The Crooked Lake Review

Fall 2004

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October, November and December 1904 and 1954

Glancing Backward


Beth Flory

October 1904

At the height of a grape harvest already complicated by rain and impending cold weather, farmers were frustrated because of a shortage of baskets. Neighbors marveled at M. H. Tenney's grapevine which covered eighty feet of his house.

Drug store owner Morgan advertised that he wanted to buy Ginseng Root, a wild herb that for centuries had been credited with medicinal properties by the Chinese and even the Iroquois.

Naples now boasted a first class fife and drum corps. Charles Peck and J. Leon Trembly were the fifers. M. F. Lyon was the snare drummer and Frank Manahan played the bass drum. Veteran band leader A. W. Dunton was busy organizing a new cornet band. Instruments had been purchased and Mr Dunton was giving lessons.

Well known resident Seymour Sutton fished at Sodus Bay and caught a 37-inch-long muscalonge that weighed nearly 11 pounds.

The O. E. Rogers Big Stock Co. returned to Naples and played to full houses in the Memorial Town Hall. The company of 21 players managed to stage five plays in seven days. The repertoire included a special favorite, "Rip Van Winkle."

Coming home on a dark night from West Italy, D. H. Maxfield collided with another vehicle. His horse was so badly injured that it had to be shot . Joseph Kirkmire's wagon had a load of grape trays and as he tried to pass over the scales at the Granby warehouse, the top layer of trays caught and fell. The racket started the team of horses on a run down Tobey Street. On the hill a wagon trace came loose; the tongue fell off and broke, driving a sharp end into a horse's leg. Veterinarian Dr. J. J. Lindner hurried from Canandaigua, removed the big splinter and saved the animal.

Benjamin Gordon, the unfortunate peddler who had been found unconscious two weeks earlier in Hunts Hollow, died in a Rochester hospital without regaining consciousness. The mystery of his apparent assault would never be solved.

Ed Wetmore wrote from Jacob's Landing that Alex Granger had found a beautiful white arrowhead, tangible evidence that an earlier people had hunted beside this beautiful lake long before the white men arrived to claim it as their own.

October 1954

Speaking before members of the Niagara Falls Historical Society, Dr. Arthur C. Parker urged that Indians be assisted in integrating into American society as they move from the reservations. "Indians would be well taken care of today if they had the millions of dollars they lost through worthless treaties," he asserted.

The height of fall color was at hand and then as now, foliage and grapes brought visitors to Naples by the hundreds. Once again members of the Rochester Art Club came to spend a day drawing and painting. In the evening their day's work was exhibited and often purchased.

After three years of service, Sgt. Wyman Drake USMC, received his discharge while Sgt. Claude Proper, who had been on duty in Germany for five years with only one leave, was home visiting his parents.

After killing more than 100 persons in Haiti, Hurricane Hazel hit the coast of South Carolina and headed north leaving destruction in its path. Toronto received seven inches of rain. The Naples area lost power and some trees but was luckier than Geneva, Penn Yan and other nearby towns where damage was severe.

John Fox, son of Mr. and Mrs Fred Fox, was honored by the Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers for his excellent work. He was a graduate of Naples High School and the University of Rochester.

Four Naples men, Lloyd Hoyt, Kingsley Westbrook, Robert Erickson and Dr. Daniel Hood were lucky to escape with minor injuries after a collision in East Bloomfield.

November 1904

Naples enjoyed torchlight parades at election time. This year a parade led by the Italy Hill cornet band preceded a rousing meeting of the Republicans in Memorial Hall.

The Canandaigua Lake Steamship Company proudly announced that boats of this line had carried 56,000 passengers during the1904 season without an accident. Then the Onnalinda, making her last trip down the lake, found herself stuck in the mud at Vine Valley and had to be pulled free by two other steamers.

Early in the month the temperature plummeted to 16 degrees with devastating effect on local apples. Those still on the trees froze solid. A local farmer estimated that half a million barrels of apples were lost in Ontario County. Down by the lake, where the temperature is moderated by the water, the crop fared well. Fruit was sold to a company in Philadelphia for $1.50 a barrel and taken by boat to Canandaigua to connect with the railroad.

W. E Lincoln was very proud of his prize turnip. Eighteen inches in diameter, it weighed 31 pounds.

It was doubtful if any month ever passed without fires and accidents. The Editor deplored the reckless riding of bicycles on the sidewalks. Two boys careened into John Bolles and rode on, leaving him lying injured in the gutter. Their identities were known and the Editor urged punishment, claiming that the parents of both subscribed to the Record and should have had better control of their sons.

Dr. and Mrs. Wixom and baby were about to leave her parents' home in Italy when their horse became unmanageable. Mrs. Wixom tossed the child to her mother and jumped from the carriage breaking two bones in her leg. In South Bristol, Edgar Wesley's young son died when the sides of a pit he was standing in collapsed and buried him.

