Thursday, June 2, 2016



Grain elevators at Oswego, N. Y.

The Cortland Democrat, Friday, May 27, 1892.

Mills, Elevators and Lumber Docks Involved—The Old and Famous
Washington Mill of Penfield, Lyon & Company Wiped Out—Loss and
Special Dispatch to the Syracuse Herald.
   Oswego, May 21.—Shortly after 11 o'clock last night a fire broke out in the
upper stories of the Washington mill and elevator, owned by Penfield, Lyon & Company and proved to be the most disastrous conflagration Oswego has had since the elevator and lumber fire several years ago. The Washington mill was the centre of a block of five elevators between Seneca and Cayuga streets, on the east bank of the Oswego river. The Corn exchange and the Continental elevators were to the south and the Columbia and Merchants' elevators to the north, all joined, and in reality amounting to one great structure. Across the street northerly was the Marine elevator, owned by T. Kingsford & Son. The fire spread rapidly, and before scores of men could remove the books from the office of Penfield, Lyon & Company and deposit them in a grain car close to the office, the fire had gained such headway that they were forced to leave.
   The firemen worked hard. Upon the discovery of the fire they wired Syracuse and Fulton for aid. Both responded, Chief Engineer Reilly of Syracuse coming in person. It was after 8 o'clock when they arrived, and the ruin was complete. In less than half an hour after the start the five Monarch elevators, which were familiar to everyone who has ever been in Oswego, were in a grand blaze hotter than a furnace. The sight was grand. The fire worked so rapidly that the firemen with difficulty saved their carts, standing hundreds of feet from the blaze. Cars upon the track burned, and the sparks and sheets of fire swept the river front, firing Rathbun's lumber upon the island in the harbor, the yards below on the west side and setting fire to the rigging of the schooner Mystic Star, lying upon the west side near the pier.
   With his small department, Chief Blackburn made heroic battle, distributing his forces as best he could. It was a question whether the Marine elevator, 100 feet north, could be saved. It was ironed from top to bottom. The wind took the sparks so that only the south cupola was touched by them. Streams were poured upon the outside and inside, and the walls of the Merchants' elevator, south, fell one story at a time, so that they did not come nearer the Marine. The heat was so intense that the elevator caught [fire], and the firemen had only escaped when volumes of smoke, succeeded by an explosion, took the roof off and a fierce blaze followed. All hope of saving it was then abandoned, and the work was centered upon the adjoining property and the New York, Ontario & Western trestle. The citizens lent their aid, the Life Saving crew fought the Island fire and at 3 o'clock the conflagration was under control. Citizens dropped a canal boat from the East side near the lower bridge down to the island dock with lines and made her a bridge for use in getting hose and firemen across.
   There were numerous small fires which volunteer pail brigades extinguished. For several hours it looked as though the Western harbor property was doomed. The Weight & Boyle sash and door factory worked their immense pumps and saved their lumber on the west side opposite the fire and also the great Northwestern elevator.
   Much of the elevator property being owned and insured out of town, it is difficult to obtain a complete list of the losses. The assessed valuation of the elevators burned is $148,000. This is not one-half of the value, as the assessors have reduced the amount because of non-productiveness. The Washington mill and elevator, where the fire started, is valued at $100,000 by Penfield, Lyon & Company, and is insured for $40,000 on building and machinery and $20,000 on stock. The Columbia, owned by the Jesse Hoyt estate, New York, is insured there. The Merchants', owned by the W. D. Smith estate and W. D. Matthews & Company of Toronto, is assessed at $50,000, and is without insurance. The insurance on the Continental, owned by the W. P. Irwin estate and the Delos Dewolf estate, is not yet known. The Corn exchange owned by John B. Hankinson, New York, is partly insured. The Marine, owned by Kingsford & Son, is insured for $40,000 on the building, $35,000 on Kingsford's corn and $45,000 on the Perot Malt company's malt and barley. The loss is fairly covered. W. O. Mastin, miller, occupying the Columbia, says his loss is $6,500, and he is fully insured. The Northwestern elevator was on fire several times, and 150,000 bushels of grain in store is slightly damaged by water. E. W. Rathbun & Company's loss on lumber is $12,000 and is covered by insurance. There was $400,000 worth of lumber exposed to the fire in this company's yard. There are numerous small losses to offices and buildings adjacent. A competent grain man estimates that the elevators cost $350,000.
   The Marine and the Washington mills and elevator did good business, but the others have been practically closed since the barley tariff was raised. Not a dozen men are thrown out of employment.
   The total loss is now estimated at less than $400,000.

