FROM PAGES PAST : 1946: 'Wheat & Tares' film from 1915 plays at Elmwood

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

October 12, 1871

Obituary — Died very suddenly at his residence in Branchport, on Wednesday, Oct. 4th, Mr. Lynham J. Beddoe, at the age of sixty four years. Lynham J. Beddoe, born in 1809. was a son of Captain John Beddoe, who settled in 1798 on the east bank of the west branch of the Keuka, where the mansion of R. Selden Rose now stands. Capt. Beddoe was then the owner of a tract of land about two miles wide and six miles in length, embracing seven thousand acres and upwards. After taking off two thousand acres from the east end of this tract the residue was resurveyed into lots of one hundred and sixty acres, and is still known ns the Beddoe Tract. Lynham J. Beddoe was the last of John Beddoe’s three children. He married Eleanor, daughter of Col. Elias Cost of Phelps. They have long resided in Branchport, where he has been a prominent citizen, and of late years a hardware merchant. He was an honest hearted man with many friends by whom he will be sincerely mourned.

Rowing Match — a rowing regatta came off at the Foot of the Lake a week ago Saturday, for the championship and silver pitcher won by G. F. Gibson in a previous contest. There were five entries and after some vigorous pulling, Rufus Scofield distanced his competitors, (including Gibson), and took the prize. Last Saturday, another contest was had. The entries were, R. Scofield, Samuel Harris, Frank Wagoner, and G. F. Gibson. The rowing was spirited, and creditable to all the contestants, who came in in the following order : Harris, 1st; Wagener, 2d; Gibson, 3d ; Scofield, 4th. Mr. Harris, therefore, “holds the belt,” at this date, as champion oarsman of Lake Keuka. It is due to Scofield to explain that the judges ruled out his boat so that he could not “paddle his own canoe,” but was compelled to take another man’s. This disheartened him at the outset. If he will consent to enter the lists once more, he may recover his lost laurels.

Chicago In Ashes — The most disastrous and terrible conflagration of this century has occurred in Chicago, leaving part of the great city a pile of ruins. The fire originated before midnight last Sunday, in a block of wooden buildings on the bank of the river. All efforts to check its progress were futile, as a fierce gale was blowing, which swept a resistless mass of flame toward the heart of the city. The fire raged with unabated fury during Monday and Monday night, and was only checked Tuesday morning by a cessation of the gale, and an eagerly welcomed fall of rain. The destruction of life is considerable and of property enormous. Twelve thousand houses are in ashes in what was magnificent Chicago, and one hundred and fifty thousand people are today homeless and in sorrow. Over one-third of the city's total area is rendered a blackened and appalling waste. To relieve the destitution, all the cities of the land are contributing munificently, money and provisions are being sent in vast quantities, and President Grant has ordered army supplies of tents, clothing, blankets and rations to be issued to the needy sufferers.

Miss Elizabeth Cady Stanton says that to simply propagate our kind is a mere animal function that we share in common with the beasts of the field ; but when, in self-denial, a pure, chaste, beautiful life, obedient to every law of soul and body, a mother can give the world one noble, healthy, happy man or woman, a perpetual blessing in the home, the church and the State, she will do a better work for humanity than in adding numbers alone, with but little regard for quality.

100 Years Ago

October 12, 1921

Railroads Object to Bus Line from Penn Yan to Rochester — Objections have been filed by the New York Central and the Pennsylvania Railroads and the New York State Railways, Rochester & Eastern line, to the granting of a franchise for the operation of a motor bus line through Canandaigua, en route from Penn Yan to Rochester. Stanley L. Porter of Elmira has made application for the franchise. He claims Penn Yan businessmen have urged him to establish the line so as to enable them to get freight quickly from Rochester. In the New York State Railways’ objection is a threat that if the Common Council of Canandaigua permits inroads to be made into the receipts of the Rochester & Eastern Rapid Railway, there is likelihood that the line will have to go out of business. It is claimed the Rochester & Eastern’s receipts have fallen off $30,000 in the first nine months of 2021.

Keuka College is Re-Opened — The formal opening of Keuka College was observed on October 7th with appropriate ceremonies. The afternoon was given over to the inspection of the building. The guests were pleased with the extensive improvements which have been made. The drinking fountains, new elevator, new floors and heating plant, together with the beautiful dining room and modern kitchen, conspire to make the Ball Memorial Hall a most delightful home for the young women who have chosen Keuka as their college home. The freshmen acted as ushers and showed the guests through the building. At 3:30 o’clock a reception was given under the direction of Dr. Gertrude S. Martin of Ithaca, a trustee of Keuka and the representative of Cornell University. Miss Ella Ball assisted in pouring, and the ladies of the faculty, with Mrs. Norton, acted as hostesses. The pageant, “Red Jacket,” written for the occasion by Miss Mae H. Baker, professor of expression, was given at the “Point Neamo” by the students. It was remarkably well written, and the acting was of high order. Great credit is due Miss Baker and the young women for the excellent performance.

