FROM PAGES PAST: 1922: Former Penn Yan man killed by anthrax

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,

150 Years Ago

April 18, 1872

Advertisements --“What lots of advertisements! Who reads them, I wonder ? I’m sure I don’t!” Until last week I confess myself to have been in sympathy with such sentiments, and to have often spoken words to the same effect, unwisely, as I now see. For, being forced to be idle, like a traveler waiting at the railroad station for a tardy train, I took up the Christian Union and actually read its five pages of advertisements through, and with profit I found. The daily newspaper, with its freight of news and entertainment, would be impossible but for the advertiser. The daily New York Tribune, for several weeks after one of its enlargements, was sold to readers at less than the cost of the white paper before it was printed. This was for no long time. But the general rule holds that ninety-nine of every hundred newspapers must suspend publication if their income from advertisements should cease. Liberal advertisers, therefore, should be looked upon gratefully by all who are pleased and profited by periodic literature. I thank you, gentlemen. ~ THOMAS K. BEECHER

Why Should General Grant be Re-elected to the Presidency -- The First and greatest perceptible reason why he should be — if reason it is — is to be found in the fact that General Grant is personally ambitious for re-election, through an over-weaning love for power that abjures even his former expressed convictions of the propriety and necessity of the one-term principle.

The second is that 40,000 office-holders and their attaches and dependents, anxious for continuance in place, see no flattering probability of such a result except through the re-election of the President, and their desires and interests being mutual, assume that they are the Republican party, and are therefore the only true representatives of the nation's interest — hence demand party fealty to that end, or the visitation of ostracism, on the charge of treason to principle, for all who choose to differ or dare to assert their independence of the dictation of would be party leaders.

The third is, that all Democrats or other opposing political bodies are heretics — and deserving of external exclusion from participation in either conducting or the favour of government, and must necessarily be treated as enemies, thus rendering them such in feeling and fact.

RAILROAD MEETING -- A Public Meeting will be held at Bush’s Hall tomorrow (Friday) evening, April 19th, to give expression to the public opinion of Penn Yan, on the subject of extending prompt and effective aid to the construction of the Sodus Bay and Corning Railroad. Let the people indicate whether they desire the work to go promptly forward and be made sure of early completion, or imperiled by vexatious delays calculated to encourage other railway enterprises, designed to draw away the trade and destroy the prosperity of Penn Yan.

Does It Pay? --Let the people attend, one and all. Able speakers will be in attendance. -- A word more in regard to the Crooked Lake Canal. Your correspondent of last week, states “that this Canal viewed in the light of its small receipts looks insignificant and gives no show of actual worth.” The average tolls of $309 for the last four years does give it rather an insignificant look and suggests rather light business. But it is said, it gives business to other Canals as a feeder and pays. The total amount of tolls received by the State, from this Canal last year as a feeder was $4,488, and the year before, about $3,500, while it cost the State last year as follows:

  • For Collection of tolls $ 674
  • Paid Supt. of repairs, $63,931
  • Paid Contractor, $ 8,298
  • Paid for ordinary and extraordinary repairs, $ 5,729
  • Total, $78,632

100 Years Ago

April 19, 1922

Ex Yates County Sheriff Case W. Blodgett died Saturday, April 14, 1922 at his home on Jacob St., Penn Yan.

MANY DEATHS THE PAST WEEK --Ex-Sheriff Blodgett, Mrs. Timothy Murphy, Mrs. Cora Bowers, Wallace Roe and Others. Ex-Sheriff Case W. Blodgett died Saturday at his home on Jacob St., Penn Yan. A few weeks ago he was taken to a hospital in Canandaigua, but his condition became so critical that he was brought home last week. Mr. Blodgett was a son of Augustus T. and Anna Simons Blodgett and was born in Rushville 67 years ago. His great-grandfather was a Revolutionary soldier and his father a Civil War veteran.

