FROM PAGES PAST: 1972, Hurricane Agnes damage $6.5 million in Yates Co.

The Chronicle Express

150 Years Ago

July 4, 1872

County Treasurer JAMES BURNS - It has already been widely advertised by common rumor that James Burns, the County Treasurer of Yates County, has absconded, a defaulter, abandoning his family, turning his back on the most sacred ties of life, as well as his official obligations, and blotting out the kindly regard of friends whose esteem it should have been his life long struggle to retain. This rumor, his friends are sorrowfully constrained to admit, is largely, if not wholly true. He left Penn Yan about the 10th of May last, ostensibly to be absent a few weeks, to recuperate his health, and visit the Eastern states. Recent failures bore of considerable magnitude, caused uneasiness, and enquiry, and a letter to the Comptroller, brought the information that the State tax had been but about half paid over. Further enquiry developed the fact that the money was not on deposit in Penn Yan. Of course this intensified the anxiety of the Treasurer’s bondsmen, though assured (no doubt in good faith) by the immediate friends of Mr. Burns that he would very soon return and prove himself responsible and trustworthy. Solicitude and enquiry were as active as ever, and finally on Thursday last his friends came upon information which satisfied all that he had left Penn Yan to return no more. — He left a sealed package directed to Judge Briggs, with instructions that it be delivered on the 29th of June. This was delivered one day earlier, and was found to contain detailed statements of his accounts as Treasurer, a list of notes and securities, a letter to Judge Briggs and a power of attorney authorizing him to settle his affairs and dispose of his property. The letter is no doubt the best apology he has to offer for his act of self-banishment, and he takes no pains to soften the moral wrong of his conduct.

The Sodus Bay and Corning Railroad - The only question now in regard to the Sodus Bay and Corning Railroad is whether it shall pass through Penn Yan or Dresden. That it is to be built even the most skeptical begin to fully understand. They may understand if they do not. But the Milo commissioners have managed the matter so very badly that they have given a very great impetus to the rival route. It is now a question of route and money, and those who work against us make a strong array of promises and pledges to say the least. We hope there is no doubt that we shall get the road. If we do, however, it is high time the fight was abandoned, and the people of Milo, and especially of Penn Yan were working unitedly for their own interest.

Horace Greeley and Presidential Politics - The Greeley Club of Penn Yan, it is said, numbers one hundred. Most of them formerly voted the Democratic ticket. ~ Elmira Advertiser

The Greeley Club of Penn Yan numbers nearer two hundred than one hundred, and if there ever have been any earnest and true Republicans in Yates County these are the men. Not one of them voted last fall for a Democratic Senator as did the pretended Grant men who misrepresent their numbers and character. Our friend of the Advertiser will please make a note of our prediction that Greeley is going to have a good swinging majority in Yates County. The Grant men really do not understand the depth and strength of the Greeley sentiment, and hence are somewhat excusable for their ignorance if not for their lies on that subject.

100 Years Ago

July 5, 1922

Two Branchport Accidents Show That Fire and Gasoline Should Not Meet In the Open - Sunday afternoon Floyd Woodhouse, young son of Ed Woodhouse, was playing with a cap pistol while seated in an old automobile. The car was a very old one, had not been used in nearly two years and was parked in the Woodhouse backyard. Floyd, as boys will, thought he would try a new one, so took the cap off the gas tank, stuck the pistol in and pulled the trigger. An explosion followed that was heard all over the village. The car immediately took fire and was destroyed. Pieces of the gas tank were picked up more than 100 feet from the scene of the explosion. Floyd was a particularly lucky boy as he got off with only a badly burned arm.

Monday afternoon a Ford car was taking in gasoline at Burtch Bros.’ tank when one of the occupants who was standing beside the car lighted a match to light his cigar. The gasoline caught fire, and the entire top and cushions of the car were destroyed. The car would have been a total loss had not two chemical fire extinguishers been used.