Michaels-Stern Picnic — Beautiful Keuka Lake was the scene of the first annual outing of shops 4 and 5 last month. The picnic was held at Electric Park, About 500 Michaels-Sternians, relatives and friends took part. A number of items concerning shops 4 and 5 are also published, viz: Duane Carroll and Bernice Elliott, former employees of shops 4 and 5 respectively, were married early this month … Misses Ethel Lampson and Josephine OKeefe were guests of Mr. and Mrs. George Wheeler on a recent motor trip … Floyd Clawson of shop 4, and Miss Rose Carr, manager of the Postal Telegraph office, were recently married … Dilio Bristol seems to be getting very popular. He has a different girl at every dance … Miss Agnes Carroll, shop 5, spent the weekend over Labor Day with Rochester friends … John McCarick hasn't been able to find any hops lately so he is now drinking milk … Albert Morse has a new Ford sedan. Some of the girls hate to walk, Albert … Mrs. Shoniker and Mrs. Gilligan are on the sick list… Mike Reed enjoyed a half holiday last week.

75 Years Ago

October 10, 1946

Discriminating Shopper — He comes in with a group, generally during rush time at the Loblaw Groceteria on Main Street. No one knows his name. He saunters about the store eyeing the various displays and taking his time about choosing what he wants. When he does find just what pleases him, however, he loses no time in seizing it. A hurried dash beneath the turnstile at the cashier's desk and through the door takes him away before anyone can collect for his purchase. “HE” is a big brown and white dog and two times now he has repeated this same procedure. Everytime he chooses and carries away a five-pound box of Kaseo dogfood.

1946: 'Wheat & Tares,' a silent film made in Penn Yan in 1915, was screened once more at the Elmwood Theatre.

Elmwood Theater To Show Feature Length Picture Made In Penn Yan 32 Years Ago By Ramsey Film Corporation — As one of the features in a double feature billing at the Elmwood Theatre Wednesday and Thursday of next week will be the movie, "Wheat and Tares,” filmed in Penn Yan over 30 years ago and having in its cast several local residents who are still living. Many of the scenes show Keuka College and the streets and different sections of Penn Yan. Being a silent movie, it is a laugh in the light of the art today, but it was good when made. Young and old will undoubtedly enjoy, however, seeing people they know and scenes with which they are familiar. Harper Howard is showing the film as a part of the silver jubilee celebration of the Schine enterprises. The Ramsey estate owns it, along with other films made at that time and the local showing is by courtesy of the Ramsey family. In 1915 some Penn Yan citizens held hopes that the Yates county seat would become the center of the fast-growing movie industry.

E. R. Ramsey of North Main Street, the first house this side of the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial hospital, organized the Penn Yan Film Corporation, which produced this four-reel feature film, It was a nine-star cast (count them in the picture). And several of the “stars” are still living. At that time Keuka College was struggling along in grave need of financial aid. The picture was made to help the college, and President Joseph A. Serena permitted many of the shots to be made in Ball Memorial Hall and about the campus. Various portions of Penn Yan furnished natural background for other action scenes while sets were produced at the studio in buildings which until recently stood at the rear of the E.R. Ramsey home, 414 North Main Street. It was a big time in the old town that night in 1915 when all the celebrities flocked to the Sampson theatre on Jacob street, now Jewett’s garage on East Elm Street, for the gala premier. There was no fresh cement in which Cramer, Hartshorn, Smith, Hopkins and the others could make their imprint for posterity, but the band was out in full blast. The crowd rushed the doors, the place was jammed for several nights and all agreed the film was a great success.

The story followed the lives of two farm youths, played by Clarence Smith, former Penn Yan insurance agent and Chamber of Commerce secretary, and Paul Meade, now a real estate agent in Monroe, Mich. Clarence was the lad who went wrong, but Paul followed the S. and N. W. Harold Tuthill, now with the Eastman Kodak company in Rochester, and Phil Snyder, fireman on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad out of Chillicothe, Ohio, took the parts of the fathers. Molly Cramer, daughter of John B. Cramer of Clinton street, now Mrs. C. B. Webb of Cleveland, Ohio, and Beatrice Hartshorn of Penn Yan provided the love interest. The latter is now Mrs. Sutton and lives in New Jersey near New York City. Ralph Lynch of Lake street, filling station operator and former mail carrier on Route 1, was the city guy in the film; Frew Hopkins of Clinton street, carrier on Route 5, is seen as the bad man from the wilds. Robert Burns, now a dentist in Buffalo, is seen at the right of the photograph with a touch of the west in his costume. Among the others participating in the movie but not shown in the photo were Kittie O'Keefe, now Mrs. Jack Hanovan of Rochester. In the story, she was the victim of the hold-up in front of the Lynch clothing store, Penn Yan. Other members of the cast took several minor parts, changing costumes and make-up as needed. The film exposed on one day would be developed and printed at night, then shown the next morning. Any unsatisfactory footage was retaken at once.

