FROM PAGES PAST: 1946: Sampson Naval Training Center closed

Staff reports
The Chronicle-Express

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 

April 6, 1871

Letter from Philadelphia – Written in Independence Hall, on the Table of Independence March 30th, 1871.

Dear Chronicle: I write on the table on which our noblest Forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence. On my right are pictures of Washington, Jackson, Lincoln and Grant. On my left, William Penn, Lafayette, Gen. Mead, Charles Carroll of Carrolton, and a host of other patriots. In front are Benj. Franklin, John Adams, Robert Morris and the “Chevalier Girard” with his model ship. Back of me are Gen. Knox, Gen. Greene, Daniel Morgan, John Paul Jones. A host of other heroes and sages all around me, such as Baron Steuben, Alexander Hamilton, Gen. Warren, Gen. Ward, Albert Gallatin and Red Jacket. Martha Washington and “Mistress Robt. Morris” are the only females.

Right before me on the table is the immortal Declaration, as first drawn by Jefferson, with its various erasures and interlineations. It is framed and signed in all the various hands of our great Sires. It leans against the chair in which sat the bold John Hancock, as he presided, and signed the Declaration in a hand which King George could ‘read without spectacles.’ The chair is plain, cherry (I think) with arms and high back. It is not “laid on the table,” but stands mounted on the table. In the table is a large center-drawer, with three small drawers at each side. They all had the old fashioned brass handles, and a part of the handles yet remain. The other side of Hancock’s chair, between me and “Admiral Penn,” is the great Bell which first of all bells rang out the joyous peels of Liberty and Independence on the 4th of July 1776. Here it will be preserved as long as our Independence shall endure. Never may its doleful tones, mar those of any other bell, sound the funeral knell of our Heaven-favored nation!

Speaking of the Groveland Shakers the Dansville Advertiser says: A few days since one of the members of the Shakers fraternity of Groveland, Mr. Augustus Stone, left his associates with whom he had been since a boy, and donned the “worldly man’s” dress. He made a fine appearance in his new regalia, and looked like a Congressman. — Several women also left about the same time. It is announced that a leading member is soon to issue his valedictory and trim his bark to the breezes of the world. These changes, however, will cause no hiatus among this fraternity, as it is understood that other persons from the Eastern Societies will take the places of the retiring ones.

100 years ago 

April 6, 1921

Team Runs Away – Considerable excitement was caused in Rushville about 5:30 Wednesday afternoon when David Lazarus’ team ran away and tore through the business section which was nearly deserted at the time. Mr. Lazarus was driving from his father’s farm to his home in this village and when near the E. J. Hurley farm his horses hastened their pace. He pulled up on the reins and as he did so, slipped on the wet boards of the wagon box and fell from the wagon. The horses realized their freedom from restraint and ran, turning the corner into Main Street and proceeding north to the Gorham road where they turned again and were finally stopped near the E. L. Moody farm without having injured themselves or anyone else. Mr. Lazarus was quite painfully injured in his fall from the wagon, having received numerous cuts and bruises about his face and head. He was helped to Dr. Wilkin’s office where his injuries were dressed and he was taken home.

Farm Wages Tumbling – New York State farmers are now getting all the help they need, at wages nearing pre-war compensation, says State Commissioner of Agriculture George E. Hogue. The pay now given farm hands runs from $50 to $75 a month, without board, and from $30 to $50 a month, with board. Wages before the war were between from $40 to $60 a month without board and from $25 to $35 with board. Last year, the agriculturists were obliged to pay from $75 to $100 and from $50 to $60 in the respective classes. The plentitude of farm help offered is likely to bring even lower wages than those now paid, though there is no warrant for expecting them to drop below the level reached before. — Fruit Trade Journal.

Governor Says Law Is No Joke – “Every policeman knows where hootch is being illegally sold on his beat.” Shortly after signing the three prohibition enforcement bills this afternoon, Governor Miller was questioned as to what he thought about the effect of the bills, and he replied: “The best way to get rid of a bad law is to enforce it. Of course, I do not mean by that to be understood as saying that the prohibition law is a bad law. But the best way to find out whether it is a bad law is to enforce it, and the best way to find out what is a good law is to enforce it. The worst possible effect of a bad law is lack of enforcement because of the effect on the enforcement of good laws.”

