FROM PAGES PAST 1921: Conley Double Murder Trial Begins

Yates County History Center

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

July 6, 1871

TRANSPORTATION – Two steamers a day left the Outlet in Penn Yan for Hammondsport - 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. Twelve trains a day went through Penn Yan on the Northern Central RR - six northbound and six south-bound.

THE FOURTH IN PENN YAN – The celebration of the ever glorious Fourth in Penn Yan this year was a great success. The labor was done by the soldiers of the Grand Army belonging to Post Sloan, and right well did they acquit themselves. Notwithstanding the threatening indications of rain from the earliest dawn, the village filled up at an early hour, and the rush from all quarters of the compass continued throughout the forenoon, crowding Penn Yan with people as it was rarely if ever crowded before. The arrival of the morning trains brought Scott’s splendid Band from Rochester, and one hundred Fireman and others from Elmira, including Eldridge Fire Company No. 6 with their steamer ; and Protective Hook and Ladder Company, No. 1, with their equipments. They were received at the railway station by a large crowd of citizens, the firemen of the village, and Major Wm. Stewart Judd’s Military Band, forming a very fine procession, which Main Street and disbanded. At half past ten the grand and imposing procession was formed under charge of the Marshall, Capt. Jere S, Reed, assisted by Majors John Cooley and Truman N. Burrill, the rear guard consisting of the Bummers Brigade, commanded by Capt. N. B. Spencer.— The Bummers were a motley crowd, presenting as fair a picture as possible of the camp followers ravaging the chicken roosts, pig sties and pantries of the country through which they go. They added much to the amusement of the people by their grotesque display. The Court House Park was packed by a dense throng, larger than ever before witnessed by the oldest inhabitants. Major Martin S. Hicks presided. Prayer was offered by Rev. David Magic. The Declaration of Independence was read with much spirit and emphasis by Gen. Eli Long.

NEW FAIRGROUNDS – We hear it reported that the officers of the Yates County Agricultural Society have bought of Mr. Azor Kimble sixteen acres of land for a new Fair Ground, at $450 an acre. The season is so tar advanced they do not expect to put the ground in order for use this year. Hence we shall have no Fair this year, unless the officers of the society are able to hire the old grounds on such terms as they think they can afford. (NOTE: the “old” fairgrounds was on what is now Keuka Street; the “new” fairgrounds is where the Lake Street Plaza is now.)

100 Years Ago

July 6, 1921

THE JEROME CONLEY MURDER TRIAL —- Twelve jurors will be chosen from the 100 county citizens called for jury duty in the trial of George and Gilbert Dean who shot Jerome Conley in Middlesex back in February. These brothers were indicted for first degree murder by the last grand jury and July 18th set as the date of their trial. Judge Robert Thompson will preside. This will be the first double murder trial in the history of Yates County, so far as known. The district attorney will be assisted by Hon. Calvin J. Huson. Attorney Spencer F. Lincoln has been appointed to defend the prisoners. Counsel have agreed that no jurors should be drawn from the towns of Middlesex or Potter, where the feeling against the prisoners is especially bitter.

PLANNING FOR NEW HOSPITAL BUILDING —- An advisory committee is to be named to plan for a new building, to secure plans, specifications and probable cost of a hospital suitable for Yates County. This committee is to include the president, W. N. Wise, and three others to be named by him. Four physicians are to be members of this committee in an advisory capacity: Drs. E. C. Foster, F. S. Sampson, B. S. Strait, John Hatch. It is estimated that a 40-bed hospital building could cost as much as $30,000. The temporary hospital as been in use for ten months now and has turned a profit.

“WILD BILL” ALBERTSON —- The Penn Yan boy raced his Dusenberg Special down in Wil-mington, Delaware over the Fourth. He won three of the four events that he raced in and would have won the last one if his car had not developed mechanical problems. He captured $300 in prize money.

A new Studebaker shows off its hill climbing ability in 1916  at Whitfield Carriage Works on Jacob Street (now Silverbird Restaurant.)

THE 1921 STUDEBAKER —- Parish’s Garage on Jacob Street (Phone 511) advertised the new Studebaker: “Its grace of line, quality of materials, power, “pep,” and remarkable roadability, com-bined with its new low price, make the New LlGHT-SlX the greatest five-passenger automobile value on the market today. Studebaker’s modem manufacturing facilities and great volume of pro-duction make it possible to offer this truly remarkable value.” Price: $1,335

75 Years Ago

July 4, 1946

ELMWOOD THEATER – The major feature films this week include Maureen O’Hara and Dick Haymes in the musical “Do You Love Me,” Gene Autry in “Goldmine In the Sky,” and Fred MacMurray and Anne Baxter In “Smoky” which is in Technicolor! Along with the feature films is an Extra: “Bikini, the Atom Island” which describes how 147 inhabitants of that Pacific Island were located to another atoll by the U.S. Government to clear the way for Operation Cross-roads, the testing of nuclear bombs. The first of these tests is this month.

