In Years Past

In 1914, Mrs. Cynthia Buffum was this afternoon put on trial on the charge of murder, first degree, the specific charge being that she killed her husband by the administration of a slow poison. The courtroom was jammed to its utmost capacity with spectators and the special panel of jurors which had been drawn for this case. The selection of the jury would be a slow and tedious task due to the widespread publicity of the case. Mrs. Buffum, quietly dressed, was, of course, the center of all attention when the indictment was moved for trial. She sat quietly by the side of her counsel and watched with keen interest the preliminaries of the proceeding which might mean death to her. The theory of the prosecution was that the woman was impelled to the crime by the desire to rid herself of the incumbrance of a family in order that she might be free to marry a young farmer, Ernest Frahm, with whom she had become infatuated.

Chautauqua County had what appeared to be another murder mystery on its hands, the result of the mysterious death of George Lillie, a 97-year-old resident of the town of Hanover. Lillie was found dead in his bed Sunday forenoon, under very unusual circumstances. The old man was in feeble health and feeble mental condition. The aged man, gasping for breath, was discovered by his son Sunday morning. The theory was that burglary was the motive of the crime and some sleeping poison was administered and the feeble condition of the old man accounted for his inability to resist the poison, causing his death. The body was turned over to Coroner Charles Blood of Dunkirk but was not taken from the house to the morgue at Dunkirk but remained where it was found under an armed guard until an autopsy could be performed.

In 1939, recalling the stirring war days of 1898, Samuel M. Porter camp, No. 45, United Spanish War veterans, held its annual banquet at Gretchen’s Kitchen, marking the 41st anniversary of the sinking of the United States Battleship Maine by a mysterious explosion while the ship was lying at anchor in the harbor at Havana, Cuba. The attendance of over 100 was the largest in the history of these annual affairs in recent years. The women’s auxiliary joined with the camp and had charge of the table decorations, consisting of flowers and candles in holders, producing a red, white and blue effect. In keeping with the military character of the gathering, Bugler George C. Schwob sounded the army mess call from the balcony to summon the party to the tables. Led by Joseph Midgley, the assemblage sang the most popular of all army marching songs of the Spanish-American War period, “A Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight.”

Tobacco Road played to a packed house at Shea’s Theater the previous evening, its second performance in Jamestown. The play, sketched in three acts by Jack Kirkland, from the novel by Erskine Caldwell, on the Jeeter Lester farm, was a story of Georgia poor white trash in a back country Tobacco Road, as dirty as the dust which Jeeter sifted through his filthy fingers as the play ended. The fierce, avaricious spirit and degenerate pride which the play dramatized to the last notch, must, however, possess some highly intrinsic merit to have matched the competitive challenge of six years in New York. John Barton in the role of the sly, unprincipled old rascal gave the audience its money’s worth as loquacious Jeeter, who turned every line and gesture into comedy, which rocked the audience with laughter.

In 1989, Paragon Cable TV had been fined $7,500 for dragging its feet during the past three years despite constant warnings by the State Cable Commission to improve picture reception to its customers. The fine was levied against Paragon by the Cable Commission, which enforced state cable regulations, for what it called “a serious breach of the cable operator’s responsibility and duty to provide a safe and adequate service to the public,” according to documents received by The Post-Journal.

When it came to sharing the pain from his austerity budget proposal, Gov. Mario Cuomo apparently felt some groups could afford more tears than others. For instance, should Cuomo’s $46.6 billion budget be adopted as proposed, the state Council on the Arts would see its budget cut by more than $8.54 million. The current year’s funding of $60.6 million would be slashed by 14 percent under the governor’s proposal. Granted, the Council on the Arts was a fairly small state operation in the scheme of things. And there were other state operations that were also relatively small and had been asked to live with less. For instance, Cuomo’s own Executive Chamber was a fairly small operation when compared to giant state agencies such as the Education or Health departments.