Crime and Interesting Events of Oct 31, 1917.

Reported in St. Louis Globe-Democrat, Wednesday Morning Oct 31, 1917

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Fistic Clash Nearly Ends in Race Riot

Hundreds of Negroes at Station Mutter Threats When White Men Attack Soldier

     While hundreds of negroes were gathered around Union Station last night to bid farewell to 480 colored soldiers who were departing for Camp Funston, two white men and a drafted negro engaged in a fight on Market Street, just east of Eighteenth Street, which threatened to spread to other whites and negroes in the vicinity.

    While five policemen were struggling with the three combatants, white men muttered threats and negroes readily replied. The arrival of the patrol automobile and the hasty departure of the prisoners evidently cooled the anger of the crowd, which quickly dissolved.

    According to Ray Cramer, the negro, he was walking down Market Street to join his contingent, when two white men stepped from a saloon.  Cramer said he was in good spirits because he was going to fight for his country, and shouted to the men: Good-bye, men I'm off to get the Kaiser."  He said the white replied insultingly and attacked him. Spectators and police pulled the white men off the negro, it was said.

     The men gave their names as James Hogan, 35 years old, a boiler maker of 4207 Norfolk avenue, and Elmer T. Prather, 32, a real estate dealer of the Edison Hotel.  Prather was held in the inebriate ward and Hogan in the holdover on charges of disturbing the peace. Cramer was taken to Union Station and departed with his contingent.

    Hogan said he, Prather and some friends were in the saloon of Tom Baker, at 1715 Market Street, when Cramer and two other negroes entered and ordered drinks, which Baker refused to serve.  This angered the negroes. Hogan said, and they seized soup, bowls and began hurling them at other customers in the saloon.

    The departing negroes were given a farewell as hearty as any received by white soldiers. Union Station and Eighteenth Street was thronged with relatives and friends of the men, most of whom had marched to the station from their various wards.  All were in a jubilant mood.

    Banners and streamers bearing tart sayings were carried by teh men.  "We'll Get the Kaiser" and "Berlin or Bust" were among them.  Several bands also were present.

    The negroes represented the final contingent of 85 per cent of the first draft in St. Louis.  They were from all wards except the Ninth, Tenth, and Thirteenth, which will send no negroes, and the Sixth, which sent its quota of 108 men Monday night.

Boy Knocked From His Bicycle On His Way to School Killed By Car

Fred Heil, Aged 12, Riding in Company with Brother Who Was Uninjured

     Fred Heil, 12 years old, 3112 Allen Avenue, while on his way to the Immaculate Conception Parochial School, 3031 Park Avenue in company with his brother, George Heil, 9, was knocked from his bicycle and killed by a Fourth Street Car at Lafayette and Pennsylvania avenues yesterday morning.  The younger brother, who was riding a separate wheel, was uninjured.

    George Gan, 5210 Victoria avenue, the motorman, and John bath, 3629 Vista Avenue, conductor of the street car, were arrested and are being held for the coroner, who will hold an inquest today.

     Gan said the boy tried to ride across the tracks directly in front of his car and he had no chance to avoid striking him.  The dead boy is a son of George L. Heil, president of the Heil Packing Company.

Ten Barrels of Whisky Stolen.

    Ten barrels of whisky, valued at $1,200 were stolen from a warehouse at 1816 Olive Street early yesterday.  The whisky was the property of Frank Dallavalle, 3300 Morgan Street.  Residents of the neighborhood said they saw several men loading the barrels on a wagon and supposed they had authority to haul them away.

Espionage Offender Will Draw Sentence Today

     Judge Dyer of the United States District Court this morning will sentence Thomas Carnell, a salesman, of 2713 Caroline Street, who was convicted yesterday under the espionage act on two counts.  Carnell was charged with making a speech at Rose Fanning School August 28 calculated to cause insubordination and refusal of duty by military forces and with interfering with the recruiting and enlisting service.

Attorneys for Carnell filed a motion for a new trial, alleging Judge Dyer erred in refusing to permit the defendant to be tried separately on the counts.

