FROM PAGES PAST 1921: Three smallpox cases reported in Potter

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 

August 10, 1871 

CYCLES OF TEMPERATURE – Professor Piazzi Smythe, the eminent Scottish astronomer, recently announced the existence, in addition to the annual cycles of temperature; of three seasons; which he calls supra-annual. One of these corresponds to Schwabe’s sun-spot period of a little over 11 years, although it is suggested that this is simply a coincidence, and that the actual occasion of the waves of terrestrial temperature is to be found in the red prominences of the sun. Another of these cycles is a little more than two years in duration, while the third is about 56 years. It is to the effect of these cycles that the so-called changes of climate are believed by Professor Smythe to be due. According to him, there is no actual change, only that these cycles in their course bring back the same temperature. Taking a series of observations from 1837 to 1869, Professor Smythe finds that a hot time occurs once in about every 11 years, followed at intervals of a little more than two years by a very cold period; and arguing from these data, he suggests that the temperature for any season may be foretold a year in advance, and that the past winter in England was the first of a cold cycle, of which the next will probably be exceedingly severe. ~ Editors' Scientific Record in Harper’s Magazine for July 

BINDING GRAIN BY MACHINERY – The Chicago Post states that a citizen of Wisconsin has invented an automatic machine that will cut, bind, and deliver grain in a bundle, and that this problem, which for many years has excited a deep interest among agriculturists, has at last been solved. The machine in question was tried last season at Fond du Lac, Wisc. on six different farms, in order to test its adaptability to rough, smooth, side-hill and level ground, and also to different lengths of grain, whether grassy, tangled or well cultivated. — The result established the fact that the work could be perfectly performed, and the percentage of failures averaged five in the hundred, the machine having cut and bound 100,000 bundles. This year, the same machine, with improvements, has again been on trial near Waukesha, Wisc., and the results were highly satisfactory. The machine was put in operation in a field of oats of about 35 acres. The grain varied in hight from six feet in the most fertile to 10 inches in the poorest parts, and was cut and bound in bundles from the size of a man’s body to the size of his arm, and in some cases mere wisps, owing to the shortness of the straw — the butts, were laid as smoothly as though out across with a knife, and the percentage of failures was insignificant. Subsequently the machine was placed in a field of wheat, which it cut and bound at the rate of 14 acres a day. The machine, it is stated, does the work perfectly, and the grain is harvested with the exception of putting in shock and stacking. The wire bands used in tying up the bundles, are efficient, and cost only 30 cents an acre. 

PRICE TO PLAY MUSIC HALL – Fanny B. Price will give theatrical entertainment at Bush’s Hall, during each evening of next week. She is giving dramatic representations through the country which draw large houses and gain great éclat. She has been here before, and the theatre goers of Penn Yan know her qualities. On Monday “The Pearl of Savoy” will be played, and no doubt to a large house. 

LIME – The farmers of Yates county will probably discover some day, that lime will prove a great and valuable fertilizer of their land. But they never will feel able to use it in large quantities at the price it now bears in this market. They will, therefore, make the discovery that it can be produced cheaper, from limestone within their own borders. There is a bed of limestone fourteen feet in thickness, to be seen at the Oil Mill, at Croton, and other places along the Keuka Lake outlet, known as the Tully Limestone. It makes lime of excellent quality, which is considered rather dark for finishing purposes in building. This is no objection to it for agricultural purposes. No doubt it could be quarried and burned, on a large scale, for from six to ten cents a bushel. At this price the farmers could cover their fields with it and greatly increase their fertility. It ought not to be a long time before the experiment is made. 

100 Years Ago 

August 10, 1921 

"The Great Agnostic" Robert Ingersoll's birthplace in Dresden was opened as a memorial museum in 1921.

INGERSOLL MEMORIAL SERVICES AT DRESDEN THURSDAY, AUGUST 11; MANY PEOPLE OF NOTE EXPECTED – Birthplace of Ingersoll Will Be Opened to the Public. The arrangements for the dedication exercises at Dresden on Thursday are nearly complete. Many letters of acceptance have been received showing that there will be a notable gathering of men and women in Yates county. 

THE “FRESH AIR” CHILDREN – Last week Wednesday morning there arrived in Penn Yan 82 of the 105 children who were expected. The remaining 23 did not reach the station in New York in time to come. As soon as the children were unloaded they were served with breakfast and plenty of milk by the Business Girls’ Club of Penn Yan, after which Prouty & Rapalee gave each child an ice cream cone. A good sized crowd was at the New York Central station in Penn Yan to greet the children, and there were some disappointed ones because their guests did not arrive. However, word was received from New York that the children would arrive on Friday morning, which they did, and the hosts were at the station to receive them. All the “Fresh Air” children now in Yates county will be returned Wednesday, Aug. 17 on train leaving Penn Yan at 7:12 a.m. Please plan to have your guest at the Penn Yan station at 6:45 a. m. on that date. All the children are doing well and seem happy to have a breathing spell in the country. 

THREE SMALLPOX CASES REPORTED FROM POTTER – Dr. William C. May, of the State Department of Health, was in Rushville last Tuesday to investigate the report of smallpox in the town of Potter. He found three cases of the disease, Almarion Jones and his son, James; also Sybil Griswold, 10-year-old, niece of William Jones. The last two cases had developed within a few days. These two families have been placed under strict quarantine and it is thought that no more cases will result. 