Bees Take Possession of Ford Car; Owner Decided He Was In No Hurry To Go Home - James McGinnis is in possession of a big swarm of bees, which he secured in an unusual way. Tuesday afternoon a farmer left his Ford in the vacant space by the Birkett Mill while he enjoyed the festivities of the ever “Glorious Fourth.” When he came to get his car he decided he would not take it just then as it was occupied. He stood across the street and was undecided what to do, either to call Chief of Police Wrean or the fire department. A large swarm of bees had taken possession of the car and found a temporary nest just inside the top near the windshield. They hung in a great ball, enough to fill an eight-quart pail, and were apparently enjoying themselves immensely, no doubt planning for a joy ride. Mr. McGinnis came to the rescue. He had handled bees years ago, so he said. He jarred the mass of “hot stuff” from the car top, but evidently the queen bee had found a soft spot in the fold of the car top and the bees swarmed again. He finally secured a hive and jarred the top sufficiently to loosen the mass, queen and all, and at 10 p.m. a lot of the bees were still trying to decide whether they liked the looks of the new house furnished them. Mr. McGinnis only had one sting. A goodly number made a temporary resting place on his hat and face and hung down so they obstructed his vision. In brushing the sassy little fellows from before his left eye, he must have squeezed one, for one hit him in the eye.

Camp For Boys Named July 4th - July 4th was an important day at Camp Cory, the Y.M.C.A. camp for boys on Keuka Lake, for it marked the formal naming of the camp. For many years while located on Canandaigua Lake, the camp was known as Iola, but when the association purchased the new site on Keuka Lake, the name Iola was abandoned and for two years the camp was known as the Rochester “Y” Boys’ Camp. In December last the directors of the association adopted as the official name Camp Lawrence Cory, in honor of Lieut. Lawrence Cory, who made the supreme sacrifice in the St. Mihiel drive in the World War. Lieut. Cory was the son of Harvey Cory, of the Ailing & Cory Co., a popular student at Princeton University at the beginning of the war. He received his commission at the first officers’ training camp at Madison Barracks. During his college career Lieut. Cory was active as a worker in a settlement which dealt largely with Italian boys. He was also a leader in a boys’ camp during the summer months.

75 Years Ago

July 3, 1947

$60,000 Fire Destroys Two Business Blocks On East Elm Street - An 85-year-old man, Frank Fisher, was overcome by smoke and two business blocks on East Elm Street were gutted by flames in a $60,000 fire Friday morning. The David Griepsma Red & White grocery and meat market at 124 East Elm Street and the Sutherland’s Wallpaper, Paint, and Insulation store at 128 suffered serious loss to their stock from fire and water. Mr. and Mrs. Leland Gyer, owners and operators of the food store for years, until May of 1946, when it was taken over by Mr. Griepsma, lived in their apartment over the store. Awakened by the fire alarm about 6:45 Friday morning, they found flames licking at the rear of their apartment. Mrs. Gyer’s father, Mr. Fisher, insisted on fully dressing before leaving his front bedroom. Smoke billowing through the apartment rendered him unconscious. Assistant Fire Chief Stewart Nissen donned a smoke mask and brought him to the street down the stairway. He soon regained consciousness, but was removed to the Foster-Hatch Medical group as a precaution and later to the home of friends. Rendered unconscious by the smoke, Mr. Fisher's hold on the bed was so desperate that the fireman had to strike the man's wrists to break his hold. The department’s new emergency car was used for the first time in taking Mr. Fisher to the medical group. The flames apparently started in a narrow alleyway between the Gyer and Sutherland buildings at the rear. Charles Cushman, employed by Harry Sutherland, awakened early and saw smoke from his home, 119 Clinton Street, which looks directly towards that section of Penn Yan’s business area. Flames were already leaping up the rear of the Gyer building. He backed to safety the insulation truck and helped save other pieces of equipment from the rear of the Sutherland block as flames spread into the paint storage rooms.

In 1947, two business blocks on East Elm Street were gutted by flames in a $60,000 fire. Sutherland's Wallpaper, Paint, and Insulation rebuilt on the site. The Red & White grocery did not.

