FROM PAGES PAST: 1947: Kinneys Corners honors its fallen heroes

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

June 20, 1872

House Catches Fire Twice -- A singular coincidence happened at the house of Mr. Kinner Hollister, at Caroline Depot a few days since. During the hot weather people living along the line of the railroad took every precaution to guard against fire from the cars, which passed close to their houses. One day Mr. H. smelled something like fire, the burning of pine or something of that nature, but saw nothing. This was about 12 o’clock, in a short time thereafter a roaring noise was heard like the flames of fire or the wind, blowing gently against the house. Search being made soon revealed the house to be on fire; it having caught on the outside, burned a hole through the siding, and was extending to the roof between the ceilings. By prompt action, with the help of the freight train which happened along at the time the house was saved. A few days after, the house was discovered to be on fire again in the same place and about the same hour, when, the whole mystery was revealed. The daughter of Mr. Hollister had been in the habit of washing the milk can after it had been returned from the factory, and placing it upon a bench against the house in the sun to dry, and from the reflection of the sun upon the can, the house was set on fire. A caution against putting bright tin near the house.

The Branchport Post Office. One hundred fifty years ago, the post office was reconstructed with entirely new boxes.

New Post Office -- The Post Office at Branchport has been reconstructed with entire new boxes which have been painted and the numbers materially increased. It is now very conveniently and commodiously arranged, and is a credit to the good taste of our excellent postmistress, Mrs. Almeda Youngs.

Lake Levels Surge -- Lake Ontario was greatly agitated last week Thursday, rising at Charlotte near Rochester two feet above its ordinary level and falling as much below every twenty minutes. The Lake acted similarly at Oswego and other points. Nobody understands the cause.

100 Years Ago

June 21, 1922

Running Water in Farm Homes -- Yates County to Have Three Demonstrations, at Himrod, Branchport, and Rushville -- There’s a farm woman in the United States who, during the 50 years she had lived on the same farm, had walked 5,710 miles to and from the well and has carried nearly 2,000 tons of water; yet $18 would have been the cost of extending a pipe from the well and putting the pump in the kitchen.

The rural engineering men at the state college at Ithaca point out that many farmers are coming to the conclusion that life is too short for their wives to spend it walking an equivalent of the distance from Syracuse to Salt Lake City and back, with a side trip to New York, especially since on this little jaunt they carry water having the total weight of a modern train consisting of a locomotive and 20 steel sleepers.

How every farm home may have running water in the kitchen, is the message which a novel demonstration, to be sent out from the state college of agriculture will carry to three communities in Yates County. One demonstration will be held in Himrod, Monday, June 26, at 2 p. m. One in Branchport at the Robert Swift place, three-fourths of a mile from Branchport on the Gibson road, at two o’clock and one in connection with the Ontario Co. Farm and Home Bureau on Wednesday, June 28, at nine o clock. This meeting will be held at the Wm. Rex farm between Gorham and Rushville at nine o’clock.

The demonstrations will be conducted under the auspices, of the county farm and home bureaus. The successive steps in the demonstrative are so worked out as to indicate clearly the possibility of starting in a small way with simplest equipment, and adding improvements from time without discarding any of the equipment already installed.

The first step in setting up the demonstration is the erection of an upright panel and narrow floor, to represent the sidewall and the floor of the kitchen. Then a sink and simple pitcher pump are Installed. When this has been demonstrated, a force pump is substituted for the other and an overhead storage 'tank is shown. The last step in most of the demonstrations will be the installation of a hot water front such as is used in a kitchen stove, and connections made to a tank. Where it seems advisable, the manner of putting in an indoor toilet may also be shown.

An aerial view of the Public Universal Friend's home in Jerusalem. One hundred years ago, the Penn Yan Public Library received a painting of the Friend's home.

A Valuable Gift to Public Library -- The Penn Yan Public Library has just received an excellent painting of the old Friend's House in Jerusalem. This picture is the gift of Miss Mary M. Haven, who painted it several years ago. The painting is much admired both for its accurate representation of the most famous dwelling in Yates County but also for its harmonious coloring. The picture will be prized more and more as the years go by. Miss Haven, whose artistic accomplishments have heretofore been known only to a few intimate friends, has placed the community under great obligations by this beautiful gift.

Infantry Bivouac in Penn Yan -- About 300 soldiers, under the command of Colonel Hughes, of the 28th U.S. Infantry, passed through Penn Yan Tuesday en route from Camp Dix, N.J., to Fort Niagara, The soldiers pitched their tents on the Byron Peckins farm, just north of the village, and remained there overnight. On Tuesday evening, the regimental band of 54 pieces gave a free band concert at the Court House Park. The grounds were lighted and seats provided for the public.

Penn Yan Improvements -- M. A. Beach, who has illuminated the exterior of the Universal Building with a handsome system of lighting, says that experts say that this can be done at moderate cost for installation and upkeep, and make' a fine advertisement for the town. He hopes other buildings will be so illuminated stimulating local pride in our progressive village. We venture to say there is not one street in Penn Yan that has not done something by way of improvement. New houses going up or extensive repairs on the old ones, new coats of paint, new roofs or a new garage. Let the good work go on. Penn Yan has the reputation of being one of the liveliest and most beautiful towns in Western New York. A large number of our townspeople moved into their lakeside cottages last week for their summer sojourn. The demand for cottages by people from near and far away cities has never been so great.

