25 years ago
Feb. 3, 1989
ALBANY — When construction of the Pepacton Reservoir in 1954 displaced his customers, Delaware County handyman Aubrey De Silva demanded payment from New York City.
Thursday — 38 years after De Silva filed his claim, and 11 years after he died — a state appeals court ordered new York City to pay De Silva’s estate $4,400 for the business he lost when the hamlets of Arena, Shavertown, Union Grove and others were flooded to supply water to New York City.
Thousands of landowners and businessmen in the Hudson Valley filed similar claims between 1910 and the 1950s. But lawyers say De Silva is one of the few people ever to beat the city’s formidable legal arsenal.
De Silva was successful largely because his attorney, Richard Harlem of Oneonta, was able to locate De Silva’s widow and daughter residing in Fleischmanns. Of the 600 pending cases, most are represented by Harlem’s law firm and most will never be heard because most of the claimants have died and their families moved away, Harlem said.
50 years ago
Feb. 3, 1964
Dr. Francis H. Marx, 74, Oneonta physician and surgeon for 50 years, mayor for three terms and long prominent in fraternal and sport circles, died in his sleep Sunday morning.
He came to Oneonta in 1913 with the late Dr. David H. Mills and they practiced together for a time. He was a member of the surgical staff at Fox Memorial Hospital for many years, was long a physician for the Oneonta school system and had been medical consultant for the Otsego County Department of Public Welfare.
Dr. Marx entered politics in 1931 and was elected mayor in the fall of that year, taking office on Janaury 1, 1932. He served three terms, during which Homer Folks Hospital was built, the Sewage Disposal Plant constructed, the Neahwa ball park enlarged and other civic improvements made.
Dr. Marx was an ardent follower of sports and was president of the Oneonta Athletic Association during the early 1920s, bringing here as baseball managers such big league stars as “Big Ed” Walsh, Al Bridwell and Roy Thomas.Step Back in Time features news items from The Daily Star 25 and 50 years ago.