Towards the end of the nineteenth century, Henry Waters Hartman founded a new town to the south of New Castle, purchasing acres of farm land to parcel up and sell as sites for factories and housing developments. Isaac Ellwood, an industrialist who had grown rich from barbed wire, supplied the initial investment, as well as a name for the town.
Ellwod City’s grand future never materialised. In its early years, Hartman and Ellwood boosted the town’s prospects as they tried to convince industries to settle in the valley. The town had better railroad facilities than any town in western Pennsylvania, they said, and it had more valuable mineral products than could be found in any other one place. Dozens of new factories were due to open, they claimed, bringing with them thousands of workers. Their advertisements urged, “Buy now! Don’t wait a year until the town is four times as large and value proportionately higher!”
By the turn of the century, only two thousand people had come to Ellwood City. A handful of manufacturing concerns had opened up, but the town was never to live up to its ostentatious name.
In 1936, when George and William Chatterton were arrested for aggravated assault, the population was close to its peak of twelve thousand. The town had no court house so, like all Ellwood City lawbreakers, the brothers were dealt with in New Castle.
The 17th of June had been the hottest day of the year and had culminated in an electric storm with gales that tore down trees and lightning that flashed along overhead power lines, throwing off fire balls in all directions. At half past seven that night, George Chatterton went to the Ellwood City police station to tell them to come out and arrest a man named Adam Klink, who had hit him in the jaw. He was drunk, and the police refused to do anything until he had made out an information at a squire’s office.
George went to meet his brother, William, who accompanied him to Frank Rocco’s saloon on Lawrence street, where they attacked Adam Klink.
During the scuffle, William’s attention was attracted by something that was said by Walter Shinsky, a customer who was sitting at a nearby booth. William went over to the booth and glowered at Shinksy. Shinsky got to his feet and William struck him. Further blows were exchanged, and George came to William’s aid. Shinsky was beaten to the floor and George fell upon him, biting his chin. Other customers separated them, and everyone who was involved in the fight was thrown out of the bar.
In the street, Shinksy was knocked down again. William jumped on him and bit off his lower lip, which was left attached by only a shred of skin.
The police broke up the brawl. William and George were arrested and Shinsky was taken to the hospital, where his lip was stitched back in place. He was left with scars which he was able to display to the jury in New Castle court house three months later, when the Chatterton brothers were found guilty—George of assault and battery and William of mayhem. George was given a $50 fine and four months in the county jail; William a $100 fine and one to two years in the Western penitentiary. There is no further record of either brother.Sources: New Castle News (27 July 1892, Ellwood City advertisement; 18 June 1936, “Police Arrest Three In Brawl”, “Pa Newc Observes”; 23 Sep 1936, “Shinsky Says Lip Bitten In Fight”; 25 Sep 1929, “Two Chattertons Are Found Guilty”; 3 Oct 1936, “Drunken Drivers Given Jail Terms”)
The night sergeant in police headquarters from 1907 until 1925 was Gene Buckley, who passed his time composing colourful passages about the arrests of the day in the police docket. An entry from 14 April 1910 reads, “Sam Johnson (a pusson of color) was very much at large last night and in a feverish frame of mind. He had stowed away a considerable quantity of fire water and proceeded to give an imitation of a war dance interspersed with blood-curdling war whoops that made men who had retired for the night make a flying leap for their trousers hanging on the bed posts and grab their revolvers from under the pillow and hasten to the street, thinking a riot was in progress. The officer came at a two-ten clip. Seeing Sam giving a performance that might win him plaudits on the vaudeville stage, but was out of place on the street, he gave him the hook.”
One of Buckley’s later entries reads, “The prisoner and a friend of his went to the carnival on South Mill street and entered the side show. One of them didn’t like the show and amused himself by expectorating on the monkeys. The showman put him out and he got sore and further amused himself by throwing bricks at the showman.” The same carnival provided another entry: “The prisoner was earning his oats by allowing people to throw balls at his head. One of the marksmen hit him on the shoulder instead of the head and he became indignant. He pulled a revolver and threatened to perforate the crowd with bullets.”
After cataracts forced Buckley from the service, the dockets became more formal, recording only the names of prisoners, the property in their possession, the time and date of the arrest, the name of the arresting officer and the crime with which they were charged. The inclusion of only such basic information meant that each docket was capable of recording around ten-thousand crimes before it needed to be replaced. The first docket after Buckley retired lasted four years; each docket in the thirties lasted around three years; and by the forties and fifties, they lasted less than two years.
Forsyth Murphy was the first person to be entered into the fresh docket that was opened on 12th September 1944. He was charged with intoxication, disorderly conduct and “interference with a newsboy”. Nothing further is known of the incident, or of Forsyth.Sources: New Castle News (15 April 1910, “Sergeant Buckley Blossoms Out As Police Scribe”; 22 May 1922, “Rare History Discovered In City Docket”; 2 Jan 1929, “Four Thousand Names On Police Docket”; 8 June 1934, “Old Docket Started September 30, 1930”; 3 Nov 1937, “Around City Hall”; 12 Sep 1944, “File Police Docket With 10,500 Names”; 24 Aug 1948, “10,879 Arrests In 22 Months”).