He Falls Under the Drive Wheel of a Switch Engine, Which Severs His
Head From His Body and Amputates One Hand.
From the Binghamton Republican, May 25.
   Richard Forbes, aged ten years, a son of Mr. and Mrs. John Forbes of Liberty street, was killed in the Erie railroad yard last evening about 6:30 o'clock. Young Forbes with a companion named Charles Lake, was playing about the Erie tracks just east of Liberty street, and in some manner fell under the wheels of a switch engine on the East bound track, of which Frank Short is engineer. Whether or not he attempted to catch on the engine is not known. As soon as the wheel caught him he uttered a piercing shriek, which attracted the attention of James Ash, a trackman, who was near by. Ash shouted to the engineer, but the noise made by the locomotive drowned his cry and the next moment Ash saw the big drive wheel pass over the head of the boy, completely crushing it and severing it from the body.
   A crowd soon collected on the scene and as quickly as possible the remains were picked up and removed to the residence of the lad's parents. The headless body presented a horrible spectacle. One hand was cut off at the wrist, and the fingers of the other hand were severed. The brains were scattered along the rails. Coroner Pierce after ascertaining the facts concluded not to hold an inquest.

Oliver Curtis Perry.
The Scene in Court—Before Leaving Lyons the Train Robber Makes
Presents to a Friend—His Conduct on the Journey to Prison and in
From the Syracuse Herald.
   LYONS, May 20.— The Grand jury in the Perry case came into court at 3:30 o'clock yesterday afternoon and presented four indictments against the train robber. The first indictment charged burglary in the third degree and robbery in the first degree, in entering the car of the American Express company at Utica, September 19, 1891, and relieving Express Messenger Moore of $5,000. The second charges discharging firearms at a locomotive, in firing into the cab of the engine in which Engineer McGilvery and fireman Bulger were pursuing him on the morning of February 21st, 1892. The third charges burglary in the third degree and assault in the first degree in entering the car occupied by Express Messenger McInerney Sunday morning, February 21st, and attempting to rob the messenger. The fourth charges assault in the first degree in attacking the express messenger on the 21st of February last and coming within very little of killing McInerney.
   The court room was filled at 5:10 P. M. when Perry was arraigned, many ladies being in the audience. He entered the Court House hand-cuffed to Sheriff Thornton on one side and Deputy Sheriff Reynolds on the other. He was also guarded by Deputy Sheriff Collins, his captor, the American Express company's guard, and Deputy Trowbridge. As District Attorney Sawyer was reading the indictments, Perry who was dressed in a neat-fitting suit of gray material, stood up. His face, which was swarthy at the time of his capture, was of ghastly paleness. It was evident that he was embarrassed, and with difficulty he pleaded "Guilty" to each of the charges. At the conclusion of the reading District Attorney Sawyer moved that sentence be pronounced.
   In reply to Justice Rumsey's explanation that the law would give him two days' respite before sentence was pronounced, Perry said he was ready then to receive it. The prisoner gave his name as Oliver Curtis Perry and that he was born in Fulton county, N. Y., was twenty-six years old, a carpenter by trade and had followed that vocation, could read, had had religious instructions, was not married, had been convicted before and knew no cause why the Court should not pass sentence upon him.
   Justice Rumsey then sentenced Perry to be confined in Auburn prison at hard labor for the crimes of burglary (second offense, the first having been committed in Minnesota years ago), for twenty years. For the crime of burglary in the second degree, five years, to be served at the expiration of the preceding sentence. For assault in the first degree, ten years, to be served in the same manner. For the other charge of burglary in the second degree, five years. For discharging fire arms at a locomotive, nine and one-fourth years. Perry was surprised at the severity of his sentence and was staggered. It required his utmost efforts to retain his standing position. The full time of his sentence is forty-nine years and three months and by good behavior he will reduce it to twenty-nine years, four months and twenty-three days, being entitled to release from prison October 23d, 1923, when he will be fifty-five years old.
   It is understood that Perry refused to plead guilty until he had been assured that about $300 in his possession at the time he was arrested and his whole extensive and carefully selected arsenal should remain his individual property. This request was finally acceded to.
   LYONS, May 20.—At 11 o'clock this morning a large crowd gathered at the station to see Oliver Curtis Perry off. At train time Sheriff Thornton, Perry and the guard appeared. Perry shook hands with a large number, but held a big handkerchief to his face and had very little to say. He presented his diary to Nelson Myrick, a friend, and also gave him a piece of gold and a fifty dollar bill. He was in good spirits and seemed to be glad to leave.
   Perry wore the diamond ring upon the third finger of his right hand which had been returned to him by Deputy Collins.
   Attorney Ray, his counsel, made a motion before Justice Rumsey this morning, which was granted, allowing him to turn over the money found on his person, all of the unidentified jewelry and other personal effects to Mr. Ray to be turned over to his father.
   AUBURN, May 20.—Perry, the train robber, arrived on the 12:55 P. M. train today. A large crowd gathered at the station and at the prison gate. Perry was taken to the Home restaurant, where he received his last square meal. The crowd followed and blocked the street in front of the restaurant. A policeman was stationed at the door to keep the crowd back. Perry appeared to enjoy the excitement. When the train was passing the prison wall he asked if that was the prison, and on being informed that it was, said, "I now have a home." He laughed and joked during the meal, and ate heartily. When through he was taken to the prison, where the usual questions were propounded. Sheriff Thornton said Perry had been remarkably well during the trip.

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