Ten Riot Negroes Given 14-Year Sentences in Chester Penitentiary

New Trial Refused and Attorneys Are Allowed Ninety Days to File Exceptions

    Judge George Crow, sitting in the Circuit Court at Belleville, yesterday afternoon, refused to grant a new trial to the ten negroes who were convicted of the murder of Police Sergeant Samuel Coppedge the night of July 2 last during the East St. Louis riots.  He formally sentenced the men to fourteen years imprisonment at the Chester State Penitentiary and ordered them taken there at once.

     Attorneys for the convicted negroes served notice that they would file an appeal from the court's decision, and Judge Crow allowed them Ninety days in which to file a bill of exceptions.

Harry Robinson, 21 year old shoe repairer, who was tried for the murder of William Keyser, a white man, but concerning whose guilt the jury was unable to agree, was taken to Chester yesterday to begin serving his five year sentence for conspiracy to which charge he pleaded guilty.

Monday, November 5, has been set as the date of the reopening of the riot trials.


Speaker Tells of Modern Pulpits Many Activities

    That the modern pulpit is preaching pretty much of everything except religion was the declaration yesterday of Rev. Paul Lindemann in an address in an address under the auspices of the Lutheran Church at the American Theater.

    "We are asked to preach on temperance, rotten politics, tenement house conditions, dirty streets, and dirty backyards; on consumption and impure milk, how to feed babies; on the horrors of Sunday baseball, on a new play or a new book, on the necessity of swatting the fly--on everything under the sun except the thing that brings a soul the peace of God." he said.  "Is it any wonder that much of Protestantism is sterile, that it complains of empty churches, when it has stuffed up the very fountain head of its life ?"

     "The Lutheran Church has not yielded to this disastrous trend. It has not become an institution for mental entertainment or enlightenment, but still considers itself called to be a soul-saving institution.  It will know nothing among men save Christ crucified."

Police Seek War Prisoner's Brother

     An order directing all police officers of the city to endeavor to locate Willhelm Swoboda was issued by Chief of Police Young yesterday.  The receipt of a postal card from Johann Swoboda, brother, who is an Austrian-Hungarian soldier now being held a prisoner of war in Siberia.  The case was first of its kind since the beginning of the European war to be brought to the attention of the Police Department here.

Motor Car Company Fails

The Stanley Motor Car Company of 5883 Delmar Boulevard yesterday filed a voluntary petition in bankruptcy in the United States District Court.  The petition cities disabilities of $12,420.73 and assets of $4583.29 of which $50.28 is cash and a large part of the remainder accounts.  M. H. Ward of 5790 Kingsbury Boulevard, president, filed a claim for three months salary, aggregating $375.

$10,000 Asked For Immunity

[Note: This article later discusses segregation, and the East St. Louis race riot]

Ore Company Official Testifies Bribe Was Sought From Him to Prevent Strikes

    The story of how the Aluminum Ore Company was offered immunity from labor troubles for a consideration of $10,000 was yesterday told by Ray F. Rucker, assistant superintendent of the company, while testifying before a Congressional committee in East St. Louis.

    Rucker told the committee that in answer to a telephone call received one Sunday morning last April he went to where the man telephoned was working in the aluminum plant for an interview.  The man led him to a secluded spot and said :  "This company couldn't afford to have a strike declared for $20,000.  I am in a position to prevent our Protective Association from joining the American Federation of Labor and going out on a strike and I will do it if you will pay me $10,000."

     This man, Rucker said, was not himself a union man, but was at the head of an organization formed by employees of the company after a strike last October.  He pretended that the unions were anxious to get the aluminum workers organized and he could sidetrack such a movement.

Praises New Officials

Rucker said that his idea of the cause of the riots last summer resulted from loose law enforcement.  He thought the present administration was the best the city had experienced in several years, but referred to the justice of the peace courts as "notoriously bad" and said he understood it to be almost impossible to obtain a conviction in the lower courts.

Rucker said that he believed labor agitators such as Moyer and "Mother Jones" were largely responsible for the industrial unrest of the last spring.  He said he had understood "Mother" Jones in a local speech had advised rioting if that became necessary for working men to win their rights.  This led to a lengthy cross examination by Congressman Foster who defended the work done among miners by "Mother" Jones.  It developed that her speech in East St. Louis was delivered several days after the riot of July and could not have been a contributary cause.

