In Years Past

100 Years Ago

In 1913, the Jamestown, Chautauqua & Lake Erie Railway Company had received a Bench-Edison electric car, made by the Federal Storage Battery and Car Company of Silver Lake, N.J. and a test run from Jamestown to Westfield and back was made the previous day. The car which was equipped with Edison storage batteries and four 20-horsepower motors had a seating capacity of about 75. The run was made at an average rate of about 21 miles an hour, including stops at all stations and the results were very satisfactory. Great effort would be made to give the people of Jamestown and the lake region a frequent service on the east side of the lake over the summer and if this new electric car would not fill the bill something else would be tried.

Up to noon this day, no traces had been found of the body of Louis Hammermiller, the 18-year-old boy who was supposed to have been drowned some time Saturday night or Sunday morning between Crystal Bend and Grass Island in Chautauqua Lake. Hammermiller’s cap, basket of lunch, a whiskey bottle, fishing rod and tackle were found floating in the lake Sunday morning by the men who found his stepfather, Robert J. White, dazed and nearly unconscious on the bottom of the overturned boat in which Hammermiller and White went fishing the night before. Two women who lived at Crystal Bend heard cries for help out in the lake some time not far from midnight Saturday evening. This was as nearly as any definite information could be secured as to when the accident happened. The boy’s mother, Mrs. White, was nearly prostrated with grief over the affair.

75 Years Ago

In 1938, 15 local Boy Scout troops of Chautauqua Lake Area council launched a fight to rid Jamestown of its annual spring pest, the tent caterpillar. The scouts planned to work on vacant lots throughout the city but would assist householders if their aid was requested. Various methods of extermination of the insect would be used by the scouts but in most cases nests would be burned out. Instructions would be given to the boys on how to do the work safely, to themselves and to the trees and shrubs and other properties.

Three Ashville Grange members, youthful in spirits if not in years, were among the 50 who enjoyed the card and dancing party given by Ashville Grange on a recent evening. The ages of the three totaled 261 years divided as follows: Mrs. Jane Alexander, who was 83; Mrs. Silence Doud, 81; and George Ira Alexander, who lacked but three years of being 100. Players filled 10 tables of progressive pedro, with first prizes going to Mrs. Warren Wilcox and Leonard Ticknor. Second prizes went to Miss Lottie Comstock and Fred Halbon. Chinese checkers were played at one table. Dancing was another feature of the party. Still another one of these public social events would be held Saturday, May 14.

25 Years Ago

In 1988, an Ellington youth became Chautauqua County’s ninth highway fatality of the year when he was killed overnight in a one-car accident on Route 394 near the Leach Hill Road in the town of Poland. The victim was identified as 18-year-old Dennis S. Ayers. Chautauqua County Coroner P. Michael Nielsen said the accident occurred overnight and was discovered at 6:40 a.m. this day by a passing trucker. Nielsen said Ayers was alone in the car, which was eastbound on Route 394 when it struck a utility pole and guard rail and went down into a culvert area where it came to rest partially overturned. Ayers remained inside the vehicle. The accident was investigated at the scene by Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Department officers and was continuing.

Mayor Steven B. Carlson addressed approximately 200 hospital employees to inform them of the deficit woes at Jamestown General Hospital before the hospital’s executive committee met in a separate, closed-door session. “The purpose of tonight’s meeting is for the (hospital) board to review our financial audit prepared by our certified public accountant,” the mayor said. “We don’t have answers at the present time but I am to go to Albany tomorrow to meet with New York state Health Commissioner David Axelrod about this crisis,” he added. “We want to save the health care system in the community and jobs at Jamestown General,” Carlson said.