Historian highlights newspaper that served Lyndonville community from 1907 to 1962
By Catherine Cooper, Orleans County Historian
Illuminating Orleans – Vol. 2, No. 13
LYNDONVILLE – We continue our exploration of the history of the Town of Yates in anticipation of the upcoming Bicentennial celebrations.
Charles R. Burnette, a Civil War veteran, and experienced printer from Ulster County, considered that the Town of Yates would provide a suitable market for his newspaper and printing business.
The first issue of the Lyndonville Enterprise, a weekly newspaper, consisted of four pages, was published on September 5, 1907, in the upper floor of a rented building on the corner of Riverside Street and Main Street. Just eight months later, a disastrous fire on May 18, 1908, caused by a gasoline explosion in the basement, destroyed the building and printing equipment. Mr. Burnette and his wife, who were at work in the building at the time, narrowly escaped with their lives.
Undaunted, the Burnettes continued, and printed from temporary locations until they established a permanent location on Riverside Street. Charles Burnette passed away in 1922, his wife Susan continued the Enterprise with the assistance of Mr. Leonard Reingruber. Joseph Giampapa, who came to Lyndonville from Passaic, N.J. operated the paper for fifteen years and it ceased publication in 1962.
The Lyndonville Enterprise, which was the official town and village paper, provides a historical record of a rural community in an era of change, with a wealth of information for local and social historians as well as for genealogists. The newspaper was the “social medium” of its time, its focus on local news assured its popularity. The tone was straightforward and civil: political and religious controversies were avoided, improvements were encouraged.
The Orleans County Historian’s Dept. has access to several issues of the paper, including the April 5, 1923, issue, almost one hundred years ago. Local news was strategically featured on the front and back pages of this eight-page issue. Subscription rates were: $2 for 12 months, $1 for 6 months and 50 cents per issue. The masthead also noted that the population of Orleans County was 33,341, and the population of Lyndonville and Yates was 1,040.
The Village – Vicinity – Variety section was the focus of the front page. Items of interest from the April 5, 1923, edition include:
• The bill for closing the season on black, grey and fox squirrels was passed and signed by Gov. Smith on March 12.
• Orleans County supervisors have purchased two stone quarries, one in Murray and the other near Knowlesville, from which to take stone for constructing county highways.
• Lyndonville Fire Company elected the following officers: Edward Barry, President; John Peters, Jr., Secretary-Treasurer; Frank Conley, Chief Engineer; Edward Barry, foreman of the Hose Company; E.M. Hill, foreman of the Hook and Ladder Company; Neil Toms, foreman of the chemicals.
• The wedding of Miss Hester Ives to Frank Hill of Albion took place at the home of the bride’s parents at high noon, March 31, Rev. H.G. Stacey officiating. Prenuptial events included a variety shower, a crystal shower, a kitchen shower, and a grocery shower.
• The dates for the Lyndonville Redpath Chautauqua are June 18-23
• The Lyndonville Grange plans to discuss “Apples” at their April 7 meeting.
• A long Personal Pointers column detailed the main social news of the day: who visited whom, who came home for Easter, who was sick, who was recovering.
• Church Notes listed dates and times of services for the forthcoming Sunday, as well as sermon and discussion topics:
“The Christian Motive in Recreation” – Topic of discussion for the Epworth League of the Methodist Episcopal Church meeting.
“Our Unfinished Knowledge” – Topic of the morning worship service at the Presbyterian Church
“Post-Easter Beatitudes of Faith” – Yates Baptist Church Sunday sermon topic.
- A report of a meeting of the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Church, noted that Miss Grace Leslie of Albion, who was scheduled to sail to China in August, gave an interesting talk and was given a reception and shower.
- A side column dealt with Special Notices which were also local.
Items Wanted: Home sewing, 25 Plymouth Rock hens.
For Sale: Goose eggs and Toulouse ganders, a few cords hard slab wood, a one-horse spring wagon and heavy single harness, a good 8-year-old cow due in April, my house and lot at Yates Center.
Wanted: Men, both American and foreign, for steady work, nine to ten hours during the day, twelve hours at night at The Carborundum Company, Niagara Falls.
Milk: Customers, please take notice: Starting Sunday April 1, your milk will be delivered earlier. Put the bottles out the night before. Cows tested and free from tuberculosis. Price: quarts 10 cents, pint: 6 cents.
• The last page of the Enterprise included reports of social happenings from the rural areas had submitted by correspondents. Items of note included:
West Lyndonville: Floyd Amos has moved on to Frank Wards’ s farm at Oak-Orchard-on-the Ridge.
George Dunham and family have moved onto the Mrs. Flower farm on the Lyndonville Road.
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Manley and family have moved onto the Frank Waring farm and Herbert Rouse has moved onto Frank Lott’s farm.
• The inside pages, 2-7 contained a variety of articles pertaining to national and state issues, including:
A summary of the week’s operations on the New York Stock Market, an article on Army Air Services Forest Patrol and its role in fire prevention, an article on the negative reaction to steam power and railways in the early 1600’s in England: A meeting of ministers in Manchester denounced the railway as being contrary to the law of God and predicted that it would prevent cows from grazing, hens from laying and cause pregnant women to have premature births, horses would be useless, hay and oats unsaleable, country inns would be ruined, boilers would burst and blow passengers sky high.
• There were many local advertisements as well as several from Rochester businesses. A serialized fiction offering, in this instance: Val of Paradise, provided some light entertainment to round out the fare.