In Years Past

In 1914, the trial of Cynthia Buffum for the murder of her husband, Willis Buffum, was still in the medical stage. This phase of homicide cases always of vital importance to a successful prosecution, was always tiresome. It was less so in the Buffum trial because the spectators could understand what the prosecution was driving at and because the testimony had been so positive and to the point that all could see it was very damaging to the defense.

Jamestown officials were very seriously considering the desirability and possibility of eliminating the Buffalo Street grade crossing of the Erie Railroad. It was very likely that initial action would betaken by the common council at the next meeting. City Engineer Jones said that so far as the engineering problems were concerned, the elimination of the grade crossing at this point was a simple matter. All that was necessary was to build a subway. While, of course, the city engineer could not give any accurate estimates as to the cost of such elimination, he said it ought not to exceed $40,000 or $50,000.

In 1939, possible flood damage caused by rain, melting snow and ice that sent streams over their banks, inundating several highways in the vicinity of Jamestown, was expected to be checked this day with the forecast of snow and much colder weather this night. The February thaw was accompanied by an inch of rainfall and a temperature of 60 degrees, sending the Chautauqua Lake level up. While several roads were reported underwater by the county highway department, only the state highway between Frewsburg and Stillwater was closed due to high water in both the Stillwater and Conewango creeks. At one point along Spencer Road, which connected with the main road to Frewsburg, water at least two feet deep was surging over the new flood wall.

Rev. Martin V. Stone, national adjutant general of the Grand Army of the Republic and for many years an outstanding figure in the organization of Civil War veterans, died at the home of his son, Ara V. Stone on Columbia Ave., Jamestown, Saturday evening. He was 93 years of age. Stone was born on a farm in Frew Run, a short distance from Frewsburg, on Dec. 6, 1845. In August 1864, he enlisted as a private in Jamestown in Company A, 112th New York infantry recruited in Chautauqua County and known as the Chautauqua regiment. He joined his company at the front at Petersburg, Va. and served until the company was mustered out at Raleigh, N.C. in June 1865. He was 19 years old at the time.

In 1964, Dr. Harold A. Blaisdell, 66, prominent Jamestown surgeon, died the previous night following a two-car accident in front of his home on the Hunt Road near Winch Road. The accident happened shortly after 5 p.m. He died at 7:25 p.m. at Jamestown General Hospital as a team of 12 doctors and surgeons worked in vain to save his life. Authorities said the accident occurred when Blaisdell, traveling west in a station wagon, made a left turn into the driveway of his home. The other car was headed east and crashed into the side of the station wagon, police said. It was the fifth highway fatality in Chautauqua County this year as compared with two for the same period in 1963.

Thanks to the community of Westfield’s Rotary Club, residents had a new favorite winter sport. The Westfield Rotary Club presented a 70-by-150-foot ice skating rink to the Village on Dec. 15. Since then, hundreds of youngsters had packed the ice every afternoon after school and every weekend. On most weekends afternoons, about 300 skaters were using the rink. Ordinarily, such a rink would cost about $80,000. But through the cooperation of community organizations and individuals, the cost to the Rotary Club was about $3,000, officials said.

In 1989, nearly 3,000 visitors made Mayville’s Ice Castle Party in the Park a “tremendous success” the past weekend, according to publicist Joyce Schenk. And the ice castle itself, traditional centerpiece of the celebration, was “nothing short of magnificent,” Schenk said. At opening festivities Friday evening, last year’s Ice King and Queen threw the switch that turned on dozens of colored lights within and around the ice castle. The castle was built by volunteers who worked long, hard hours in a battle against time and the elements. Construction of the castle had been called off once because of a lack of ice.

Although they might not be familiar with it, Chautauqua County residents had a liaison to the federal government right in downtown Jamestown. It was the Jamestown District Office of Rep. Amo Houghton, R-Corning, the Southern Tier’s voice in the United States House of Representatives. “We have an open-door policy – no appointment necessary,” said Janet Fluent, Jamestown office manager. “The district (office) handles strictly constituent service,” Fluent said. The staff read and forwarded to Houghton’s Washington office every letter it received on issues.