Joseph Augostine, a house painter, was arrested for disorderly conduct in February 1943, one week before Chief of Police Willis McMullen announced that New Castle would no longer tolerate such behaviour and ordered city policemen to clear all undesirables from the streets. McMullen told the press, “With the good boys of the community fighting for their lives, others sweating in vital industrial concerns to furnish war material and their elders engaged in various war activities, I see no reason for hoodlums, loiterers, slackers or prostitutes.”
The night before he made his statement, McMullen had seen a drunk dressed as a sailor standing on the corner of Croton avenue and East Washington street and challenging passers-by to a fight. McMullen arrested the man, and was appalled to discover that he had been deferred from service due to a physical ailment and had no right to wear any military uniform. “Police will visit cafes or any other place where they may suspect there are hoodlums, loafers, prostitutes or a person they have reason to believe has not complied with the selective service law. The loiterers and non-producers will be asked to explain how they earn a livelihood,” he said.
The chief pointed out that as many as five hundred workers slept in one central business section of the city and that loud juke boxes and disorderly conduct could not be permitted. “Workers need their rest,” he said. “Night carousing on the streets is out for the duration.”
On the day of Joseph’s arrest, Mrs Frank Mastren, of Dushane street, heard that her brother, Edwin Isaac, an aeroplane gunner fighting in North Africa, had been seriously wounded during a raid. The month before, he had made the front page of the New Castle News under the headline, “New Castle Gunner Downs Axis Plane In Tunisia Battle”. Everyone had been very proud. A war telegram was also received by Mr and Mrs John Dout, of Etna street, which informed them that their nineteen-year-old son, Morris, had been killed by an accidental shell explosion at his training camp in North Carolina. It had been only two months since he’d left his job at Shenango Pottery to enlist. Such stories were already so common that each merited only a short paragraph in the paper.
Following a night in the cells, Joseph received a fine of $10 and was released.
Joseph’s three older brothers were already in uniform and would go on to fight in Sicily, Anzio and Normandy—from where one of them, Edward, would send home packages containing German helmets and other items taken from the bodies of dead soldiers—but Joseph avoided the draft for so long that the war was virtually over by the time he completed basic training.
After the war, Joseph worked as a gardener and groundskeeper for a while before opening a garage in Hillsville, where he ran a few illegal slot machines as a sideline. He died in August 1992, at the age of eighty-two.Sources: New Castle News (23 Feb 1943,“Police Chief Orders Cleanup Of City”;16 Nov 1944, “Sgt Augostine Sends Souvenirs”; 29 Dec 1944, “Raymond Augostine Is Home From Overseas”; Feb 15 1946 “New Castle Gunner Downs Axis Plane In Tunisia Battle”, “Edwin R Isaac Wounded In Raid”, “Injuries Fatal To Local Marine”; 4 Oct 1956 “Allow DA To Wreck Gambling Machines”).
A wealthy north hill citizen named W S Harlan returned home just after dark one December night in 1906 to discover a gang of burglars in his hallway. They were armed with blackjacks and pistols, but Harlan overpowered one of them and kept him captive while the others ran off. The burglar was fifteen years old, the son of a prominent north hill family. He confessed to other recent burglaries and named his accomplices, a group of boys who were also from respected families in the area. To shield the parents, Harlan declined to press charges and the police and the district attorney refused to release the names of the boys. The letters of outrage that were published in the town’s papers and the complaints of those who said that there was one law for the rich and another for the poor were ignored.
Ten days later, Walter Jamison—then just sixteen years old—and three younger friends, all from the poor district of Mahoningtown, robbed the Patterson & Sample store of several pistols, knives and boxes of cartridges, which Walter sold to railroad men around New Castle junction. They were caught soon after and admitted the crime, the younger ones in tears. They said that they admired the north hill gang and had been encouraged by their light treatment. After letting the well-connected boys off, the court had no option but to do the same with the Mahoningtown boys. The judge gave them suspended sentences, saying, “My decision will be criticised by some people. It is up to you, boys, to so conduct yourselves, that this criticism will be shown to have been unwarranted.”
Walter’s friends did what the judge asked and avoided trouble with the law for the rest of their lives. Walter did not. He and another friend were arrested three years later for passing forged cheques in New Castle, Youngstown and Erie for sums of between $7.50 and $18.40. Walter had signed them, variously, “BD Wilson, superintendent of the Youngstown Foundry company”, “EJ Wilson, secretary of the Youngstown Foundry company”, “AC Dickson, secretary, Youngstown Foundry Co” and “HB McClurg”. Walter’s friend, a first-time offender, was given a suspended sentence, “so that he will have to go straight in future”, but Walter was jailed. After he was released, he stole a horse and buggy from a livery stable in New Castle and vanished from town.
Walter remained at large for five years, until he returned to New Castle in the summer of 1921 and was arrested for passing a forged cheque. He received sentences of two years for forgery and three-and-a-half years for horse theft. (The policeman who arrested him received a reward of $20 under an old Pennsylvania horse-theft law.) He was released in the middle of the 1920s, but was arrested in Mercer County in 1927 on a charge of forgery and sent to the Allegheny workhouse. Walter spent the rest of the 1920s being moved from jail to jail, as detectives in various jurisdictions connected him to an ever-growing number of open forgery cases.