A fire on Whaleback's hillside south of Bush Point brought out "the lame, the halt and the blind," all hoping to save Mrs. Woodworth's barn which didn't turn out to be threatened after all. An arsonist had set a fire in the swamp which spread to Mrs. Katie Barnhart's buildings. The culprit also was known to the Editor who called him an "imp of Satan," and warned, "He is being watched."

Night life in Naples abounded. Oyster suppers were perennial favorites and so were church benefits and birthday parties. Locals were urged to attend the performance of a Prof. Burke who was known for his recitations, songs and impersonations. (Evidently he was an early standup comedian who had appeared in Naples before.) "You will laugh just to look at him. He carries the medal for being the homeliest man in the world, and only 10 cents to see him," joked the Record.

November 1954

Two Halloween parades ended the previous month. First the younger school children, led by the school band, marched in costume and later older participants had a spook parade and a party at the school. First prize winners in the various costume categories were John Brahm, George Ward, Sterling Fox and Rebecca Brink.

There was a good turnout of voters in spite of its being an off-year election. Several close results required recounts. Averill Harriman appeared to have been elected Governor with a plurality of 10,000 in a vote of 5 million. Although upstate New York was predominantly Republican, Congress was expected to be Democratic.

After 28 years with Sibley, Lindsay and Curr Company, former Naples resident Anna Sutton Kamps was retiring from her position as divisional vice-president to spend time at her home on Canandaigua Lake. Friends recalled that when she was a young woman she saved a friend from drowning and was awarded a Carnegie Medal. She and her friend Alice Stoddard were among the first to ride a surfboard on the lake back in the 'teens. They stood together on an old cellar door and were pulled by launch driven by Alice's father, P. J. Stoddard.

Dr. and Mrs. Arthur C. Parker entertained members of the Philosophers Club of Rochester. Dr. Parker gave a talk on the use of wampum for currency during the Colonial era.

Reuben Martin, construction foreman of power lines who the previous month had discovered an entangled and electrocuted heron, continued to cope with power outages. In attempting to get to a raccoon, a man felled a tree in which it had taken refuge and the tree brought down the lines. In October Hurricane Hazel had caused trouble and now heavy snow was interrupting local service. Winter was on its way.

December 1904

Two birthday parties for well known residents enlivened the Naples social scene. At 85, Edwin A Hamlin was pronounced "remarkably well preserved," mentally and physically, by the Record Editor. Hamlin's two sons, both doctors, traveled from Brooklyn to celebrate with their father. Mrs. Stern Lyon's 67th birthday was celebrated by her four daughters and 40 guests. The daughters sang with their father beside the organ after a "bountiful supper."

The Editor praised the young ladies from Gorham who vowed not to walk home with cigarette-smoking escorts and urged Naples girls to do the same.

There was no work place busier than the Naples Red Mill which was running 18 hours a day to keep up with the demand. Proprietor B. K. Clark was producing first class buckwheat, graham and wheat flours.

Naples' early Morehead car and its cigar factory are well known but how many readers are aware that the village also boasted a published song writer? Miss Cora B. DeMond composed "Far, Far Away, 'Cross the Sea" which was circulated by the Success Music Company of Chicago. The sheet music was for sale locally at Mary L. Pierce and Co. Then as now, there were candy makers in Naples including bakery owner Mr. Chapman.

Benjamin Smith had the misfortune to fall down a well and soon after that John Bolles escaped injury when his horse bolted while he was unloading a wagon's contents onto a freight car. Conrad Swingle was trying to move a small building when it began to tip over. He tried in vain to hold it up but was crushed and seriously injured. Mrs. F. W. James was helping to decorate the Town Hall for a Christmas Party when her ladder collapsed and she spent the holidays with two badly damaged wrists.

Before the weather turned wintry, S. A. Story and Dr. Barringer enjoyed touring the countryside on their motor bikes. The 'cycles could travel 75 miles on one tank of gas and were capable of speeds up to 30 miles per hour. Then came the snow and the Atlanta stage made its first trip on runners on December 8.

Christmas services filled the Methodist, Baptist and Presbyterian churches. Special sermons, recitations, choral and organ music and programs by children marked the day.

December 1954

Well before daylight on the first day of the month a small chartered plane en route to Utica from Illinois crashed in a snowstorm on Gannett Hill. The three men aboard were injured and spent the night in the cabin. At daybreak one of the men waded through two miles of snow to the Watkins' residence where the ambulance was called. J. Robert Brink went after the other two men with a horse and sleigh. The Gannett Hill crash in 1941 was still vivid in the minds of many residents.

Mayor Clarence Koby was worried about "lurid and obscene comics" that were sold locally. Concerned about the mental health of village youth, he proclaimed Dec. 5-12. as "Comic Clean-up Week."

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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