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Tompkins County Bee-Keepers' Convention
at Greenfield, N. Y.

Gleanings in Bee Culture
Vol XXV. Dec 15, 1897, No. 24
pages 878-881

Link to original at Google Books


My Trip Through Another One of the Great Honey Counties of York State ; the George Junior Republic.


You will remember that I left Groton with Mr. Miles Morton, in a buggy, to attend the convention at Freeville, which I had been invited to attend; and that, on the route, we stopped to take in one of Mr. Morton's portable house-apiaries, and take a snap shot or two, the result of which has already been given on page 807. Leaving the house-apiary we proceeded on our way to Freeville, a small town located at the junction. of two railroads. As it is a sort of pleasure-resort, and is so centrally located, it was selected as the place of meeting of the Tompkins Co. bee-keepers. Arriving there, we found that the bee-keepers had already begun to assemble; after a general hand-shake and an elegant picnic dinner, we were called to order by Pres. Wood. I will not attempt to rehearse the discussions that took place at that time, as they are now too dimly fixed in my mind. I do remember that I was given two or three friendly " shots," which I suppose were designed to wake me up. I was suffering at the time from a horrible cold—a sort of influenza that I had caught on my return from the Seneca Co. bee-keepers' convention some two or three days before. A night ride on the bicycle, and then afterward, wet with sweat, sitting in the delightful breeze of the cool summer air, so refreshing and grateful, gave me what I deserved.

There were present at that convention a number of bee-keepers who had colonies aggregating from 300 to 1000, and who were just full—yes, brimful, running over—with facts and experiences in regard to bees. Both during the convention and after it I made it a point to pump those fellows as much as I could; and some of the things I have already given to the bee-keeping world have come from those same men.

The president, Mr. Wood, after giving me an introduction, told me that I was expected to occupy the rest of the time; and then those beekeepers, with their colonies running up into the several hundreds, bsgan to " pump" me. I suspect I told them all I knew about bees, and perhaps some things I did not know. Taking it all in all, we managed to have an interesting and lively time. Before the adjournment of the convention, I secured, as a matter of course, two views of the bee-keepers.


At this convention there was a unique and interesting old gentleman named Luther Greenfield. He had a hundred or so colonies within a quarter of a mile, and invited all the bee-keepers present to visit his apiary. About half of us accepted the invitation. Mr. Greenfield acknowledged that he for some reason could not get as much honey as the other fellows who boasted of their big crops. He almost intimated, in his good-natured Yankee nasal twang, that he did not balieve that " them 'ere fellers " could get any more honey than he. In the course of a good-natured banter it leaked out that he had anywhere from six to twelve swarms out at one time during the height of the honey-flow. " Why," said he, "I can get swa'ms, plenty of 'em; but somehe'ow I can't git any honey like you fellers claim."

The " boys" rather poked fun at him a little, because he had, within half a mile of his apiary, one field of buckwheat aggregating a hundred acres or more, and various other small fields within range of his bees. I think it was Niver who called upon Mr. Greenfield at one time, and found him employed in the apiary, trying to take care of about six or eight swarms in the air. He was barehanded, bare footed, bareheaded, and baldheaded in the bargain, and the "bees stinging just like Jehu." " What in Sam Hill made the bees swarm so," he could not understand.

"Why,"said Niver, "your hives are too small, and your acreage of buckwheat is too large. Give them room—give them room."

While the bee-keepers were in the yard I took one or two snap-shots, one of which I reproduce herewith. Mr. Greenfield himself is in the center of the group, with smoker in hand, just proceeding to open one of his hives. Veil ? He did not want any thing of the sort. What did he care for a few stings ? At the extreme right of the picture, with white straw hat, is Mr. W. L. Coggshall—the man who manages, with two helpers, a thousand colonies in nine different apiaries. The furthest yard, I think, is some forty miles from his home, and the nearest is some three or four. Just in front of Mr. Coggshall, with his hands behind him, with straw hat, is the secretary of the convention, Mr. J. L. Kinney. Just in front of Mr. Kinney's right, with white beard, light suit, is Mr. Miles Morton, who needs no introduction to our readers

I was introduced to all of the bee-keepers there present ; but for the life of me I can not remember another one save the young man at the left of the picture, who has a straw hat in his hand. That is Mr. Coggshall, junior, who helps his father considerably in the management of their extensive apiaries.


