FROM PAGES PAST: 1871: Editor Cleveland nominated for Senate

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 19, 1871

Editor Stafford Cleveland of The Yates County Chronicle, later to become The Chronicle-Express.

Senatorial Convention — The 26th Senatorial District, Yates, Ontario, and Seneca, met at Geneva on Wednesday and nominated Stafford C. Cleveland, editor of the Yates County Chronicle, for Senator. This is not only a just acknowledgment of long, faithful and efficient service in the Republican cause, but a fortunate selection for the district and State. Mr. Cleveland is not only a man of marked ability and experience in matters of State interest, but he is a man of sterling worth and unsullied character. The lobby thieves and ring manipulators will give him a wide berth. There is need of more such men in the Senate.

1871: Parks Carriage Works was located off North Avenue in Penn Yan where Soldiers & Sailors Hospital now stands.

Carriage-Making at Penn Yan: Increasing Celebrity of Marvin Park’s Vehicles — Some time ago we had occasion to refer to a new branch of Penn Yan enterprise, as developed in the manufacture by Marvin Parks of a superior style of light buggies and other vehicles which had attracted the attention and patronage of Robert Bonner and many other noted amateurs and connoisseurs of the road. Since that time the fame of these vehicles has extended throughout the entire country and even across the Atlantic. While Mr. Leon Lewis, the distinguished literateur, well-known to the readers of the New York Ledger, was traveling in Europe recently he was everywhere beset for information concerning the celebrated Marvin Parks wagons, and being himself a resident of Penn Yan and perfectly familiar with the quality and advantages of these vehicles, he was fully able to give such information. While in Paris, Mr. Lewis dispatched an order for one basket phaeton, one sidespring track wagon weighing 140 pounds complete, one top buggy, one two-seat carriage, two cutters and one sleigh. No better evidence than this of the high esteem in which the Marvin Parks vehicles are held by the Parisians could be adduced. The secret of the popularity of these vehicles is their superior style and finish, combined with strength, durability and cheapness — qualities which suffice to enable them to enter into successful competition in any market in the world. Mr. Parks is a veteran in the business of carriage building and is by nature a lover of art, symmetry, and good taste. These qualifications, united with faculties for skillful invention and a keen realization of public requirements bear him up on the irresistible tide of success. The degree of perfection reached by Mr. Parks in this important branch of manufacture may well attract public notice. (NOTE: Marvin Park’s Carriage Works was located off North Avenue where Soldiers & Sailors Hospital is located today.)

Vine Valley Grapes — We have just had laid upon our table some specimens of grapes grown in this wondrous fruitful valley. Isabellas, even over ripe and luscious — Catawbas, nearly up to last year’s best — and Norton’s Virginia, equal to the best ever produced in its old Virginia home. These specimens are from the vineyard of A. C. Younglove, Esq., and that of the Ganundawa Co., and are only average samples.

100 Years Ago

October 19, 1921

Hunters and Trespassers Given A Jolt By The Betts Law: Hundreds of Yates County Farms Are Being Posted — The Rochester Times-Union tells about the new Betts Law which gives a decided jolt to hunters who have been indifferent to the rights of the farmers. It says: The keenest interest is being manifested locally in the operation of the new Betts law which provides new rules for posting farm land against trespassing hunters and fishermen and a great deal of “pro” and “con” discussion is resulting. For the first time in history the farmers of Monroe and adjoining counties are taking a warm interest in posting their lands and the warmth of the interest is considerably increased because of the fact that of the $50 which the law provides as a fine for violators of the Betts law — half goes to the man on whose land the trespasser is apprehended.

Was Not A Slacker —- Penn Yan, Oct. 11, 1921 Editor Geneva Daily Times:

Dear Sir — I see that I am listed as a slacker in the list sent out by the Government. I enlisted in Geneva, June 28th, 1917, and served nineteen months, with six months' service in France and with the 85th and 38th Division. My serial number was 2026048.

Very truly yours, ALLEN E. SCUTT

Allen E. Scutt resides at No. 237 Lake Street, Penn Yan. He enlisted in Geneva on July 1, 1917, and was sent to Fort Slocum and from there to Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, and assigned to the 340th Infantry, Medical Detachment. He was transferred from there to the 107th Infantry Brigade Headquarters as chauffeur for General Penn. He sailed for France on July 21, 1918, and arrived at Havre from Liverpool, England, on August 11th. He served overseas from August until January 9, 1919, and was discharged at Camp Zachary Taylor, Kentucky, on January 9, 1919. Mr. Scutt is married and has one child.

Explains Slacker List — Robert H. Graham, former clerk of the Yates County Draft Board, explains how many young men who actually saw service in the late World War got listed as slackers. It seems that they enroll in one town and then at the time of enlisting they give their residence in another. By this method their card is sent to the draft board operating in the town or city in which they give their residence at the time of enlisting, and that place is given credit for the man. The card is not sent to the place where the young man registered and therefore that place never gives the young man credit for the service and his name is not checked on the list of those having reported for duty. Mr. Graham thinks that being listed as a slacker is in many instances the men’s own fault through their failure to observe the regulations laid down by the government at the time of the draft.

Sgt. Carroll to Washington -- Sergeant Thomas Carroll of Penn Yan who saw service in the World War with Battery E, 307th Field Artillery has been selected by the Yates County American Legion to represent this county at the ceremony of the burial of an unknown soldier, in Washington, D. C., on Armistice Day. It is expected that every county in the United States will send a representative. Our allies in the late war will also be represented.

