April 1992

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Class of 1992

Steuben County Hall of Fame

The Steuben County Hall of Fame was started in 1976 by the Corning-Painted Post Historical Society and is sponsored by the Steuben County Board of Legislators
Herman J. Bates, Jonathan Goble, Francis C. Pollay, C. Arthur Niver

Herman J. Bates

Herman Bates was born on his parent's farm in the Town of Troupsburg on January 22, 1887. He grew up on their farm in the Young Hickory section and added land to the original farm until it contained nearly 300 acres.

In 1906 he married Laura Reynolds of Rexville. A son, Howard, was born in 1909. The Bates family lived on their farm until 1921. Mr. Bates had been elected supervisor for the Town of Troupsburg in 1920; the next year the family moved from their farm into the Village of Troupsburg.

About 1924 Mr. and Mrs. Bates opened a grocery store in the village and operated it for several years. They continued with the farm until they sold it to their son in the early 1940s.

For 32 years Herman Bates was supervisor from Troupsburg. For eight years of that time he was chairman of the Steuben County Board of Supervisors. Following his years on the county board he was Steuben County Clerk for seven years.

Herman Bates was chairman of the Steuben County Republican Party and was a member of the McLellan Masonic Lodge and the United Methodist Church.

In October, 1976, Herman and Laura Bates celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. They reminisced about the prosperity in the town 70 years before. They remembered also when the first automobile came to Troupsburg, how it frightened horses and excited people. Everyone came running to see the car and the clouds of dust it stirred from the dirt road. Mr. and Mrs. Bates in 1976 were the longest married couple in Troupsburg. Mr. Bates still drove his car, and that fall got a big-game hunting license.

Herman J. Bates died May 23, 1977, when he was 90 years old.

Jonathan Goble, Francis C. Pollay

Francis Pollay and Jonathan Goble were both on Commodore Perry's Flagship the U.S.S. Mississippi that went to Japan in 1852 and stayed until 1854 when a treaty to open trade and to provide safe return for shipwrecked sailors was signed.

Goble was born in Wayne in 1827, and Pollay was born in Pulteney in 1835. They became acquainted while on the cruise; Goble was a marine and Pollay a ship's carpenter. After the expedition returned, Pollay came back to Pulteney and set up a wagon shop. Jonathan Goble, who was the only enlisted man noted by name when Japanese artists recorded the treaty event, went back to Japan in 1860 as the first Baptist missionary. He learned their language from a Japanese sailor.

Goble married Eliza Weeks of Wayne and took her with him to Japan. When she became unable to walk, he designed a two-wheeled chair for her that could be pulled by one person. He requested his shipboard acquaintance to build such a carriage. Pollay made the wood parts and completed the cart which was sent to Japan for assembly. It is thought to have been the first jinrikisha. Such conveyances appeared in Yokohama at that time, 1870.

Goble spent years in Japan as a missionary. His wife and one daughter are buried there. Two daughters came to the United States to live. He made visits back to this country and is buried in St. Louis, Missouri.

Pollay married Lucy Birch of Pulteney, and they had a son and daughter. Around 1904 Francis Pollay wrote a detailed account of the events of the Perry expedition. He lived in Pulteney until his death in 1912; his wife lived until 1914. Both are buried in Pulteney.

C. Arthur Niver

Arthur Niver was born March 26, 1905, in Wayne. His parents were Albert and Maggie Carlson Niver. He attended grade school in Wayne, and graduated from Hammmondsport High School. Some of those years he drove a horse and buggy to Hammondsport, often carrying his lunch.

In September, 1929, he married Julia Bauer of Corning. The Nivers moved to Hammondsport in 1939 and raised three sons and two daughters. Mrs. Niver remembers that he never missed an event in which any member of the family participated, even driving several hours to spend every birthday with each of his six grandchildren.

Mr. Niver was active in a number of community projects. He became a member of the Hammondsport Salvation Army Committee in 1942, and from 1947 until 1984 he was chairman of the local Salvation Army. Mr. Niver inaugurated the yearly Halloween Parade and costume judging event in the early 1940s, assuming the responsibility for setting up the reviewing stand, finding apple cider to serve for refreshment, and cleaning up after the program. Art Niver was a founder of the Community Service Organization to carry on the Christmas basket program, and he wrapped and mailed Christmas boxes to service personnel.

From 1945 until 1984 he was chairman of the Village Youth Committee which sponsored the Champlin Beach Summer Youth Program that has provided swimming activities for 10,000 children in the 44 years since 1947. Mr. Niver was a school board member from 1942 to 1967, he was mayor of the Village of Hammondsport for three terms, and he was an original board member of the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum of Local History.

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