The Crooked Lake Review

Winter 2004

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October, November, December 1903, 1053

Glancing Backward

News items from the Naples Record 100 years and 50 years ago


Beth Flory

October 1903

A long obituary and tribute followed the death of Emily Catherine Marks, widow of the legendary William Marks of Underground Railroad fame. For many years, their family had been in the forefront of civic and social activity. He was a successful businessman and undertaker, and she was loved for her hospitality and kind and pleasant ways. Born in 1828, she outlived her husband by 24 years.

Two other deaths, one of a baby and the other of a two-year-old boy, both from cholera, remind today's readers of the precariousness of young lives 100 years ago, long before the advent of life-saving antibiotics and preventive shots. Small, sad gravestones in Fairview and Rose Ridge cemeteries pay tribute to these brief lives.

This was a month of rich harvests. C. M. Presler expected to bring in 3,000 bushels of potatoes, and 1,000 pounds of butter if his five cows cooperated. Baskets were soon to replace apple barrels, as it was discovered that buyers liked to see more than the top layer of fruit. A Vine Valley farmer sold nearly 1,000 bushels of peaches "at fancy prices." Potatoes brought 45 cents a bushel.

There was a flurry of excitement when Bell Telephone strung a copper wire from Naples to Geneva making phone calls to New York City possible.

The village was plagued by four serious barn fires, all of suspicious origin.

The Women's Christian Temperance Union met frequently. Members were activists, who tried to influence legislation controlling the sale of liquor. Alcoholism was a very serious concern. Public drunkenness of the poor was common, but there were plenty of problems among the prosperous. The women met with resistance and frequent ridicule as they tried to publicize the very real, sometimes tragic difficulties that alcohol could create.

October 1953

Sally Braun was editor of the school's version of The Record. She editorialized about the importance of sportsmanship at games of 'the new sport, soccer,' pointing out the futility of booing the referee. In its first game, Naples beat Bloomfield, but was given a penalty for unnecessary roughness to the goalie. Players including Ed Joseph, Al Scheeren, Frank Schitz, John Stafford, Gordon Joseph, Harold Kennedy, Henry Miller and Ed Seager.

Former Neapolitan Jean Otto, now Mrs. H. G. MacIntosh of Irvington-on-Hudson, received the annual Keuka College Alumnae Award for her many activities and contributions. New York State NASCAR champion Dutch Hoag won the final stock car race of the season and the track championship at Hemlock.

On October 1, William Widmer was at Cornell University to lecture for a course sponsored by the Wine Institute of America, during which he showed a color film of the Widmer vineyards and operations.

Capt. and Mrs. Franklin Burgess were given a farewell party before they left on his new assignment in Japan. The Record described the wedding of Margaret Gauss and Richard Parshall, formerly of Naples.

Boys under the age of 17 received a course in "hunter safety and manners," as prescribed by law before hunting licenses could be issued. Instructors were Lawrence and John Keith, John Schuyler, William Todd and George Reed.

Common School District No. 4 of Canandaigua, Bristol and South Bristol became part of the Naples Central School district fifty years ago this month.

There was excitement after the discovery of two more mail bags that, along with several others, had been stolen, looted and thrown into ravines and creeks from Elmira to Geneseo. The bags disappeared the previous summer from the mail truck; the driver was arrested and charged with looting.

Residents agreed that tourist traffic had never been as heavy as it was mid-month during the height of fall color. Traffic was bumper to bumper for four miles from the lake to the intersection of routes 21 and 245, one man waited while 54 cars passed. He needed a State Trouper's help before he could turn. And this was many years before the Grape Festival drew the multitudes!

With the end of October, interest turned to elections. Candidates for local offices included Oscar Warren and Clarence Koby for supervisor and Stanley Keith and Erwin Huber for town justice.

November 1903

November was unusually cold with temperatures descending below 20 degrees on several occasions. Ingleside claimed that the mercury reached the zero mark. Navigation on Canandaigua Lake was slated to close on December 1st, and by November 20th Loon Lake was completely covered with ice. The Record predicted that the young people would soon be skating. A rink was being constructed by William Thrall on the east side of Thrall Street with a waiting room "for the convenience and comfort of patrons."

A stoic Henry Barker fell out of a wagon in West Hollow injuring his head and shoulders, but four weeks passed before his condition was made known. It was then discovered that he had dislocated his neck. Drs. Preston and Parker "replaced the disjointed member" successfully.

Another hardy citizen, "honored townsman" Irving M. Lyon broke a thigh bone when he fell from the roof of the woodshed he was shingling. At 88 years old, the accident was shock to his system, but he was expected to recover.

Former Neapolitan Emory B. Pottle was married in New York City. The editor of Criterion, he was also a well known writer and movie actor, whose stage name was Gilbert Emory.

