REPUBLICAN he sold "That                 fied person who would actually trip          I request my body burled in                     a rate of 124 beats a minute. At the
        Good Columbia County Sausage"                the gallows.                             Austerlitz beside my father and                     end of eight minutes, the physicians
        made by C. A. Van Deusen, Hudson                                                      mother In new burying ground                        asked that the body be lowered a
        meat packers, for eight cents a              IMPORTED GALLOWS                         near the Kcnne's. I bid you a                       bit and they ripped open Beckwith's
        pound. He was later employed at the                                                   long farewell.                                      shirt and listened to the heart beat.
        Hudson City Savings Bank and the                The gallows were brought from                Your loving father,                          The pulse had stepped up to 144
                                                     New York by Atkinson and arrived                        Oscar Beckwith.                      beats a minute but then dropped to
        Atlas Cement Company which r e -
                                                     in 11 separate pieces on the New                                                             18',^ at 12 minutes and at the end of
        tired him at the age of 65.                  York Central Railroad. Atkinson          He then addressed the newspaper-
           For many ye\irs he was secretary          told Columbia County authorities men present, "Boys, goodbye. I have
                                                                                                                                                  14 minutes, Oscar Beckwith was
                                                                                                                                                  pronounced dead. Death was attri-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1949 CHEVROLET                                        1-951 CHEVROLET                                      1950 BUICK
        of the Columbia Turnpike Company             he had supervised the hangings of no confession and go to the scaffold                       buted to. a broken neck.                                                                                                                                                 SPECIAL. 4-DR. SEDAN. Grey
        of Hudson and in the cellar of his           53 persons from this same scaffold innocent. I have not known one                                                                                          DELUXE SEDAN. Dark Blue, very                         DELUXE SEDAN. Black, spotless,
                                                                                                                                                     The crowd surged forward and                                                                                                                                          Dynaflow, absolutely perfect, low
        home at 538 Warren Street, has the           and proudly pointed out where axe person hanged in this county in the                                                                                      clean-, radio, heater, seat covers,                   fully equipped," new tires, seat                     mileage, brand new whitewall
        original sign that hung on the toll          marks had gashed through the last 75 years who was guilty. They                              there was a fight for the rope that
                                                                                                                                                  had taken the murderer's life.                                excellent rubber, low mileage.                        covers, low mileage.                                 tires, solid chrome wheel covers,
        house advising passersby the price           rough hemlock as they cut through were all hanged by public opinion.
        of a "horfe and carriage 9c—Oxen             the rope.                                                                                    Meanwhile, the body 'was removed                                                                                                                                         new seat covers. An excellent buy.
                                                                                           I die innocent. Vandercook was kill-
        and cart 8c."                                   Mr. Neefus recalls that by 8:30 ed, but not murdered."
                                                                                                                                                  to the James E. Phillip's Undertak-
                                                                                                                                                  ing Parlors, where between 11:30
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                OK PLUS $595                                       OK PLUS $1095                                         OK PLUS $995
           He is an ardent philatelist and has       the morning of the execution, a          Beckwith would answer no other                      and 4 p.m., more than 3.000 viewed
        one_of the best stamp collections in         morbid crowd had gathered and questions and the interviews ended.                            the remains.
        the county. He has served as the Re-         those who had credentials passed Sheriff Felts nodded curtly \ to a                             Then all that was earthly of Os-                            1951 BUICK                                           1949 PONTIAC                                         1950 OLDSMOBILE ,
        publican Inspector of Elections in            through a cordon set up by the deputy who stepped forwardX and                              car Fitz Allen Beckwith was remov-                             SUPER. 4-DR. SEDAN. Grecian                          DELUXE SEDAN. Forest Green,                          CLUB COUPE. Onyx Black, Hy-
         Hudson's Third Ward for the last                                                  pinioned Beckwith's arms behind                        ed to Austerlitz for interment. He                             Grey, Dynaflow, low mileage, new
                                                     Cowlcs Guards of the New York his back with a rope. His feet were                                                                                                                                                Hydromatic, radio. Like new con-                     dromatic, radio, heater, seat cov-
         18 years. Mr. Neefus makes his home                                                                                                      was the fifth person to be executed                            tires, chrome covers, seat covers,
                                                      Militia around the court house.      not fastened, together.           V                                                                                                                                        dition, excellent rubber, seat cov-                  ers, perfect condition, new rubber,
         with his daughter, Miss Laurie E.                                                                                                        in the County and his death on the                             near perfect.
         Neefus, RN, who has served -for                The gallows, located just south of    At 10:45 a murmer broke outMn                                                                                                                                                                                                excellent car.