Boy Scouts Save Swimmer at Red Jacket Park - Good Scout training and quick thinking was responsible for saving a life at Red Jacket Park Monday night. Praise for the feat goes first to Roger Lamphier, 15, son of Mr. and Mrs. Durwood Lamphier of Lawrence street, and then to Bruce LeClaire, son of Mr. and Mrs. Carl LeClaire of Wagner Court. These two boys, with several others, were resting on the float some distance from shore at the park, when Harold Wilson, 22, started to swim out to them. Harold could swim a little and in the darkness underestimated the distance to the float. When his strength gave out he sank, holding his breath as long as he could. Eventually he gulped water and was lost. Roger was first to sense the swimmer’s difficulty. He dove in, brought the young man, much larger and heavier than himself, to the surface and started towing him to the raft. After that Bruce jumped in to assist and willing hands heaved Harold up. With the water dumped from his lungs it took very little in the way of artificial respiration to restore Harold to consciousness. Both Roger and Bruce are Boy Scouts and give credit to their lessons from troop leaders for knowledge of what to do in an emergency. Their quick thinking is most praiseworthy no matter what their training.

All Roads Lead to Beautiful Roseland Park On Canandaigua Lake, The Playground of the Finger Lakes - 1,500 feet of beautiful lakeshore with FREE beach chairs, FREE picnic tables and benches, FREE fireplaces, and FREE parking. Dancing is available Thursday through Sunday nights with Bill Flanagan and his Orchestra.

50 Years Ago

July 6, 1972

Fallout From Damage Caused by Hurricane Agnes - The Small Business Administration offered loans for replacement of homes and personal property destroyed by Agnes. The SBA can either make loans directly or guarantee bank loans for amounts up to $55,000 for each individual property owner. The Yates County Legislature reported a $6.5 million loss in the county, in agricultural areas and and damages to properties along the Keuka lakeshore. The Women of the Moose donated money and several boxes of clothing leftover from the recent rummage sale to flood victims.

Great Western Open For Business - Great Western wines by the truckload are moving out of Pleasant Valley Wine Co. warehouses here once more, and summer visitors are again being welcomed to tour the winery, which has just survived the worst rains to hit southwestern New York State in 37 years, with nothing more serious to show for the experience than a few roof leaks. The access road to Pleasant Valley facilities, cut in two places last week by swollen streams, has been repaired as of today and is accepting heavy traffic. All operations are proceeding normally, according to Great Western’s managing director, C. Frederic Schroeder, and plant superintendent Robert Stanley. It was this same storm that inundated the nearby cities of Elmira, Coming, and Homell, forcing thousands to flee their homes. The wine-producing center of Hammondsport, devastated in 1935 by torrents of mud, was one of the first communities to feel the force of the elements last week. But rain damage was limited to disruption of some road surfaces and shoreline flooding along portions of Keuka Lake, which rose to its highest flood level in recorded history. Despite the violent downpour, preliminary estimates by winery officials indicate negligible damage to vineyards supplying grapes to Great Western.

Love Conquers Agnes - Ferocious “Agnes” almost prevented the marriage of Miss Suzanne Szego, daughter of Mrs. Virginia Washburn of Binghamton, to David Brailow, son of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Brailow, of Keuka Park. The wedding was to have taken place on the grounds of Keuka College, June 24 with a reception to be held in the Brailow garden. The prospective bridegroom drove to Nunda June 23 to help his fiancee move her belongings to their planned summer home in Dansville. Mrs. Szego teaches French and Spanish in high school in Nunda. That was the day the evacuation began of families from the Mt. Morris - Geneseo area. On Friday evening, the State Troopers informed Mr. Brailow that he could not return that night to Penn Yan and that the area would probably be closed until Tuesday. Many out of town guests had already arrived in Binghamton and Penn Yan, others were notified — no wedding! In Nunda friends and colleagues of the prospective bride, hearing of the couple’s problems, planned an on-the-spot wedding. Headed by Mr. and Mrs. Gary Ayers, the wedding was planned for June 24, the original date at 1 p.m. in Nunda. A ring was found, a wedding cake made, decorated with traditional ‘‘art” contributed by Mrs. Ayers, a bride’s bouquet was quickly assembled by a florist and — the wedding was held.