Old News – Submarine

German U-boats (submarines) started being used as weapons of war during World War I. On 7 Oct. 1916 U-53 stopped at Newport, RI and visited with a couple of US Admirals. As that the US had nor entered the war, the sub was to peacefully leave. The very next day the sub sank 5 ships that it said were carrying contraband but not before allowing the crew of the ships to abandon the ships. The sub also did allow a couple of passenger ships to pass without incident. This same sub sank many more ships the next year. It was eventually captured in December 1918.


Thursday, Oct. 12, 1916


U-Boat Was Very Fast and Was Cleverly Handled.


The wholesale raid on foreign shipping south of Nantucket lightship on Sunday was the work of one submarine, according to reports of American naval officers.

Rear Admiral Albert Gleaves, commanding the torpedo-boat destroyer flotilla, which did such remarkably speedy rescue work on Sunday, said that the reports of all officers agreed that one raider only was concerned.

Admiral Gleaves said he could easily understand the positive statements of the captain of the Nantucket lightship and of sailors of the torpedoed vessels that more than one submarine was concerned. The U-boat, he said, was very fast and appeared to have been handled cleverly.

It was easy, he pointed out, for her to disappear on one side of a ship and then show up unexpectedly at another spot.

Doubtless, he believed, she had submerged and reappeared often enough to mislead any but a keen professional observer and to create the impression that more than one sea terror was operating.

This opinion would seem to be borne out by the statements of many of the refugees that the submarine had more business on hand than she could take care of at once and was obliged to request one steamer, to wait her turn while another was being put out of commission.

Later news from Newport says that the German commerce raiders that bore down on shipping off the New England coast on Sunday, sending six vessels to the bottom, are believe to have made a clean escape.

British warships from the American coast patrol and from Canadian ports are still scoring the Atlantic far out at sea in hopes of overtaking the Germans.

Wilkinson Scrapbook Article #1

William Wilkinson has many of his old scrapbooks in the Local History Division of the Rochester Public Library. In one scrapbook, which he titled “One Hundred Great and Near-Great Events, Person and Places in Rochester History” (1947) he draw cartoons and wrote a description. Some of the drawings also have newspaper drawings glued to them; like this one of Daisy from the “Blondie” comic strip. He says in the forward of the scrapbook that he “snitched” the descriptions from other sources. Come to think of it, I am doing the same things.


Jenny Lind sang in Corinthian Hall on the evenings of July 22 and July 24, 1851. Tickets for her second concert were sold at auction, so great had been the demand for those of the first. The excess over the regular price of five dollars was donated by the generous singer to a local charity. This was a gala event in Rochester. During her stay in Rochester, she stopped at the Eagle Hotel, which stood on the 4 corners where Powers Block now stands, and, out of the goodness of her heart, voluntarily gave a private concert in a room of that famous hostelry for the entertainment of a small group including four Indian Chiefs, of whom Ely S. Parker was the most important. As a child, she was trained for the stage and appeared as an opera singer at 16. Her soprano voice was of brilliant, sympathetic quality with an unrivaled mastery of colorature. No other artist has ever been so popular throughout the world for her personal qualities. She was a model of rectitude, generosity and straight forwardness. She was in her 31st year. Born 1820 – died 1887.

Old News – R.R. Crossings

Can you imagine crossing a railroad track without knowing if a train is coming or not? In the old days you were just supposed to stop at every track and decide if it is safe to cross. This new invention of 1916 at least told that a train was coming. It still didn’t block autos from crossing. That kind of signal with gates were still to come as auto traffic got faster.


Thursday, Oct. 5, 1916



In these days of automobiles and motorcycles, something more than the old-fashioned “Stop, look, listen” sign is necessary at railroad crossings. Such signs are entirely too unobtrusive to attract the attention of a motor car driver going at 60 miles an hour. At night they are practically worthless.

A striking experiment has resulted in the invention of the “automatic flagman.” At the approach of a train it rings a loud gong, and waves a bright red disk by day and a red lamp by night. So sensitive is the human eye to red and to motion that such a warning can hardly escape notice.

The electric consists of a weather-proof case containing the operating mechanism and a signal disk upon which are mounted standard ruby=red switch lances with an incandescent lamp between. Energy is supplied by a small electric motor, which operates the mechanism that rings the gong and waves the disk.

The motor receives its energy from storage batteries, lighting circuits or trolley circuits, depending on the character of the installation. On steam roads the track is insulated and bonded for the desired distance away from the signal and is charged with current from a small battery. On entering this block the train completes the circuit and operates a relay, which connects the motor with the power circuit.

