In 1913, carrying home Christmas groceries and packages to his family in their little home on Johnson Avenue in Jamestown on Christmas Eve, John D. Laphey slipped and fell into a pile of broken glass severing the artery in his right wrist. It was a sad Christmas Eve in his home, where his homecoming was awaited until the following morning when his body was discovered and the news of the accident reached his wife and family. Laphey had been a character about the city. He was better known as "Shorty" Laphey. He sold cowslips, horseradish and various greens and in this way, was well known. He had been also a member of the street cleaning department work force.
With a terrible scalp wound across the back of his head, his forehead cut and bruised and several ribs broken, John Olson, a P.& E. brakeman, before dawn, crawled over 24 speeding cars of his train to the caboose and there collapsed in the arms of his conductor, just as the train pulled into Spring Creek. Olson's escape from death was considered one of the most miraculous that was ever brought to the attention of local railroad men. Olson was hit by an overhead bridge at Youngsville. The brakeman said he remembered stooping to button his shoe while he was on top of one of the box cars of the train, up near the engine. In the frozen sleet and ice on the car roof, his trail was followed, showing he had made his way on his hands and knees from one car to another. The train raced along at good speed from Youngsville and how he ever succeeded in reaching the caboose in safety could not be understood. The man was attended by Dr. G.A. Elston after the train had brought him to Jamestown.
In 1938, Robert Rogers, 29, of Park Street, Jamestown, suffered a fracture of the right leg and lacerations the previous night when struck by a hit-and-run driver as he was about to enter his parked car in front of 260 Baker Street. Police were seeking the driver of the car which struck Rogers. Rogers had parked his car on the left side of the street and stopped to visit at the Baker Street address. When he went to enter his machine he was struck by the hit-run car. The accident occurred at the height of Monday's snowstorm.
A daring rescue onto the inch-thick ice of Chautauqua Lake resulted in a thrilling rescue from an icy death for two young men the previous afternoon after the ice boat the pair had been piloting crashed through the surface into 50 feet of frigid water about a mile off shore a short distance from Chautauqua. Central figures in the near tragedy were Arthur Whitney, 24, and Wallace Cole, 18, both of whom resided in the Town of Chautauqua. They clung to their overturned ice craft for nearly an hour before a quartet of heroic rescuers pulled them from the lake. The rescuers were George and Lawrence Kranking, Milton Tefft and Palmer Bates. Bates was a chauffeur for Mrs. E.J. Bellinger in front of whose home the unusual Christmas drama was enacted.
In 1963, a 39-year-old Syracuse surgeon, whose father died of a cardiac ailment, was developing an artificial heart that he said might be more efficient than the disease-prone organ provided by nature. In any event, Dr. Harold D. Kletschka said he believed his plastic heart would outperform a damaged organ and would be so dependable that it "may still be going when its owner is dead from another disease. You are always hesitant to say you can improve on nature but I don't want to rule it out," he said.
Condition of a Jamestown man who received multiple injuries in a freak automobile-backing accident the previous afternoon was reported as satisfactory at WCA Hospital. Victim of the mishap was Robert L. Franzen, 24, of Howard Street. Police said Franzen was pinned against a utility pole by the partly opened door of a backing automobile at a service station at Seventh and North Main streets. The driver of the car, Lily Fanale, 44, of Sinclairville, said she was attempting to back up the vehicle and had the door beside her open for better vision when the accelerator stuck, causing the vehicle to travel backwards at increased speed. The door of the car caught Franzen, who was on foot, pinning him against the pole.
In 1988, the first of the dead had been identified from Pan Am flight 103 and investigators began tests on a suitcase for clues as to whether a bomb or structural failure caused Britain's worst air disaster. Police hoped to release perhaps half a dozen bodies to next of kin this day once the last formality of registering the death in Lockerbie was completed. Names and nationalities were not issued.
Books, records and cassettes were big sellers at Christmas according to area book and record shops. At the Christian Book Cellar in Jamestown, owner and manager Evelyn Northrop said, "The Christmas season was extremely good." Over at The Book Shop on Third Street, "Things were wonderful," said manager Deena Person. "We did much better than last year." Brooke Kelsey, manager at Record Giant on East Second Street, said the season was "excellent." Managers at most major retail stores in the Jamestown area cited company policy as their reason for not commenting on the Christmas shopping season.