In Years Past

100 Years Ago

In 1913, Merle Benton, who was injured in the motorcycle accident at the corner of East Fifth Street and Prendergast Avenue the previous afternoon, was in serious condition in the Jones General Hospital. Shortly after the accident it was thought that he had received only minor injuries but later it was found that he had sustained internal injuries. Just how serious these were, the physician attending him had been unable to ascertain. He seemed slightly improved but was still in serious condition. Eugene Sprague, who was also injured in the accident, received only minor bruises and was able to return to his home after the accident.

A special detective of the Erie Railroad was in Corry after having spent the afternoon at Jamestown. The officer, with two other sleuths, had been assigned to clear up the mysterious accident at Concord in which Oscar Gustafson lost his life. The detectives were again in Corry having come from Meadville on Erie Train 10. Some important facts bearing on the matter were learned at Jamestown. It seemed that Gustafson was accompanied on his trip by a young man of shady reputation who was already said to have served a term or two in the New York state prisons. This young man spent some time with the victim of the accident in Jamestown at Gustafson’s home and as he had not been seen since, it was believed he was with Gustafson when the latter fell beneath the train.

75 Years Ago

In 1938, while 1,200 student musicians and visitors looked on in amazement, Norman Austin of Richburg, 8-year-old violinist prodigy guest of the New York State School Music Association, played two difficult selections in a style that would be worthy of any adult musician. Seemingly without a care in the world, the young man strutted onto the high school stage, lifted his violin, which was nearly his own size, and swung into the strains of a difficult piece. As the music found its way back into the auditorium, a veritable spell was cast over the large audience. The appearance of the youngster served as a fitting prelude to the welcoming ceremony for the state school music finals being held in Jamestown.

A new group of 175 National Guardsmen joined weary volunteers and state police in pressing the search through wild, heavily forested mountains of northern Pennsylvania for little Marjory West. Mayor Hugh J. Ryan of Bradford announced that the guardsmen had expressed a desire to join the volunteers who numbered more than 3,000. The child, 4-year-old daughter of an oil field worker, disappeared at a family outing. Commissioner Percy W. Foote of the state motor police, who had said he doubted a fear expressed by Marjory’s mother – that the child had been kidnapped – ordered 100 of his men to continue the search until May 16.

50 Years Ago

In 1963, a major fire, accompanied by dense smoke, which forced firemen to don masks, hit the Fairmount Avenue Plaza shortly before 3 a.m. in the morning. Damage was expected to exceed $80,000. The heaviest loss was at Gifford Drug Inc., where the fire broke out in the ceiling space heater at the rear of the store. Charred residue flared up again about 10:30 a.m. but firemen from Celoron quickly put out the flames. There were 11 stores in the plaza including a Loblaw’s supermarket. One, the Fairmount Avenue Cleaners, was closed for repairs. Deputies Lee Kellogg and Charles Gennuso discovered the fire while on a routine check of the plaza. Officials said the prescription department of the drugstore was ruined by the flames.

Thomas M. Whitehead, elder son of Jamestown Mayor William D. Whitehead and a senior at Bucknell University, was named the winner of the $1,000 first prize in a national personal library competition for college seniors. The prize, designated as the Amy Loverman Award in honor of its donor, would be presented at the Bucknell commencement ceremonies in June. Entrants were required to submit an annotated list of books in their personal libraries, a statement of their ideals for a good personal library, a list of the 10 books which they would most like to add to their libraries and an essay on how they came to develop their own libraries. Thomas was pursuing a boyhood ambition to become a librarian.