The Early Days of The Middleburgh Telephone Company
It was the way things were in the year 1897, when a group of local businessmen saw the necessity of a more efficient means of communication. Under the leadership of Dr. Christopher S. Best, the group met on September 6 to organize a telephone company for the community.
This pioneering group included Dr. Best, D. D. Frisbie, J. E. Young, Alonzo Almy, J. B. Badgley, A. E. ReQua, Dow Beekman, Charles W. Vroman, Jacob L. Engle, John H. Cornell and W. E. Bassler. All were community and business leaders but none were experienced in the relatively new telephone technology at the time.
Dr. Christopher S. Best, Founder and First President
Led by Dr. Best, the first step the founders of the company took was to lease an office in the front rooms of the second story of the Watson Building on Main Street in Middleburgh for an annual fee of $84.00. Next, they purchased a switchboard and bought 30 locust poles and five miles of wire. Over the next several years, The Middleburgh Telephone Company grew steadily in both the numbers of customers and the size of its plant.
In 1919, as telephone and electric utility service really started to become a necessity in the everyday lives of many local residents, Middleburgh Telephone entered into a contract with The New York Telephone Company and The Middleburgh-Schoharie Electric Light, Heat and Power Company to erect joint pole lines on River Street in the Village of Middleburgh. It was the first of many such agreements to come.
In 1922, a young E. Scott Rose joined Middleburgh Telephone. He worked with the company for many years and would eventually become the company's president. E. Scott's family had pioneered the telephone industry
for many years making him well suited for the telephone business.
Area Companies Join the Middleburgh Telephone Family
Over the next several decades, Middleburgh Telephone acquired other small, neighboring rural telephone companies and merged them into The Middleburgh Telephone Company. The Fulton Valley Telephone Company joined the Middleburgh Telephone family in 1922; The Pierce and Peasely Rural Telephone Company in 1923; The Oak Hill Telephone Company in 1926; and The Schoharie Valley Telephone Company became a part of the larger company in 1932.
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