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This Week in Port Jervis History

On January 24, 1859, Port Jervis artist, William H. Hunt, was born. William H. Hunt painted both landscapes and portraits. Some of his local landscapes included Sawkill Falls, Raymondskills Falls, Hawk's Nest Road, Tri States Rock and the Delaware and Hudson Canal. In the 1870’s, Hunt worked for Elias Perry Masterson in Port Jervis. After working in Newburgh and Middletown, he opened a studio in Port Jervis in the Farnum Building in 1882. A painting of Henry Harrison Farnum (son of Samuel Bernard Farnum) by Hunt hung in First National Bank. Henry Harrison Farnum, the uncle of Peter Eli Farnum, donated the land on which the Farnum Block was built. The painting was copied from a photograph of Farnum by Napoleon Sarony.

On January 27, 1913 baseball player, Fred E. Nyce died at his house at 32 Orange Street in Port Jervis. Nyce was born in Montague, New Jersey to Civil War Veteran and carpenter, Jacob Nyce and Dorcas nee Shay. Nyce grew up in Port Jervis and as a teenager, he pitched for the Port Jervis Delawares in their 1884 season. In 1884, with Nyce as pitcher, the team saw wins against teams from Haverstraw, Goshen and Walden. On August 4, the Delawares, as underdogs, beat the Newburgh Club, the county champions, in Newburgh, by a score of 3-1. The Delaware Base Ball Club of Port Jervis was formed in 1859 and included in their roster in the 19th century George McVey, Jack Lynch, Blondie Purcell, Mike Goodfellow, Larry McKeon and King Kelly. The Delawares occasionally played major league teams like the Louisville Grays and the Philadelphia Athletics of the National Association. The Delawares wore gray caps, gray shirts and pants with red belts and red stockings, as did the black Port Jervis team, the Red Stockings. The Delawares played most of their games at the Main Street Ball Grounds, now the field by the current middle school. They also played games at the Erie Flats, the area where Kolmar is located today and in Riverside Park. In 1885 and 1886, Fred Nyce played for Newburgh in the Hudson River League. Between 1887 and 1890, Nyce played for a number of professional clubs in North America including the Burlington Babies, the Columbus Buckeyes, the St. Louis Whites and the Hamilton Hams of the International Association (considered the first minor league). Nyce frequently returned to Port Jervis, often playing with the Delawares when he was back in town. In 1889, Nyce played in games against the Cuban Giants, the first professional African-American baseball club and the newly formed, independent New York Metropolitans. Fred Nyce married Mary Padien on February 14, 1899 at the Piney Woods Inn in Southern Pines, North Carolina. Mary and Fred had one son, Eugene, who fought in World War I and is interred in St. Mary's Cemetery. Fred Nyce is interred at Laurel Grove cemetery.

1887 Old Judge baseball card of Fred Nyce.

Broadside of a game against Cornell in 1877, seven years before Nyce played for the Delawares (private collection of Carlton Hendricks).

William Hunt's studio was located on the second floor of the Farnum Building.

Diagram of second floor of the Farnum Building, where William Hunt's studio was located.

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