In Years Past

In 1914, it had been 12 years this day since Ella M. Schildmacher began her duties as principal of District School No. 7 in Jamestown. As a mark of their appreciation and esteem, the teachers who had taught under the direction of Schildmacher, went to her home immediately on the adjournment of school the previous afternoon. The rooms were attractively decorated with flags, red, white and blue bunting and hearts, in keeping with the Valentine’s Day season. A delicious three-course luncheon was served. At the conclusion of the repast, each person in attendance wrote an original poem pertaining to some other member. They afforded much merriment when read.

After many months of waiting, the state engineering department had completed and forwarded to Jamestown City Engineer Clyde G. Jones, the plans for improvement of the Chadakoin River. The legislature the past winter appropriated $100,000 for this work, the purpose being to relieve flood conditions which for the past two years had caused the manufacturers of this city much damage. The present channel of the outlet would be followed with two exceptions. One of these was a cutoff at the cricket grounds. This would involve acquiring land owned by the Jamestown Worsted Mills.

In 1939, Captain William M. Davis, one of the last five veterans of the Civil War residing in Chautauqua County, died at his home on Fairmount Avenue at 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon at the age of 99 years, nine months and nine days. He had hoped to reach the century mark but failed by less than three months. He was survived by a son, Charles W. Davis of Jamestown. Davis’ death left but four Civil War survivors in Chautauqua County which once had 16 G.A.R. posts with about 2,000 members.

Big Jim, the largest captive jungle bred python in the world, who hadn’t had a bit to eat for nine long months, would be forcibly fed the following evening at North Main Street in Jamestown in the presence of all who cared to come and see. Big Jim was one of the features of Robert Ripley’s Believe-It-Or-Not collection of curiosities, which would be on view in Jamestown every day this week. The giant reptile was 30 feet long. In their natural state pythons never eat anything which was cooked, dead or prepared. Normally a meal for Big Jim would be a 120-pound goat and ordinarily he would eat every four months. However, because of a mouth infection, the big snake had not been fed for nine months. His meal here would consist of a mixture of 30 pounds of ground beef, 15 dozen fresh eggs, 15 pounds of crushed bone and one quart of milk of magnesia.

In 1964, state police were investigating a tractor-trailer-car accident in which three persons were injured and a utility pole, barn and parked car were damaged. The accident occurred at the intersection of Route 60 and old Chautauqua Road in Sinclairville. The truck and the car involved in the crash were both traveling south and the driver of the car, Merle Elderkin, 24, was hurled from his machine. His 17-year-old bride was not thrown from the car but was injured. The truck driver, James Grubb of Buffalo, also was hurt. The scene of the accident was within 100 yards of the Elderkin home. The truck had attempted to pass Elderkin’s car as it was making a left turn. After it struck the car, the truck veered off the highway, snapped a utility pole and struck and ripped out the corner of a barn in a nearby field. It also struck a parked car, dragging it for a distance of 30 feet before the parked machine and truck came to a stop near the roadway.

The Beatles played Carnegie Hall and it was an awesome performance. The Beatles looked like an amusing parody of the worst elements of rock ‘n’ roll music. The word “looked” was used advisedly, for no one, especially the screaming little girls, actually heard the Beatles. The performance by the Beatles lasted only for about a half hour at each of two shows on the old concert stage. It was doubtful if anyone, the Beatles, the girls or disinterested observers, could have stood any more. Mrs. Nelson A. Rockefeller, the New York Governor’s wife, was in the audience with her two youngsters by a previous marriage. She reported the performance, “one of the most extraordinary things I’ve ever seen.”

In 1989, snowflakes danced in the air and glistened on the fields, creating a winter wonderland in which people could enjoy one-horse open sleigh rides at Chautauqua on Sunday. The grounds bustled with activity as the Chautauqua County Horsemen’s Association held its 10th annual sleigh rally and Currier and Ives competition. Light horses, draft horses and ponies were hitched to restored sleighs, cutters and bobsleds, Contests were held and rides were offered to the public.

Area hospitals generally reported no noticeable increase in the number of influenza patients being treated despite a report by two upstate New York doctors that the infection was headed this way. “It’s a matter of time,” said Dr. Bharat Patel of Glens Falls Hospital. He said the flu was in Atlanta, Ga., but there was no way to tell when the virus might ride into New York state. Spokesmen for hospitals in Western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania were nearly unanimous in telling The Post-Journal that no unusual incidences of influenza were being treated at their facilities.