On This Day in Yonkers Historical past… – Yonkers Occasions


Singer-actor Gene Autry came to Yonkers two times for the PAL

Mary Hoar, Member Landmarks Preservation Board, President Emerita, Yonkers Historical Society

Monday, October 5th
October 5, 1927: Justice Joseph Morschauser denied the motion to recount the Eldredge-Fiero Primary, or have a “do over” of the vote. The gentlemen ran for the Republican nomination for Eleventh Ward Alderman; Alderman Joshua Fiero received 351 votes, and Frank Eldredge received 338, a difference of only 14 votes.

October 5, 1942: City Clerk Francis Heafy received a letter of resignation from City Manager Raymond Whitney, effective immediately, at 9:10 am, delivered by messenger. The letter stated he was resigning to carry out an assignment from the Federal Government. Ten minutes later, Heafy received a second letter from Whitney in the regular mail. It read, “Any letter in the form of a resignation from me delivered to the City Clerk… is hereby withdrawn and repudiated.”

October 5, 1946: Famed western movie star Gene Autry visited Yonkers to entertain new members of the PAL at Saunders High School. He attracted thousands of exited fans, and needed the help of Yonkers Police to enter the school.

Tuesday, October 6th
October 6, 1918: French Flying Ace Lieutenant Ferdinand Thetlot offered his Croix de Guerre to the person purchasing the largest amount of Liberty Bonds at the Liberty Loan rally held at Proctor’s Theater.
October 6, 1922: American golf champion Gene Sarazen, underwent emergency surgery for appendicitis at St. John’s Hospital. He was visited by many sports luminaries, who stopped by his hospital room to wish him well.

October 6, 1927: After losing his court fight for the Republican nomination for Eleventh Ward Alderman, Frank Eldridge filed to become an independent candidate.

Wednesday, October 7th
October 7, 1908: Yonkers Police Chief Daniel Wolff announced the “golden rule” would be followed in making arrests. The new policy required “reasonableness” with suspects, instead of immediately arresting them.

October 7, 1943: Herald Statesman reporter Eileen Campion had the task of dousing an incendiary bomb as part of an Army demonstration in Getty Square; Deputy Civilian Protector George Bell told her, “You have the honor of having put out the first incendiary bomb in Yonkers.” Her response? “I hope it’s also the last.”

October 7, 1943: The editors of the Herald Statesman were immediately impressed by a letter they received from John Whalen, President of the Moquette Service Club… not by the content, but by how he wrote the date. He wrote,

“October 7, 1943 , One Day Nearer Victory”

Thursday, October 8th
October 8, 1999: The cornerstone of the building on Elm Street for the new headquarters of Turn Verein was laid. The finished building had a banquet hall, auditorium, club rooms, gym and bowling alley.

October 8, 1918: Yonkers continued to be ravaged by the Spanish Influenza, according the Dr. Clarence Buckmaster, Yonkers’ Health Officer, Buckmaster made an appeal for volunteer nurses as doctors were reporting an average of 200 new cases each day.

October 8, 1952: Grasslands Hospital psychiatrists told the court that Aurio De Jesus, facing a second-degree murder charge for killing Yonkers Veteran John Pondixter, had become insane while waiting in jail. He later was committed to the Matteawan State Prison for the Criminally Insane at Beacon.

Friday, October 9th
October 9, 1915: Republican candidate for Mayor Gideon Peck announced his campaign slogan would be, “Are you satisfied?” He ran against incumbent mayor James Lennon, and lost.

October 9, 1923: While tearing down the timeworn St. Joseph’s Parochial School to make way for a new one, the cornerstone of the old St. Joseph’s Church was removed and opened. Inside the sealed box was found an account of the laying of the cornerstone in 1871 and a newspaper with mentions of President Ulysses S. Grant, and Robert Parkhill Getty, then President of the Village of Yonkers.

Saturday, October 10th
October 10, 1699: Merchant Frederick Felipse of New York City sold fifty acres of land known as Georges Point, 1.5 acres of meadow and 25 acres of upland within the limits and bounds of the Yonckers plantation in the County of Westchester, to Jacobus van Cortlandt.

October 10, 1927: Chief Designing Engineer of New York City Joseph Collyer, a consulting engineer on Yonkers’ flume, declared the flume carrying the Nepperhan River from Warburton Avenue to the Hudson under Yonkers’ million dollar plaza was large enough to carry any amount of water that possibly could come from the watershed.

October 10, 1941: The Reverend Alexander Leedie of St. Peter’s Church was ordained a Catholic priest; he was the first African American Catholic Priest from Yonkers and Westchester County, and had served as a sanctuary boy at St. Peter’s.

Sunday, October 11th
October 11, 1942: Mrs. Herold Robinson of Pondfield Road West and Chief Petty Officer Bert Rothing, USN, of Ravine Avenue, shared the honor of being the first people to donate their bumpers to the “Bumpers for Victory” drive in Larkin Plaza.

October 11, 1944: Mrs. Charles Sax of South Broadway received a letter from her son-in-law Lieutenant Wallace Shaw. He told her his Medical Corps unit assigned to a hospital in England was “disgusted by the plans to close store and factories and just have a great big party for a few days,” when Germany was defeated. His thoughts reflected his experience in the hospital. The lieutenant continued, “Sure, it will be a big day, but the war won’t be over and the boys won’t be home, and there will be tons more Allied blood spilled before the war is over.” He wanted the day to be spent in prayer of thanksgiving, and a quick finish to their work, adding war production should be doubled on that day.

October 11, 1947: Gene Autry, a leading radio, motion picture and rodeo star, and his horse Champion appeared in Yonkers at Glen Park under the auspices of the Police Athletic League. Autry was a big supporter of PAL!

For more information on the Yonkers Historical Society, Sherwood House and our upcoming events, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/YonkersHistoricalSociety. We also are on LinkedIn and Twitter @YonkersHistoric. For information on membership in the Yonkers Historical Society, please call 914-961-8940 or email yhsociety@aol.com.


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