1944 Witan

witan-1944I uploaded  the yearbook for the class of 1944 for Charlotte High School. The Witan has pictures of 69 seniors, activities, sports and some ads. This one also has some autographs with a couple of hard to read ones in green ink. Dedications are to a “Frank” and there is only one Frank in the senior class, a Frank Harris, who is also the only senior without a photograph.

Top Songs of 1966 – #13

When_a_Man_Loves_a_Woman_coverThe next song to go all the way to the top of the record charts was “When A Man Loves A Woman” by Percy Sledge. The writing credit on the song goes to Calvin Lewis and Andrew Wright  who were members of a group with Sledge. Over the years, Sledge said that he also should have gotten some credit as he helped to write the song. This would be the only number one song by Percy Sledge. As his popularity waned in the US, he toured overseas including doing over 100 dates a year in South Africa. Percy died in 2015 at age 74.

When A Man Loves A Woman” was also a number hit in 1991 for Michael Bolton. Percy’s version was at the top spot on the Cash Box record chart for just the week of May 22 – 28, 1966. It was at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 2 weeks (May 22 – June 4).

“The Acquittal” Program

lyceum-1921I uploaded a program from the former Lyceum Theater in Rochester from 1921. The show at that time was the play “The Acquittal” which was produced by the famous George M. Cohan. This isn’t one of his musicals. It was a play that was written by Rita Weiman about what happened after a man is acquitted of a crime. Not only do I have the program from the Theater but also included in the PDF file is a flyer and a brochure with pictures from the production. The play ran from Thursday Feb. 10th to Saturday the 12th with an extra matinee on Saturday.

I have other theater programs from 1892 to 1969 linked to on the “Books page.


rootsTonight is the first episode of the new Roots TV mini-series. Tonight’s episode is 2 hours and 15 minutes and the next 3 nights run 2 hours. It not only airs on the History channel but also on A&E, Lifetime and the Lifetime Movie Network. All episodes will be repeated several times this week so you should be able to get to see them.

The 1977 version of the series got tremendous ratings. It is not just a story of slavery in America but importantly a story of how African-American families were able to rise above slavery. It is based on real people in author, Alex Haley’s family but some events are fiction. It is the family story that made the book and the TV series popular.The 1977 edition also got more people interested in tracing their family history.

Alex Haley died in 1992. His story lives on in this updated version of Roots.

Filed under TV

My Toughest Brick Wall

morgan-john-2I have a great great grandfather that I haven’t made any progress on in 35 years. His name is John Morgan. Part of the problem is his surname. Morgan may not be as popular as Smith or Brown but it still was a very common surname. From various census records I know he was born about 1823. In the 1850 census he is married with a daughter and living in the Town of Hornellssville, Steuben County, NY. The 1855 NY State census says that he was born in Allegany County but that could be only a couple of miles away as Hornellsville is on the west edge of Steuben County. I found the family residence on Webbs Crossing Road an old map and it appears that they lived at the same place from 1850 until his death. He and his wife Lovina are buried in the Arkport Cemetery just 3 miles north of where they lived. That is his inscription on the tombstone. It may be hard to read but the photo turned out to be better than trying to read it in person.

John died 10 July 1882. At that time New York State had required keeping death records for two years. But I checked the NY State death index and there isn’t any death certificate listed. Many years ago I also had the clerk in the Town of Hornellsville look for a death certificate. Again no death recorded. There was a probate file in the Steuben County Courthouse for John. It lists as heirs, his widow, 3 daughters and a son (also named John).  No brothers, sisters or parents were listed. The probate file had a listing of his personal estate. Among the household items left to his widow were a family Bible and family photos. I sure wish I could find those.

The only other clue of John’s parentage is that in the 1880 census it says that both his father and mother were born in New Hampshire. You would think that fact would help but it doesn’t. So I am still at the same place I was 35 years ago.

There was a recent blog article titled “The 13 Reasons You Can’t Break Down Your Brick Walls.” I read that hoping it could help me. There were some good suggestions but none of them helped me.

Four Issues of “Studio Light”

studio-light-1916-11I uploaded four issues of “Studio Light” from 100 years ago. It was a magazine that Kodak published for professional photographers. It had a long run, being published from 1909 to at least 1991 with minor variations of the title. Google Books has scanned some of the early issues and I am filling in for issues that they don’t have. Issues that I scanned this time are:

In these early issues they would feature photos from a single photographer. The Oct. 1916 issue featured photos from the Morrall-Hoole Studio in Rochester.Unfortunately, none of the people in the photos are identified.

Old News – Auto Accidents

Many automobile laws were being introduced 100 years ago. What really made a difference was enforcement of those laws to make drivers obey the traffic laws.

The Allen auto in the ad was made in Fostoria, Ohio from 1913 to 1922.


Thursday, May 25, 1916


Party of Kendal Women in Accident at Clarkson

Bert Dorrence’s Auto Bumps Trolley Car at Main St. Crossing

ad-1916-05-25Two accidents in this vicinity have occurred during the past week which although slight, should give a warning to autoists of this town and vicinity. The first one occurred Saturday afternoon last week at Clarkson corners when an automobile driven by Miss Sanford of Kendall was given too short a turn at the corners and turned completely over and up again on its side. The ladies were picked up in a dazed condition and carried to the office of Dr.Hermance. Miss Sanford had a tooth knocked out and suffered a fractured jaw as well as several cuts and bruises. Mrs Crandall was also cut but other members of the party escaped without injury. The windshield and lamps were badly smashed but the car was later able to proceed by its own power. After remaining at the doctor’s office for a time, the women were taken to their homes.

On Thursday night while driving north on Main street Bert Dorrance, proprietor of the garage on Main street, just over the canal, failed to see the westbound car in time to avoid colliding with it. Fortunately he was able to brake the speed of the car enough to save it from a severe impact and although the windshield, lamps and steering gear of the car were broken, he and Mrs. Dorrance were saved from serious injury.

Although such accidents sometimes fall to the lot of the most careful drivers, there is no denying the fact that motorists have entirely disregarded the speed laws on our Main street and spectators have had occasion to hold their breath many times as accidents have been narrowly averted at the Main and State street crossing. Another favorite trick of careless drivers is to make a wide and sweeping turn, taking advantage of the street but neglecting to first observe whether another auto was following their machine. Several times only the efficiency of the brakes has saved autos from colliding with such machines. With the enforcement of the new traffic ordinance it is hoped that there will be more caution used on out streets.