Thursday, April 1, 2010

Remembering Earth Day 1970 in Cohoes and Nellie Ethier (died circa 1919 in Cohoes)

This is April Fool's Day but when I think of April, I think of Earth Day. This year will mark the 40th Earth Day!! I can remember the first Earth Day in 1970 when my best friend in high school and I walked around Cohoes taking pictures of all the garage in the plugged up canals. There were tires, tricycles, soap suds, green muck, refrigerators, washing machines and brown muck. At that time I had no idea why those canals were even there in Cohoes. Only in the past few years have I come to understand those pitiful canals filled with garbage and trash were once full of human commerce and activity.

Recently I found out that a wife of a distant cousin was found dead in one of the canals in Cohoes circa 1919. The cousin remarried a few short weeks after the incident to a very young lady he associated with before his wife's death. Apparently, everyone believed he murdered his first wife and dumped her body in the canal. The cousin, his first wife and four children are living in Cohoes in the 1910 federal census. His occupation was identified as "ice cream manufacturer". Her name was Helen or Nellie and she is listed as a housekeeper. They are both 38 years old. She was born in Quebec in 1871.

The cousin,  wearing the cap,  during the period of his second marriage

In the 1920 census, he is listed as the 49 year old son-in-law in the LaBarge household. No occupation. His wife was listed as 19 years old. What happened to Nellie??

Did she have a loss of consciousness and fall into the canal?
Was it suicide?
Was it homicide? or rather femicide?

As the canals in Cohoes became abandoned, so did the city.

1 comment:

  1. I was in Australia on R+R from Vietnam the first Earth Day. I did catch something about it on the "telley" in my room in Sydney but the priority was party time not saving the environment. Ran into a Marine from Cohoes in a Woolworth's store but I can't recall his name. Small world.

    Ray Rivet (jr)