FROM PAGES PAST — 1872: Victim receives letter from armed robber

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

March 14, 1872

Letter From A Robber - On August 5th of last year, a man entered into the employment of Mr. Alfred G. Bartholemew, residing in Chubb Hollow in the town of Barrington, agreeing to remain with him through the Autumn. He left on the 15th of August, returned on the 27th of the same month, and after stealing a watch that belonged in the family, left the next day. On the 9th of November, following the same man, accompanied by another fellow, masked, entered the house of Mr. Bartholomew as a burglar. His confederate stood with his pistol at the bedside of Mr. Bartholomew and his wife, while he rummaged the house. Money was what they chiefly sought, and finding but little of that, their booty was small. Nothing further was heard of the rascals till a few days since, when Mr. Bartholomew received the following letter from his former hireling (original text):

Spartanburg, S.C., March 3, 1872…..Mr. Bartholomew, — Dear Sir: Having a few spar moments today, I thought I would improve them by writing you a few lines, as you requested me to do if I ever change my bissness. I am the man that worked for you and then broke into your house with another man. I have stopped the Bisness now, and turned to be an honest man. I do not know whare the man that was with me that night is now, he is a New York Bank Robber. I do not know what his name was, he was a Bold man. I would have no other with me. if you was ever to meet him, you had better not try to take him, for he would kill you, or his chums would. don’t try to find me for it would not do you eny good, for the man never lived that can take Slipry Charley. that is the name I was none by all Over the west. There is no One this side of Sanfrancisco, California, that noes my wright name. Thare is whare I was born and lived thar till I was forteen years old. then I left thare with a wagon train for the Eastern states. when I got to Omaha I left the train and staid for tow years thar. I come East and went to robbin. I maid more than ten thousand Dollars at it. I have got $5000 now but I have stoped now for good, and if the law dogs will let me alone I will be peacibell, but if thay try to take me thay must take the Conquence, for I am a reckless and despart man and I allwards care a revolver and knife with me. I must close now, give my best Respects to all my Friends if I have eny down thare. ~ from a Reformed Robber

[Remarks —The vulgar and stupid rascal will, beyond all doubt, find himself at no distant date secure within the bars of some penitentiary. Such fools as he never fail to get run down by “the law dogs.” And now that the public mind is “unusually sensitive," on the subject of stealing, even the Tweeds and other Shysters who have made their pile as thieves in one form or another, are fain to be honest men like our admirable rogue above, as they see the prison doors yawning to embrace them. ~ Editor, Chronicle ]

New Industry? - There is some talk of starting a woolen manufactory on the outlet of Keuka Lake near Penn Yan. It is as good a place for such an enterprise as can be found in the State.

Railroad Coming To Branchport? - Branchport will quiver beneath the stalwart tread of the iron horse next summer, it is thought. Some one suggests a difficulty, however, by intimating that if the fever and ague continues as it has for two or three summers past it will shake the spikes out of the ties upon which the rails are fastened.— We don’t believe it.

100 Years Ago

March 15, 1922

Renters at Willowdale on the east branch of Lake Keuka, early 1900s.

Cottage Season - The cottage season is still some months away, but people who are trying to secure a cottage for the summer tell us that every cottage, large or small, is already rented. Many people from a long way off are inquiring for them, showing that the Finger Lakes region is gaining in popularity. Lakeside people should get busy building cottages, for there is good money in them and the renters are a benefit to our town in many ways.

Death of A Businessman - The sudden death of Patrick Dolan removes one of the oldest of Penn Yan’s businessmen. He had been engaged in the shoe business here continuously for 45 years. Mr. Dolan was born in County Cavin, Ireland in 1850 and came to America when a very young man, opening a shoe store in Penn Yan. By strict adherence to business and by personal integrity, his business gradually grew and prospered. He was upright and honest in all his dealings and was respected by all who knew him. At the time of his death, he was 72 years of age. He was a faithful and conscientious member of St. Michael’s Catholic Church of this place.

