In Years Past

In 1914, 44 rats killed in one battle was the record of Edgar Powers and son Leslie, living near Ashville. The affair occurred one morning early in the week when Powers went to his silo to get out the morning feed for his dairy and found the place fairly alive with rodents. He had known from the tracks that rats frequented the place during the winter but had never seen nearly so many before. The explanation was found in the fact that the rats had been able to run up over the frozen ensilage inside the silo to an opening and so to go and come at their pleasure. Powers jumped in among them and started the work of extermination but they attacked him fiercely when cornered. He called for the assistance of his son and the two of them killed nearly every rat inside the silo. The rats had come from the barn into the silo as before but as the frozen silage had thawed they could not get up to the opening to escape.

Commissioner Frank E. Wade of Buffalo, in a report to the state commission of prisons, recommended that until a new city jail was provided for the city of Jamestown, the present women’s room should be used for lodgers and that rooms be provided on the upper floor of the City Hall or elsewhere for the detention of women and children and for the matron. Part of his report read as follows: “No criticism is made of the men’s cell room nor of the janitor’s service in the Jamestown city jail. Conditions, however, in respect to the detention of women, detention of children and the mingling of persons under arrest with tramps and lodgers are discreditable to the city of Jamestown.”

In 1939, puffing and panting as it pulled two ancient wooden coaches, the William Crooks, historic No. 1 locomotive used for 78 years by the Great Northern railroad and the St. Paul & Pacific line, which preceded it, stopped for 20 minutes this day at the Erie train station, en route to New York City, where it would be a part of the Railroads on Parade exhibit at the World’s Fair. Thousands of Jamestowners both young and old gathered as Grandpa Crooks, as the engine was affectionately known, arrived in this city at 1 p.m., two hours behind schedule after its seven-day run from St. Paul. Credited with being the first locomotive west of the Mississippi, the William Crooks, granddaddy of the Great Northern’s modern Empire Builder, was viewed by the large throng as it took on water at the station platform.

New York state’s only woman mayor lost her job this day as a tally of ballots in the previous day’s village elections gave Harry C. Bray, Republican, a 48-vote victory over Catherine Wyekle, Democrat at Clyde, N.Y. Bray polled 670 votes and Wyekle 622. In the village of Savannah, the “Don’t Vote for Me” campaign of four Republicans nominated by the Democrats in opposition to the regular Republican slate, succeeded as the regular Republicans were elected. Republicans generally strengthened their grips on village boards in communities in this area.

In 1989, a firefighter swept gasoline into a ditch so that it could be vacuumed away by a nearby mobile unit during cleanup operations on this morning at Payne’s Supply on Route 60 in Cassadaga. Between 800 and 1,000 gallons of fuel spilled onto the highway after a gas pump hose ruptured, prompting the evacuation of about 30 residents, a fire chief said. The residents would be returned to their homes this afternoon, according to Mike Ferry, third assistant chief of the Cassadaga Fire Department. The leak at the service station was discovered by Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Deputy John Crossly during a routine patrol at about 3:52 a.m. Firefighters said a rubber hose connecting an 8,000-gallon underground gas tank to a service pump, had apparently ruptured from the cold.

A plan to cut government contributions to government employee pension plans would save county, city, village and town governments in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties more than $2.5 million this year. That was according to a report issued by the state Senate Finance Committee. The plan was the brainchild of state Comptroller Edward Regan. Regan and other state officials had billed the plan as a tradeoff for cutbacks in state aid proposed by Gov. Mario Cuomo in his budget for the fiscal year that would begin April 1. Since Cuomo unveiled his budget in January, local officials had said proposed state aid cuts could force them to raise property taxes to maintain services, some of which the state mandated.