A York State Tramp

No, not the man in this picture.  This man is Tim’s great-great-great-grandfather, John Hubbard, pictured at right, a settler of Albion, New York.  He and his wife, Lydia (Randolph) Hubbard, were the parents of four daughters and a son.

We have his personal copy of the Bible, with favorite scriptures cut out from a newspaper and glued on to the inside cover.  And also some obituaries.

As I was carefully examining the deteriorating pages, a newspaper clipping fell out.  After reading the article it made me wonder what about this particular story interested John Hubbard enough to cut it out and stick it in his Bible.  The article also gives us a glimpse into life in the 1800s.

A YORK STATE TRAMP

Receives Reception That Is Known to Few Wanderers

New York World

A tramp had just arrived in Albany.  Nothing curious about that, but this is a curious tramp.  He does his own cooking and consequently enjoys his food.  Chefs were rare in the region he was brought up in.  He doesn’t collect grub or yearn for drink or freight cars.  He has been tramping through our New York lake region, which Americans would know so well and admire so much if it were across the water; and he has a passion, a mania, for little country schoolhouses.

He may look like a dust storm in breeches, but something in his appearance gains him entrance.  Perhaps he has seen better days.  He sits on the dais and near the desk of “teacher,” an honor that used to be confined to clergymen, school committeemen, visitors of due pomposity, village bigwigs on examination day, and prize scholars, likely, if of the inferior sex, to have “the stuffing” rudely elicited from them at recess by athletic scorners of learning.  There sits calmly the pulverulent [sic] one, listening with a twinkle in his eye to the artless droning of those wondering children, even having “the cheek to talk to teacher,” who actually lets him make speech before he goes.  A “ripping” speech, the spoken-to say, and how can there be better judges?  Does not every maundering bore, every Brother of the Ass, every solemn stumbling, hemming, long-winded sumph flatter himself that he can “make a few remarks” to “the children” and enrapture those victims of the vanity and loquacity of their elders?  And this long-legged dust-man pleased them.  “Talked like an educated man, did he,” says the president of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union to Bill and Elizer Ann at supper: “must have fallen through the drink.  I wonder at Miss Normal for permitting such a disreputable character to speak in a public school.  There at least my darlings should be safe from contamination.”

On goes the dustman through the best sun-soaked days and noblest moonlit nights that ever shone.  He breakfasts on his own bacon and coffee by rivers hazy with morning.  On he plods, astounding and delighting schoolhouses, winning the scorn of passing wagoners for refusing a “lift.”  At last he enters Albany, leaves off regretfully his career as a wandering scholar.  For he is identified, presumably by the police, as John Huston Finley, who sports “a tilted trail proud as a cockerel’s rainbow tail;” who is laden with LL. D.’s and is a member of everything worth belonging to.  There is no new compliment to pay him except to say that he knows how to plan and enjoy a vacation.

I found a John Huston Finley (1863-1940), but he was only 20 years old when John Hubbard died.  Perhaps someone else tucked the article in the Bible after our John died.  Or perhaps it was a very young Finley who had this adventure and this was one of the last things Hubbard cut out of the paper.  But safe to say, the article was of interest to somebody!