Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Voices from the Past: Chauncey Depew (1901)

Chauncey Depew was a famous business and political icon of the late nineteenth century. Formerly Cornelius Vanderbilt's personal attorney, he was later named president of the N.Y. Central Railroad and was a two-term U.S. Senator from the state of New York from 1899 to 1911. As a resident of Peekskill he was also an angler of note, and related this interesting story which was widely reproduced ca. 1900.

A Salmon Story

My fish story is a remarkable one. For many years my numerous fish friends have honored me by sending me their first salmon catch of the season. It began fully ten years ago from a dinner speech of mine when I requested all the guests to send me a big fish in the spring. That year, by a preconcerted action, they managed to deliver all the fish on the same day, and my house was filled with them.

Now, if you approach my home any pleasant day in the late spring, you will see a messenger boy struggling under the weight of a pail of ice. "What have you got there, my little man?" you ask.

"Oh, a big salmon packed in ice for Mr. Depew," he will answer. Sometimes I have counted twenty messenger boys distributed along the road from my country house to the station. And my cellar is overflowing with cracked ice and salmon. Of course, I send a few to my neighbors, and the rest I have pickled, and mighty good it is that way. But the most pleasing part of my fishing experience comes in when I meet the people who have sent the fish. "Your salmon was the finest I ever in my life tasted," is what I invariably say to each and every one.

-- Dr. Todd

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