In Years Past

In 1913, the clothing store of Lawson Brothers at 117 Main St., Jamestown, was burglarized early in the morning and about $60 worth of clothing was stolen. The stolen articles included a complete suit, the vest and trousers of another suit, a raincoat and numerous men’s furnishings. The burglar gained an entrance to the store by means of a fire escape in the rear of the building. By climbing up this ladder he was able to break and open a window in the Lawson store. After entering the store he evidently took off his own clothing and proceeded to put on as much new clothing as he could carry. The cash drawer had been opened but as there was only a very little cash in it the man did not get much.

Salamanca had cast aside its swaddling clothes and appeared in more appropriate garb when Gov. Sulzer attached his signature to the bill incorporating the city of Salamanca, thereby making the latter a law. As the bill went into effect immediately on being signed by the governor, the village of Salamanca and the village of West Salamanca had already ceased to exist and had become a part of the city. And that portion of the town of Great Valley commonly known as East Salamanca had severed its relations with that township and had likewise become a part of the city.

In 1938, two persons were fatally injured and two others severely injured at Dunkirk Sunday night at a grade crossing accident at Central Avenue and the Nickel Plate Railroad tracks. All were riding in an automobile which was struck by a train traveling east. The dead were Benjamin Jarvis, 18; Joe Valvo, 24 and Frank Patti, 26, all of Dunkirk. According to police the machine was being driven north on Central Avenue when upon approaching the crossing, the gates were lowered. The car apparently went out of control and crashed through the gates and against the pilot of the locomotive. The automobile was reduced to junk.

Search was still being made for the body of Robert Alford, 17, high school senior at Westfield who drowned Saturday afternoon in Barcelona Harbor, Lake Erie. High waves had seriously hampered the search for the body but fishboats had placed nets hoping thus to find the body. The search would be continued. Alford and a companion, 16-year-old Donald Wicks, had sailed out into the lake but a broken oarlock prevented their rowing back to shore. When they attempted to raise the sail the boat capsized and threw the boys into the water. Alford was wearing a heavy pullover sweater which he tried to remove while in the water. It was thought that the struggle with the sweater combined with the low temperature of the water, was the cause of Alford’s death as he was an excellent swimmer.

In 1963, John M. Bickel, who recently retired as vice president of the Carrier Corp. in Syracuse, spoke on “Let’s Live and Have Fun” at the annual dinner meeting of the Chautauqua County Bankers Association at Shorewood Country Club, Dunkirk. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin and one of the pioneers in the air conditioning industry, Mr. Bickel was also the brother of Fredric March, noted star of screen and stage.

The klomping of wooden shoes had been routine in recent months as 40 Groat Klompen Dancers and 44 Klein Klompen Dancers had practiced for their performances Friday and Saturday at the Clymer Tulip Festival. Under the guidance of Mrs. Clarence Raft, Miss Madalene Vander Schaaff, and Mrs. Jerrold Korselman, the Groat dancers had made several appearances in Corry, Erie, Eden, Dunkirk and Ashville and would attend the International Ball at Erie in June.

In 1988, Irene Minckler couldn’t do math. But that was about the only thing that got in her way. Saturday, the 72-year-old legally blind Mrs. Minckler graduated from Jamestown Community College, 53 years after she received her first diploma, as valedictorian of her high school class. And if things went as she planned, it would not be her last. In the fall, Mrs. Minckler would begin independent studying with Empire State College, working toward a bachelor’s degree. Mrs. Minckler and her husband, Earl, still made their home in Sinclairville where they had lived and worked for a number of years. She had also written a book of natural history about Sinclairville called My Own Backyard. She explained, “Earl says it’s about the birds and bees. It is,” she said, pokerfaced. “There are birds and bees in it.”

Jamestown police said there were no reports of any kind of devil-worshipping cult activities over the weekend, rumored to take place at the 100-acre lot next to Jamestown Community College. According to Police Chief Richard D. Ream, there were a lot of people who showed up at the lot which only contributed to the rumor and almost caused a state of hysteria. “It was like a circus,” he added. In Warren, Pa., “There are no cults down here,” Cpl. Gene Casanata said. “There was absolutely no cult-related activity over the weekend.”