Stamford Novelty Stores
By Karen Cuccinello
I found this little 1906 article about Scutt’s Souvenir Factory in a Jefferson Courier newspaper that is housed in the Stamford Village Library history room and I decided to look into it because I had never heard of such a place before. During my search I found another similar place.
George Stanley Scutt was born May 3, 1863 in Livingstonville, Schoharie County, NY to Richard B. and Nancy Jane (Borthwick) Scutt. He married Susie L. Freese (1868-1906) in 1889 and Adlaide Lathrop (about 1876-1951) in 1912, and had one son, Harold, from the first marriage.
George worked for Charles Albert “C.A.” McMurdy, who started out as a cooper (barrel maker), making wood souvenirs before buying his business, I believe when McMurdy died in 1895.
September 17, 1898 Stamford Mirror- Few people in Stamford appreciate the fact that the wood souvenir business here has grown to huge proportions in recent years. The business was started by the late C. A. McMurdy and is now run by George Scutt. Fancy souvenirs made of native woods are made here and shipped to many resort villages in the Eastern Catskills, the White Mountains, Saratoga and along the coast. The retail trade here is increasing every season.
October 10, 1903 Stamford Mirror- Several loads of white ash poles from 2 inches to 5 inches in diameter at the butt. Will pay a good price for them either delivered or standing. Would like to see them before they are out. Answer by mail or in person. Scutt Souvenir Co. Stamford, N. Y.
September 16, 1906 Roxbury Times- The Stamford Novelty Works, a corporation which succeeded to the business and plant of the late Chas. A. McMurdy in that village suspended last week and decided to dispose of their stock, tools, engine and boiler and other machinery. The concern manufactured wood curios for the summer trade and at one time employed from 12 to 14 men at good wages. The fad for these goods seemed to have changed and business showed a marked falling off last year. This year it was still worse and as there was no prospect for improvement it was decided not to continue longer. George Scutt was the president and manager of the company and he has the respect and sympathy of the whole town in his misfortune. It was announced that H. D. Barton & Co. of Cornwall, had purchased the plant and would finish up work on hand, but they gave no encouragement about continuing the business after this is done.
George must have figured out another avenue for his goods because at some point he moved back to Livingstonville and started a similar business. He even set up another shop in Middleburgh in 1919.
January 1917 Cobleskill Index- John Beggs secured employment in the wood working factory of George Scutt at Livingstonville. Scutt is engaged in manufacturing wood souvenirs and novelties in which he was once engaged in Stamford, occupying the building now known as the Stamford steam laundry.
The laundry was owned by William Sr. and sons William Jr. and Andrew Scott until before 1920 as William Jr. is a lineman for the telephone company in the 1920 Stamford census.
George S. Scutt died April 6, 1942 in Stamford and is buried with his first wife in Cairo Cemetery. (posted on findagrave.com)
As you can see from the 1942 article Scutt worked for McMurdy but the article that went with the photo left out Scutt’s Novelty Factory.
The other souvenir factory, that I did not find out much about, was owned by William S. Cure, born 1855.
October 31, 1929 Stamford Mirror-Recorder- The business of the Stamford Souvenir Works, owned by W.S. Cure, on account of ill health is being offered for sale. Mr. Cure offers to dispose of his business, including woodworking machinery, fixtures and a stock of souvenirs and post cards. Mr. Cure established the business 30 years ago and has gradually increased it until his sales of souvenirs reached many distant points, including the states of Michigan, Illinois, the Catskills and Adirondacks and other sections of the country. He did a wholesale as well as retail business and has made a success of it. The business is a year-around one and is an enterprise which we are confident could be still increased with young blood behind it. He has a well-established trade among buyers of wood souvenirs and it is a trade. The raw material used in the manufacture of wood souvenirs is available here, thus avoiding transportation charges, another distinct advantage which should not be lost sight of.