The Government bought 450 million bushels of grain from the 1947 harvest to send abroad as part of its $400 million Greek-Turkish aid programme, aimed at stopping both countries going Communist. The policy prompted the John S Brown feed company of New Castle to insert the following notice in the small ads section every week for a year:
“TURKEY and GREASE get the GRAVY—$400,000,000 worth. What do we get? We get the highest grain prices in 27 years. Hundreds of thousands of tons of grain being shipped abroad, fast depleting our surplus stocks, thus sky-rocketing prices. Now as never before you must buy the feed that gives you most for your dollar. ‘Our Quality’ feeds do just that. Scientifically made, you get real dollar value. Feed ‘Our Quality’ feeds. Your neighbor does.”
At half past five in the morning of October 3, 1947, a patrolman noticed that there had been a break-in at the feed company’s grain store on East Washington street. He telephoned for assistance and the building was surrounded. William Fabian, an ex-employee of the company, was found hiding on the second floor and it emerged that he had removed five bags of corn from the warehouse before the police arrived. He was found guilty of burglary, fined $1 and costs and sentenced to eighteen months to three years in the Western penitentiary.
Grain prices peaked that month. The same paper that reported the grain store robbery contained a story about the first drop in the price of corn since the war. By the time that William was released from jail, grain would once again be too cheap to risk going to prison for.
Postscript: William Henry Fabian appears to be no relation to the William Fabian who burgled houses in 1942.Sources: New Castle News (21 March 1947, classified ads; 20 May 1947, “Fund Calls Respite Seen”; Oct 3 1947; “Police Arrest Man in Store”, “Break In Prices In Grain Market”; Nov 15, 1947, “Sentence Court”)
When he was eight years old, William Fabian nearly burned to death. “The boy’s clothes had been soaked in gasoline by playmates, who then set them afire”, the newspaper said. A passer-by heard him screaming for help and beat the flames out, saving him from “almost certain death as a ‘human torch’”. William was taken to hospital with severe burns, and the two boys who had been with him—Benjamin Byro and Walter Krausm, both six years older than William—were arrested. They explained that they had not set William on fire; they had been playing with matches, setting fire to a pool of gasoline, and William had been standing too close to the flames. The police released them the next day.
William didn’t learn to keep away from older boys. In 1942, when he was sixteen, his best friend, John Linonis, was nineteen. John had a car, and the two boys spent winter evenings cruising through towns in Lawrence county, looking for darkened homes to burgle. They would pull up at likely looking targets, knock on the door and break in if no one answered. In New Castle, they stole money and jewellery from E B Hawkins on Moody avenue; a watch from Attorney J W Rhodes on Highland avenue; and jewellery from J A Gilkey on Rhodes place. They threw some of the loot into the Shenango river and pawned the rest in Youngstown. Altogether, they stole thousands of dollars-worth of valuables, from which they made only a few hundred dollars.
They were arrested in Franklin and were sent to New Castle to be charged there, too. They made full confessions, and the police sat them in the back of a patrol car and drove them around town so they could point out the houses they had hit.
Their co-operation evidently earned them no concessions. John Linonis was sentenced to ten to twenty years in the Western penitentiary; William was sent to Huntingdon reform school for an indeterminate period.
Postscript: William Fabian appears to be no relation to the William Henry Fabian who stole five bags of corn in 1940.Sources: New Castle News (4 April, 1934, “Sharon Youth Is Severely Burned”; 30 Jan, 1942, “Youths Confess Three Robberies”); Titusville Herald, 6 May 1942, “Severe Sentence Pronounced On Boy Burglar”;
By half past four in the morning, William Janiel was too blind drunk to drive his car, so he gave the keys to Josephine Stewart and told her to take him home, regardless of the fact that Josephine was blind drunk too. As they progressed at some speed down South Mill street, she somehow struck a parked car and crashed straight into another. William Janiel was quite badly hurt—pain in his head; blood on his clothes. Even so, he figured he would have a better chance of getting home if Josephine didn’t drive anymore, so he took over from there.
