FROM PAGES PAST: 1972: Fire destroys three barns at Ingram Farm

Yates County History Center

The Chronicle-Express -- Consolidation, January 1, 1926, of the Yates County Chronicle (1824) and the Penn Yan Express (1866); the Rushville Chronicle (1905) and the Gorham New Age (1902)

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

April 11, 1872

Crooked Lake Canal — Mr. Editor: I have noticed in the Chronicle of late several articles disparaging the Crooked Lake Canal and substantially urging its abandonment, and nothing in its favor. As you remarked last week, I think there are two sides to the question. In fact, I think the canal is by no means fairly treated. Its large cost and expenses are paraded by the side of its small receipts as if that were all there is of the question. Viewed in that light the Canal is insignificant and has no show of its actual worth. In the matter of tolls alone, what does it signify to exhibit the tolls of this Canal as a statement by itself as showing the full contribution of this Canal to the State? Take for instance a boat-load of wheat. The toll perhaps from Penn Yan to Dresden will be less than five dollars, but from Penn Yan to Albany will exceed one hundred dollars. It will readily be seen that this Canal helps to swell the receipts of other Canals and cannot be fairly judged by the comparatively small amount of its own tolls. It is said to have cost over $1,000,000 in original construction and repairs, and that cost has no doubt been largely swelled by largesse’s furnished from the State Treasury to Canal thieves. But large as the amount I have no doubt it is far short of the benefit it has conferred on the State and especially on Yates and Steuben counties.

But it is said railroads are stealing away the business, and canals are no longer needed. It is said to be as much as can possibly be done to ship 1,000 bushels of grain at the Penn Yan Railway Station in one day. Now, when from 300,000 to 500,000 bushels are crowding the markets here in the fall as is sometimes the case, and prompt shipment is demanded the railroad, it will be seen, is inadequate to the work.

Besides, what is to become of the farmers when the railroads have it all their own way, by abandoning the canals? — Their freights are cruel enough now, and when all restraint is removed the railroads will demand about one-half the entire crop for transportation. This will especially be the case if the farmers of this State have to pay for the cheap transportation of Western produce to be brought in competition with their own.

Before I close, I wish to say a word in reply to “Benton,” who undertook to show in the Chronicle two weeks ago, how expensively the Crooked Lake Canal was run last year. I am credibly informed there was no such amount of expenditure on the Canal, and but very little more than the cost of the contract. There was no patrolman as “Benton” alleges, and no particular amount of extras in any way. Let us be content with the truth.

Respectfully, VINDEX.

OLD TIMES — POPULATION IN 1790 -- We have been favored, by Mr. D. H. Smith, of this village, with an extract from an old Ithaca paper, of more than 20 years ago, containing the following old-times statistics, which contrast so strangely with those of the present day as to seem hardly credible:

A census of Ontario County, then comprising the whole of Western New York, from the west line of Seneca lake, and between Lake Ontario and the Pennsylvania line, taken by a U. S. Deputy Marshall in 1790, given in Doc. His vol. 2, returns the entire population 1047, of whom there were 201 families, 715 males, 319 females, 2 free negroes and 11 slaves. The returns were made by townships, 99 being the largest number in any one township; 34 were west of the Genesee river.

In 1793 this population was increased to 6,640, and the population of the principal villages was given as follows :

1. The town of Canandaigua, at the north end of the lake of that name, lying within the Genesee grant and intended to be the head town of the County of Ontario, 99

