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18830428 - Under the Hammer

Cleveland Lakeside Press
4/28/1884, Letter to the Editor

Under the Hammer

April 28, 1883

Ed. Lakeside Pres.


   During a period of great anxiety and deep affliction, a somewhat flippant and very spacious article, under the above heading, appeared in the Oswego Palladium, that at the time escaped my notice.  I beg leave to correct the misstatements that are decorative and somewhat reflect upon my integrity, whether designedly or not I will not adjudge.

   It was not true that "ex-senator Foster, in Dec., 1872, gave a mortgage for $100,000 on his property to secure the debts of the Union Glass Co."  He had a special interest in the Union glass factory concern, which at that time was embarrassed.  He proposed and did give a collateral mortgage on property raised and valued by parties appointed by creditors of the Union Glass Co., at $100,000.  Under the conditions of this mortgage, Charles Kathern was placed in possession of all the property and effects of the Union Glass Co., with power to dispose of the same with a limited period and liquidate the debts of the Co.  Other conditions obligatory upon the creditors were inserted in order to make the mortgage binding and effective.  The conditions were never fulfilled on the part of the creditors, nor did Mr. Kathern meet the obligation within the term.

   Still desirous the creditors should receive compensation from the effects of the Union Glass Co., a new proposition was offered the creditors, at a meeting held by them in Rome, Jan., 1873.  The proposition, as submitted and accepted by a committee of the creditors duly appointed and tacitly consented to by all the creditors there present, provided that the creditors should power to appoint three disinterested men to appraise and value the property of the Glass Co. in detail, and if the valuation exceeded the debts, each creditor should elect to take such portion as should satisfy his debt, at the appraised value.  Also that the creditor's might have the power to appoint a trustee to whom the property should be conveyed, and who should distribute to the several creditors the portions of the property selected in satisfaction of their demands.

   As appraisement was made; (or its injustices and wrong I will not descant upon, its character is well known in your neighborhood); suffice it to say it exceeded by far the amount of the debts.  A deed or trust was executed by Mr. Kathern and myself conveying all the property contained in two schedules made by the appraisers.  Then I supposed all obligations or claim under the mortgage given by myself had ceased.

   The trust deed made by Kathern and myself contained a reference to two schedules, A and B, supposed to be the schedules made by the appraisers; but instead thereof two schedules of conditions have been attached to the trust deed, which schedules do not bear the signature of either Mr. Kathern or myself.  No such conditions were contained in the propositions; neither Mr. Kathern or myself have recollection or knowledge of signing any such schedules or specifications; and if such specifications exist they were obtained through misrepresentation, deceit, fraud or forgery!

   These were the facts in the case and grounds of defense;  1st that the collateral mortgage given by ex-senator Foster was negatory from the neglect of the creditors to fulfill its stipulations.  2nd, That the mortgage was fully satisfied by the surrender and appropriation of the Union Glass Co. property under the arrangement made with the creditors at Rome.

   Again, the article "Under the Hammer" was not true in stating that Mr. Foster endeavored to prove that the property covered by the mortage had previously been conveyed to his son, Wm. Foster, Jr., and that the deed had never seen recorded.  My son, who was impleaded in the case with me, offered, through counsel, to prove this fact, but it was rated out by the referee.  It was brought to issue in another way, and on a hearing before Judge Noxon, was adjudged by him in favor of my son, but gave the creditors a limited time to put in counter proof.  They they failed to do within the term, but by the courtesies of counsel they were again admitted into court with a batch of affidavits, which have no pertinence to the matter or fact at issue, and are designed merely to reflect upon my character, - infamous in their conception, shameful to the parties that executed the, and virtually acknowledged by their counsel in court before Judge Merwin, to be unreliable.

   This issue is yet determined by a verdict of court, and as it involved every material pecuniary interest at issue in either case, and be determined by the proofs yet to be produced.

   Not having any direct or personal pecuniary interest in one matter at issue; not being able to obtain a detailed statement of the effect of the Union Glass Co., as disposed of by Chas. Kathern or the Trustee of the creditors; harnassed and drawn from point to point, without a hearing, and during periods of great family suffering, sickness and bereavements; having never offered any proofs or evidence in my own case, under the advice of counsel.  I consented to a conditional judgement of the referee, stipulating that all the costs of action should be defrayed by the creditors, and that all the rights and claims of my son should remain unprejudiced.

   And now, trusting to a higher court to judge, of my actions and motives, and not deeming the lower courts to be exhausted in their power to establish justice and equity, I will rest my reputation upon the merits of an intercourse of over fifty years with the people of Oswego county, with the assurance to certain creditors of the Union Glass Co., that I still live; and if their misrepresentations and persecutions still continue they will be held accountable for interest appropriated not delegated to them other by stipulation or deed of trust.  They are welcome to the $170,000 of Union glass factory property surrendered, but not one cent more.

   I am authorized to state to those who coveted some of the lands and became purchasers at the sale noticed "Under the Hammer," that they had better secure indemnity before they pay their money, and that any attempts to take possession of the purchases made at the sale by virtue of the conditional judgement will be resisted. --- Wm. Foster



Owner/SourceCleveland Historical Society
Date28 Apr 1883
Linked toUnion Glass Company, Cleveland, Oswego, New York; William H. Foster; William Henry Foster, Jr.; Charles Kathern (Occupation)

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