FROM PAGES PAST: 1921: Racer William Albertson injured in Philadelphia race crash

Yates County History Center
1921: Race car driver William "Wild Bill" Albertson, of Penn Yan, was injured in a Philadelphia race crash.

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

Sept. 14, 1871

On Saturday night last about midnight, the fine residence of S.S. Ellsworth Esq. on Main Street in this village, was destroyed by fire. How the fire originated seems to be unknown, but the destruction was complete. When first discovered, the fire could have been very easily quenched, but water was not easily procured, and no efficient direction was given to the efforts made to that end. Water for the fire engines was finally procured from the pump in the mill of Castner & Sheets, too late to save the building, but in time to aid in saving the Tunnicliff residence south of it. The latter was preserved from conflagration. Many goods were taken out of Mr. Ellsworth's house, but they were badly injured by rough handling, and it is said there was loss by thieving. Mrs. Ellsworth's wardrobe, containing much valuable property, was entirely consumed. She was absent from home.

We have several accidents to relate. Thie first one occurred in the town of Pulteney. Mr. Cuvier Prentiss was with two ladies, a Miss Prentiss and a daughter of Mr. Charles Parker, returning from Gibson's Landing. On reaching a bridge near Harmonyville, the timbers gave way and precipitated the horses, wagon and persons into the creek, about nine feet below. They received severe bruises, and one of the ladies was delirious for several hours, from a blow received on the head. All are now doing well.

On Monday afternoon Mr. Nathan Wheeler fell from a straw stack, broke a leg and is otherwise uninjured. As he is upwards of 60 years old, we fear it will be some time before he will be able to be around. The same evening, we learn, Mr. Olin of Bluff Point, while driving on the plank road near Mr. T. O. Purdy's residence was run away with, and came into collision with the horses and vehicle of Mr. James Emerson of Italy Hill. Neither of the parters was much injured in person, but one of Mr. Emerson's team had a broken leg, and one of Mr. Olin's horses was badly wounded in the hip.

The large grape crop of the country is making good progress toward perfection, under the genial sun of these days. The earlier grapes are already perfected, and there is no apprehension felt now except for the Catawbas, which are somewhat backward. Pratt & Jillett's Ionas are fully and deliciously ripe, as specimens shown us by Mr. Pratt fully prove.

100 Years Ago

Sept. 14, 1921

Three days of the week of September 15th the poultry of Yates County will hold the center of the the stage. The Farm Bureau will conduct six poultry culling demonstrations throughout the county. The object of these demonstrations is to cull the useless non-laying, greedy hens. Nearly every farm flock has hens as described. They should be eliminated. That is why these demonstrations are being held. Demonstrations will be held at the following farms: C.H. Brown, Dundee; Noble Connolly, Lakemont; V.M. Fox, Italy; Alvin Randolph, Italy; John Pulver, Italy Hill; and W.J. Fitzwater, Yatesville.

Frank Peterson of Bellona won the spelling match for the county. His standing was 96. He will represent Yates County at the spelling match at the State Fair. Florence Butters, of 208 Chapel Street, was second. There were nine girls and one boy in the contest.

Penn Yan's own "Wild Bill" Albertson and crew at the 1929 Indianapolis 500.

A report states that William Albertson of Penn Yan was injured in a race held in Philadelphia last week. His car left the track, went through a fence, injuring the driver and car. How seriously has not been learned. At the automobile races in Waterloo Labor Day, Albertson won the half mile race for the track record in 35 4/5 seconds. The prize was a silver cup. He won a second place in the three mile event, $35. The ten mile event was changed to five, and Albertson again finished first, winning $150, with the best time 6:10 minutes.

75 Years Ago

Sept. 12, 1946

The newly formed American Legion post at Branchport has been named after two men from that community who lost their lives during World War II, George William Disbrow and Lyle Daggett. George was the son of Mr. and Mrs. William Harrison Disbrow of Bluff Point. He was sworn in as a member of the Navy April 22, 1943, and reported for duty April 29, when he was just past 18. He was assigned duty as a member of the armed guard crew aboard the S.S. Elizabeth Kellogg of the Merchant Marine and served in the Pacific theatre, his last rank being seaman, first class. He was known as a "hot shell" man, wearing an asbestos suit while at battle station and handling red hot shells as they came from the gun after being fired. He was reported missing in action Nov. 23, 1942 and his death was confirmed a year later. Lyle Daggett was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Earl W. Daggett of Branchport. He trained with the paratroopers at Fort Benning, Ga., but later served as a machine gunner, going overseas in August 1943. He was wounded by a sniper's bullet near James ravine on Corrigidor while assisting his squad in placing a machine gun, and later died.

Shaping up as probably the largest event of the whole week of evenings during which the Penn Yan firemen will sponsor a carnival at the Penn Yan Fairgrounds, is the big parade on Wednesday evening, Sept. 25. Howard O. Sprague is in charge of this part of the week's activities and he hopes to have at least 20 visiting companies, many with equipment and bands, in the line of march that night.

PYA football practice started in earnest this week under the guiding eyes of Ed Pond. The season for the Orange and Blue team will open the last of this month at Lyons and will close with the annual Armistice day game between Newark and PYA. This traditional tilt will be played in Penn Yan this year for the American Legion trophy.

50 Years Ago

Sept. 16, 1971

The 1971 version of the Penn Yan Academy gridiron machine was pictured on the front page. The team will open their season at home against Pal-Mac Saturday. Shown were: Jim Spike, Jack Nielson, Jeff Taggert, Norm Koek, John Gibbon, Tom Kingsley, Steve Horrigan, Roger Paddock, Randy Youngs, Dan Simmons, Dyke Smith, Tom Barry, Dan Emerson, Harold Johnson, Mike Christensen, John Nicolo, Bob Stuart, Steve Castner, Tom Orr, Leon Jensen, Dave Giles, Art Maeske, Steve Staples, Paul Clingerman; Bucky Campbell, Farrell Jensen, Kim Jensen, Charlie Spacek, Tim Supple, Joe Abraham, Greg Christensen, Marty MacKerchar, Steve Lissi, and Bob Farenelli.

William E. Yonge, 22, of Branchport, was listed in critical condition at St. Joseph's Hospital in Elmira with injuries suffered Saturday in an accident at the mine shaft of Morton Salt Co. in Himrod. Yates County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Dale Smiley said Yonge was working at the bottom of a mine shaft when the drill he was using apparently jammed.

Members of the Wagner Little League team, which finished the season with a 13-1 record to capture the championship included: Mike Maselbad, Bob Brow, Randy Baker, Paul Chapman, Wesley Cook. Bill Shipmen, Jeff Winegardner, Greg Andrews, Doug Baker, Darin Fox, Mark Griffin, Steve Robacher, John Whitaker, and Tom Cook.