100 Years Ago
In 1912, James Schoolcraft Sherman, vice president of the United States, died at his home in Utica, N.Y., at 9:42 the previous night. The vice president, who lapsed into a state of coma, never rallied and passed from unconsciousness to death. He died in the presence of his wife, her brother and sister, his two brothers and his three sons and their wives. He died in coma as the result of Bright's disease, heart disease and arteriosclerosis. Mrs. Sherman was in a state of near collapse as a result of her husband's death and a doctor was ministering to her while her three sons, Sherrill, Richard and Thomas, were seeking to comfort the grief-stricken woman. A message notifying President Taft of the vice president's death was flashed to the national capital a few minutes after the end came.
Louis Vacanti was arraigned in Jamestown police court on the charge of violating the education law in that he had failed to send his daughter of school age to school as required by law. The charge was preferred by the school authorities who were very active in enforcing the law. It was explained to Justice Maharon that there had been a change of schools and he decided the defendant was innocent of any intent to violate the law and consequently suspended sentence.
75 Years Ago
In 1937, a 7-year-old girl was in Jamestown General Hospital badly burned and her mother was in the same institution suffering from less severe burns as a result of an unusual accident at their home. The mother was Mrs. Frances Basile, 43, of Victoria Avenue, Jamestown. She was burned about her hands and forearms. Her daughter, Mary, was suffering from burns over her entire body above the knees. According to the report given police, the child's nightgown caught fire as she stood up after bending over an open-fire gas heater. The mother was burned in trying to beat out the flames.
Fortuitous circumstances connected with the relations between at least a section of the local medical profession and salesmen of the drug manufacturer responsible for the elixir, Sulfanilamide, prevented any deaths or injuries in this area. The elixir had resulted in the death of at least 41 people and disability of others throughout the country. The S.E. Massengill Company of Bristol, Tenn., made up several 80-gallon batches of sulfanilamide. This was labeled an elixir, a term for a drug sweetened and dissolved in alcohol. It was shipped to 375 retailers worldwide and was dispensed by prescription. Those who took the medicine for infection developed bad symptoms and deaths followed in many cases. The most amazing thing was the lack of testing given the product.
50 Years Ago
In 1962, a 17-year-old Frewsburg Central School District junior was killed at 2:50 p.m. the previous afternoon while en route to work when he lost control of his car on the Falconer-Frewsburg Road near the Willard Street Extension intersection. The victim was Timothy Michael Johnson, son of Mrs. Virginia Nordh of McKinley Avenue. Young Johnson was an agricultural student at the school and was employed after school hours on the Harry Shoup farm, Peck Settlement Road. Interested in agriculture since he was a youngster, Johnson transferred to Frewsburg School, which offered an agricultural course. State Police reported Johnson was traveling on wet pavement. He apparently hit the brakes of the car on a curve and the vehicle skidded sideways.
Not all the hobos, spooks and spacemen ringing doorbells of the community this night would want only a handout. Some of them would be there to collect funds for UNICEF, the United Nations fund which helped care for starving and sick children in all parts of the world. Hundreds of Jamestown children were out the previous evening making the rounds of their neighborhoods in spite of the drizzling rain. Some were so tiny they lisped out the password, "twicks or tweats." Children of the Unitarian Church School were encouraged to take part in Halloween trick or treat for UNICEF at their annual observance of Children's Day.
25 Years Ago
In 1987, for a moment the previous day it was prohibition time again, as Jamestown School District administrators opened a time capsule box buried by the high school seniors of 1918. School Board President Joseph Pawelski, together with a member of that class and Superintendent Todd Eagle, discovered that the precursors to the Goodyear blimps, the zeppelins, had no bars, no drinks and no smoking allowed on board according to an enclosed poster supporting prohibition. The 1918 box had been buried under the old front steps of the high school. When construction on the new school was begun, the box disappeared. It wasn't discovered again until school officials were searching for centennial mementos and uncovered the box in the school district safe.
Jamestown had the biggest jack-o-lantern of all when fire fiercely lighted the windows of a deserted house at the corner of Murray and Hamilton streets. "It's gutted," said Assistant Chief Charles Hajduk at the scene. City Fire Chief William Baglia said the house was owned by the city Department of Development. He said he imagined it would be torn down. The firemen initially tried to fight the fire inside, he said, but when they realized the extent of the flames, they pulled back to protect neighboring houses. Baglia said the cause would be investigated.