Travelling Library -- A travelling library for rural districts of Yates County has been started by Miss Margaret Mahar, County Nurse for cases of tuberculosis. As a sideline, she takes books while visiting her patients, to rural schools. Mrs. Eva Hamlin, of New York, presented 50 volumes to this library, and during the past two months, the number has increased to 200. Any contributions will be gratefully received.

75 Years Ago

June 19, 1947

Kinneys Corner Community Honors Heroes in Unique Way --  It was Arbor Day, 14 years ago, and a little boy named Forest Jorgensen, who lived at Kinney’s Corners, asked his teacher, Mrs. Arthur Beckhorn, if he could dig the hole to put the tree in, which the school was planting. The teacher agreed and the youngster wrote his name on a slip of paper, put it in a bottle, and buried the bottle in the ground at the bottom of the hole beneath the tree roots. The next year on a similar occasion, another little boy asked the same privilege and in 1934, Olaf Frederiksen put his name beneath a newly planted tree in the school yard. The years passed, the trees flourished and then a war came. Oddly enough, both of these boys, grown to men, died in Germany. Olaf was killed in action and was cited posthumously for bravery. Forest was seriously wounded in action and died in a German prison camp.

This year, when the teacher, the same Mrs. Beckhorn, asked her children, 27 of them, what they wanted to do on the last day of school, there were several replies. They wanted to play games, they wanted a field day, and they wanted their parents to come to school and hear the pieces they had learned and see the hobbies which they had been working on during most of the school year. But more than that, they had decided among themselves that they wanted a little memorial service for the boys from their school who had died in military service.

The “little memorial service” idea grew and grew until Mrs. Beckhorn, in self defense, had to call a halt. The mothers and fathers pitched in and helped, however, even in the midst of one of the busiest spring planting seasons in many years and it developed that nearly 100 were present for the touching little service at 1:30 Friday. Color bearers and members of the American legion, Johnson-Costello post of Penn Yan, were present to conduct the formal memorial ceremony of the legion. The Rev. Ernest Butterfield, pastor of the Methodist church about which the community of Kinney’s Corners clusters, spoke briefly.

"It was just a simple act, when the boys planted these trees,” he pointed out, “but the trees have grown until their shade is a blessing and a pleasure in the school yard, and the memory of the boys will long be held sacred in the hearts of you people who knew them.”

Then little Richard Jorgensen, nephew of Forest, hung a big wreath on one of the trees. No one recalls now, just which tree was planted by which boy — they stand side by side. On the wreath Julius Frederiksen placed a flag for his son, Olaf, Richard placed one for his uncle, and Betty Fingar placed a third one, this in memory of Carl Nichols, her half-brother, who was also a pupil at the school and who died in the States during his time of military service. The families in the school district had given the money for the wreath, which was a beautiful thing covered with red and white carnations, and the trustee, Aksel Andersen, delivered it, together with heavy nail and hammer for hanging. The pupils of the school, each with a flag, stood at attention in a semi-circle about the trees during the ceremony and sang patriotic songs at the beginning and end.

Renew Search for Bodies of Marion & Miles Slaughter -- With the coming of warmer weather, Yates County State Police will intensify their search for the bodies of Miles and Marion Slaughter, who are believed to have drowned in Keuka Lake Nov. 30, 1946. The brother and sister were last seen on that date, late in the afternoon of a stormy day, as they got into a canoe at Lakeside hotel to cross the West Branch to their home at the foot of Bluff Point.

Miles was an employee of the Keuka Lake Ice company of Penn Yan. Marion was a nurse and had only recently received her discharge after overseas service. They had crossed the lake to make a telephone call to a friend in Rochester. When Mrs. Clifford Orr, a neighbor, saw the lights at the home remained on long after their usual bedtime, she investigated, later reporting to the state officers that the brother, and sister were missing.

Last fall dragging operations were attempted but the weather was too cold and the water too rough for effective work. During the winter months the troopers had kept up an intermittent patrol of the lake shore hoping for some sign of the bodies but nothing has been seen.

Wednesday morning Trooper A. F. Ryder and Cpl. Frank Donovan, BCI, of the Penn Yan station, in the Conservation Department boat manned by Game Protector Clay White, began a water patrol of the West Branch. It is expected that additional equipment will be sent in to make an underwater search soon. The water has an approximate depth of more than 200 feet in the vicinity where it is thought the canoe capsized.

In the meantime, State Police are requesting all cottagers to be on the lookout for anything unusual discovered along the water’s edge and to report it immediately. Marvin Allison of the Penn Yan Flying club has instructed all flyers to keep a lookout during any flights which take them over the lake in the vicinity of the Lakeside hotel, Bluff Point, and the West Branch.

