Thursday, April 2, 2020

New Signs Needed - Samuel Winchester Chubbuck

You know history does march to a different drummer in Eaton.  I live here and marvel at the fact that on every corner of the Hamlet... once called “Eaton Village”… history lived.
The very spot where we usually host our event on Memorial Day Monday - Eaton Day…and our lectures…is one of the town’s historic places…a place  of national importance actually…for it is the site of the birth of the Camelback Key and Sounder for Morse’s telegraph!  Yup.. in old Eaton, New York.
Early Sounder
If you go behind the old auction barn building you will find the spot where Samuel W. Chubbuck did all his experiments … a place that was his father’s Mechanic Shop.  Samuel Chubbuck and his family moved to Eaton, then called Log City, very early and his son Samuel it was said could fix anything.
Samuel eventually became noted for his many ideas, which include not only telegraph equipment but also the modern battery post used in our cars, lift bridges, and so much more.  If an idea came to him in a dream he took no patent on it as he believed in came from God.
His camelback key is actually patented to his cousin Charles Chubbuck?  I have always wondered if he gave it to Emily Chubbuck’s father to give him some income… (His family was very poor.) Oh yes did I mention Emily Chubbuck Judson…the missionary known also as the famous writer “Fanny Forrester”… was his cousin. And yes, the brook that wanders behind Samuel’s work spot is the brook that she made famous in her “Alderbrook Tales!”
Anyway Samuel went on to become a very famous and rich man who gave lectures all over the USA as Professor Chubbuck.  It is interesting to note that one of the men he influenced with his theories on “electricity” who gave him credit was Thomas Alvah Edison.  Chubbuck’s company made all of the early equipment for Morse’s Telegraph…something that modernized news and communication.
A humorous piece on his family is noted in Luna Hammond’s history of Madison County:
After the Skaneateles turnpike went through, there was need of better tavern accommodations; Mr. Samuel Stow, therefore, built and kept a tavern on the corner opposite the lower hotel. Samuel Chubbuck, living opposite to him, carried on a blacksmith shop. These two men had by some disagreement become violently opposed to each other. In a spirit of competition, Mr. Chubbuck was a staunch Democrat, and this was a time soon after the war of 1812; so upon one side of his attractive sign board was displayed the dying words of Commodore Lawrence, as a motto, --- "Don't give up the Ship!" --- and on the other side, "Free Trade and Sailor's Rights!" Mr. Stow immediately erected another blacksmith shop to match Chubbuck's, which stood very near where Coman's store is, and swung out his sign directly opposite to Chubbuck bearing these words: "Don't give up the Shop!" and on the reverse side, "Free Trade and Mechanic's Rights!" --- alluding to his neighbor's giving up blacksmithing for tavern keeping. Those unique signs hung out for many a year. “

PS   If you didn’t ever hear of this piece…it was because S F B Morse was and ego-maniac and took credit for everything he could!

Some old style equipment

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