Segregation, without using that term, was suggested by Rucker as the best means to keep down the feeling between whites and negroes.  He also favored the use of separate street cars for negroes and whites as a means to avoid prejudice against the former, caused by bad mannered negroes crowding white persons on the cars.

This is the second time the segregation idea has been presented to the committee, the other witness being Robert E. Conway, general manager of the Armour plant.

Negro Towns Planned

    The plan to separate the blacks from the whites was first suggested as a solution of the East St. Louis trouble by Supervisor Earl Jimerson, whose plan is to build a modern district south of the city and another one north, the houses to be of brick, with bathrooms and enough ground for chickens and a garden.  In these two negro towns he would have stores and a moving picture theater, the idea being to keep the negroes from crowding the Street cars and furnish them homes within walking distance of their work.

Harry Kerr, district organizer for the American Federation of Labor, was on the witness stand yesterday afternoon and will be the first witness this morning.

He said that in East St. Louis labor had been ignored and the Chamber of Commerce was composed of big employers.  When asked about the Committee of One Hundred, he laughed, and Congressman Raker insisted that the laugh of the witness should be recorded by the stenographer as a part of the record.  This was done, and Kerr explained by stating that the committee was merely a subsidary of the Chamber of Commerce.

When asked for an opinion as to the cause of last summer's trouble, Kerr said it was the culmination of corrupting efforts of politicians to keep control of the negro vote.

John H. Richards of East St. Louis, deputy state fire marshal, testified he made an investigation of fires following the race riots and that 220 buildings and 44 freight cars had been totally or partially destroyed by fire.  He said the damage amounted to $373,000-$288,000 to the buildings and cars and $85,000 to contents.

For a Fair Street Railway Settlement

What the City Would Gain in a Settlement

One reader of these advertisements tells us we have not sufficiently explained what the City would gain by making the kind of settlement this Company has agreed to accept.

Here are some of the advantages the City would gain:

1--The City would gain the right to buy the street railway system, which right it did not assert and does not possess under our existing franchises, granted before the adoption of the new City Charter.

2--The City would gain not only the right to buy the system, but to buy it at a $60,000,000 valuation, which it is $17,000,000 less than our own engineer's appraisement, and many millions less than the lowest possible cost of reproducing the property as it stands today.

3--The City would gain the rights, which it does not now possess, to control street railway finances, to regulate street railway service and equipment, to control street railway finances, to regulate street railway service and equipment, to compel street railway extensions.

4--The City Government would gain merited credit from the public for enabling this Company to give more service, pay better wages, and make some return to investors in St. Louis' largest and most useful public utility.

The St. Louis street railways are now operating under franchises granted by the City to the separate lines and to the consolidated system previous to the adoption of the new City Charter.

If these lines continue to operate under existing franchises, they can do business for many years without coming under the provisions of the new charter.  The existing franchises contain no agreement on our part to sell to the City, nor any authority for the City to regulate street railway service or equipment.

In accepting the proposed new ordinance we would accept all the conditions of the new City Charter, which gives the City all of these rights.  We would also agree to let the City dictate extensions of the system and subject our finances to City control.

These are the great advantages the Company has conceded to the City in the interest of a fair and friendly settlement.

In return we have asked only that the City strengthen our credit and our ability to serve by confirming our franchise grants; by relieving us of double taxation, and by permitting us to pay off the $2,100,000 of accrued mill tax in ten yearly installments, as we earn it.

We are confident the City Government will have general public approval in making a settlement on these terms.

So believing, we have raised the wages of our car men, dating November 1, $130,000 a year--which is $10,000 a year more than the $120,000 tax reduction proposed by the City in its ordinance No. 2.

--The United Railways Company of St. Louis



Caution: The following is a link to a cartoon that has racially offensive content to a modern audience. It is included here, not for entertainment but as an example how black Americans were treated during this time period.

Cartoon: "Hank And Pete" in

"Actresses Are'nt the Only Ones Who Use the Stage Exit", by Ken Kling

Published Wednesday, Oct 31, 1817 St. Louis Globe-Democrat



Transcribed by Scott K. Williams, Florissant, Mo.


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