S&S Hospital Plans - The building committee of the Yates County Memorial Hospital held an important meeting Monday and practically determined on a plan for Yates County's new Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital. Edward F. Stevens, of Boston, the architect, was present and went over the matter in detail. The plans decided upon call for a 32-bed hospital, 105x39x45, three stories. The architect will now prepare a new sketch and specifications so that the public may know what such a building will cost. With Penn Yan’s rapidly increasing population, a new hospital is absolutely needed. The temporary hospital cannot accommodate the demands already made upon it. Work on the new building will probably begin this spring, if the hospital officials can see their way to finance the proposition. The members of the Building Committee are W.N. Wise, E.J. Walker, John Hyland, Charles Andrews, and Doctors B.S. Strait, E.C. Foster, John Hatch, and Frank S. Sampson.

The home of General Ralph W. Hoyt on North Main Street became the site of Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital.

Domestic Help? - The problem of getting help for moving and house cleaning is becoming alarming. Nearly all the women who used to help have gone or are going to Michaels-Sterns.

Elmwood Theater (Harry C. Morse, Manager) - Featured this week:

WEDNESDAY: Bebe Daniels in “NANCY FROM NOWHERE” The star has a new role, appearing as a slave, and acts the role with skill. Good comedy, mingled with melodrama, makes this picture a delightful entertainment. Eddie Sutherland is leading man.

FRIDAY: Roy T. Barnes in “SO LONG, LETTY” An extremely funny romance of two couples, who by mutual agreement, exchanged their respective marital partners. Adapted from Oliver Morosco’s successful stage play of the same name.

SATURDAY: Music by the Reilly Bros. Orchestra - John Gilbert in “IN CALVERT VALLEY” The star, who will be remembered by his fine acting in “Gleam O’Dawn," is starred in a big outdoor picture, containing thrills, swift action and splendidly told love story.

75 Years Ago

March 13, 1947

The Old Lamplighter - When the paper last week mentioned an old gas lamppost still standing in its original position, there were quite a few doubters. Burton Cooper, popular Penn Yan groceryman, walks by it some four times daily. Even Mr. Cooper couldn’t locate the post “It seems I have seen one somewhere”, he said. Yes, Penn Yan did have a lamplighter, recalls Mrs. Jessie Miller Jensen of East Lake Road. She says that Finney Brown, who lived in a little house at 122 Clinton Street where the late Carl F. Brunt erected a modern dwelling, was once Penn Yan’s official lamplighter. His job was to go around town lighting and keeping in operation the gas lights on posts, such as still stands in front of the Elias Wallace residence at 118 East Main Street. Mrs. Jensen believes it was about 1894 when Penn Yan shifted from gas lighting to electric arc lights. Marvin Porter, who works in Shaddock’s shoe store, recalls that Lake Street was lighted by oil lamps some half century ago. One at the corner of Monell Street and another at the corner of Hicks cast very feeble rays to guide late pedestrians.

Penn Yan Crushes Medina In Sectionals 61-39 - Penn Yan Academy went to Rochester for the first game of the sectionals and came home with a smashing 61 to 39 victory over the Medina quintet March 8 at Brighton High School. During the first few minutes it looked like a tough contest, but the Orange and Blue slowly pulled away and from then on was never threatened. The Academy five played speedy heads-up basketball, putting on one of the finest games of the season. Rip Griesinger led the scoring for Penn Yan getting 24 markers, the highest individual score of the season, Bruce Allison was next with 13 points, also his highest score for the season.

