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Charles Christian

   It seems that every community has one or more 'characters'.  Charles Christian must have been one of the more colorful and interesting citizens of Glens Falls in the 1870's and 1880's.  Following are two obituaries that give a little insight into his life. 

This story appeared in the Glens Falls Daily Times on Monday, May 26, 1884.  A copy of the paper can be found in the archives of the Chapman Museum.  The article is copied exactly as it appeared except to update names as they are known today.  According to the information in the article, Mr. Christian must have been born in 1796.



His Sudden Demise at Half-past Ten O'Clock Yesterday Forenoon -- His Life and Mode of Living

        The veteran garbage gatherer, Charles Christian, died suddenly yesterday forenoon at the hovel he called home, off Uncas Street (now Crandall Street), in the western part of this place.  The old man was down town in the morning and returned home about 8:30 o'clock with a barrow load of rubbish collected at the markets.  A few moments later he complained of feeling ill and went upstairs to lie down.  Mrs. Benway, a neighbor, was present, and about ten o'clock proceeded to make some tea for the sufferer.  A moment later there was a fall on the floor above, and on investigation Mr. Christian was found on the floor, having evidently fallen as he attempted to get out of bed.  His right hand and foot were in motion, and the old man was frothing at the mouth.  The left side was lifeless.  The action of hand and foot grew fainter, and in half an hour life was extinct.  Coroner Eddy was notified, and pronounces death the result of an apoplectic seizure.  Deceased had suffered from two or three previous attacks.  The news of the old man's demise spread through the place, and crowds of curious people visited the locality.  Christian was known to every man, woman and child in Glens Falls.  Although eighty-eight years of age, he possessed the endurance of a man half his age, and his appearance on the street was a sure sign of fun for the urchins, who would tip over his barrow, clog the wheel, pelt him with a rotten apple, and bother him in every way possible.  Mr. Christian was born in Canada and had lived in Glens Falls for thirty-two years.  His fourth wife died but a few days ago.  Deceased leaves a daughter and two sons.  The former is in Gloversville, but the whereabouts of the latter are unknown.

        It was the habit of the old man to collect refuse from the stores and markets and wheel the matter home.  On this he subsisted.  The vicinity of his home presented a curious sight.  There were wagon loads of diseased codfish, meats, fruit and vegetables.  The mass had become putrid and the stench arising therefrom was nauseating.  Coroner Eddy, as the health officer, secured a number of men who last night dug a pit ten feet across and ten feet deep and buried half a dozen cart loads of the matter.  There is still half a score or more loads of truck on the premises which should be buried.  The funeral of Mr. Christian will occur to-morrow.

This story appeared in The Morning Star newspaper of Glens Falls, NY on Monday, May 26, 1884.  A copy of the paper is on microfilm in Crandall Library in Glens Falls, NY.  This article is copied exactly as it appeared except to update names as they are known today.



Of Charles Christian -- Close of an Eventful Life

        In a story and a half wood-colored building, located on Uncas (now Crandall) Street, lived Charles Christian, a personage whose name is familiar to most of our readers.  The other occupants of the house have been his daughter, Sarah Ann, and his wife.  The latter died on Tuesday of last week.  Christian arose about six o'clock yesterday morning and made his usual early visit around the stores in the village for the purpose of picking up what decayed fruit, vegetables, etc., he could find to carry home.  On arriving home, about eight o'clock, he complained of feeling ill and told his daughter he was going upstairs to lay down.  A few minutes later the sound of a heavy fall was heard in the room above by Sarah Ann and Mrs. Antoine Benway, a neighbor, who had just called.  The two hurried up the stairs and there found Christian lying on the floor, apparently in a fit.  He was carried to a bed insensible, and several neighbors were called in a few minutes later.  All efforts to restore him to consciousness were unsuccessful, and about half-past ten o'clock he died.  Coroner Eddy was immediately notified.  After making a careful examination of the body and ascertaining the circumstances of the case, he decided that death resulted from apoplexy, and deemed a post mortem examination unnecessary.  The remains were placed in the hands of Overseer of the Poor Kee.

        Christian was born in the Dominion of Canada on April 11, 1796, and was consequently eighty-eight years of age.  He resided in Canada for a number of years and from there removed to Washington county, settling near Smiths Basin, where he engaged extensively in the raising of swine.  A few years later he came to Glens Falls, where he has lived upwards of forty years.  During his residence here Christian has eked out a precarious existence.  He might have been seen on the streets daily with a wheelbarrow, engaged in gathering garbage and refuse of every imaginable kind.  In his travels about town he was annoyed by street urchins, and often shamefully tormented.

        A reporter who visited his late home yesterday afternoon, found a most repulsive sight.  The house is an old tumble-down structure.  The ground floor contains but one room, which is used as a kitchen, parlor and sleeping apartment.  Several chairs, a table. stove and a rudely constructed bunk comprised the furniture.  On the second floor is one small sleeping room, which was also scantily furnished.  In a shed in front of the house was a large collection of partially decayed fish, hams and other meats, which emitted a sickening stench.  Decayed fruit and vegetables of all kinds were also found in abundance.  Strewn about the premises were pieces of old stovepipe, iron, bones, etc.  Coroner Eddy, who is also the health officer, had the filth removed and buried last evening.

        Christian is said to have at one time been employed as clown by traveling circus companies, in which capacity it is claimed he made a decided hit.  He was married four times.  A daughter lives at Conklingville.  He also leaves two sons, one of whom resides in Canada and is said to be in good circumstances.  Only a few days since he expressed his intention of visiting this son and making his home with him the remainder of his days.  Overseer of the Poor Kee will have the remains interred to-day.

From the Glens Falls City Directory of 1881 - 82:

   Charles Christian, laborer, h Uncas n Division (Note: Uncas was the old name for Crandall Street)

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