FROM PAGES PAST: 1921: Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital fund short $45,000 promised by subscribers

Staff reports
The Chronicle-Express

The Chronicle-Express 

Consolidation, January 1, 1926, of the Yates County Chronicle (1824) and the Penn Yan Express (1866); the Rushville Chronicle (1905) and the Gorham New Age (1902)

The Yates County History Center’s volunteers have gleaned these entries for your enjoyment from their digitized newspapers. You can access them at the free site For more information about the YCHC, visit

150 Years Ago

MARCH 23, 1871

Grove Springs, Lake Keuka – We are informed that Col. Moore has lately purchased the entire interest of Messrs. Davis & Crane in the above property and is now sole owner. This indicates business on the part of the Colonel, and plainly signifies that there is no longer a question as to the success of the enterprise. The only question now is to determine the extent to which the buildings must be enlarged in order to afford the facilities which the public demand. The last two years have more than fulfilled predictions of those who believed, that a hotel on Lake Keuka would be the “right thing in the right place.” The Colonel has reason to be proud of the character of his guests. A glance at his register shows almost every considerable city and town in the States represented. We understand that many of his former guests, together with their friends, have already made application for rooms for the entire coming season. Success to Grove Spring.

Botanical Discovery – Dr. Samuel Hart Wright of Jerusalem has long been noted as a leading Botanist. It is the custom among naturalists when a discovery is made of a new species, to incorporate the name of the discoverer in the scientific name of the new plant, animal or mineral. Dr. Wright having found a new plant, Dr. Asa Gray, the greatest botanical authority in America, gives the following account of it, in the latest issue of his "Botanical Contributions” : “Polygonum Hartwrightii - I have found this species several years ago in a high bog near the southern borders of Herkimer County, but never in flower. But my attention having been called to it by Dr. S. Hart Wright of Penn Yan, who finds it in open bottom land, among Carices, at Dundee, Yates Co., N. Y. I am desirous that it should bear his name as the real discoverer of its specific characters. Dr, Wright also found last year at the outlet of Keuka Lake at Penn Yan the species Polygonum amphibium, variety Muhlenburgii, which has not before been recognized as growing in America. Dr. Wright also found at Duck Lake near Prattsburgh, two years ago, a new species of carex, which he named carex xeracarpia.”

The Plank Road – A petition was circulated some time ago asking the Legislature to compel the authorities of the Penn Yan and Branchport Plank Road to move their Toll Gate at this end of the road back to its former location beyond the residence of Uriah Hanford, Esq. Many signed it supposing it was the intention to compel the payment of toll of all who drive beyond the gate, however short the distance. We are informed by Solomon D. Weaver, Esq., the President and principal manager of the road that no such purpose is entertained. A new Gate House became necessary and its old location was entirely unsuitable, and this side of Mr. Hanford’s there was no other proper place. It was also located there so that the gate tender could at the same time take charge of the sand bank. Mr. Weaver assures us that no toll will be exacted of parties driving out on the road, as far as the residence of Mr. Hanford, and the watering place beyond. So that people who draw sand or go to the Lake or the Trotting Park need not be troubled in regard to any annoyance for toll.

100 Years Ago

MARCH 23, 1921

The Hospital Needs Your Subscription – It was no small task to institute and carry on a campaign which resulted in securing subscriptions for the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital to the amount of about $150,000 from nearly 3,000 different people, in the smallest county in the State of New York, with only 18,000 inhabitants, including men, women and children. But the task of collecting the money seems to be equally arduous. Two years after the campaign cards were signed there remains $45,000 unpaid. While the date for starting the new building cannot be definitely stated at this time, yet that we shall eventually have a first-class hospital in this county is certain and all of the subscriptions should now be paid that the association may have the interest which the fund is accumulating. With the need for an institution of this kind, as shown by the first six months operation of the temporary hospital, and the success which has attended the efforts of the directors to supply temporarily the demand for a place where the sick can be properly cared for, it would seem that every subscriber should be willing to pay the amount of his donation without further delay.

Penn Yan's Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital in 1925 – but in 1921, the building fund was still short $45,000 promised by  subscribers before construction could begin.

Police Raid Tony Wadkins’ House – Last Wednesday morning Chief of Police George Wren, accompanied by Sheriff Blodgett and Officer Moses, made a “search and seizure” raid on the residence of Felice Gigliello, of 179 Seneca Street, Penn Yan, better known as “Tony Watkins.” They took possession of eight barrels containing hard cider, a jug of cider, and a bottle of beer. The warrant was issued by County Judge Gilbert H. Baker, on application of District Attorney Charles W. Kimball on evidence secured by Officer George Wren. Numerous complaints have been made about the “Tony Watkins” place and only recently Mr. and Mrs. Watkins drove a boisterous crowd from their house, defending themselves with carving knife and bottle. In the melee Tony received a cut on the forehead, which Louis Osborne as surgeon closed with a long strip of adhesive plaster. “Tony's” father, “Johnny Watkins,” called on his son afterwards and noticing the queer strip across his son’s forehead yanked it off much to Tony’s sorrow. Tony admitted to the chief of police that he sold cider at 15 cents a glass, giving as an excuse that he was not working and had to make a living. Tony had recently stocked up with a supply of articles he offered for sale. A sort of general store with cider which evidently had a kick like a mule. Conditions at this place were such that the village trustees engaged Calvin J. Huson Esq. to represent the village in any action taken and he is cooperating with District Attorney Kimball. There are several other places in Penn Yan under suspicion of selling booze and there is likely to be a rude awakening for some others. Chief Wren secured considerable evidence. The booze was stored in charge of Sheriff Case W. Blodgett.

