Area Congressman Roscoe Conkling – his thunderous voice booming out loud and clear – is the star of the show as Oneida County’s Republican Party convention opens in Rome’s court house.

1866, 150 years ago

Conkling vs. Johnson

Area Congressman Roscoe Conkling – his thunderous voice booming out loud and clear – is the star of the show as Oneida County’s Republican Party convention opens in Rome’s court house.

He is unanimously nominated for re-election by delegates whose main goal is to rid the country of President Andrew Johnson. Alrick Hubbell of Utica, president of the convention, says, “We regard with alarm the conduct of our president. We believe his policies fraught with disaster for the country.”

Conkling takes up the fight in his short speech: “This angry man (Johnson), dizzy with the elevation to which assassination has raised him, frenzied with power and ambition, does not seem to know that not he, but the men who made the Constitution, placed it in the people’s hands. They placed Andrew Johnson in the people’s hands also; and when those hands shall drop their votes into the ballot box, Andrew Johnson and his policy of arrogance and usurpation will be snapped like a willow wand.”

1916, 100 years ago

Richfield ‘thank you’

A mineral spring in Richfield Springs – one of the village’s earliest landmarks – is dedicated as “Proctor Iron Spring,” thanking Utica’s Thomas R. Proctor for his many contributions to the village. They include generous donations to the village library and parks.

1941, 75 years ago

Parochial schools

Utica’s parochial schools enroll nearly 4,500 students. St. Francis de Sales grade and high schools top the list with 1,060. Other enrollments: Sacred Heart, 324; St. Mary’s, 85; St. Agnes, 300; Blessed Sacrament, 340; St. Joseph’s, 270; St. Mary of Mt. Carmel, 330; Our Lady of Lourdes, 512; Holy Trinity, 500; Utica Catholic Academy, 300; St. Patrick’s, 300; and St. Stanislaus, 121.

1966, 50 years ago

Industries growing

Utica’s big industries are getting bigger. Bendix Corporation employment is up 40 percent from a year ago – to 1,500. Chicago Pneumatic Tool adds 350 workers and now employs 2,250. Employment at Kelsey-Hayes’ two Utica plants is at 1,500. General Electric Light Military Electronics Division employment is up 15 percent from last year and now stands at 3,651. GE’s Radio Receiver Division increases its employment by 650 to 2,800. Employment at the UNIVAC Division of Sperry Rand remains steady at 2,700.

Notre Dame High’s football coach, Bob Conklin, greets returning lettermen, including Carlo Spartano, Ron Barr, Mark Andrello, Mike Carney, Don Sierak, Fred Karam and Bob Postiglione.

Oneida County Executive Charles T. Lanigan is chosen by delegates to the state Republican convention in Rochester to run for state comptroller in November. Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller heads the ticket as he runs for a third term. Lanigan will not take a leave of absence while campaigning and says he will be in touch with his office daily. Gregory Esposito, county finance commissioner, will be acting county executive.

Becker’s Hotel of Boonville wins the Prospect Memorial fast-pitch softball tournament with a 1-0 win over the Oriskany Garage Wreckers. Fred Robenski outduels Ozzie McSweeney in the thriller. Becker’s run comes with a hit batsman, a single by Gordon Marcy and a passed ball which allows John Pfendler to score.

Casimir Krauza is elected president of the Kolko Filaretow, Polish Male Choir of Utica. Adam Glod and Theodore Ryczek are vice presidents, Joseph W. Dlugolecki is treasurer, Bernard Malecki is financial secretary, Boles Dlugolecki is recording secretary and William Gwara is librarian.

1991, 25 years ago

Labor Day parade

Hundreds of members of area labor unions march in a Labor Solidarity Parade, sponsored by the AFL-CIO Central New York Labor Council. Council President Victor Olivadoti – who also is president of Utica’s Teamsters Local 189 – is grand marshal. Ken Anderson, of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 2032, is parade chairman. The parade begins on Oneida Square and heads south to Murnane Field where a memorial service is held for labor figures who died during the year.

The new $9.3 million Herkimer Elementary School – on Gros Boulevard in East Herkimer, is dedicated. Lawrence Orr is principal.

It’s “cowabunga” night in Utica as 2,250 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans – most of them younger than 8 –crowd into the Stanley Performing Arts Center to cheer on the Turtle quarter on stage – Michaelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo and Raphael. Three-year-old Daniel Matys says, “I like Raphael best. He’s a cowabunga dude.”

2006, 10 years ago

K. of C. fire

Fire heavily damages the Knights of Columbus building – a Utica landmark on Genesee Street and home of about 2,000 members. Executive Director William Virkler Sr. says the Utica council – formed in 1896 – is one of the oldest councils in the country. Fire officials say the fire started in the basement under the gymnasium.

Trivia quiz

One of our U.S. presidents had 15 children – eight girls and seven boys. He also was the first president whose wife died while he was in office. He remarried and became the first president to marry while in office. Name him. (Answer will appear here next week.)

Answer to last week’s question: Here are the quotations and the presidents who said them: ”The buck stops here.” (Truman). “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” (Theodore Roosevelt). “I pledge you, I pledge myself a new deal for the American people.” (Franklin Roosevelt). “I am a great believer in luck and I find that the harder I work, the more luck I have,” (Jefferson).

This Week in History is researched and written by Frank Tomaino. E-mail him at