In Years Past

In 1914, there was a little history connected with the quatrain: “Jamestown, Jamestown. When they do it, they do it brown. We’d sell our clothes to get the price, to travel back to Jamestown.” It was of special interest to the session of the Grand Council of the State of New York, United Commercial Travelers of America, which opened in the Eagles auditorium on this morning for a three-day convention in this city. The quatrain was written when the convention of Commercial Travelers was held in Jamestown 10 years previously. It was so good that it kept in the minds of a few and when, the past year, the delegates from Chautauqua council presented the invitation of Jamestown for the convention in 1914, the words were repeated. In a second, the convention had taken it up and in another minute the convention was stampeded for Jamestown, voting down all other invitations.

The death of Alice Tew Fenton, wife of Martin L. Fenton, which occurred at the family home on Prendergast Avenue in Jamestown the previous evening, came as a great shock to a wide circle of friends and acquaintances although it had been known that she had returned from the south recently in a critical condition. She was taken seriously ill at Hendersonville, N.C. Her age was 73 years. Fenton was a native of Jamestown and was the daughter of the late William H. Tew. Practically her entire life was passed in the city of her birth with the exception of a few years in her early married life which were spent at Frewsburg. She was educated in the old Jamestown Academy and in a women’s college at Clinton, N.Y. Her entire life was devoted to the best intellectual interests of the city and her home.

In 1939, the first of a series of stock car obstacle races would be held at Satan’s Bowl of Death on the Frank Shaw farm, Shermans Bay-Sugar Grove road, Sunday at 2 p.m. The Rip Van Winkle jalopy events would be contested over a hazardous course, including a steep bank, ditch, through water and across a rocky creek bed. It was planned to conduct nine elimination heats with a feature race as the final event on the program. One hundred points would be awarded for first place, 50 for second and 25 for third, drivers carrying their ratings into each succeeding race. The one with the highest total would win the season’s championship. Cars would not be mechanically perfect, adding to the natural racing hazards.

Hannah E. Johnson Nelson, 47, of Fluvanna Avenue, wife of Carl R. Nelson, former city councilman, was fatally burned when it was claimed, cleaning solvent which she was using in her home exploded late Friday afternoon. Nelson died at Jamestown General Hospital after sustaining third-degree burns about her face, head and body. Fire officials said Nelson was believed to have been cleaning some clothing in a tub located in the laundry at the rear of the basement. They reported there was no open fire in the basement and that apparently friction from rubbing the clothes caused the blast. During the course of the investigation, Coroner Bowers said he wasn’t certain whether or not the fluid Nelson was reported to have used was a cleaning fluid.

In 1964, two scuba divers discovered the body of a school teacher who had drowned in Canadohta Lake, near Corry, Pa. on June 9. James W. Hollenberger and his brother, Robert, both of Pittsburgh, came to the lake on their own to see if they could help find the body of David F. Leffler, 24, a teacher at Canon McMillan High School, Canonsburg, Pa. They discovered the body in 40 to 60 feet of water about 200 yards off shore. Witnesses said Mrs. Leffler was swimming near a boat while her husband and son remained in it. As she got back in the boat, her husband and son fell into the water. Mrs. Leffler jumped into the water, pulled her son into the boat and threw a life preserver to her husband, but he failed to reach it and slipped beneath the surface.

Owners of unauthorized weapons might surrender them this month without penalty, Chautauqua County Sheriff Charles C. McCloskey Jr., said. He pointed out that June was official amnesty period for receipt of such weapons. The unauthorized items could be disposed of by simply addressing a post card to him or the nearest law enforcement agency. It should describe the weapon briefly and state time and date at which it might be picked up by a patrol driver, the sheriff said. He emphasized that such weapons in the home, regardless of how innocent the intent, were the source of unnecessary accidents and crimes. Persons turning over unauthorized weapons to law agencies would not be subject to prosecution for unlawful possession unless the weapon had been used in commission of a crime.