The Record editor was still trying to persuade delinquent subscribers and printing customers to pay their bills. The amount due had risen to over $4,000 and, not surprisingly, the money was needed to meet expenses.

November 1953

Winter arrived this month in a storm apparently undetected by the National Weather Bureau as it approached. Up to 14 inches of snow fell in the Naples area, and snowfalls up to 24 inches occurred in various areas of the northeast

Republicans were elected to all but two Naples town offices. New members of the Town Board included supervisor Oscar Warren, and Justice of the Peace Stanley Keith. Addie Potter, the long-time town Clerk, was re-elected without opposition.

Members of the Armed Forces were still going back and forth between Naples and cold, bleak Korea. Pvt. Kenneth Hoag, training as a paratrooper, returned to duty after a month's leave at home. Airman Burton Beckwith received his discharge after serving three-and-a-half years; Claude Cornish and Pvt. William Merkel were stationed at Fort Dix and Pvt. Donald Francis remained in Korea. Lt. Roger Coye was stationed in Germany, but James S. Grove was flown back from that country to a hospital in Massachusetts, having been wounded earlier in Korea.

In its first year of playing soccer as a fall sport, the NCS team won the league championship. Coach Clark was credited with putting his team on top. School Record editor Sally Braun wrote about the acute need for a young recreation center where supervised activities could replace restlessness, vandalism and other destructive behavior that resulted from boredom. She asked for the support and help of adults.

Mr. and Mrs. Loring French and children moved to an apartment in the building where they planned to open a hardware store. Friends of Elbert Roys of Clark Street surprised him with a birthday party on his 80th birthday.

With the phone company's dial system replacing the need for "telephone girls," the editor paid tribute to those patient, ever-cheerful women, who had for many years handled the switchboard with an eye on Main Street comings and goings. They were always the first to help in an emergency.

December 1903

A thoughtful note came from the Naples Record correspondent from Ingleside: "Quite a number of our people gave Thanksgiving dinners, but not a turkey was present. They roost out of reach of poor folks."

The correspondent from Bristol Springs proudly reported that the hamlet's branch library had 315 books. The Sibley, Lindsay and Curr families donated new books as did Mrs. Thomas Hawks and her son, George Hawks of Rochester.

The Ontario County Historical Society announced an upcoming exhibit of Civil War relics.

Boys from Naples High School organized a debating society and elected officers: George Harris, President; Seymour Sutton, Vice-President; Frank Kirkmire, Secretary; and Dana Tyler, assistant Secretary.

George Strobridge was adding the latest machinery to his mill on Vine Street in order to produce the stone-ground buckwheat flour that was much in demand for pancakes.

The evaporator at the head of Main Street closed for the season, having processed over 25,000 bushels of apples during the fall. Dropped apples were pressed and dried. Drying was an alternative to canning.

When A. M. Blake's horse balked near the Federkile blacksmith shop, Blake grabbed a hot iron and prodded the animal. Blake was arrested and sent before Judge Dunton on a charge of cruelty to animals.

Naples folk had a healthy interest in the wider world and they loved to travel. Philip Dinzler was the Naples agent for the White Star Line, owner of the Baltic, the largest ocean liner in the world. The Lehigh Valley Railroad promoted excursion tickets from Geneva to New Orleans and return for $88.10. The Erie offered a special round trip to Rochester over New Years for $1.50.

The Griswold sawmill had a new whistle. The old one had been in use for 50 years and had been taken from The Caledonia, one of the first locomotives on the Elmira and Rochester division of the Erie R. R., after the engine smashed up.

Just enough snow fell every night to keep conditions fine for sleighing. Ministers were writing sermons and congregations were busy rehearsing elaborate programs as Naples prepared for Christmas 1903.

December 1953

Widmers gave its annual party for 89 employees at the Naples Hotel. Gottleib Glasser had worked for the firm for 46 years and several others were recognized for their long history at Widmers. Abundant musical entertainment followed as did cash awards for attendance and punctuality.

The Naples Hardware store opened for business. Fred Fox, long associated with banking, was made manager of Security Trusts' Naples branch.

Ten minutes after hunting season opened, Clifford Johnson bagged his buck.

A school news correspondent proudly announced that many students who were taking lessons in instrumental music had also joined the band, which now boasted 105 members. Director Moore urged all of the young musicians to practice at least 20 to 30 minutes every day.

Robert Vierhile spent the holidays touring the Middle East and wrote about the Holy Land with reverent enthusiasm to the folks back home.

Beth Flory's "Glancing Backward" column in the Naples Record is compiled from
old news items that appeared in the Record. Reprinted with permission of the Naples Record.
Index of articles by Beth Flory
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