Thirteen civil rights activists, dubbed Freedom Riders, begin a bus trip through the South on May 4, 1961.

Looking backward

The north

10 years ago

May 4, 2009: Clarkson University will showcase with an exhibition next weekend the school’s first graduating class of digital arts and science majors. From animated digital shorts to product designs, the eight graduating seniors will show off the skills they have gained in their presentations.

25 years ago

May 4, 1994: The directors of Snowtown USA elected new officers Tuesday night, trying to improve the festival’s image in time for a national ice-sculpting competition scheduled for next winter. Although organizers called this year’s festival a success, it was plagued by a shortage of advertising dollars, poor attendance and canceled events.

50 years ago

May 4, 1969: The ROTC Review, Inspection and Awards ceremony at Weekes Field, St. Lawrence University campus, moved forward with precision Friday afternoon while at one side of the field a group of 32 dissenting students strummed guitars and sang songs such as “I Aint Gonna Study War No More” and “We’ll Teach You To Kill And Make It Fun.”

75 years ago

May 4, 1944: The Dexter Press, 45-year-old weekly newspaper published at Dexter, ran off its final edition April 26 and suspended publication. Death of its publisher, Emerson C. Smith, last October and subsequent shortage of help and difficulty in replacing worn-out materials caused the present editor, George E. Smith, to cease publication.

100 years ago

May 4, 1919: Out of about 275 pupils of the Mead street school, 23 who have been attending school regularly have been found to have diphtheria germs, commonly known as carriers, as the result of a study to eliminate the disease which has been more or less prevalent in the Ninth ward and which has caused the death of many school children of the Mead street school and others since last fall.

125 years ago

May 4, 1894: Sylvester Snell, Watertown’s veteran market gardener, says that last year he cut the first asparagus grown in the open ground on May 6th. This year he has already sold over $75 worth, having been cutting from his beds for nearly two weeks.

150 years ago

May 4, 1869: Miss M. A. Allen, the former accomplished and popular Preceptress of our High School has accepted an invitation to take charge of the female Department of the State Normal School at Potsdam, with a salary of $1,200. The school is to be congratulated upon its good fortune in securing a teacher of such rare culture and power.

The World

1626: American Indians sell Manhattan Island for $24 in cloth and buttons.

1776: Rhode Island declares independence from England.

1795: Thousands of rioters enter jails in Lyons, France, and massacre 99 Jacobin prisoners.

1930: Mahatma Gandhi is arrested by the British.

1942: The United States begins food rationing.

1942: The Battle of the Coral Sea commences.

1970: Ohio National Guardsmen open fire on student protesters at Kent State University, killing four and wounding nine others.

Love local history? Listen to the Watertown Daily Times audio podcast at to hear us discuss pieces of our past.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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