Officers Bartoshek and Rozzi arrived at the scene and were investigating the damage to the cars when William Janiel’s wife came hurrying down the street towards them, telling them to come to her house to save her husband, who was bleeding to death.
The Janiels lived just around the corner on Pennsylvania avenue. When the police got there, William Janiel was sitting on the porch, covered in blood but not dying, and Josephine Stewart was inside. The officers arrested the pair and were immediately attacked by Janiel’s enraged wife. Despite suffering what they described as a pounding from the woman, they were able to get Janiel and Josephine into the police cruiser and take them to the New Castle hospital along with Janiel’s wife, whom they also arrested. At the hospital, the drunk and furious prisoners caused such disruption that they couldn’t be treated, and all three were taken away to be jailed instead.
Janiel’s wife was released the next day without being charged. Josephine and Janiel were charged with driving a motor vehicle while under the influence and, a month later, were given the customary sentence of thirty days in the county jail, out in three if they paid $100 and costs. They paid up.
Later that year, Josephine sustained severe injuries—a concussion and some damage to her hip and pelvis—when she fell from the upper storey of her home on South Crawford avenue while cleaning the windows.Sources: New Castle News (26 May 1953, “Three Arrested After Incident”; 3 June 1953, “Bills Returned By Grand Jury”; 18 June, 1953, “Two Prisoners Given Paroles”; 15 Oct 1953, “Woman Badly Hurt Washing Windows”)
The January, 1939, basketball game between New Castle high and Butler high dominated the sports pages of the New Castle News for three days, causing even news of Joe Louis’s defence of his world champion title to be squeezed into a few column inches. The winning team stood a good chance of taking the section three title, which New Castle had taken from Butler the year before. The honour of the town was at stake.
The lead sports story on the day of the game told of New Castle’s hopes that James Clark, one of the team’s star players, would carry the game. He was bound to give the showdown everything he had—not only was it the biggest game of the year, but it was to be his final game for the team as he had completed six semesters and would be ineligible to play after that night. The sports reporter acknowledged that it would be hard to replace James. That was a problem for another day, though; the only thing that mattered now was that he would lead his team to victory and go out in glory.
However, on the night that that story went to press, as the papers were being printed and folded and tied in bundles ready to hit the streets the next day, James—dressed in his team jacket—and two other boys were arrested and charged with aggravated assault and battery and highway robbery after mugging a man named Lloyd Peak in Moravia street. All three were sent to the county jail in default of bail.
New Castle played without James and lost the game, 28-21. Butler high went on to take the title.
That summer, James joined the Civilian Conservation Corps, a last-resort relief programme that sent unemployed young men to government labour camps where they cut down trees, dug ditches and cleared streams for $30 a month.
New Castle high didn’t reclaim the section three title until 1942.Sources: New Castle News (18 Nov 1937, “Bombers Start Floor Workouts”; 24 Jan 1939 “New Castle And Butler Will Play Here Tonight”; 25 Jan 1939, “Three Face Charges In Hold-Up Case”; 25 Jan 1939, “New Castle High Loses To Butler High 28-21”; 3 March 1939, Sports page stub; 17 July 1939, “CCC Exam Is Being Conducted Today”).
William Mattingly’s car exploded outside his house at 4 o’clock in the morning. His housekeeper, the first to leave the house and see the car in flames, noticed a man standing in the trees nearby. She shone a torch on him and he ran away.
A stick of dynamite or a heavy charge of powder had been placed on the car’s gas tank and ignited. Mattingly couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to blow up his car, and couldn’t think who might have done it, but the police questioned him until they came up with a suspect: Carl Van Houten, with whom Mattingly had “had some difficulties over a bill.”
Carl was arrested on a charge of malicious mischief by use of explosives. He pled innocent, but was found guilty and got a $1 fine and two to four years in the penitentiary.Sources: New Castle News (26 Oct 1938, “Charge Attempt To Wreck Auto”; 29 Dec 1938, “Court Imposes Heavy Penalties”).