Circus Driver Reports Truck Accident Near Utica — Coles Injured -- Clifford Swarthout of Penn Yan, truck driver for the James M. Cole circus, was in Penn Yan this week to get some things stored at the winter headquarters. Telling of the accident in which James Cole, circus owner, and his small son were injured, he explained: “The boss was driving one of the big tractor-trailer jobs, loaded with all the planks used in the circus. Coming down one of those gosh-awful hills just out of Herkimer, his airbrakes went out and he tried to ride it down. Some of those curves are pretty tight, and with all that weight pushing him, he couldn’t make it. Tipped over on one. Smashed the tractor and banged him up pretty bad. He was out the next day, though. Little Jimmy got some cuts on his hand. Trailer was damaged some, too, but only eight of the planks were cracked."

50 Years Ago

June 15, 1972

Hosts Needed for Fresh Air Youngsters -- Youngsters from New York City will visit the Yates County area July 20 through Aug. 2 and Aug. 3 through Aug. 17. But the youngsters need “hosts.” The Fresh Air Fund was founded June 3,1877. Since then it has provided more than one million free vacations for the New York City girls and boys, who come from families who cannot afford a country vacation for their youngster. The Yates County area program is sponsored by the Penn Yan Jaycees. Persons interested in “hosting” a youngster, ages five to 12 years, should contact Mrs. Carl Stroker, Mrs. Robert Mason, both of Penn Yan; Mrs Lewis Sheradin of Dundee, Mrs. Taylor Fitch, who is head of Branchport and Keuka Park; and Mrs. James Amnott, serving Rushville and Potter.

Rushville Board Sells Old Brick School -- The old brick school house is no more. At the Rushville Village Board meeting Monday night bids were opened on the former school house, Basset Street. Dudley Voorhees of Rushville RD, with the bid of $1,376 was high bidder. Terms of the transaction, included the demolition of the building within a year of purchase date and the land can only be used for residential building lots.

Sheriff’s Dept. To Purchase New Boat -- Yates County Legislature Monday afternoon approved the purchase of a boat and boat trailer for the County Sheriff’s Department, following disclosure that the present boat had at least one hole in it and was in a deplorable condition. The cost of the craft was set at $7,809 with $822 for the trailer, less $1,741 for trade in allowance. However, 50 percent of the cost is paid by the State Conservation Department, making the cost to the county, $3,445. The boat was purchased from Kelley’s Marina, Branchport, (just over the county line) but is a Penn Yan Boat Inc. craft. Legislators pointed out that Penn Yan Boats do not sell directly, but only through dealers. It was also pointed out that Mr. Kelley owns Holiday Harbor, Branchport, in Yates County.

PY Academy Lacrosse Team Ends First Season of Play -- Area sports fans were treated to something new in the way of contact sports this season as the newly formed Penn Yan Academy lacrosse team played its first regular scheduled JV program. Last season, the lacrosse program was organized by Tom Noteware and Elliot Vorce who volunteered their services as coaches in an effort to get the program off the ground. This year, Vorce was assistant to head coach Bill LaRock as both coaches led their squad to a seven-game schedule. The duo, volunteer coaches for the 1972 season, were most enthusiastic with the program which drew wide range spectator appeal. 

The Penn Yan Academy lacrosse team finished its first year with a 1-7 record. Although our record does not reflect it, the coaches believe that this was a highly successful season for not ever playing the sport before. We were “in” every game except the first Geneva meeting which we lost 13-1, but from whom we gained our only victory 4-1 at a subsequent clash. As a team we averaged about 2.0 goals per game and allowed five per game. The major problem this year was the lack of experience by the 22 boys who started the season.

Interest in the sport is running high thanks to the “contagious” nature of lacrosse, Coach LaRock is running a junior high program consisting of 32 boys. Also many boys in the elementary school have expressed a desire to learn the sport: enough in fact, to warrant Don Meyer to prepare a lesson and a display case on the sport. Next year promises to be participating up on the hill. Be prepared for some real '‘slam- bang” action next spring at PYA.

Dairy Farm “Big Business” -- Penn Yan natives, Mr. and Mrs. Robert A. Jensen, and son, Donald (Skip), operate their dairy farm, “Bobe” on Emption Road, Penn Yan. Mr. Jensen was born across the road in the family farm homestead, which he has recently purchased. One of the two fulltime helpers now occupies the “tenant house.” The Jensens purchased their own farm in November 1947, which includes 100 acres. In addition, they own 300 acres nearby and rent other acreage, making a total of 600 acres as part of their dairy operation. The dairy herd consists of 110 milkers plus 100 young stock, all Holsteins. The average production of each cow is 14,200 pounds of milk per year. The farm ships approximately 4,000 pounds daily. All feed is grown on the farm. It consists of 200 acres of corn, 180 acres of hay, 15 acres of oats, and wheat. A supplement of one ton of protein is purchased weekly. This is mixed with the feed for a balanced diet with necessary vitamins. The Jensens also have 15 acres of cabbage. Donald Jensen, a graduate of Penn Yan Academy, is also a graduate of Cornell University, college of agriculture. The Jensens also have a daughter, Nancy, a junior at Oneonta State majoring in home economics. She has accepted a summer post as an assistant in the 4-H department of Schuyler County.