2. The Friend’s Settlement at the outlet of the Crooked lake. 260

3. The town of Geneva at the northwest corner of the Seneca lake, supposed to be. 100

4. The village of Culvers near the head of Seneca Lake supposed to be 70

5. The village of Catharines Town situated on the head of Seneca Lake, 4 miles from Culvers 30

6. Newtown, a beautiful village on the eastern forks of the Tioga river, supposed to be 100

7. Cheemingtown, three miles below Newtown, 50

Total, 709

100 Years Ago

April 11, 1922

Assault on Charles Hamm -- The recent unprovoked attack on Frank Kinyoun and the assault on Charles Hamm Sunday night deserve more than passing comment. Some vigorous action should be taken. Hamm, who lives on Jackson Street, Penn Yan, had been to a bakery to get food. He was on his way home about 7:30 p.m. When near the Benham House lane, where it is dark, four young rowdies viciously made an assault on him. Hamm was struck in the face and otherwise maltreated and was a sorry spectacle when he escaped. Hamm is not bright. That is his misfortune. He is an American citizen and has a right to walk on our streets unmolested, unless prevented by due process of law. Because Hamm is not over bright, he is made the target of the witticisms (?) of a certain class of fresh young fellows, smart Alecks, who hate work as the devil hates holy water. This disrespect for law, this rowdyism, should be nipped in the bud. Lewis Seraflne and Joseph Costello were placed under arrest Tuesday, charged with being implicated in the assault on Charles Hamm Sunday night. They had a hearing before Justice Randolph. The young men demanded a trial, which was put down for April 18th.

Clean Up Week -- The week beginning April 17th has been designated as Annual Clean Up Week in New York State by Dr. Hermann M. Biggs, commissioner of health.

In a letter to mayors, village presidents and boards of health the commissioner calls attention to the practical importance of civic cleanliness in the promotion of order, decency and public health. Local authorities are urged to take all necessary steps to secure cooperation of citizens in the collection and disposal of accumulated refuse. Suggestions for the formation of local committees and the organization of the work in order to obtain effective results are included with the letter.

THE SHIFTERS -- It has become rumored about that the organization known as the “Shifters,” of whom so much discussion has lately been aroused in the press of the larger cities, has at last invaded Penn Yan and that the young people are literally flocking into it. Just what this society represents or what their purpose is cannot seem to be definitely determined by anyone outside the order. But the fact is, this “mysterious” society has had a phenomenal growth. Clergymen and school principals throughout the country and many others have tried to stem the growth. But the Shifters seem to “shift” just the same. The consensus of opinion, however, among those who are not taking the pranks of the young people too seriously, is that it is nothing more than another of the modern fads or crazes and is simply a means of which the various cliques among the younger element cement themselves closer together and to the exclusion of those whom they would not have encroach on premises of their affairs. 

The Coal Strike -- A half a million miners have ceased to work at the one occupation at which they are expert and propose to remain idle indefinitely and until they are offered the pay and working conditions they demand. The anthracite miners want a 20 percent wage increase for tonnage workers, a dollar a day advance for day laborers and certain changes of the system under which they work. The soft coal miners want increased wages for some workers and reductions for none, a 6-hour day, a 5-day week, pay and one-half for overtime and double pay for Sundays and holidays. The operators in both fields want wage reductions. They claim that the soft coal miners are getting more pay as it is than the industry can stand and that the hard coal miners are still drawing war-time wages while the pay of workers in other lines has been reduced with the reducing cost of the necessaries of life.

75 Years Ago

April 10, 1947

James Cole Adds Smallest Elephant in U. S. to His Circus Menagerie 

Big Frieda has adopted the nine-months-old Dorothy. This youngster, the youngest and  smallest elephant ever brought to the United States, arrived two weeks ago with three others,  direct from Ceylon. John Pugh, pictured above, is elephant trainer with the Cole circus.

Village Police Crack Down On Speeders -- In an effort to decrease the number of accidents to both vehicles and pedestrians within the village limits, Penn Yan police are conducting an all-out campaign against speeders. On the list of those apprehended within the past few days, as released by Chief James Moody, are: Robert Robeson, 16, of Flat Street, Penn Yan, was arrested at 1:30 a. m., March 21, by Patrolman Robert Alexander, who reported that the young man was driving 65 miles an hour on Hamilton Street, and the patrol car was unable to overtake him until he had reached the White Springs Farm on the outskirts of Geneva. He forfeited $20 bail to Police Justice Ralph Goundry. Vincent Bedient, 40, of Branchport, driving 50 miles an hour on Elm Street, was arrested by Chief Moody March 25 and forfeited $10 bail. Thomas J. Stock, 32, of, Buffalo, arrested by Chief Moody March 27 for operating a tractor-trailer transport truck at 40 miles an hour through the hospital zone, forfeited $5 bail. Walter Daggett of Prattsburg, arrested April 1 by Patrolman Richard Scott and charged with traveling at 50 miles an hour through Main Street, forfeited $10 bail. Oliver R. Beach of RD 1, Penn Yan, was arrested by Patrolman Alexander at 1:30 a. m. April 5 charged with operating a vehicle at 48 miles an hour on Main Street. He pleaded guilty before Justice Goundry and paid a fine of $5.