75 years ago 

Apr. 4, 1946

Yates County Organizes Last Man Club – An organization has been formed consisting of ex-service men who left Yates county for military service on April 15, 1944. Each year a dinner and get-together will be held on this date and continue yearly until none remain to attend. Each year a member will be chosen to act as the club’s only officer. Paul Durham of Baldwins Bank of Penn Yan has been chosen “Acting Corporal” for the year 1946-47. Mr. Durham hopes that everyone who left on this date will have returned and can be present at the first annual dinner, which is scheduled for Monday evening, April 15. One Member of the group, Kenneth H. Davis, will be missed by all for he will not return. The club extends its fullest sympathy to the members of his family and promises that he will not be forgotten in the years to come.

Dundee School Leased by Legion – The grade school building on Seneca Street in Dundee, long idle, will house war trophies. Arrangements have been made by the Bradley-Jessup Post of the American Legion at Dundee to lease the former grade school building. Designed to be for the convenience of both the Legion and the Auxiliary, the upper floor will be arranged with two rooms, one with a modern, streamlined kitchen for the women, and another for the men. These rooms will be used for the regular meetings of each group and separated by portable doors, may be made into one large room when desired. The first floor will be changed into a large auditorium and a heating system installed to take care of the whole building. The basement, once used by the school agricultural department, will be a recreational and game room. The Legion also purposes to use the building as a war memorial and trophies of the wars in which this nation has been engaged will be housed there, making a museum of interest to the whole community. While the lease applies only to the building itself, the Legion will cooperate with the village to improve the appearance of the grounds and make an attractive park for public enjoyment. Idle for many years, an extensive job of redecorating will be necessary as well as the work in rearranging the rooms. The Legion has organized in squads to work on the various projects so that the new location may be occupied as soon as possible.

Note: This building now houses the Dundee Area Historical Society.

In 1946, the Bradley-Jessup Post of the American Legion at Dundee leased the former Dundee village grade school building on Seneca Street. This building now houses the Dundee Area Historical Society.

Sampson Closes Monday, Ending Naval Operations in This Section – With the processing of three men for discharge on Monday, the Sampson Naval Training Center closed as a separation. The transfer of some 800 men to other stations leaves the huge area at Sampson in about the same state as some of the famous “ghost” cities of the west. Many proposals have been made for the future use of Sampson ranging all the way from another hospital for the Veteran’s administration to a site for “Dewey college.” This would be a junior college, with five major colleges already making plans for the setup of the institution. The Navy’s planning division announces that Sampson will not be declared surplus property until congress has made up its mind about universal military training. During the past few weeks dismantling operations have been going on all over the base. Syracuse university has been bargaining for three buildings to be transferred to its campus to help with the extreme housing shortage. Bunks, mattresses, office equipment, and other materials have been packed for shipment.

50 years ago 

Apr. 8, 1971

No Teacher Shortage In BOCES District – “There is definitely no shortage of teachers in the Ontario-Seneca-Yates BOCES area,” comments John E. Loveless, district superintendent of schools. “In fact, there are now an average of three teachers available to fill almost every opening that exists for the 1971-72 school year.” The BOCES office at Flint serves as a teacher recruitment center for its fifteen member schools. On March 15th, the member BOCES schools reported a total of 71 vacancies for the 1971-72 school year. BOCES now has 206 teacher applications (compared to 165 at this time last year) on file. Vocal music and mathematics appear to be the only critical recruitment areas. Social studies, science, and physical education are the least critical.

Grape Tying Recruit Unit To Be In Penn Yan – Starting on Monday, April 5, a New York State Employment Service "recruitmobile" will be temporarily located in Penn Yan; and Mr. Fred Nichols will be available there on weekday mornings to assist in the recruitment and placement of grape tyers in the Finger Lakes area. The recruitmobile will be located in the Columbia Banking, Savings and Loan Association parking lot on Liberty Street in Penn Yan and may be contacted by phone at 315-536-3711. The recruitmobile office will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 12:30p.m. Two labor information centers have also been established for convenience of workers and growers, in the Naples and Hector areas. These centers will work with the recruitmobile office in making full use of available tyers. Charles Standish, Jr., Bristol Springs Naples, N.Y. 315-374-2653 or 315-394-4081; James Bond Fruit Stand Hector, New York at 607-546-7636. This is a cooperative effort in which we are working with the New York State Employment Service and the Labor Committee of the New York State Wine Grape Growers, as we have for several years in harvest labor recruitment and placement.

You can help by:

1. Advising the recruitmobile office of your needs for grape tyers.

2. Encouraging your neighbors to do the same.

3. Referring prospective tyers to the recruitmobile office for placement.