In Years Past

In 1913, arrangements were made in supreme court in session at Little Valley for the trial of Cynthia Buffum and Ernest Frahm, indicted for the murder of Willis Buffum. The date of the trial was fixed for Feb. 15 at an adjourned term of supreme court. The Buffum case would not be “tried in the newspaper.” District Attorney Cole, who had been besieged by correspondents and staff of city papers, took the position that for him to make public the confession – or “statement,: as he called it – of Mrs. Buffum would be unfair to her and to Frahm and would not be in accord with the ethics of the legal profession as he understood them. He did not intend to be a party to the inflaming of the public mind against those who were to be tried in court.

Dr. William A. Bing, assistant bacteriologist of the state hygienic laboratory, was in Jamestown and would at once establish a laboratory for the examination of throat cultures in cases where diphtheria was suspected. The establishment of a laboratory here would be of much benefit and convenience to the local board of health and to the people of the city, for cultures could be examined and passed upon in a very short time. The four or five days delay incident to sending them to Albany would be largely obviated.

In 1938, a three-alarm blaze broke out in the Witkop & Holmes Company warehouse in Race Alley, Jamestown, at 10 a.m. this day. The fire completely destroyed the two-story, frame and brick veneer structure, causing damage estimated at about $20,000. It was the first general alarm fire in Jamestown in more than a year and for an anxious hour or more threatened to develop into a conflagration. Heroic efforts by the fire department confined the blaze to the structure in which it originated, in spite of the fact that the blazing tinder pile of a building immediately adjoined several other frame structures. The source of the blaze would probably never be known, the building having been so completely destroyed.

The $3,000 reward offered by citizens of the northern Pennsylvania community of Bradford, for the solution of the mysterious disappearance of little Marjory West, expired this day. Marjory wandered away from her family during a Mother’s Day outing in the heavily wooded white gravel section of Chappel Forest. She was never reported seen again although thousands joined in a search that covered every foot of the district for miles in all directions. No tangible clue to the disappearance of the five-year-old had ever been uncovered. The committee had offered $2,000 for the safe return of the child and $1,000 for information leading to the recovery of her body.

In 1988, an icy road claimed two lives late the previous day when a car collided with a tractor-trailer on Route 62. Killed were Gilbert L. McCollough, 78, of Ashville, and Alma J. Hultman, 77, of Falconer. Police said McCollough was driving north on Route 62 at about 6:25 p.m. when he apparently lost control of his car, which slid into the opposite lane and was hit broadside by a semi truck driven by Steven DeGolier, 22, of Fredonia. Upon impact, the truck left the road and McCollough’s car crossed back into the northbound lane where it struck a van driven by Robert Zigler, 27, of Russell, Pa. DeGolier was treated for minor injuries and released from WCA Hospital. The accident raised the county highway death toll for the year to 41, compared with 30 at this time in 1987.

Chautauqua County Legislature must appropriate funds for interior renovation of the Unigard Building in Jamestown or halt work on the project. This was the bottom line given at a meeting of the legislature’s Finance Committee by Public Works Director George W. Riedesel. He told committee members the project was underfunded and additional money had to be appropriated. Committee Chairman Lance S. Spicer, R-Falconer, said the $2.4 million acquisition cost did not include such renovations, with an estimated cost of $1.7 million. The proposed renovations would accommodate all county agencies except the Department of Mental Health, which would continue in the former Jamestown General Hospital Professional Building.