Director George E. Le Soir, an importation from New York City, later went to Hollywood and was with Selwyn. More recently he operated a Buffalo theatre. Jack Ramsey, brother of E. R. Ramsey, serving as cameraman, went to New York with a film company. Willis Johnston, who wrote the scenario, was employed by the New York Times. His death occurred this past summer.

“Wheat and Tares” was the longest film with a plot produced by the Penn Yan Film corporation. Many other shorts were “Two Masons in Wild Wyoming” showing beautiful views of that region as seen by Mr. Ramsey and Governor Trumbull of Connecticut, father of Mrs. John Coolidge. This movie was widely shown, Governor Trumbull often lecturing as the film was displayed. The governor greatly enjoyed appearing before the cameras and was often a guest in the Ramsey home as he came to promote some phase of the business or to appear in a film. E. R. Ramsey was a busy man in those days. The morning of June 13 1916, he had some business which took him to Palmyra. The late Rex Potter was riding in front with Mr. Ramsey, going along for the ride and to discuss business. Mr. Ramsey’s son, Jack, was riding in the back seat with Jerome O'Keefe of Penn Yan and Canandaigua. Mr. O'Keefe, treasurer of the corporation, was then private secretary to Mr. Ramsey and frequently accompanied him on business trips to take dictation and assist in conducting business. Returning in the big touring car in the early evening along the West Seneca Lake road near the Geneva Country club, the machine left the dirt road, rolled over several times, pinning Mr. Ramsey under the wheel. His injuries were fatal. Mr. Potter and Mr. O'Keefe were somewhat hurt, but the son escaped injury. Mr. Ramsey’s death brought collapse of the business. Nothing more was ever done with the equipment some of which is still in the Ramsey home — a printing machine, new at that time, and many rolls of exposed negatives, as well as fresh films.

50 Years Ago

October 14, 1971

St. Mark’s Terrace Dedication Sunday -- Formal dedication ceremonies for St. Mark’s Terrace Senior Citizen Housing complex at Liberty and Chapel streets will be held this Sunday. The seven story, 110 apartment, structure will be formally dedicated in ceremonies which will include choirs from churches in the community, local, county, state, and federal officials, and veterans groups. The building will be formally dedicated and blessed by the Rt. Rev. Robert H. Spears, Jr., Episcopal Bishop of Rochester. The program will begin at about 12:30 p.m. with a processional of all participating choirs from the St. Mark’s Episcopal Church area down Chapel St. to the apartment building. As the choirs approach the structure they will sing “In Christ There Is No East or West”, a traditional ecumenical hymn. Following the invocation, the Johnson-Costello Post, American Legion, will present a flag to the building officials to be flown on the flag staff atop the seven story structure. This will be followed by the singing of the National Anthem. The building will be officially presented by the architect, Thomas Mangan, with acceptance to be noted by Village Mayor John Tusch, County Board of Supervisors Chairman P. Henry Flynn, a governmental representative from HUD, and the Diocese by Bishop Spears. Featured speaker will be Congressman John Terry. After Congressman Terry’s remarks, Bishop Spears will bless the building and one of the apartment living rooms. Rev. Stanley Robinson of the First United Methodist Church will offer the benediction. Following the formal program, an open house and reception will be held on the street level floor of the building given by the women of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, the Senior Citizens group and the apartment residents.

The plans for a Senior Citizen housing unit in the community were first revealed in January 1968 with the formation of St. Mark’s Terrace Inc. The first meeting was held January 10th, 1968 at which time a certificate of incorporation and the bylaws were read. This was the beginning of a long series of persistent, red tape, back breaking sessions before federal approval was finally received in January 1969. The approval for a loan of $1,428,000 was given, and the project, first under Title 202, (Housing for Elderly) approved in New York State. It was the first such loan in a rural oriented community in the nation. There are 80 deluxe efficiency and 30 one bedroom apartments in the building. Upon entering the structure, one is impressed with the homey atmosphere of the quaint lobby. To the right of the lobby as one enters is the manager’s office, receptionist’s desk, and mail boxes for the tenants. The first floor is given over largely to public space including a multi-purpose meeting room with kitchen facilities for fellowship periods, entertainment, and parties.

A Basket of Memories — The Barden and Robeson Basket Factory on North Avenue in Penn Yan closed its doors last week after over sixty years of existence. The plant began operations in 1910 and closed October 1,1971. Photographer Carlton Willoughby of Penn Yan visited the plant on one of its final days of operation and took photos showing the process of a once-flourishing industry. The photos showed the various steps in the manufacture of peach baskets. The manufacture of wooden baskets is now only a memory... a memory of a once important part in the life of a community.