While a resident of the town of Italy, Mr. Blodgett was deputy sheriff under Sheriff John Smith, of Torrey: Elias Pulver, of Jerusalem, and Edward Crosby, of Barrington. He came to Penn Yan from Italy Hollow some twelve years ago. He was at the time in the employ of the State Excise Department. After being here about two years he became a police man and traffic officer at the four corners and served eight or nine years in that capacity. His obliging nature gained him a multitude of friends, and “Casey,” as he was called, was known of hundred of tourists. In 1918 he was elected to the office of sheriff of Yates County and while serving his term last October became ill. He is survived by his wife and one daughter, Mrs. Clara Francis, and one brother, Harry Blodgett, of Flint, Mich.

The funeral was held Tuesday from the Methodist church, Rev. W. S. Wright officiating. The Odd Fellows, and Metawissa Tribe, I. O. R. M., of which orders he was a member, attended the funeral. Burial was in Lake View Cemetery.

KILLED BY ANTHRAX --  Corning, April 10: Jesse Bassage, Hornby farmer, was at the Corning Hospital suffering from anthrax. He became infected while performing a postmortem examination upon a cow which suddenly fell dead without any apparent cause. A blood test has since showed that the cow died of anthrax. Bassage rubbed his eyes with his wrists while performing the examination. The next day his eyes were swollen. The infection spread to his face and neck, which became swollen and inflamed. His condition was considered serious. He was not permitted to remain in the Corning Hospital but one night. He was then removed to his brother-in-law’s in Hornby, where he died the following day. Mr. Bassage was a nephew of the late Amos Bassage, of Penn Yan, and has a number of cousins living in Penn Yan.

SEARCH FOR INFECTED HIDE -- Corning, April 14: To guard against the spread of the dreaded anthrax through the hide of the cow of Jesse Bassage, which Mr. Bassage sold to a Corning hide dealing firm on the day he came down with his fatal illness, Dr. Frank S. Swain, city health officer, is bending every effort to recover the infected hide and others with which it has come in contact.

It was not until Mr. Basage’s death Wednesday of anthrax that Dr. Swain learned that the hide of the cow which had given Bassage the infection had been sold. He then made inquiries which showed that it had been shipped to Elmira. From there it was learned it had been shipped to Syracuse. It is expected that the hides will be seized and burned.

The anthrax germ is so hardy that It will live for three years. The infected hide is a source of danger to every human being who may come in contact with it as it is being manufactured into leather, or later, after it has been made into some article of use. The hide will also infect others with which it has come in contact.

ANTHRAX HERD QUARANTINED -- Corning, April 16: Although a test of the herd on the Jesse Bassage farm at Hornby, where a cow died of anthrax last week and its owner died a few days later after becoming infected with the same disease, revealed no other cattle affected with anthrax, a quarantine has been ordered upon the farm for four months. Other herds in the vicinity will be quarantined as a precautionary measure. The anthrax germ lives in the ground and, in stagnant water, and the location of the Bassage farm on top of a high hill makes possible the spread of the germs, by spring rains, to surrounding farms.

75 Years Ago

April 17, 1947

Cole Circus Leaves For Summer Tour -- Early Sunday morning the James M. Cole circus with 30 big trucks, as many private cars and house trailers, and other assorted vehicles pulled away from the winter headquarters at Milo Center headed for Canton, Pa., where the show will start its early summer swing through Pennsylvania and Ohio before returning to Penn Yan for a two-day show late in May or early June. The past week activity has been at fever heat at the Cole farm. Each truck was given a fresh coat of paint and gay decorations. Horses prance, elephants salute and monkeys caper under the skillful hands of the circus decorator. Every motor has been overhauled and $2,900 worth of new tires, purchased in Penn Yan, have been put on the red wheels.

Local public health officials are being kept informed daily of the progress of the malignant small pox that has occurred in and near New York city. The original case of this especially virulent disease, came from Mexico by bus to New York city. This case was taken to the Willard Parker hospital where all dangerous, contagious diseases are taken and died there two days later. Other cases and deaths are now being reported. All persons known to be exposed on the bus, in the hospital or elsewhere are being traced and notified of the danger.

