A collection of bicentennial biographies from Chautauqua County, N.Y. featuring Jimmy Clark (Jamestown), Joseph McGinnies (Ripley, Westfield and Dunkirk), Charles Hamilton (Ripley), Daniel A. Reed (Sheridan) and Don Reinhoudt (Portland and Fredonia). Originally broadcast on local radio stations Sept. 12 – Sept. 16, 2011.
No. 176 – Jimmy Clark
James “Jimmy” Clark Atkinson was born in Norfolk, Va. in February, either in 1914 or 1915depending on the source. His father died when Jimmy was five years old and his mother moved with her young son to Titusville, Pa. to be near friends. Jimmy attended public schools and when he reached adulthood, he moved to Jamestown to make a name for himself as an amateur boxer from Jamestown.
As an amateur Clark compiled 23 titles, winning tournaments in Pittsburgh and St. Louis, as well as local bouts at the Washington Street Auditorium in Jamestown and also in Celoron Park. He fought for the American AAU team in Paris, France in 1935, winning all three of his matches. He was the U.S. Amateur Welterweight Champion, the New York State Middleweight Champion, and defended his Golden Gloves title eight times.
Jimmy was described as a clever boxer who relied on bobbing and weaving and powerful left and right hooks. He was known as the “Jimtown Express.”
In 1936, Jimmy earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team as a middleweight by scoring five knockouts in the national trials tournament. At the Berlin Olympics, Clark lost a controversial decision in the quarterfinals to Polish boxer Henryk Chmielewski. U.S. officials and media both cried foul about the loss by Clark, a black fighter and a Detroit newspaper called it “A complete jobbing by boxing officials.” During his time at the Berlin Olympics, his room mate was Jesse Owens.
Clark turned pro after the Olympics and was managed by Marshall Miles who also managed Joe Louis. He never fulfilled the promise of his youth, compiling a 20-19 record according. He did, however, knock out eventual world middleweight champ Tony Zale in the first round on February 21, 1938 at the Marigold Gardens in Chicago. Zale later exacted revenge for the loss by beating Clark twice that same year.
A World War II Army veteran, Jimmy Clark died at the age of 80. His legacy to the fight game was not forgotten as he was inducted into into the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Buffalo Boxing Hall of Fame in 1998. He died in Jamestown on September 12, 1994.
No. 177 – Joseph McGinnies
Joseph Albert McGinnies was born November 7, 1861 in Ireland. His family emigrated to U.S. in 1864 and settled in Ripley, where Joseph was raised and attended school.
At the age of 16, McGinnies began working at the Ripley drugstore of Dr. Simons, learning the pharmacist’s profession. After five years he became the owner and developed the business into a prospering general store. McGinnies also began running a grape-growing operation and eventually became one of the most expert grape-growers in the region.
In about 1897, McGinnies began organizing the Chautauqua and Erie Grape Growers’ Association, based in Westfield. For many years he served as a director, secretary-treasurer and manager. Afterwards, he was chosen a director of the First National Bank of Ripley and of the Dunkirk Trust Company of Dunkirk.
In 1896, McGinnies was elected a member of the Chautauqua County Board of Supervisors as a democrat and was re-elected continuously. In 1905, he changed parties, and became a Republican, but continued to be re-elected to the County Board of Supervisors annually for more than 20 years. From 1906 on, he was clerk of the Board.
He was a member of the State Assembly from 1916 to 1935, and was Speaker from 1925 to 1934. He was also an alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1924, and a delegate in 1928 and 1932.
No. 178 – Charles Hamilton
Charles Mann Hamilton was born in Ripley on January 23, 1874. He was the only child of Lydia Mann and Lucius Hamilton. He was raised in Ripley and attended Ripley High School and afterward, the Fredonia Normal School. Hamilton then went the Pennsylvania Military College at Chester.
Following school, Hamilton became interested in agricultural pursuits and in oil production. He was a member of the New York State Assembly from 1906-1908 and served in the State Senate from 1908-1912. During his time on the senate, he served on the New York State Factory Commission and was a delegate to the Republican National Convention at Chicago in 1912.
