Penn Yan history: May headlines from the past 150 years

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

May 16, 1872

Pew rental -- The annual renting of pews will take place at the Baptist Church in this village, on Tuesday, the 21st.

Bath and Canandaigua Railroad -- A surveying party is making a preliminary survey for the Bath and Canandaigua Railroad. They propose to run two or three miles eastward of Rushville, although as we are informed, going to Potter Center. From the latter place to Branchport the grades are reported at forty feet to the mile.

A New York Central Railroad train drives through Yates County in 1910. A surveying party was making a preliminary plan for the Bath and Canandaigua Railroad through Yates County 150 years ago

Greeley Club formed -- Our Irish fellow citizens of Penn Yan are organizing a Greeley Club to be composed wholly of Irish Americans. They expect to contribute a large vote toward the election of Horace Greeley, a man whom they hold in high honor as the steadfast and influential friend of their race.

More:FROM PAGES PAST: 1872: The Great Penn Yan Fire

More:FROM PAGES PAST 1922: Forest Fire at Glenora

100 Years Ago

May 17, 1922

Team is undefeated -- The Academy base ball team now leads the Finger Lakes High School League, its percentage being 1000, having won all three games played. Quite a crowd of school boys and girls accompanied the team to Geneva last Tuesday.

Hay loft damaged -- A hay loft in Wm Tierney's old hitch barn gave way Tuesday, partly falling to the ground floor. Little damage was done. As there was little weight on the floor, it is a problem to tell what caused the trouble. Mr. Tierney's fine automobile garage, recently erected, is in no way injured.

Spelling contest held -- A spelling contest for the schools of the town of Benton was conducted by J.F. Bullock, district superintendent, on Friday at the district school here. Miss Jessie Turner is teacher. The following pupils were successful: Addie Smith, Eva Olson and Mildred Van Winkle, all of the village school. Misses Smith and Olson will be entitled to compete at the contest for the county to be held at the county fair.

Benton School No. 9. District Superintendent J.F. Bullock conducted a spelling contest among the students in the town of Benton schools 100 years ago.

75 Years Ago

May 15, 1947

Bowling champions -- Cook's team of Penn Yan won first place in the Finger Lakes Bowling Tournament at Geneva, competing with 160 other five-men teams from the lakes area. Another team, scoring slightly higher, was disqualified, leaving Capt. George Barrett and his cohorts as victors. Other team members were Les Cook, Mike McDonald, Bob Stever, and Dr. Roger Salisbury. The team was pictured on the front page.

Penn Yan band excels -- Topping all expectations of Lester Bascom, director of instrumental music for the Penn Yan Public Schools, the Penn Yan School band was given a rating of excellence at the state contest held in Hornell Saturday. This is a "2" rating. The group of 46 members played "Colorado Concert March," "Lustspiel," and "The Crusaders." Two vocalists, Jean Whitfield and Frederick Griesinger, were given the top rating of "1" which means superior. The brass sextet was rated "1." Playing in this group were Barbara Barrus, French horn; Bruce Allison, sousaphone; Ted Griesinger, trombone; Kenneth Comstock, baritone; Clayton Rose, Jr., first trumpet; and Donald Durham, second trumpet. The clarinet quartette rated "2." Its members are Mary Lou Smith, Patricia Mallory, Stuart VanWort, and Kenneth Miller.

No special taxes for schools -- The Yates County Board of Supervisors, meeting this week, has refused to levy any special taxes for school purposes. The Penn Yan School Board asked $25,000, Dundee Central School Board $15,000, and Middlesex Valley Central School for $9,000. This means, of course, that the problem of any increase in teachers' salaries within Yates County has been dumped right back in the lap of the three school boards and the trustees of the few rural schools still open.

50 Years Ago

May 18, 1972

FFA members honored -- Penn Yan Future Farmers of America members received a big share of the honors at the 47th annual New York State FFA convention held at Lafayette last weekend. Of the 95 Empire Farmer degrees awarded, three went to members of the Penn Yan Chapter: Ritchie Lent, Klaas Martens, and Lynn Simmons. Lynn Simmons in addition to receiving the Empire Degree, was recognized with the third place Crop Farming Proficiency Award. Klaas Martens was given the first place breed award at the convention by the Holstein Friesian Association. Ronald Brink was recognized with a New York State FFA Foundation Individual Achievement Award at the distrcit level for Placement in Farm Production and Management. The Penn Yan FFA Chapter was recognized for its achievement in all three FFA leadership contests.

Dresden Fire Department officials elected -- "Scoop" Wise was elected president of the Dresden Fire Department at the annual meeting. Other officers, named to his staff are Burge Morris, vice president; David Rogers, secretary-treasurer; Wayne LeShure, parade captain; and George Lead, assistant parade captain. Peter Christensen was named chief; Mr. Morris, assistant chief; James Johns, second assistant, Paul Dixon, third assistant; Alton Race Jr., foreman; Andy Siwak, assistant; Charlie Schadt, second assistant; and Bruce Hansen, third assistant.

Penn Yan pitcher throws a no-hitter -- A total of seven games were played during the past eight days as Yates County teams had plenty of action on area diamonds. This week however, the masterpiece of a mound effort came from the powerful right arm of PYA senior Dan Simmons. The 6-1 175 lbs. pitching ace of the Mustangs tossed a 3-1 win over Mynderse a week ago Saturday, and followed it up in Saturday with a perfect 2-0 no hit game against Marcus Whitman. It was the second no-hitter for Simmons in the last 3 games as he shut out Canandaigua approximately 2 weeks ago while twirling another no-hitter, allowing no walks, but having 2 men get on through errors. In his last 3 games, Simmonds has pitched 21 innings, giving up 5 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, and has struck out 31 batters during his skein.