Edward Kozol was seventeen when he was fined for stealing scrap iron from the B&O Railroad yard. It was 1937, and the scrap yards that had been packed with tons of junk for as long as he could remember were suddenly almost empty. Through the ’20s and ’30s, no one had been interested in scrap iron, no matter how low the price; now, foreign countries were willing to buy all that America could supply and the price had risen to almost $20 a ton.
Most of the scrap metal went to Germany, Italy and Japan, for purposes that were no secret. The consequences were obvious to those who sold it, and perhaps also those, like Edward, who stole it. Fred Rentz, the manager of the New Castle News wrote, “Since so many nations have been buying American scrap iron for munitions, we are afraid to throw away our old coffee pot for fear it may be shot back at us.”
Two years later, a re-armed Europe was at war. By 1943, Edward and his brothers had all been drafted.
Edward joined the 9th infantry division. He spent six months in training in America before shipping out to England to prepare for the invasion of the European mainland. On 10th June, 1944—four days after D-day—Edward’s regiment landed in Normandy. They fought their way up the coast to Cherbourg then headed inland. Outside Le Dézert, they came under fire from the remnants of a Panzer division that was pulling out of the region and Edward was killed. He had been in France for thirty-four days and had travelled twenty-five miles from the beach where he landed.
A year after the end of the war, a remembrance service was held in Edward’s church, Saints Philip and James’s, on Hanna street. More than a hundred men from the parish had gone to war and all but twelve had returned alive. After the mass, twelve little girls dressed entirely in white placed candles on the altar and the dead men’s mothers were presented with medals, which they held as the congregation sang “Dobry Jezu”, a funeral hymn that asks for eternal rest for the dead, and for eternal light to shine on them.Sources: New Castle News (2 June 1937, “One Hundred Pass Operators Test”; 10 March 1937, “Scrap Iron Boom In Evidence Here”; 24 Dec 1937, “Hints and Dints”; 9 Aug 1943, “In US Army Service”; 2 Oct 1943, “County Group Enters Service”; 12 Aug 1944, “Pfc E E Kozol Killed In France”; 18 Nov 1946, “Welcome Home Given Veterans”; 9 May 1967, “Deaths Of The Day”)
Hugh Clements, Samuel’s father, was born in Ireland in 1880. He came to New Castle as a boy and got work in the first tin mill in town when it was opened by the Greer brothers in 1893. Within a year of his marriage to Pearl Toy of Edinburg he had become a father and had appeared in court on charges of assault and desertion that were brought by his wife. The judge ordered him to move his family out of his parents’ house, where they had moved after the wedding and bound the couple to live in a home of their own, according to the following advice: “Both forgive and forget; make your dwelling a home for both of you and overlook small matters.”
Hugh stayed at the tin mill for forty years. When he was pensioned in 1937, he and Pearl moved out to the old Flynn farm at Parkstown Corners in Union township, which had become available when the Flynns grew too old to run the business and had no one to pass it on to as their only son, Charles, had died in a fall from an apple tree on the property at the age of thirty-nine.
Hugh Clements had been in charge of the farm just six months when he was killed. He was jolted from the tractor that was hauling in his first crop of wheat from the field, and the back wheel ran over his head, crushing his skull. Pearl went to live with her son, Samuel, who worked in the Republic Steel mill in Youngstown, Ohio.
The year before his father died, Samuel had crashed his car into another car on Long avenue and spent a month in jail for driving while intoxicated—the crime for which his mug shot was taken. Samuel and his mother lived together until the war, when Samuel was sent to Europe to work as a topographical surveyor in the army. After he returned home, Samuel and his mother moved to New Castle, where he found work as an electrician’s helper in the B&O railroad yards. He never married.
Samuel was forty-one years old when he spilled gasoline down the front of his overalls while he was filling up a tractor crane in the workshop. He went into an empty room that was used by electricians and, seconds later, ran back into the workshop with his clothing on fire. His fellow workers were unable to extinguish the flames until his clothes had been virtually burned from him. He suffered third-degree burns over his entire body and died three days later in the Jameson Memorial hospital.
Samuel’s mother arranged for him to be buried with military rites—a colour guard, riflemen and bugler. She went to live with her daughter, Gertrude, and died in 1964, at the age of eighty-one.Sources: 25 Sep 1901, “Clements-Toy Nuptials”; 10 Dec 1902, “Court’s Decree In A Surety Of Peace Case”; 14 Oct 1922, “C H Flynn Is Killed In Fall From Apple Tree”; 2 March 1937, “Driver Is Held After Accident”; 4 June 1937, “Sentences Are Imposed Today”; 20 July 1938, “Union Township Farmer Is Killed”; 12 April 1945, “In US Armed Service”; 11 Feb 1949, “Man Sustains Critical Burns”; 14 Feb 1949, “Burns Fatal To B And O Worker”; 18 Feb 1949, “Clements Funeral”; 6 Aug 1964, “Deaths Of The Day”