CANDIDATES FOR THE PENN YAN POST OFFICE – It is said that the following persons have made applications for the appointment of postmaster at Penn Yan: Clarence H. Ferenbaugh, David Miller, Flora C. Stark, Alida L. Cornwell, Oliver J. Ketcham, John H. Meehan, John B. Cramer, George S. Morse, Wm. B. Fenner, and Clinton B. Struble. 

SAIL BOAT BLOWN OVER – Last week, Joseph Craugh and John Hyland, of Penn Yan, had an exciting experience on Lake Keuka. They were out in a sail boat (sic) and had just returned from a sail to Crosby. There was a stiff breeze blowing. The sail was double reefed and it was necessary to make several tacks. They were on the last one, about in front of Miller’s flats, when the boat tipped over. In attempting the last tack, the boat had been given play and the keel of the boat was such that the boom struck the water. The young men climbed to the top of the boat and soon people in cottages on the west shore set out in row boats to their rescue. 

REMEMBERING INGERSOLL – C. H. Sisson, who is seeking the nomination for sheriff in the Republican primary, says he is the only native of Dresden, now living, who has the distinction of being personally acquainted with the late Colonel Robert Ingersoll. When Mr. Sisson was manager of the old Sheppard Opera House back in the early nineties, he brought Colonel Ingersoll here to deliver a lecture on Shakespeare. Mr. Sisson remembers the occasion very well because the lecture was a frost and the house lost money on the venture having contracted to pay Mr. Ingersoll $150. Today a good movie will draw that much. 

CHANGE IN METHOD OF LICENSING CARS – The N.Y. State commission has decided not to send out to automobile owner’s renewal blanks for automobile licenses for the year 1922. The change in the law by which the owners may now apply to the county clerk of their respective counties to obtain immediate delivery of their license plates, and the very large increase in the number of automobiles, have convinced the tax commission that for this year at least, the expense of sending out these renewals is unnecessary. There have already been registered in the state during the year ending June 30th, 882,030 cars, an increase of more than 33 per cent, over the previous 12 months, the records of the Motor Vehicle Bureau show. With this number as a basis, the decision not to send out renewals will mean a saving in postage alone of $17,640.60. In addition, there will be very large savings in such items as window envelopes, cards and printing, multigraphing, typewriting, and comparing, which will bring the total saving to more than $50,000. The Commission points out that money saved in administration becomes available for the improvement of the highways of the state. 

75 Years Ago 

August 8, 1946 

FOURTEEN CARS DERAILED, TIE UP NYC RR TRAFFIC – Traffic on the New York Central railroad was held up Wednesday when a 14-car derailment piled freight cars all over the right-of-way a short distance south of Earl Station, and about four miles north of Dresden. The accident occurred just before daylight, and shortly after noon, two wrecking trains had arrived and were clearing away the debris. No one was injured when the accident occurred, but one man suffered a fractured leg when a rail replacement which he was cutting flew up and hit him. 

CAN YOU HELP US? – The file of bound volumes of the Chronicle-Express is practically complete for the past 122 years. All other Yates county newspapers have lost most of their old copies through fires. Because so much of valuable local history appears in the files of this paper, the Chronicle-Express is taking steps to preserve them for posterity. If you have any copies of Yates county newspapers before 1900, or if you know where there are any, we would appreciate learning about them. We would especially like old copies of the Yates Republican, the Penn Yan Enquirer, the Yates County Whig, and the Yates County Chronicle before 1900. All of these papers are forebears of the Chronicle-Express. —Editor. 

MAN BURNED IN BOAT MISHAP – Clarence White, employed by Penn Yan Express, received first and second degree burns about his face and neck early Saturday morning when gasoline in the bilge of a Penn Yan runabout boat ignited and the flames flared about him. Admitted to the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital at 3:10 a.m. Saturday, he was treated by Dr. Glenn Hatch and discharged later in the day. Mr. White and Gary Norris, both of Penn Yan, were using a boat belonging to the former’s employee, Rodney Pierce. Someone, it is believed, had put gasoline into the flagpole hole in the foreward (sic) deck rather than into the fuel tank opening, with the result that there were some five gallons of fuel mixed with the bilge water. When the motor sputtered and went dead the boat was well out in the lake off Bluff Point. Mr. White opened the covers over the motor. An explosion of gas enveloped him in flame. Closing the covers and extinguishing the blaze, he maneuvered the craft to shore at Keuka with the help of a tow. The boat was not seriously damaged. 

50 Years Ago 

August 12, 1971 

EDITORIAL COMMENT: LOWER WELFARE COSTS – Welfare recipients who are able-bodied shall accept work as a condition of eligibility for benefit payments. This proviso has been in New York State law for more than a quarter-century. What happened when someone decided to enforce this provision? Well, one commissioner of welfare investigated the rolls in his county and found 50 men who were able-bodied and who, in his opinion, were able to work. He then directed them to report at the highway department. Fifteen of the 50 remain on the rolls because of legal reasons, which are being processed, and two others can’t work because they’re ill. BUT... eight promptly asked to be taken off the relief rolls and two moved away. Five refused to report for work; so, their benefits were cancelled. Then nine more decided they wouldn't work either — thus, no more benefit checks. Nine did report for work. They immediately began their highway clean-up jobs, being credited at $1.85 an hour to pay for the relief they receive. Two of these men proved to be exceptionally good workers and accepted permanent jobs in the highway department, becoming self-supporting citizens. Suppose every welfare commissioner followed this example! It would make a big dent in the welfare mess and also help clean up our communities.