Frank Tomski was charged with the sale and possession of hard liquor while having only a malt beverages license. Prohibition had been over for four years, but the black market never went away. He paid a fine of $300 to avoid three months in jail, but he was arrested on the same charge later in the year and sent to the Alleghenny workhouse for six months. The morning he was taken away, his son, Chester, was sent to Huntingdon reformatory for stealing cars. Frank’s wife was left to run the farm and look after the other eight children.
Two years later, Frank fell ill and was dead within the day. He was fifty-eight.Sources: New Castle News (3 April 1937, “Sentences Are Passed”; 16 October 1937, “Mains Sentenced To Penitentiary For Three Years”).
How do you find all of these old mug shots and stories? I am looking for a relative of mine who was arrested in the thirties, and I do not know where to begin to look. Thank you
Hi. Finding out information about anyone that long ago is a bit of a hit-and-miss affair. I use newspaperarchive.com (which is a pay service) and footnote.com (a site that has some free census and death-record material). Sometimes you get lucky, most times you don’t. I have plenty of mug shots that I can’t find out anything about. It generally helps a lot, though, if the person you’re searching for has a unique or rare name, rather than being called John Smith.
I’ll e-mail you and, if you like, you can send me some details about your relative, and I’ll see I can come up with anything.
I have found that a relative of mine was charged with selling liquor without a license. Jennie Kulkin in 1913. Can you retrieve any New Castle News newspaper articles about it? Also, do the mugshots even go back that far?
Great blog. Thanks,
Hi Gail. First, sorry for taking so long to reply – I’ve been away from my computer for a while. I’ve found the story about your relative’s acquittal, and I’ll email it to you. That’s the only significant entry about the case, though. It’s possible that a mug shot was taken of her in 1913, although that would be a little early. I’ll keep an eye out for it and let you know if it turns up!