During the election of 1912, Hamilton ran for Congresss on the Republican ticket and won. He served for three terms from 1913 – 1919 and during his second and third term in office he was minority whip.
Following public office, Hamilton returned to Ripley to engage agricultural pursuits and later was involved the production of oil and gas in Kansas. He died in Miami Beach, Fla., on January 3, 1942. He was interred in Quincy Rural Cemetery in Ripley.
Following the death of his widow, Bertha, in 1944, the Hamilton estate was left to town of Ripley and a family of dogs which lived in the little house on the west end of property. The Mansion later served as the Ripley Library for many years and an animal research hospital. Bertha Hamilton Foundation is still in existence and is administered by the Fredonia Animal Hospital.
No. 179 – Daniel A. Reed
Daniel Alden Reed was born Sept. 15, 1875 in Sheridan. After attending local schools, he graduated from Cornell University in 1898, where he was a member of the Quill and Dagger society and also played football for the Big Red.
Following graduation from Cornell, Reed coached at the University of Cincinnati, Penn State, and his alma mater. From 1899 to 1900 he coached at Cincinnati, and guided the Bearcats to an 8–6–1 record. He coached at Penn State in 1903, compiling a 5–3 record. From 1903 to 1909, Reed stepped away from football and was attorney for the New York State excise department. But he went back to football in 1910 to serve as head coach at Cornell for two seasons, where he led that team to a 12–5–1 record. His career coaching record was 25-14-2.
In 1918 Reed ran for public office and was elected to the House of Representatives as a Republican. His first term in office began in March, 1919 and he remained in office serving as the area’s Congressman until his death 40 years later.
During his years in Congress, Reed was the one of the most conservative members of the New York delegation, and was one of the few isolationists remaining in the New York delegation after World War II. As leader of the House Ways and Means committee in 1953, Reed helped to reform the federal income tax laws. Reed was also one of the few Republicans to consistently oppose banning the poll tax through, although he did vote in favor of anti-lynching legislation and the Civil Rights Act of 1957.
During his 40 years in Congress, he served as chairman of the Committee on Industrial Arts and Expositions (Sixty-eighth Congress), Committee on Education (Sixty-ninth through Seventy-first Congresses), Committee on Ways and Means (Eighty-third Congress), and the Joint Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation (Eighty-third Congress).
No. 180 – Don Reinhoudt
Donald C. Reinhoudt was born in March 1945 in Brocton. He attended the Fredonia School District and excelled in several sports. He was an All-League basketball player, an All-Western New York football Player and an All-Western shot putter.
Following high school, Don went to Parsons College in Iowa to play football as a defensive end. He also was on the varsity track team. To condition himself for sports, he began weightlifting and competed in six competitions, including the 1967 Junior Nationals.
After experimenting with weightlifting, Don began powerlifting in 1969. He took 3rd place in the Open Division at the inaugural 1972 AAU World Powerlifting Championships and finished in 1st place at the World Powerlifting Championships from 1973 to 1976. He was also the first man to break the 2,400 lb barrier in power-lifting with a 2,420 lb total, achieved in 1975. During his career, Don was also the only Super Heavyweight to hold World Records in all three lifts (bench, squat, deadlift) simultaneously.
Don also became somewhat of a celebrity after competing in three World’s Strongest Man competitions. He won the competition in 1979 and became widely known as “The World’s Strongest Man” to thousands of residents in Chautauqua County. He also finished 2nd in 1978.
Following competition, Don served as the director of the Chautauqua County Youth Bureau for several years, retiring in 2008. He was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame in 1983.
Don’s been called the nicest guy to ever participate in the sport of power-lifting. He often tells kids that he loves them and hee’s quick to give a hug. So despite all his records and accomplishments in weight training, its said that Don’s strongest muscle will always be his heart.
Bicentennial Biographies is a not-for-profit radio project designed to raise awareness and increase interest in local history. It is brought to you as a public service by the Chautauqua County Historical Society throughout 2011 to celebrate the county’s 200th birthday. To learn more, visit www.McClurgMuseum.org or contact your local historical society.