October 1990

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Delano D. Cottrell

North Cohocton Enterpriser


Merle Wheaton

In 1905, on the dining room table in his mother-in-law's house, the postmaster of North Cohocton started a mail-order magazine subscription service.

Delano Cottrell had married Edith C. Megaffee in 1894 and become postmaster in 1900. He had tried teaching school, even a principalship, and had sold text books for a publishing house for ten years before he settled in as postmaster at North Cohocton.

His new enterprise prospered rapidly. In 1910 he built a new office building that also housed the post office. Only seven years after start up, he bought out three other similar agencies and combined them into the Moore-Cottrell Subscription Agencies, Inc., of which he was president and general manager until his retirment in 1922.

Delano Cottrell or "D. D." as he was always known in later life, was the only son of the Rev. Andrew Jay Cottrell and Harriett Elizabeth McKee. He was born in Oswego Center, Otsego County, New York, on June 8, 1864. He graduated from the Sandy Creek High School in 1880 and taught school at Point Peninsula, New York when he was only 17. The next year he entered Syracuse University and remained there for two years. In 1884 through 1886 he was school principal at New Bremen and Deer River. After that he was a traveling salesman for an educational publishing house for ten years.

In North Cohocton, where he settled after his marriage, the Cottrells had two children: a son, Edward Jay, and a daughter, Lora Belle. Mr. Cottrell was active in the school, the local Methodist Church, and in Republican politics. He was postmaster in North Cohocton for 16 years. The E. J. Cottrell Memorial Library, located in Atlanta, is named for their son, Edward Jay who died in an army training camp in Virginia in 1918. Edward left a son, Edward Delano Cottrell, who is now living in Florida. The daughter Lora Belle, Mrs. Carl Cressy, was last known to be living in Bradford, New Hampshire.

From 1922 on, D. D. Cottrell spent summers in North Cohocton and winters in St. Petersburg, Florida. In these years he became very active in horseshoe-pitching contests both as an organizer of national tournaments and as a participant in the trials. He conducted tournaments for several years at the Steuben County Farmers picnics, the Rochester Exposition, and the New York Sate Fair. In 1926 he was vice-president of the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association..

After D. D. Cottrell's retirement from the Moore-Cottrell company, it continued business in North Cohocton until 1983 when the business was moved to Alabama. The business had been purchased in 1945 by the Curtiss Publishing Co., and the building was enlarged and modernized. When the business was acquired by the Cadence Co. of Caldwell, New Jersey, it was the largest business of its kind in the world and did business all over the world. The Moore-Cottrell Agencies were acquired by EBSCO Industries of Birmingham, Alabama, in January 1982. EBSCO closed the facility in 1983, moving the business to Alabama.

In April, 1983, EBSCO made a gift of the buildings to the Town of Cohocton. The town in turn sold it to Elenex, Inc., a manufacturer of electronic equipment, which continues business at the present time.

"D.D." is still remembered in the area by the E. J. Cottrell Memorial Library, located in Atlanta, named after his only son, who died in the World War I training camp.

© 1990, Merle Wheaton
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