Case of Smallpox on Jackson Street – A case of smallpox was discovered in Penn Yan last Saturday in a family who had recently moved to Jackson Street, this village, from Geneva. The local board of health and the school authorities are doing everything to protect the public and to prevent the spread of the disease. The school children from that neighborhood are not attending school and exposed persons are either vaccinated or quarantined. Smallpox was once the most dreaded of all diseases. Only five persons in a hundred escaped it, and about 25% of those who contracted it died from its effects. Today, by the simple and safe process of vaccination, the disease may he prevented in any community, and its occurrence is a mark of neglect or ignorance on the part of the victim or his associates. Severe, fatal smallpox may be contracted from a mild case. In severe outbreaks, one case of every four or five results in death, and most of those who recover are disfigured for life.

75 Years Ago

MARCH 21, 1946

Local Red Cross leaders guests of Rotary – “As long as there are American men or their wives and children overseas, and as long as there are fires, floods, and other disasters in this country, the Red Cross is needed,” explains Welles Griffith, chairman of the Home Service department of the Penn Yan chapter of the American Red Cross, as he tells of the need of the funds which local workers are seeking to raise during the current drive. Added to routine requests for establishing contact with soldiers in training in this country as well as those serving abroad, Mr. Griffith is now burdened with the responsibility of making arrangements for GI brides arriving from foreign countries. Passes so that husbands may go on the dock and meet their wives as they get off shipboard, telegrams making certain of dates of arrival, and many other details are arranged by him. "All this costs money,” he remarks. Speaking at that meeting were Miss Frances Hartigan, who returned from Italy in December and Al Sisson, both of Rochester, and both Red Cross workers during the European war period. "It’s an awful thing to be sick and away from home,” declared Miss Hartigan, as she told of the boys, 17, 18, or 19 years old, wounded and ill in tent hospitals, who wanted their mothers and their own comfortable beds and who clung to the Red Cross girls as the nearest thing to home that was to be had in that forlorn condition. “It was bad when the war was going on,” she said, “but its even worse now. The war is over and the boys want to come home and they fret and worry. It’s hard to talk to them and cheer them up when they can’t see any reason for staying over there.” She was talking of the occupation forces far up the Italian boot where she had been working just before her return to the States.

The work of replacing the present manually-operated crossing gates at East Elm, Seneca and Clinton street crossings of the Pennsylvania railroad has been started. A crew of railroad workmen is engaged in doing the preliminary work which will take about three months to complete. The present gates operated by hand by watchmen in the East Elm street tower and a watchman at Clinton street, were declared obsolete by railroad officials several months ago, the matter being presented to the village board of trustees. At that time a petition signed by residents of the section of the village using the railroad crossings protesting the change in gate system, was presented to the railroad at a hearing on the mater but the original plan was adopted.

The week’s lineup of movies at the Elmwood Theater in Penn Yan included “The Sailor Takes A Wife” with Robert Walker and June Allyson (It’s Bob or the gob just home from the sea - and ready for love.) Also Gene Autry and Smiley Burnette in “Under Fiesta Stars” (Gene in a new role … the kind that made him All America’s favorite.) Finally “Doll Face” starring Vivian Blaine, Dennis O’Keefe, Perry Como, and Carmen Miranda (You never saw more and wait until you hear that “Hubba, Hubba song!)

50 Years Ago

MARCH 25, 1971

Varitones Smorgasbord Saturday – The Varitones are sponsoring a public smorgasbord on March 27 at the Penn Yan Academy Cafeteria from 5 to 7 p.m. Proceeds from the supper will be used for their annual tour. This year they are planning on going to the New England States.

Oldest Bible – Mr. and Mrs. Lewis M. Depew of 41 Harpending Avenue, Dundee, received an award last Thursday night at The Dundee Bible Church for bringing the oldest Bible. Their King James version was published in 1841 in Cooperstown, New York. Cover and pages were in good condition. Oldest Bible Night was one of the features of a week long Bible Conference conducted by Dr. Lester E. Pipkin, President of Appalachian Bible Institute, Bradley, West Virginia. An annotated portion of the Old Testament, Genesis through Joshua, was also displayed. It was printed in 1816 in Boston. Patrick Hathaway of Reading Center brought this leather covered copy. Other Bibles bore dates of 1854, 1857, 1863, and 1867 and later. Rev. Paul M. Emerson is pastor of the church.

Local Girl Learns With Congressman – Vicki Soper of Penn Yan recently spent three weeks in the office of Congressman Samuel Stratton as part of her Independent Study Program at Cazenovia College. Vicki feels she was privileged to work for the most dedicated congressman in Washington. She says of her former congressman, “He is everything we all believe him to be.” She was reluctant to leave at the end of her study time because of the tremendous feeling of being part of this group - a dedicated congressman and his devoted staff members - who spent so much time and effort doing so much good for so many people. Among the highlights of her stay in Washington was her privilege to attend the opening Session of Congress in the House Chambers. She attended the Senate hearing of John Connally concerning his appointment as Secretary of the Treasury. She went to both the Senate and House chambers when they were in session and also met her new Congressman, Representative John Terry.

Gardner & Henderson Ford Dealership on Water Street in Penn Yan advertised the new 1971 F-100 Pickup Truck for $2,316 ("Try And Beat This!")