What do the words Brahmas, Leghorn, Spanish, Plymouth Rocks, Cochins, Golden Polish, Javas, Bolton Greys mean to you? How many people in Whitehall now wake up
to chanticleer’s clarion or go out to the hen house for an egg to bake a cake for supper? This all leads to A Walk Through the Poultry Yards of Whitehall, listed by A. Francier in 1881.
Before the days of village ordinances forbidding hen houses and their occupants, many of the well known men of the village boasted of fine fowls. H. A. Griswold, a jeweler whose shop was next door north of what is now Chase’s, would drop his repair on watches any time to talk about his fine Brahmas. He imported his first about 1865.
Julius LaTour, a tinsmith and plumber of Saunders Street kept game fowls. His fancy was the black breasted red ones. He lived on LaTour Street. Martin Feely kept game hens and Brahmas which he bred for weight and beauty. T.S. McLachlin of the Rockery at the end of Rock Avenue bred white and black Leghorns, buff Cochins and black Spanish. In 1881 he sold eggs in his hardware store on Broad (North Main street) in the Dayton block for 50 cents a dozen. Once he sold a double yoked egg to a fellow merchant for six cents. The merchant would pay only five cents. The case for one cent: was taken to Judge Buel’s conciliation court for settlement.
This court sat in Buel’s fishing tackle shop around a stove where those concerned sat on wooden boxes. This building was at the location of Stile’s Meeting Place. E.J. Baldwin, an insurance agent, had no particular breed but had a good business in the sale of hen products. He lived on Rock Avenue next to T.S. Mac Lachlin. James H. Parke kept two kinds of hens, Plymouth Rocks and buff Cochins.
Keeping hens is not all that easy, but after a bad spell he built up a good flock. His store was in the Parke building at the southeast corner of Clinton Avenue and Broad Street which would make it about west of the present Lock 12. A military hall was in the third story and the Capital Palace in the basement. S.T. Boardman had buff Cochins which couldn’t be beat.” His place had a good walk in which to keep fowls. He may have been a descendant of the Samuel of boatyard fame in 181O. My, file doesn’t yield a Samuel of this date.
L.H. Carrigan kept Brahmas. He could raise chickens better than he could ducks. Mr. Carrigan was a shoe, boot and hat merchant. He was in business with John C. Earl
whom he bought out in 1892. His store was at the site of the Army and Navy store. He was a leader in veteran affairs. James Conery, the express agent who lived on Church Street, raised Golden Polish and black Spanish. He thought he had the secret of making hens lay and wrote a book on the subject.
Stephen Osgood was a carpenter and builder who lived on Poultney Street. He had good large partridge Cochins and buff Cochins which he delighted to show to visitors.
A Jessie (Josh) Wark was just starting in the poultry business with Plymouth Rocks and Black Javas that he said were A No. 1. He felt confident that he would out rival the older breeders.
Henry Douglass sold Plymouth Rock eggs for hatching. He doubtless was a farmer on the Brick church area. Alex McNeely kept Plymouth Rocks and Bolton Greys for laying quality. He was a tailor, a cleaner and colourer with a shop somewhere on Canal Street. Orville Manville planned to reenter the fowl business, -~ and as he did all things,
people knew he would have the best. When he was in business before, he had all the dealers here and made money.
Doris B. Morton, Town Historian – The Whitehall Times – March 19, 1982 – Original Title Unknown