Popular Entertainers to Show at Prattsburg -- Pie Plant Pete and Bashful Harmonica Joe, WHAM’s early morning entertainers, will appear at the high school auditorium at Prattsburg on Monday, April 14 under the sponsorship of the Friendship Circle class of the Methodist church. Included also in the evening’s entertainment will be an amateur show with local talent competing for prizes.

Pie Plant Pete and Bashful Harmonica Joe, WHAM’s early morning entertainers.

50 Years Ago

April 13, 1972

Fire Levels Three Barns -- Fire gutted three barns on the George Ingram farm along the Jerusalem-Potter Town Line Road, six miles west of Penn Yan on Monday at 1:30 p.m. The loss, partly covered by insurance, is expected to be several thousand dollars.

Mr. Ingram said, “I was watching television, when I heard a noise, looked out the window and saw the entire bam in flames.” Destroyed were a 60 by 27-foot barn and two other barns, each 20 by 30 feet. James Depew, Yates County Sheriff’s Department investigator, first on the scene, stated the barns were gone before firemen arrived. Deputy Dale Smiley, who investigated the conflagration along with Depew, believes the fire may have started from electrical wiring near the rear of the larger barn. Approximately 30 tons of hay and miscellaneous farm implements and hay were lost in the fire. The Branchport Fire Department responded to the call, but confined efforts to wetting down the burning debris.

D.A. Salaries In Five Counties Compared -- The following is a comparison of District Attorney salaries in the counties of Yates, Schuyler, Seneca, Ontario, and Steuben:

Yates: $6,000 plus an assistant at $2,500.

Schuyler: $10,000

Seneca: $7,199 plus an assistant, $4,500

Ontario: $12,500 with first assistant $8,250 and second assistant $7,000.

Steuben: $15,239, with two assistants, each at $6,268.

Town Justice salaries in Yates County in 1971 were:

Barrington, $1,200; Benton, $2,200; Italy, $900; Jerusalem, $3,000; Middlesex, $1,400; Milo, $3,600; Potter, $1,000; Starkey, $1,200 and Torrey, $2,000. Each of the towns has two justices. The total salaries are given.

David Snyder Returns from Mediterranean -- David Snyder has returned to the United States after a six month cruise in the Mediterranean. Since his arrival in Rushville, he was notified of his promotion in grade to Radioman 3rd class aboard the USS Fort Snelling (LSD-30), homeported in the Little Creek, Virginia area. On April 9, he was guest of honor at a family dinner party at the home of his mother, Mrs. Helen Snyder of Rushville. Those attending were: Mr. & Mrs. H. Everett Day and son, Peter of Canandaigua, Mr. & Mrs. Neil Yerkes and family of Rochester, Mr. & Mrs. Alan Holcomb and Mrs. Gerald M. Seeley also of Rochester, and Mr. & Mrs. Burke Fitzsimmons of Walker. Snyder has received notification of his acceptance as a probationary member in the College of Organists, State of Virginia. He is studying under the direction of Frank Lyboldt, Dean of the College of Organists.

Last Man's Club to Meet -- The 27th annual meeting of the Last Man’s Club will be held April 15 in the Wagner, East Elm Street. The group consists of men who left Penn Yan April 15, 1944 for service in World War II. Part of the ceremonies will include a casket containing a bottle of champagne to be consumed by the last survivor as a tribute to his buddies. Paul Calhoun, acting Corporal for 1971-72 will relinquish his post at the close of the session to the new officer elected for the current year. Members who plan to return for the occasion this year will be Paul Look, Florida; Edward Pond, New Jersey; and Wilbur Kinney, of Elmira.