Monday, August 5, 2013

Worse than locusts: A roving gang of thieves.

In April 1901, "A swarm of human beings more to be dreaded than a swarm of locusts have made life a misery for the farmers along the road from Indianapolis to Crawfordsville during the week.  Some were Russians but the largest part were gypsies.  All the men were big brawny fellows, and the women, barefooted and dressed in soiled finery that was picturesque, were about as dangerous looking as the men."

  • Charles Warren, farmer, received curses when he refused his grain to be stolen.
  • Hen roosts pillaged, businesses were ransacked including Philip Fink's butcher shop.
  • Dinner was out at Charles Smith's home, the vagabond bunch walked in and began eating.  A fight broke out and soup bones were thrown across the room and the cloth yanked from the table.  The horse thief detectives arrested the ring leaders and some of the mischievous women.
  • The women who were arrested then pretended to NOT know English.  So, Mr. Cohn, a Russian of this city was called as interpreter.  Fifteen days of jail were given to the women, who "howled in despair."  

This is a butcher shop in Crawfordsville.  The men are not identified. Notice the meat hanging at the side of the picture.

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