In Years Past

In 1914, Mary Pickford, the most popular of all motion picture artists, would appear at the Winter Garden Theater in Jamestown the following Tuesday in David Balasco’s dramatic success, “A Good Little Devil.” After a successful run on the legitimate stage, the Famous Players Co., with the original cast, had put this play into the film in what was as pretty a fairy tale as had ever been produced.We found it impossible to say a word of adverse criticism for this offering and we do not have the space to tell about the unusual beauty, the novel features, the superb acting, the magnificent staging and the pathetic story, always relieved by bursts of humor. This production would take its rank among the film classics.

A most daring but unsuccessful robbery was attempted in Sheffield Wednesday evening by safe blowers who tried to blow the safe of the S.W. McMorrow Jewelry Store on Main Street. The safe resisted and the men were frightened away. All they managed to steal was one or two fountain pens and a watch chain. At about 3 a.m., the people who resided above the store and those nearby, were awakened by a deafening explosion. They heard nothing more and went back to sleep. It was thought that had someone investigated, the thieves might have been caught. The police investigated the affair and believed that it was done by amateurs. No clue had been found as to the identity of the would-be safe blowers.

In 1939, an effort to make good a boast to cover the nine miles from Dunkirk to Silver Creek in six minutes was said to have caused Monday night’s automobile accident on Lake Road, a short distance east of Dunkirk, which snuffed out one life and brought severe head and neck injuries to two other persons. The boast was attributed to Fred Benhoff, 36, of Dunkirk, reported driver of the death car, who was killed in the smashup in which his two companions, Leo Wisniewski, 29 and Howard Morrison, 34, both of Dunkirk, were injured. The hurtling auto swerved crazily, plunged into a pile of cinders just off the roadway and turned over several times, shaking out its three occupants like dice from a box.

Ephraim C. Johnson, 44, of Barrows Street, Jamestown, who narrowly escaped death in the drowning tragedy which took the life of his wife, Ellen Johnson, when their car plunged from the roadway of Allen Street Extension into the swirling waters of the Chadakoin River the previous morning, was discharged from Jamestown General Hospital at 1 p.m. in the afternoon. Johnson was suffering from shock, exposure and a minor cut on the right wrist when brought into the hospital. He suffered the cut in smashing his way out of a car window to escape the underwater tomb in which his wife died.

In 1989, Exxon made final preparations to float its still-leaking oil tanker, whose fugitive captain surrendered to face charges of operating the vessel while drunk. With claims against Exxon for damages escalating into the millions, U.S. Navy oil skimmers were pressed into service at Valdez, Alaska, and Exxon accepted an offer of help from the Soviet Union. Company officials turned to the Far East in search of a dry dock willing to accept the crippled leviathan Exxon Valdez. The oil off Alaska had spread over an area approaching the size of Delaware. The fired captain of the tanker turned himself in to authorities in Hauppauge, N.Y. Joseph Hazelwood, who lived on New York’s Long Island, appeared with his attorney 12 days after his ship ran aground and nearly a week after tests showed he was under the influence of alcohol several hours before the accident.

A Dunkirk man was killed the previous afternoon when the car he was driving crossed into the path of a WCA ambulance on Route 5 east of Temple Road, according to the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Department. David A. Sack, 29, of Washington St., Dunkirk, was pronounced dead at the scene by Coroner Daniel Newman. Sack died of injuries suffered when his car collided with the ambulance at about 2:55 p.m. Tuesday. Deputies said the crash occurred when Sack’s car veered into the path of the oncoming ambulance. The driver of the ambulance, Kevin Link, also of Dunkirk, and passenger Donald Hart, 31, of Fredonia, were treated for minor injuries at Brooks Memorial Hospital and released. This brought the number of fatalities on county roads in this year to seven.