100 Years Ago in Warren: Potato grifters and young toughs

100 Years Ago in Warren: Potato grifters and young toughs

From an ad in the Warren and Barrington Gazette, this week in 1912.

Taken from the pages of the Warren and Barrington Gazette this week in November 1912:

Plenty of coal

The coal shortage is apparently over as far as Warren is concerned anyway, as The Staples Coal Co., seems to have a good supply on hand and one of the barges of this company is discharging a load at the wharf of the Warren Manufacturing Co. L.P. Bosworth also has a good supply of the black diamonds now, and is moreover able to be about and attend to its sale.


That all of young America is not being brought up in the way that it should be is apparent to any one who passes through Main street on Sunday, or even on a week day, when those who have a due sense of their duty to society are usually busy at some useful occupation. There are too many young men, or overgrown boys who make a business of loafing about the center of the town, smoking cigarets, talking loudly and not always with due regard to decency, for the credit of the town. Such conditions would not be tolerated in many cities, and should not be here, for the good name of the tow.

Potato grifter

Early Monday afternoon a man of good appearance called at the home of James Conley on Luther street. He carried in his hand some good looking potatoes and displayed them to Mrs. Conley. He told her he was a produce dealer from Fall River and had been disposing of potatoes like the samples at 75 cents per bushel, but having only a few bushels left, he had made a deal with Mr. Conley on the street to sell him what he wanted at 65 cents a bushel. Mrs. Conley said her husband was in Providence and it would be wise to wait until he got home, but the man was anxious to get rid of his load and goto his home in Fall River, he said. He wanted his money and would make immediate delivery. The woman finally decided to purchase four bushels and she paid him $2.60 and he gave her a receipt signed “George Williams, 43 Pleasant Place, Fall River.” He then left the house to go to his wagon, it was supposed. After he had been gone half an hour a member of the family wondered where he was and looked to see if the delivery had been made in the yard unknown to him. They failed to find the potatoes and a search of the vicinity failed to locate the man. It then dawned upon the people that they had been victimized and steps were taken to locate the smooth stranger. George Wilbur and a member of the Conley family went all over town in an auto but could not find any trace of the man, and Chief Walsh visited every place where it was believed he might have gone, but it was evident that he lost no time in making tracks for other fields as soon as he got the money. The man is described as six feel tall and wearing a dark coat, brown suit and derby hat.