In Years Past

In 1914, Beardsley, the Chautauqua County outlaw, made into a hero by cheap newspaper notoriety, received the verdict of the jury which had been trying him in supreme court at Mayville. The verdict was received shortly after 11 a.m. before Justice Herbert P. Bissell. Beardsley was found guilty of the crime of assault in the first degree “as charged in the indictment.” The verdict was announced by E.W. Strickland, who had been named as foreman of the jury. The effect which the trial of this case had produced on the minds of the 12 men who sat as Beardsley’s jury was demonstrated by the fact that the jury was in the jury room but four minutes to arrive at their verdict, a unanimous decision that Beardsley was guilty. Beardsley was sentenced to serve a term in Auburn prison at hard labor of not less than five years nor more than nine years and six months. This maximum limit was fixed as the law provided that a sentence must expire in the period of spring and summer.

It was a fine eclipse and Jamestown folk viewed it in various sections of the city. The cloudless night afforded unusual opportunities for viewing the phenomena and it was unquestionably an impressive sight. The shadow had pretty nearly covered the moon just as the theaters were letting out and the theater crowd squinted skyward with much interest. The astronomers had it figured to the minute for at 9:45 p.m. Jamestown time, the first faint dark streak crept along the edge of the moon and in less than an hour and a half the satellite was obscured. By 11:15, the moon was in total eclipse. It was a wonderful demonstration of one of the most mysterious and impressive phenomena of nature.

In 1939, Kathryn Ross, a restaurant operator who obligingly cashed paychecks for workers in a Buffalo neighborhood plant, wanted City Court Judge Peter Maul to do something about a few mistakes she said she made. Confused by a change in the form of checks she usually cashed, Ross told Maul she paid off according to the serial numbers of the checks rather than the actual monetary value of each check. Thus, she asserted she paid $102.49 to a man entitled to only $16.01, $102.29 to another instead of the proper $29.44 and $102.11 to a third whose check called for $35.53. Ross and the three check cashers were given a week to submit memoranda.

The following weekend the sixth annual Western New York bridge tournament would bring many out-of-town bridge experts to the Hotel Jamestown under the auspices of the North American Bridge Association. Persons might, however, play in the tournament without being members of the association. The tournament manager was R.E. Needham of Greenville, Pa., with H.N. Katzen of Pittsburgh as tournament director. Players would be here from Cleveland, Erie, Rochester, Ithaca, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and many other cities. Friday evening a mixed pair game would be played. On Saturday afternoon an open pair game would be played in two sessions and Sunday there would be a team of four play.

In 1964, Jamestown firemen carried three small children from an East Second Street residence the previous afternoon during a fire which left two families temporarily homeless. Rescued unharmed were the children of Mr. and Mrs. Larry Ackley of East Second Street – Craig, 5; Shirley, 3 and Brenda, 18 months. Firemen found Mrs. Ackley near collapse at an entrance on a side street. Distraught, she told firemen that three of her children were still in the building. She said she had been unable to enter the house to rescue them because the door, equipped with a snap lock, had accidentally blown shut, locking her out. A ladder was raised and Fireman Fred Bunge crawled through a second-floor window, reappearing moments later carrying the two older children. Meanwhile, Fireman Harry Sweetin entered the downstairs bedroom through a window and rescued the youngest child from her crib.

Chautauqua County’s financial future was apparently anything but bright, according to Supervisor Frederick E. Mattison, town of Ellicott. The supervisor, addressing members of the Jamestown Optimist Club in the Hotel Jamestown, said the need for more revenues to meet the rising costs of services was of deep concern to county officials. Mattison, chairman of the special committee formed to study the need for a county sales tax, said there were only two ways to raise these revenues. One by increasing real property tax and the other, a county sales tax.