DANCING & ROLLER SKATING – Summer entertainment is well underway with dances advertised at The Hayes Barn in Penn Yan with music by The Trail Blazers featuring Dottie, the yodeling songbird. The Branchport Community Barn advertised “The only year round barn dance in Yates County”, this week music is provided by The Royal Olde Tymers. A “modern style barn dance” will be held at the Keuka Hotel Pavilion with music by the Barrington Ridge Runners Orchestra. Beautiful Roseland Park on Canandaigua Lake dances will feature Bill Flanagan along with Ken Renick’s Orchestra. Roller skating was available all around Keuka Lake at the Spinning Wheel Roller Palace in Penn Yan, the Keuka Hotel on the east side, and Lakeside Park on the west side (“A Nice Rink For Nice People.”)

MIGRANT WORKERS & FAMILIES ARRIVE – Migrant harvest workers and their families are arriving at the Comstock Canning Corporation camp near Dresden this week, where they will be greeted by an enlarged day nursery, an augmented staff of nursery workers, an expanded program of evening recreation for working children and young people, and two recreation directors. To the three rooms originally built for the day nursery, a fourth room is being added so that toddlers can be segregated from the older children in the nursery. A special room for babies was already included in the original three rooms. The Rev. Mr. George Clarkson, pastor of the Methodist church at Dresden, will direct sports activities among the older working children and young people in the evenings. He is planning, also, to show entertaining and educational motion pictures at least one evening a week, and will direct religious services at the camp every Sunday. Mrs. Harry Ingram of Potter, who assisted with the recreation program at both the Dresden and Rushville camps two years ago, carrying full responsibility from September 1 until the Rushville camp closed in October, will be in charge of handicraft and club work with women and girls. She will teach first-aid and home nursing, rudiments of nutrition, a variety of handicrafts, will act as a family counselor when the occasion arises, and will assist Mr. Clarkson with Sunday religious services. Although the state has taken the financial responsibility for the day nursery or child care center, the recreation program remains on the shoulders of the Yates County Community chest and the Home Missions Council of North America which has carried this project for the past five years.

50 Years Ago

July 8, 1971

PENN YAN SCHOOL BUDGET – Voters of the Penn Yan Central School District have once again defeated a proposed 3.95 million dollar school budget for the 1971- 72 school year. Last Thursday, the margin of defeat was a mere seven votes, but it might as well have been 70 or 700. It was the same budget that went down to defeat on June 8 by 100 votes. Thursday’s vote was heavier, with 1,525 turning out to cast their ballots on the proposition. The board of education has two major alternatives to consider as a result of this defeat. They can adopt an austerity budget, which would mean a decrease in many of the services offered by the school system. Items which could not be provided for in an austerity budget include cafeteria and school milk programs, transportation under two miles for children in Grades K-6' and under three miles for children in Grades 7-12. Also eliminated would be elementary textbooks, library books, athletic teams and trips, field trips, equipment and capital projects. The other alternative open to the board is to cut the budget considerably and resubmit it to the people in a third referendum. It is also possible to resubmit the same budget again that has been defeated twice, but this is considered unlikely.

Editorial: “The People Want …..WHAT?” – It is very obvious that the voters of the district have been alienated by someone... somehow! Does the school board and the school officials have any idea what this alienation involves? It seems to us that this would be the place to start to come up with some solution to the dilemma which faces those responsible for the education of your child and mine. The budget, as proposed, is not out of line. In fact, we are of the opinion that it is a fair budget with a minimal tax hike ... so we feel it is not just a case of dollars and cents that has caused the voters to turn it down for the second time. The board is going to have to ask questions ... What is it? ... is it too much administrative help? ... is it poor discipline in the system? ... is it lack of communication between the school and community? ... is it a dearth of competent, dedicated teachers? ... just what is it that is “bugging” Mr. and Mrs. PYCS District voter? We urge the Board of Education to pursue this avenue in a search for an answer. As we said in a recent editorial here, it is time for the board to be actively concerned in the operation of the school, in its student and faculty personnel, not just in the physical plant and equipment areas. It is time for the school board to go to the village resident and ask some questions ... to go to the farmer and ask some questions... to go to the student and ask some questions... and to ask some of their own employees, faculty and administration. We urge the Board of Education NOT to adopt an austerity budget, because one person, and one person only, will be hurt by an austerity program... the student!

CIRCUS IN DUNDEE —- The Three-Ring King Bros. Circus arrived in Dundee bright and early last Friday morning and set up on a vacant field along Route 14-A opposite Hillside Cemetery. One of the few surviving old-style traveling shows, it was complete with big top, elephants, wild animals, and famous star performers. The local Jaycee chapter sponsored the gala event which was blessed with a welcome moderation of the recent hot, oppressive weather. Both performances drew good crowds and the small troop of trained elephants proved to be a popular feature. A certain amount of traffic congestion occurred on heavily traveled Route 14-A but it was well handled by State Police, Yates Sheriffs deputies and local police personnel. The Dundee Jaycees shared in the ticket sale