Letter From T.R. - Fred Blood of Benton, while rummaging through some old papers the other day, came across a personal letter sent to him and signed by Teddy Roosevelt from Oyster Bay, L. I. in 1924, urging Mr. Blood to encourage the Republican vote in the election that fall. Mr. Blood recalls that the famous Teddy Roosevelt spoke in Penn Yan once, addressing a Bull Moose rally in the Sampson theatre. A member of the county Bull Moose committee at that time, Mr. Blood sat on the platform with Mr. Roosevelt and enjoyed quite a conversation with him during his visit to the Yates county seat. (NOTE: Theodore Roosevelt died in 1919)

Grand Jury Indicts Huge Courtyard Tree As Menace - The 80-year old Balm of Gilead tree which has stood near the southern edge of the county property and the Charles Klube house for so many years, has been felled at the suggestion of the Yates County Grand Jury. The work was done by Clare Bogue and Donald Gillette. The largest limbs shattered when the tree fell, demonstrating the brittleness of the wood and the accuracy of the jurymen’s judgement in condemning it. The wood is good for nothing, declares Mr. Bogue, being too brittle for any kind of construction, even orange crates, and too pithy to burn.

50 Years Ago

March 16, 1972

Village Elections - Penn Yan voters will go to the polls Tuesday (March 21) to choose two of four candidates seeking posts on the village board. Voting will be from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Four candidates are seeking the two posts on the village board. The two men receiving the highest cumulative vote regardless of position on the ballot will be declared the winners. The candidates are incumbents Fred Thomas and George Townsend; and Romulus French and Kenneth Wilber. Mr. French of Hillcrest Drive is a guidance director at the Dundee Central School. He is seeking the post as an Independent candidate, using the party designation of Progressive. Mr. Thomas, of 103 Glencoe Ave., a pharmaceutical salesman, who was elected last year to a one-year term, is seeking a full four-year term on the village board. He has chosen the circle as his emblem. Mr. Townsend, of 201 East Elm St., owner-operator of the Townsend-Thayer Funeral Chapel, is completing his first full two-year term after having been appointed to serve out a term of a trustee who had resigned. He has also chosen the circle as his emblem. Mr. Wilbur of 11 Johnson Ave. is a self-employed contractor, also running as an Independent, using a heart as a party emblem.

Oldsters Entertained At Nursing Home - Mr. and Mrs. James (Florence) Stinson of Wayne entertained the residents of the Penn Yan Nursing Home Monday afternoon with a St. Patrick’s Day program. Mrs. Stinson, at the organ, accompanied her husband and herself as they sang and recited old “favorites.” The program included “Galway Boy” poems: "Out Fishing,” “Little Things,” and “I Want To Go Back to Oregon.” As a special feature, Mrs. Stinson sang a very old song taught to her by her grandmother when she was 14 years old, entitled, “Fine Old Irish Gentlemen.” Following a few more songs and hymns, the couple concluded the program singing, “Blessed Be the Tie That Binds.” Mr. and Mrs. Stinson, who are 80 and 82 years “young” respectively, are older than many of the Nursing Home residents whom they had entertained.

The Elmwood Theater - The main feature this week is "The French Connection," starring Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, Roy Scheider, Tony LoBianco, and Marcel Bozzuffi. “The time is just right for an out and out thriller like this. The niftiest chase sequence since silent films!” Rated R.

Girl Scout Week - The Thinking Day program of the Girl Scouts was held Sunday afternoon in Norton Chapel, Keuka College. The program opened with the girls marching into the chapel to the tune of “It’s A Small World.” Sue Armstrong, Lish Durkee and Cindy Pulver were in charge of the Parade of Colors, which was followed by a prayer given by Cindy Bell. Sue Giles led in group singing “Tell Me Why. ” The Rev. Kenneth Bedell, pastor of the Benton Center Methodist Church, gave the message, which was followed by the Brownies singing “All Way.” The Cadettes Choral presented a reading and the Junior Scout told of the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund. The group then sang “Let There be Peace on Earth.” An original poem was presented by the Cadettes followed by group singing of “Promise Song” and the Girl Scout Hymn. The Seniors and Cadettes presented “One World” and thanked the Scout leaders for their help during the past year. Janis Freeborn of Keuka College was the organist. Sue Bailey was announcer. Refreshments were served in Ball Hall by the Cadettes following the ceremony.