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October 2, 2013

Oneonta inched closer to becoming a railroad town in 1863


Other stage companies knew the end was soon approaching for their service, as the Herald reported on Nov. 11 that, “About forty five miles more of this road,” referring to the A&S Railroad, “have been put under contract, including the famous Tunnel in the town of Colesville,” in Broome County, westbound from Oneonta.

“There was a good deal of competition for the work,” it was reported, “and the result is that it has been contracted very favorably for the company considering the high price of labor. We understand that the gentlemen securing these contracts are experienced in their business — all men of energy and go-aheadativeness; and, possessing the will to complete the work to the shortest possible time, will undoubtedly push the matter to a speedy conclusion.” The A&S finally reached Binghamton by 1869.

There were likely no major travel plans made by local residents, to the likes of today, for Thanksgiving. However one might have thought about making plans to take a stage home or to visit friends for “National Thanksgiving Day” in 1863.

As reported in the Oct. 14 Herald, “The President has appointed the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer. This Fast Day will be accepted by the People as a timely and fitting acknowledgement of blessings which have been mercifully vouchsafed to us during the year.”

On Monday: The many energies and emotions that surrounded the 1968 presidential election in our region.

Oneonta City Historian Mark Simonson’s column appears twice weekly. On Saturdays, his column focuses on the area during the Depression and before. His Monday columns address local history after the Depression. If you have feedback or ideas about the column, write to him at The Daily Star, or email him at His website is His columns can be found at

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