                                                                                                                                                  gallows was the last on Columbia
         many years in the office of Dr. John         the court house, was inspected the court house square as the sher-                          County soil.                                                                OK PLUS $1695                                        OK PLUS $1095                                         OK PLUS $995
         L. Edwards.                                  carefully by rural residents who had iff led a small procession from the
                                                                                            jail. Beckwith blinked as he came
                                                                                            out into the daylight and his -body                                                                                                                                                                                                                               j
                                                                                            quivered as his eyes first saw the                                HEATERS                                                              1948 HUDSON                                                          -195TFORD1
        3 Chatham High School Bands                                                         instrument of death. His face, ac-
                                                                                            cording' {o the Hudson Republican,
                                                                                                                                                        OIL. COAL. ELECTRIC A GA8
                                                                                                                                                          ' DRBY SALES CO.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  SEDAN. Dark Green, very clean
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  car. Has new transmission, excel-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DELUXE TUDOR. Light Grey,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          finish looks like new, new seat
                                                                                            "was an ashen gray and his eyes                              Chatham and East Chatham                                                 lent motor.                                                             covers, excellent tires.
        To Stage Concert February 3                                                         were dead man's eyes.".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         $195                                                                $995
             On Wednesday evening. February 3, at 7:45 In the school auditorium
        more than 80 members of the Chatham Union School bands, under the
        direction of Stephen A. Gltto, will present a winter concert to which the
        public is cordially Invited. There is no admission charge.
           Thirty-three members of the b e -
                                                                                                           WAVERLY PET SUPPLY                                                                                         K                   USED TRUCKS AT SENSATIONAL SAVINGS
        ginners' group, the Training Band, Seipcl, James LichteL Kirk Sutliffe.
        will play three numbers. The twenty- John Stclling, James Martin, Gary                                                  HEALTHY. GUARANTEED
        eight Junior Band members will p r c r Currier, John Hill, Edward Mooney,
        sent another "group of selections, Richard Alford, David Congdon, Paul
        followed by the Senior Band of Wilska, John Mulligan, George En-                                                         PARAKEETS                                                                         1952 CHEVROLET £-Ton Pickup                                                       1950 FORD F-3 2-Ton Pickup
        twenty-three students. The conclud- gel, James Richards, Donald Gard-                                                              All Colors
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Ranier Blue, spotlight, radio, low mileage, used                             Sand Dune Beige, new tire, excellent condition.
        ing group of numbers will be played ner, Burton Gifford, Patty Francis,                                                                                                                                    over the road, deluxe heater, really terrific!                               You can't miss at this price.
        by the combined Senior and Junior Ronald Eigenbrodt," Brian Weaver,
        Bands, a preview of the Chatham Leonard Mazal. .                                                                                                                                                                                   .     $1195                                                                       $995
        High School Band of the future.         • Members of the "Training Band arc:
         - The Senior Band is composed of Bruce Cobb, Mariel Congdon, Har-
                                                                                                                    Everything for Pets
        Joanna Dobson, Betty Faxon, Sylvia old Sherman, Donald Tubbs, Ernest
        Ellis, Roger Ellis, Betty Ochs, Ellen Tubbs, Ernest Rllke, John Coxon,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 1949 WILLYS Panel                                                    1948 INTERNX 2-Ton Panel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Maroon, excellent shape, anybody can afford this                             Black, good condition, good rubber.
        Jenkins, Russell Johns, Gary Glm- Brian Mulligan, Joe Lundy, George                                                    Cages from $4.85 up                                                                 one.                                          *.
        lich, Arnold Hansen; Leslie Fischer, Moses, Richard Staron, Jane Car-                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   .             $95
        Carl Swanson, Donald Kittle, Arthur penter, Peggy Jenkins, Charles Chap-                                                                                                                                                                  $195
        Miller, David Alamillo, James Hug, man, George Dardess, Bruce Losee,
        Frank Moses,, George Kittle, Bruce Clifton Nelson, Richard Eigenbrodt,
                                                                                                                      Wayerly Place, Nassau, N. Y.
        Williams, Raymond Johnson, Earl Eugene Pcssetto, Eric Swanson, Kir-
         McCagg, Donald Nichols, William by Wlnfield, Edward Loomis, k a r r y                                          Rout* -20 •': Opposite McClellan Road
         Parlman, Ronald EigcnbrodL
           Junior Band Members are Wayne
                                               Flood, Ronald Sherman, Lyn Gregg,
                                               Darryl Marshall, Walter Akin, Mel-
        Fisher, John Rumpp, Christopher vin Rossman, Bill .Stclling, Michael
                                                                                                         TeL Nassau 8-3821                Hours: 11 a. m. to 7 p. m.
                                                                                                                    LlOpen .Snndiy — Closed Monday
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               ABRAMS & BORIGHT, INC.
        Wcstovcr, Mary Bowman, Wallace Losee, Lawrence Parlman, "Harry                                                                                                                                         CENTRAL-SQUARE                                                     DIAL 2-1501                                       CHATHAM. N. Y.
        Charron, Florence Fuller, Ernest Van Ness, Richard Pulvcr, Dennis
        Dalton, Lorcn Bartholomew, Martin Robic. t                                                                                                         Untitled Document

                                                                                                                                                                                      Thomas M. Tryniski
                                                                                                                                                                                      309 South 4th Street
                                                                                                                                                                                      Fulton New York

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