Just back of Luther Greenfield, with his head obscured from view, is Mr. Harry S. Howe, of Ithaca, N. Y., but formerly in the employ of Mr. Coggshall, of West Groton. Mr. Howe is a young man in whom Mr. Coggshall has taken a special interest — in fact, almost brought him up. Harry was bright, active, and earned the title of being one of Coggshall's "lightning operators." "Why," said Mr. C., "that boy could handle more colonies, and extract more honey—in fact, do any other work among the bees in a given time — than any other man or boy I ever knew." Harry has had to work his way through life from a boy up. He worked days and studied evenings, and latterly has for a number of years taught school. It was he who subsequently showed me through the buildings of Cornell University ; and while he did not profess to be one of its students or graduates, he seemed to be well up in some of the departments of learning of that institution. But I suppose one reason why I was attracted so strongly to Harry was because of the fact that he is an ardent bicycle man. While I was with him part of one day we talked not only bees, but bicycles and every thing connected with them.

' But to return. I took two or three snap shots of Harry as he was riding on his favorite bike—one he made himself ; but, unfortunately, it was near the end of the film, and the pictures were " no good."

After I had taken the view shown herewith, I proposed that Mr. Greenfield "hare up" his bees, and while they were making a " scatteration" among the bee-keepers I would take a snap shot. Mr. Greenfield readily did the 'haring up' - yes, he did it to perfection - and the bee-keepers did the rest - performed the windmill act, jumped over hives - in fact, retreaded in a hasty and inglorious defeat. My camera caught the whole performance; but, unfortunately, my shutter was not set for quick work' and the consequence is, that every man who started to run left a stread of himself, as it were, on the picture and the "streaks" were so badly mixed up that one could not tell which from t'other.

Tompkins County Bee-Keepers at Luther Greenfield apiary in Freeville, N. Y.



After we had enjoyed ourselves at the Greenfield apiary a few of us paid a short visit to the George Junior Republic, situated about half a mile from Freeville, and on top of a magnificent hill which commands a fine view of the surrounding country. The George Junior Republic - what is it? To many of you it needs no introduction. A certain Mr. George, a young man of about 30 or 35 years of age, conceived the idea of taking up a lot of street waifs from the cities. He had no difficulty in securing this sort of material, you may be sure. By dint of hard work he managed to get men of means, and churches, interested. Some cheap buildings were constructed at Freeville, consisting of dormitories and other necessary buildings. The scheme was to organize these boys into a "Junior Republic." They were to have a president, vice-president, senate, house of representatives, police force, detectives, and all the other accouterments of a well-equipped government. The scheme was carried out, and the boys not only liked the idea of bossing themselves, but actually governed themselves in an admirable manner. I was told that some of the worst boys made the best police officers. They are taught civil government, given an inkling of some of the great questions of the day, coin their own money, establish banks, make their own laws ; arrest, convict, and carry out their own penalties. Contrary to. what one might expect, the scheme has proven to be a grand success, both from an educational and a moral point of view.

I had often read about this institution, and it was a real pleasure to see the thing itself, and to shake hands with the founder, Mr. George, a man whom we must all admire.

Just as we were about to leave, one little chap (our guide) spied a button that was on Mr. Niver's coat, which bore the words "Single Tax " upon it. Cocking his eye at the button he turned and said :

" What's single tax ? "

"That's too big a question," said Mr. Niver. " I could hardly answer it now. But I suppose you could tell us all about free trade and the tariff?"

"You bet," was the response.

Submitted by Darla Stimbert, 2010 - casay2 at


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