Bogdan Yelcovich sent us on another long trip.
He said we had to take the train from Scranton to Wysox, Pennsylvania.
Wysox is near the French Asylum where Madame d’Autremont stayed.
To be more specific it is half way between the Asylum and the ghost town of Barclay.
Then we had to take a stagecoach to Owego, New York.
There was a small rail line whose southern terminal is in Owego.
The northern terminal is in Ithaca, New York.
It is a very short line. Bogdan said it was only 40 miles long.
He also said there are some very important things going on up there in Ithaca.
Bogdan had an envelope of papers that he had cut from various printed material.
The first one he showed us was not too impressive – – – – – –
– – – – – other than this Cornell guy had a half million dollars to give away!
We suddenly realized that this Ezra Cornell was important enough to get the attention of congress.
We had to know who he was so Bogdan pulled out a picture of him.
Sort of a common looking fellow.
We asked Bogdan how a rather common fellow got so rich.
Bogdan said that Cornell lived in Ithaca and tried his hand at carpentry. People saw he had some talents for working with his hands.
Then someone saw he was quite smart and gave him a job selling plows. He was pretty good at selling also.
Ezra ran into a guy who was trying to lay telegraph wires underground. However, the cost of labor was killing the business.
Ezra invented a plow that would cut a ditch, lay the wire and cover it back up; all in one fell swoop.
It worked great but the underground dampness killed the whole thing. By this time Ezra had invested in some stock in the telegraph business.
It wasn’t all peaches and cream.
I asked Bogdan “So if Cornell was on the ropes how did he accumulate so much money?”
Bogdan pulled out yet another product from a paper merchant.
Flipping to an inside page this is what he showed me.
Cornell had control of telegraph routes that Western Union wanted.
He sold the rights and parlayed that money into other businesses; such as the insurance business shown above. He was 2nd Vice President.
I was sort of happy when I noticed that Bogdan was getting to the bottom of his pile of papers. He showed me the following in “Manufacturer and Builder.”
By now it was obvious that we had to see these wonders with our own eyes.
So Bogdan Yelcovich, Jim McFee and me took that route that I described in the beginning.
Including all the wonders we saw at the Fall Creek Water Power Laboratory we also saw the beautiful home that Ezra had built for him and his family.
In addition to leaving this wonderful university for us Ezra Cornell also left a few words of wisdom.