John Zuzow, “B&E, Lar, R.A. & D.C.”, 28 May 1938

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The Canteen, at 30 South Mercer street, was a downtown bar with a dance floor that featured round and square dancing, with music by local bands like Chuck McFarland and his Original Castleites. One November night in 1938, the management ejected John Zuzow for fighting. John continued fighting in the street, biting several passers-by. When three policemen arrived on the scene, he bit them, too.

In police court the next morning, John said he had been drinking and couldn’t remember what he’d done. James Fink, presiding, declared, “So long as I am the acting mayor of the city, anyone who interferes with or attacks a policeman may expect to pay a salty fine or undergo imprisonment.” True to his word, he fined John $25. As John was only twenty, Fink also ordered that the manager of the Canteen be questioned about serving liquor to minors.

After John was sentenced, it emerged that he was on parole for a series of crimes that he had committed on 13th May that year, a day on which he had stolen a car, burgled a store on Long avenue and violently resisted arrest. He was returned to jail.

There was no report of his release, and he appeared only two more times in the New Castle News: once, in 1945, when he was sent to jail for a month on charges of assault and battery, drunkenness and disorderly conduct at the home of his father-in-law, George Shellog; and another time, in 1947, when he was fined $10 for fighting with LeRoy and Thomas Neely on Croton avenue.

John died in New Castle on 13 August, 2000, at the age of eighty-two.

Sources: New Castle News (2 June 1938 “Faces Two Charges, Waives His Hearing”; 18 Nov 1938 “Two Are Fined On Charge Of Fighting” 19 Nov 1938 “Pleas Are Entered; Sentences Passed”; 12 Feb 1945 “Fined $50 By Mayor”; 7 March 1947 “Fined For Fighting”)

2 Comments

    • Hi Kathie. I don’t have much information on the Neely brothers. They were found not guilty of fighting with John Zuzow, which means it was probably John who started it, and they were just defending themselves. Apart from that, all I know is that LeRoy (or maybe he spelled it Leroy) died in an auto crash in 1960 and was buried with a military service. I think that he had a son, also LeRoy or Leroy, who was in the marine reserve. There’s a picture of the younger LeRoy/Leroy in the February 13th, 1975, New Castle News, showing a camera to a couple of Cub Scouts. If you like, I can send you the picture, it’s not very good quality, but it might be interesting if you know him.

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