100 Years Ago
In 1912, while at work as a weaver in the Broadhead Worsted Mills at 2 p.m. in the afternoon, Lester Geer, an old employee, dropped dead between the looms. The call came without a moment's warning and the other employees in the room were terribly shocked. A short time before his sudden summons, Geer had spoken to the foreman, John Pratt, relative to the particularly excellent quality of the warp, and them went back to his looms. It was but shortly after that when he suddenly fell to the floor and expired. Geer was about 60 years of age. He had resided at 218 Winsor St. He had been employed in the Broadhead Worsted mills for many years. He was survived by his wife, Mary, and four daughters. Geer had been in poor health for some time and since the death of a son-in-law a week previously, he had apparently been somewhat worse. His death at this time, however, was entirely unexpected.
Three coach loads of passengers on a New York Central train escaped death by a hair's breadth at Corning the previous night when a train going at a high speed was turned from the main track to a siding which sent the engine down a 40-foot bank into the Chemung River. Two coaches did not follow the engine, though the forward one left the rails within two feet of the bank. Ralph E. Miller, fireman of Corning, was drowned and John L. Bunnell, engineer, of Corning, was thrown from the cab and was so badly burned by escaping steam that he was in the hospital. Whether the wreck was due to an interlocking switch failure or the failure of the engineer to observe the block signal would be determined by an official investigation.
50 Years Ago
In 1937, professional cracksmen paid a visit to suburban Frewsburg early this day and blasted the door off the safe of the U.S. post office there with a charge of nitroglycerin and escaped with more than $300 in cash, about the same sum in stamps, the office cash book and other valuable records. Although the safe was completely looted, the thieves overlooked about $9 in cash in a drawer near the stamp window and a valuable money order book. U.S. Post Office inspector A.E. Helmick of Jamestown and state police "Scotland Yard" men from the Batavia barracks were investigating the crime. The investigators had little success in their attempt to set a time for the blast. Only two persons in the immediate neighborhood of the post office, which was situated on Center Street in the heart of the village, believe they heard the explosion.
The mounting highway accident toll was scored by C. Parks Belknap, boys' advisor of Washington Junior High School, in a talk before the public teachers of Jamestown at the high school. He said that despite the numerous safety improvements made by the automotive and highway engineers in the past few years, the toll continued to increase. Careless, indifferent and intoxicated motorists were to blame for a large portion of the accidents, according to Mr. Belknap. He said that the state had recently passed a law requiring that 30 lessons in safety be given in the elementary schools and 15 in the high schools each year.
25 Years Ago
In 1987, as Republicans wielded more power in Chautauqua County government for the coming two years with their projected 15-10 legislature majority over Democrats, which would result in an upheaval of committee chairmanships, Democrats vowed to stand tough as the underdogs. "We just won't back down," Democratic caucus leader Charles Porpiglia said around midnight, as unofficial election returns showed Republicans gained clear control of the legislature. Two significant upsets for the Democratic Party, partly attributed to low voter turnout and tough campaigning, would leave the party without two key players when the legislature would take office in January. Those key legislators were public works committee chairman John C. Dillenburg of Forestville and long-term Jamestown legislator Anthony J. Raffa Sr., who chaired the Human Services Committee.
It was official. The New York State Sportswriters Association high school football rankings were released this day and Jamestown High School was the top-ranked team in the Large Schools Division. The Red Raiders made the move from No. 2 after the No. 1 team, Hempstead, lost to Uniondale 13-12. Uniondale was not ranked and came into that game with a 3-2 record. Meanwhile, Jamestown was shutting out West Seneca West 28-0 to up its record to 8-0. The loss not only knocked Hempstead from first to 21st in the state, but also ended the Long Island team's unbeaten streak of 32-0-2, which was the longest in New York state.