75 Years Ago

October 17, 1946

The Grape Harvest — One of the largest grape tonnages ever harvested in Yates County is nearly off the vines, more than two weeks of practically perfect picking weather, all without a frost, having contributed to an early and complete harvest. Listed as the leading agricultural industry in this county, state experts estimate that this year’s crop is approximately 200% heavier than last year. With no government ceiling on grapes now, the price for concords has leveled off at about $150 a ton with different varieties of wine grapes bringing as much as $300 or more. This price is generally for the grapes just as they are picked, with the buyer supplying the bushel baskets in which the fruit is carried. This price, too, is for grapes which are to be processed, either in one of the several juice plants in the county or the immediate area, or one of the many wineries. With this much money available for grapes sold to processors, very few vineyardists are selling their crop for table use. The latter market involves much more labor, special containers, and the meeting of farm and market specifications which do not have to be considered in the much simpler process of cutting grapes from a vine into a bushel basket and loading them on a truck. This is a direct reversal of the procedure of half a century ago when all grapes, except a few of the late Catawbas were sold as table grapes. At the turn of the century picking and packing the grape crop was the biggest job of the fall months. Stored in cool packing houses, the grapes were frequently kept until November when they were packed by the women of the neighborhood in the “ponies” or “jumbos” of the trade for use at Thanksgiving Day feasts. Some varieties held over even until Christmas with proper wrapping and storage. Most vineyardists are paying 30 cents a bushel for picking, and even an inexperienced picker has little trouble in earning $1.50 an hour, so heavy is the crop.

The Elmwood Theater — The listings for this week include “Wheat and Tares”, the only feature film ever made in Yates County (The Film Made in Your Home Town by Your Neighbors.) Also showing is Bob Hope and Joan Caulfield in “Monsieur Beaucaire” (The Gayest Blade Who Ever Matched Hot Steel With Cold Feet.) And Bette Davis played twin sisters who couldn’t leave each other’s men alone in “A Stolen Life.”

Letter to the Editor from Frankie G. Merson — Editor Chronicle-Express: Will you kindly correct an inaccurate statement made by a writer last week in the article on Keuka’s 25th anniversary? There are people in this area who will be annoyed if the statement stands incorrected, Keuka College was not started as "The Keuka Institute” and was never so called. It had a preparatory department, a fairly common practice before school districts were empowered to pay tuition for their boys and girls in village high schools. Colgate, Syracuse, and Oberlin are colleges I happen to know had such departments. Our institute was always larger than Keuka College proper and in earlier years some of the faculty taught in both departments, but later there were distinct faculties and student societies — all but our baseball and basketball teams — fondly remembered by many boys and girls in this area now verging on the retirement age! Another correction, Keuka college suspended classes in 1915 and Keuka institute finally in 1916 — a war casualty. College seniors transferred to Syracuse, Hobart, and other colleges with no loss of standing whatever. One very brilliant girl I knew, majoring in German, found she had already read all the German offered in the senior year at Syracuse. You can readily understand why we graduates of the old Keuka who have built advanced degrees teaching certifications, and other “privileges and immunities” upon our degrees will not allow this statement to go unchallenged. My father and mother, Rev. and Mrs. Z. F. Griffin, were loyal and enthusiastic supporters of the Old Keuka, and no less of the New Keuka. When my father died, he was known to have had the longest continuous service as a college trustee of any person in the United States. He served in the Old and the New. To him they were equally important as opportunities for higher education and opportunities for Christian education. We know many persons belonging to our Old Keuka who will be on hand to celebrate the 25th anniversary of our New Keuka this Saturday.

50 Years Ago

October 21, 1971

Jimmy Writes Nixon About Hall School — Much has been written about the little red school houses in rural areas and for the first time in 103 years no school bell rang in Hall’s little red school house when school started in September of 1971. When Hall merged with the Marcus Whitman School District in 1968, the school house was used for kindergartners, but since the completion of the new school, all pupils have been transferred to Gorham. Regardless of how people feel, the thought of what was to happen to Hall’s school greatly bothered a little 10-year-old Jimmy Kikkert who thought the President of our country might just be able to help him, so Jimmy wrote to Mr. Nixon telling him he had a big problem which he wished to share with the president. He explained that the school had been built in 1868 and that he had attended school in Hall until 1969 when it was then used for only kindergarten. As a result of this, he and the other children were transferred to the Marcus Whitman School. He told the president that Hall was his home town and that all his relatives had always attended school here. President Nixon turned Jimmy’s letter over to James S. Park, Chief of the School Systems who answered Jimmy and said that the president wished to thank him for his letter and commented on the fact that it had been so clearly written. He explained to Jimmy that he and the other children were caught up in something called “progress.” He told Jimmy that all little red school houses were now a thing of the past and that all children were now being bused to big, modern, central schools where the advantages were so much greater; that there would be a library, science equipment, sports, and many more things he would not have received in his little red school house. He explained to him that “little red school houses” were no longer economical to run. This doesn’t mean much to a child but Jimmy was pleased that President Nixon had taken the time to have his letter answered and he is trying very hard to understand all that is happening.

Seager Meditations in “Link” — Two meditations by local poet Ralph Seager will appear in upcoming issues of The Link magazine, a publication distributed to members of the armed forces through the General Commission on Chaplains and Armed Forces Personnel. Seager, the author of five books of poetry and one prose, is an assistant professor of English at Keuka College. “The Manger Mouse” is scheduled to appear in the magazine at Christmas time and “One Man Left On Base” will be published at Easter. Over 3 million copies of each meditation will be distributed. Seager’s most recent book, “A Choice of Dreams,” was published by the Partridge Press in 1970, and is distributed by Keuka Books of Penn Yan