WING TIPS At Penn Yan Airport -- Saturday and Sunday’s fine weather brought the boys and girls out for their long pent up desire for flying — making Sunday the biggest flying day of this part of 1947. A fine time was had at the Flying Club party Friday night, what with fine eats, magic, cards, etc. Everyone of the large turnout had such a fine time that we are expecting another one will be held 'ere long.

  • What is this we are hearing about Norm Hunt sweating out dual on the “Sea Bee”?
  • Bill Mither—who at one time instructed at the local airport flew in his AT 6 from Ulysses, Pa., for a chat with some of his former students.
  • Another new rating at the Penn Yan airport - last Tuesday Inspector Smith checked Club President Allison out in the "Sea Bee" and granted him his water rating. Congrats, Marve.
  • Last Tuesday also saw Bob Benson taking his written examination for an instrument rating.
  • The inspectors will be at the airport the last of this month.

50 Years Ago

April 20, 1972

Fire Destroys Barn, 3 Firemen Injured -- A large barn, near Hill Top Inn, at the edge of Penn Yan village was destroyed by fire Monday afternoon and three firemen received minor injuries. Volunteer fireman William Wormuth was treated at the scene by fire department emergency squad members who gave him oxygen after he apparently inhaled excessive smoke; another volunteer fireman, Harold Chidsey, was treated, also at the scene for a lacerated finger, and a third, Mike Flynn, received an eye injury and was treated by a Geneva physician. The alarm was sounded at 11:48 a.m. after smoke was discovered pouring from the large L-shaped building owned by George Patchett of Geneva RD 1. The 100 by 60-foot structure was rented by Otto White of 248 East Main St., Penn Yan who used it for storage as well as housing for a horse and two goats.

Penn Yan fire Chief Karl Nielsen said it was thought that the blaze started from “heat tape” connected to a line to a well. The barn was quickly engulfed in flames and leveled.

According to witnesses the horse broke through the wall of the burning building and suffered burns and head injuries. A dog was spattered by burning tar and was treated by a veterinarian. The two goats, several tons of hay, straw and grain and a quantity of tools and machinery were lost. It is believed that partial insurance covers the building but there was no insurance on the contents.

OUT OF TOWN PERFORMANCE — Members of the Penn Yan Academy Band presented three concerts in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada, last week, hosted by the Bowmanville band. One concert was performed by both bands; the other two by the Penn Yan Academy band members.

Letter to The Editor -- I really can’t let the article in last weeks paper entitled “County Legislator Asks Radical Change In Court”, go by without comment.

I am sure Mr. Clancy’s intentions are the best but to read the degrading criticism about our elected justice court, judges who for years have spent untold hours in their own homes, evenings and all hours, to be suddenly told they are unqualified to judge cases that come into their courts is wrong. The majority of these men’s minds are equally as good as any lawyers and their reasoning powers to judge the type of cases brought before them in most cases require just good sound judgment. These men have that.

I do agree with Mr. Clancy to the extent that educating our law enforcing officers is a good idea.

Mr. Clancy is proposing a New York City dock system where citizens of Yates County, guilty or not guilty, will stand in line like cattle while a clerk yells “Next Case.”

If you read the aforementioned news article closely you will become aware of frustrated people back of Mr. Clancy trying to tear down our excellent justice system.


John Porter, Penn Yan

Employment Data in Yates County -- State Industrial Commissioner Louis L. Levine said today that employment in Yates County in February was 6,600, as compared to 6,700 in January 1972 and 6,400 in February 1971. The unemployment total in Yates County for February was 700, an increase of 100 over the January 1972 total. In February 1971, the unemployment total also was 700. The unemployment rate was 9.5 per cent in February, in January 1972 it was 8.4 per cent, and in February 1971, the rate was 9.4 per cent. (Note: Yates County's unemployment rate in 2022 is 3.4%.)