PAGES PAST: 1871: Cold summer ends with killing frost

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

Sept. 28, 1871

Threshing Accident – Horace Wheeler, of Jerusalem, a son of Samuel Wheeler, came near being killed last Thursday  morning by coming in contact with the tumbling rod of a threshing machine. It was at first supposed he was crushed to death, but he afterwards revived, and it is said fair hopes are now entertained for his recovery. None of his bones were broken.

Killing Frost – A hard frost last Thursday night was very severe on much of the vegetation subject to its effect, killing green corn, squash, and pumpkin vines, and to some extent, grape leaves. It is said most of the grapes in the immediate vicinity of the lake escaped injury. But in Pleasant Valley and some localities back from the lake, the injury to the grape crop is quite considerable. Since the frost we have good ripening weather for grapes, and we trust that most of them will yet mature. Most of the September weather previous to the frost was very unfavorable to the grapes. In fact, the season since June has been a cold one, and it is no wonder the grapes have been kept in a backward state.

Mastodon Skeleton Found – A few days ago some laborers engaged in removing muck from a swampy section of the farm of Mr. Joel Hoyt, about two miles from Jamestown, found the remains of an unknown animal much larger than those of any existing species. Professor Love repaired to the place and succeeded in exhuming a large number of bones, with undoubtedly once belonged to a huge mastodon. They were about five feet below the surface, and much decayed. One-half of the upper jaw was quite perfect, and the teeth seemed as sound as ever. Two pieces of the tusks were in a good state of preservation, though the ivory was so decomposed that it could be cut with a knife. One piece is about four feet long and seven inches in diameter. The teeth measure, from root to crown, ten inches, and one of them weights five and a half pounds. Professor Love estimates the entire tusks to have been each twelve feet in length.

100 Years Ago

Sept. 28, 1921

Boy Struck by Car  – Last week Wednesday afternoon Kenneth Lynn of Sheppard Street, Penn Yan, was struck by a touring car on Main Street, near the residence of J.A. Darrow. The car was driven by a Mr. Purdy, of the West Indies, who was visiting Penn Yan. The boy was knocked down and rendered unconscious. The driver of another automobile picked up young Lynn and took him to Dr. E.C. Foster's office. Upon examination it was found that his head and face were quite badly bruised and one arm and an ankle were injured. The injuries were not serious, however.

Head St. Grocery to Open – Frank Wells has purchased the grocery store fixtures of John A. Shutts and will open a grocery store in one side of his home on Head Street near Main.

Schofield to Arms Commission – Captain Frank H. Schofield is a member of the commission in charge of the plans for entertaining the "International Conference on the Limitation of Armaments," which will be held in the city of Washington in November. This commission is made up of admirals with the one exception of Capt. Schofield. All the great world powers will have representatives at this conference and questions of vast importance will be considered. This is an honor for Mr. Schofield and for Penn Yan, as this village was long his home, and Sherman's Hollow was his birthplace.

75 Years Ago

Sept. 26, 1946

1941: This week, the "tower" at the East Elm Street crossing and the tiny watchmen's houses will be torn down, removing landmarks that have been familiar to Penn Yan for many years.

Railroad Tower to be Razed – After more than 35 years of manually operated gates at the Clinton, East Elm, and Seneca Street crossings of the Pennsylvania railroad, the old system has been ousted by the march of progress. Flasher lights and electrically controlled gates now warn traffic on these three heavily traveled highways. The new lights and gates went into operation Friday afternoon and this week the "tower" at the East Elm Street crossing and the tiny watchmen's houses will be torn down, removing landmarks that have been familiar to Penn Yan for many years. The seven men who kept 24-hour watch over the traffic at East Elm and Clinton — the Seneca Street gates were operated from East Elm — are now out of jobs. For one of these men it will mean the first change in occupation for 28 years, for another it means the end of a quarter-century cycle, and for a third, it is the ending of a job that has lasted more than 23 years.

Remember Casey Blodgett? – And do you remember the horse-drawn Benham hotel hack? Recall how they unloaded grapes at this time of year from the steamboats at the docks on Delano Place? These, and numerous other local scenes will be shown at the Elmwood theatre in connection with the regular show on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of next week as a part of the Elmwood's silver jubilee program. A short news silent movie was taken in Penn Yan some 30 years ago. It showed students pouring out of Penn Yan Academy, employees leaving Penn Yan factories and stores. Harper Howard, theatre manager, has made arrangements with Eva Sisson of Liberty Street, owner of the old film, to have it shown to the public. Though entirely silent, previews show this short newsreel to be unusually clear, considering the present progress of moving pictures.

First Female Legion Post Commander – For the first time in the history of veterans' organizations in Yates County, a woman has been elected as one of the officers of a men's group — not only that — it is a woman who has been chosen for the highest office in the power of the organization to give. Mrs. Marie Disbrow Fink, sister of one of the men for whom the new Legion post at Branchport has been named, was chosen at the organization meeting of the veterans' group, as commander of the new post. Mrs. Fink served with the WACs during World War II, and was recently discharged with a sergeant's rating. Her brother, George Wilson Disbrow, was killed while serving with the U.S. Navy.

50 Years Ago

Sept. 30, 1971

Ellsworth Hose 100 Years Old – Ellsworth Hose Co. had a 100th birthday party, complete with cake recently. Shown with the cake were Assistant Chief Richard Lane and Ellsworth Hose Co. President Robert Peacock.

U.S. Grand Prix Entries at Watkins Glen – Entries for four 12-cylinder BRMs, winner of two of the last three Grands Prix this season, and a trio of blue and white Team Surtees cars, headed by former World Champion John Surtees of England, have been received for the 13th annual Grand Prix of the United States to be held at Watkins Glen this weekend. Named as drivers for the Yardley sponsored BRM team are Switzerland's Jo Siffert, Britain's Peter Gethin, Canada's George Eaton, and New Zealand's Howden Ganley. The drivers will face the challenging and newly reconstructed 3.377 mile circuit which features four new twisting corners and provides some of the most exciting vantage areas for the spectator in the sport of motor racing. With over $2.3 million spent in reconstruction and relocation this summer, the Glen now boasts what World Champion Jackie Stewart calls "one of the most attractive race tracks anywhere in the world today."

Junior Football League – The Yates County Junior Football League swung into action Sunday with three exhibition games, all played on the high school gridiron on Liberty Street. Although the Oneida's out-rushed the Senecas, the Senecas defeated Onieda 6-0 on a 60-yard pass play in the second quarter. The Iroquois defeated the Cayugas 6-0 with Tom Walker and Bruce Kubli leading a punting Iroquois game. Cayuga's Carl Helbig had a 74 yard touchdown interception run called back. The Mohawks won over the Mohicans 13-0. Good offensive execution and an aggressive defense, with Tim McMichael as the leader gave Mohawks the win. Terry McMichael scored on TD with Barry Finger scoring the other. Tony Collins played outstanding ball for the Mohicans, as he returned punts, snared some passes, and rushed for extra yardage.