As the new decade began, Walter was doing time in the Ohio state penitentiary in Columbus. He worked in the prison kitchen and had become popular among the inmates and guards on account of the quality of his doughnuts—he oversaw the production of nine thousand a day, and was known as the best doughnut baker ever to have been incarcerated in the prison. On 30th June 1930, a new guard gave him permission to step outside for a minute to get a bottle of milk from the dairy across the street. He walked out of the gate and didn’t come back.
Walter fled across Ohio in the direction of New Castle, swindling grocery stores out of several thousand dollars-worth of goods, which he paid for with bad cheques in the name of a cashier of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. (He bought a rubber stamp with the name of the railroad on it to give his forgeries a degree more plausibility.) Railroad detectives followed the trail of cheques from town to town, comparing the signatures on them with the signatures in the registers of cheap boarding houses until they found a match. Two months after Walter escaped from prison, he was captured as he slept in his room in the Ohio hotel in Akron.
He was free by 1935, when businesses in the Youngstown area were warned that “Walter Jamison, a jailbird” was distributing forged cheques from the Standard Slag co. A decade later, in 1946, he was arrested in New Castle on a charge of uttering a forged instrument and was given a two-year sentence. He was fifty-six years old. There is no further record of him.Sources: New Castle News (17 Dec 1906, “Boy Burglar Was Caught In Harlan Home”; 30 Jan 1907, “Pleaded Guilty And Were Held For Court”; 18 Dec 1906, “Injustice Done By Lienency (sic) In Behalf Of Boys”; 20 Dec 1906, “Boy Burglary Affair Is Up To District Attorney”; 21 Dec 1906, “PJ Watson Suggests Other Phases Of The Boy Burglary Hush-up”; 18 Jan 1907, “Mahoningtown Lads Emulated Nth Hill Boys”; 6 Feb 1907, “Sentence Was Suspended On The Boy Burglars”; 15 Feb 1911, “Easy Kale For Boy Forgers”; 30 Sep 1921, “Jamison Sentenced To Penitentiary”; 15 May 1925, “Arrest Man With New Castle Checks”; 8 June 1927, “True Bills Found By Grand Jury In All But Two Cases”; 10 Oct 1928, “Workhouse Prisoner To be Re-Arrested”; 14 Aug 1930, “Walter Jamison Is Recaptured”; 15 Aug 1930, “Jamison Back In Ohio Prison After Recapture; Prisoners Are Gratified”; 24 Oct 1946, “Worthless Check Charge”); Youngstown Vindicator, 4 Jun 1935, “Check Slicker At Large”; The Border Cities Star, 5 Sep 1930, “No Doughnuts”.
Victor Fay Wimer’s dairy farm was four miles east of New Castle. If he wanted to go to a bar he had to drive home, which is why, in 1946, he was sentenced to a month in jail (or three days, if he paid a $100 fine) for drunk driving.
The previous years had been hard. Just after the depression hit Lawrence County, Victor’s house burned down, which wiped out his savings. Two years later, his barn burned down, taking with it all his pigs, his tractor, his ploughs and his stores of corn and oats. More bad luck followed his arrest—in 1947, Victor’s son’s car collided with a semi-trailer truck near the farm and Victor’s seven-month-old grandchild was killed.
Victor wanted to get out of farming as soon as he could. He turned fifty in 1951 and spent the rest of the decade trying to raise enough money to move to Florida. Every couple of years throughout the 50s, he posted advertisements in the classified section of the New Castle News announcing closing-down auctions at his farm. One ran, “Sale of 14 head of Ayrshire cattle and all dairy machinery. Reason—quitting farming.” Another, announcing the sale of sixty assorted cows, declared, “Terms: Cash. Quitting the dairy business”. It took until 1958—when the list of goods that were included in the sale featured a small collie pup—before he found a buyer.
Victor bought a house in Maitland, Florida, where he lived for the rest of his life. He kept a summer home near New Castle, on the edge of the abandoned strip-mine wasteland of Muddy Creek valley, where he died at the age of sixty-seven.Sources: New Castle News (29 May 1934, “Grant City Barn Burns To Ground”; 4 Sep 1946, “Driver Is Arrested”; 26 Sep 1946, “Sentence Pronounced”; 28 Oct 1947, “Baby Is Killed, Parents Injured; In Auto Crash Near Rose Point Bridge”; 16 March 1954, Classifieds; May 12 1955, Classifieds; March 16 1956, Classifieds; Nov 11 1958, Classifieds; 6 July 1966, “Victor Fay Wimer Service Set Friday”).
An empty car parked near the McKissock service station at Wilmington avenue and North Jefferson street attracted the attention of two cruiser patrolmen in the early hours of 15th August 1946. A flashlight search of the forecourt revealed a scared young man hiding under the brush at the north end of the lot. He ran off but was caught and dragged back to the cruiser. He told the policemen he was LeRoy Munson, from Neshannock avenue, and that he was acting as a look-out for his friend, William Martin, who was robbing the station.
William had watched the arrest from inside the building. It would have been helpful for him later on if he had thought to replace the $10.73 in change that he had taken from the cash register, but he didn’t. Neither did he attempt to escape or resist when the officers came in to arrest him. He and LeRoy were charged with burglary later that morning.
There is no further trace of William. Two years after the robbery, it was reported that LeRoy Munson suffered lacerations and contusions of the abdomen “when a plow fell on him while riding a tractor”.Sources: New Castle News (“Police Nab Men In Gas Station”, August 16 1946; “Man Injured”, 18 May 1948).