Old News – Brockport Enrollment

The current College at Brockport was originally called Brockport Normal School. That is an old term for a college that taught people to be teachers at elementary schools. The college was begun in 1835. In 1916 it was only a two year program to become a teacher. Now a four year college; it has an approximate enrollment of 7000. Plus they have a lot more majors, even though the education curriculum is the most popular.

The ad also uses an old term. “Waist” is a very outdated term for a blouse. B. Forman & Co. started in 1913. They grew to 12 stores at one time. The last store in Midtown Plaza closed in 1994.


Thursday, Sept. 28, 1916


Largest Entering Class in History of Normal.


The Normal school has been peculiarly fortunate. While some schools delayed in opening on account of the infantile paralysis epidemic, the normal school was able to start on time. The period of incubation of the disease has passed and the danger of an epidemic seems to have been averted here. It has been decided to keep the normal students away from the training department another week, so that every precaution may be employed.

Mr. Cooper, superintendent of the training department, who was appointed by the State Education Department chairman of the Geography syllabus committee, met his committee last Saturday in Syracuse. At this meeting a tentative syllabus in the subject, emphasizing new features growing out of the great European war, and dealing with new problems of commerce and other relations of the subject to human life, was decided upon.

The school bank will be started again in the training department. During the three weeks in which the bank was in aeration last year, over $100 was deposited. It is believed that this will encourage habits of thrift.

The domestic science department has begun to make use of the products of the school garden. The classes are now canning tomatoes, preserving pears, and later the grapes will furnish material for lessons in preserving.

The faculty reception last Thursday evening was attended by about three hundred members of the normal and high school departments. On the receiving line were Miss Edwards, Mrs. Thomas H. Dobson, Dr. and Mrs. Thompson. Guests were received from eight to nine.

After the program there was dancing until eleven and light refreshments were served. Moll’s orchestra furnished the music.

Ninety-five new members have entered the normal department to date. This is the largest entering class in one semester that the normal department has had in its entire history. These new students come from forty-two different villages and cities.

Presidential Debate

kennedy-nixon-debateOn this date (Sept. 26) in 1960 was the first televised debate between candidates for President of the United States. U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy, the Democratic nominee, and Vice President Richard Nixon, the Republican nominee, met in Chicago for the first of four debates that year. Nixon refused to wear makeup and was seen to sweat. He also had some visible beard stubble and wasn’t dressed as neatly as Kennedy. The majority of people that watched the debate on TV thought that Kennedy had won. The majority of people that only heard the debate on radio thought that Nixon came out the winner. That first debate drew over 66 million viewers out of a population of 179 million, making it one of the most-watched broadcasts in US television history. On election day Kennedy won with 49.7 percent of the popular vote and Nixon getting 49.6 percent.

Tonight the first debate of the 2016 presidential election. Do you think that it will get as large a rating as the 1960 debate?

Top Songs of 1966 – #27

The Association became the next group to have a number one hit in 1966 with Cherish. The song was written by Terry Kirkman, who was a founding member of the group. The romantic song was the number one song on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Cash Box record charts for the weeks of Sept. 18. – Oct. 8, 1966. It also was the number two song on the Billboard chart for the year.

The Association was a large band with 6 or sometimes 7 members. I saw them in concert in 1971 or 1972. After they performed Cherish, even though it sounded great to me, they apologized for the sound. Some of their crew adjusted microphones and then the group sang Cherish again. The group sounded great live and they did all their hits.

Voter Enrollment Lists

Output.pdf - Enrollment_list_Monroe_County_towns_1920.pdfHave you heard? There is a national election in less than two months. That brings up a related genealogy source; voter registration lists. Those lists have been made for many years but very few have made it online.

Recently the Rochester Public Library added the enrollment lists for 1920 for the towns of Monroe County. As you can see from the example, it includes the person’s name, address and political party. I noticed that there some cross-outs in this book and also some people that have changed their party affiliation. Note that there are several election districts within the records for each town.

The Library has had the Rochester enrollment lists for 1920 online for many years. In that volume there are 18 Wards and then election districts within each Ward.

Over on the GenWeb website I have transcribed three enrollment lists; 1917 – 18 Greece, 1922 Greece and 1946 – 47 Penfield. The one for Greece in 1922 is different than other lists in that it does not list political party.

I asked many years ago at the Monroe County Board of Elections if they have a collection of old enrollment lists. Their answer was that they do but for some unknown reason they did not want to give me any further details. I think that if you ask them for a specific year and Town that they would help you. I was just asking for too much information.

If you haven’t registered to vote you have only a couple of weeks to register for the National election in November.