Author: Diarmid

Eugene Sullivan, “Murder”, 24 July 1930

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The Commodore Grill on East Washington street stayed open all night serving food and alcohol to shift workers at the mills. After prohibition, it switched to coffee but those who wanted a real drink could still get one as long as they spoke to Elmo Clarke, who boarded in the rooms above the restaurant. On 24 July 1930, Eugene Sullivan entered, shouting loudly that he wanted a pencil to write a check. It was 2.30 […]

Joseph Copple, “Armed Robbery”, 15 November 1946

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Joseph Copple left school just as the depression hit New Castle. In 1934, after years without a job, he was arrested for stealing and stripping automobiles and spent a short time in jail. In 1942, when the war reopened some of the factories, he got work in Johnson Bronze. Later that year, he was sentenced to three months for failure to support his wife. As he was led from the courtroom, he looked back and […]

Sidney Fell, “Sodomy”, 21 August 1960

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Sidney Fell and William Dugan were arrested for engaging in an act of sodomy in an empty office on the fifth floor of the Greer building on North Mercer street. They had been discovered after occupants of the building, on the look-out for a thief who had stolen $17 from a secretary’s wallet the day before, had noticed the two men loitering suspiciously in the corridors. Sidney ran a window-cleaning business; William was a manual laborer […]

Herman Robertson, “Manslaughter”, 15 June 1946

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Jack Boles, a veteran of the Spanish-American war, was the janitor in the Winters block on East street. He turned seventy-one in June, 1946, and invited the residents of the block to his apartment to help him celebrate. He and Herman Robertson, an unemployed man who lived downstairs, walked to the Produce street liquor store to buy whiskey and wine and brought it back to the building. The party went on all evening, until Jack […]

Floyd Hillkirk, “OMVWI”, 15 April 1956

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After serving in the Pennsylvania Volunteers for less than a year, Isaac Hillkirk was captured by the Confederate army in the battle of Plymouth, in 1864. The hundred or so former slaves who had fought alongside his regiment were executed on the spot. Isaac and the other white captives were sent to a prison camp in Andersonville, Georgia, where tens of thousands of Union soldiers were held in a few acres of marshy ground, surrounded […]

Clyde Kennedy, “Intox Driver”, 27 Dec 1953

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Clyde Kennedy walked with a limp because of a woodcutting accident when he was ten. (He sank an axe into his right foot while chopping wood at the cement factory.) His grandfather, Ezekiel Sankey, had owned the land on which west New Castle was built and had been largely responsible for bringing the first railroad to the town after the canal was abandoned, His cousin, Ira Sankey, was a world-famous singing evangelist whose hymn books […]

A_____ P______, “Larceny of Car”, 26 April 1935

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A_____ P_____ was seventeen when he was arrested for stealing a car. It was the only time in his life he would trouble the police. He still lives in New Castle (hence the redaction of his name), and this November he will celebrate his ninety-fifth birthday by playing in his polka band in front of family, friends and invited guests. And I’ll be there, too. At the end of November, I’m travelling to New Castle […]

Paul Hostinsky, “Drunk & Dis Cond, Resisting”, 26 December 1958

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Just after dark on the day after Christmas, 1958, the owner of the New Life Lunch on East Washington street called to a passing beat policeman that he needed help with an abusive customer. Paul Hostinsky had been drinking all afternoon and had caused a disruption when he was refused any more liquor. Officer Cubellis told Paul to get in a cab and leave. Paul kicked him in the balls. There was a scuffle. Paul […]

Lee Render, “Window Peeper”, 24 September 1945

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“Jack the Peeper” caused alarm in different parts of the city during the winter of 1894, spying on women in their homes and insulting them in the street. He was never caught. Every few years thereafter, another Jack the Peeper would be reported, among them a demented person seen running through people’s backyards in 1895; a rough-looking man who escaped by mingling with a group of Swedes who had been calling on a servant girl […]

Howard Brown, “Intox Driver”, 13 June 1949

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Howard Brown was a field gun ammunition handler in the battle for the Gothic line in 1944 and the advance into north Italy in 1945, campaigns that saw the deaths of more than one hundred and ten thousand soldiers. The war was over before he was twenty. By the time he was twenty-one, he was back in New Castle, with a job in the Lingerlight dairy, a wife and a baby daughter, whose birth moved […]