100 Years Ago in Warren: Fire water and oiled roads


Taken from the pages of the Warren and Barrington Gazette this week in May 1913:

A cell for a wigwam

Word was received by Chief Walsh Monday afternoon that Martin Kenny had again donned his war paint and was at the railroad station awaiting all comers. The employees at the depot had remonstrated with him, ordered him out, requested him to keep quiet, all in vain. Martin was boasting of his prowess, his mighty fist, his ability to crush the entire police force. His actions and his language belonged to the wilds, rather than to a civilized community. He was intoxicated. He was foul mouthed. He was a nuisance. When Chief Walsh arrived on the scene, Kenny for a moment sought to put his boasts into effect. But it was only a moment. He had the "Injun" taken out of him in short order. That night he slept in a cell for his wigwam. The next day, Tuesday, he was brought before Clerk Lonergan and fined. The charge against him was that of loitering in a public place and behaving in an indecent manner. Kenny can certainly make noise enough for a dozen Indian braves when he imbibes fire water, but unlike an Indian, he hasn't the courage of his convictions when the arm of the law enfolds him.

Off the tracks — almost

A second attempt to wreck the train running from Warren to Fall River was made last night. A heap of ties was placed on the track just beyond the Warren station at a point where the double track ends, and the single begins. Motorman Otis Morris had shut off the power to make the crossover when he saw the obstruction, but not in time to prevent the train from bumping. The train however held to the track and no damage was done. Whatever the miscreants have in view, it is impossible to say. Such wild west performances are a novelty in this section and people do not know what to think. No trace of the perpetrators of the dastardly act could be found, though the police of the town went to work on the case at once. This is the second time that the trick has been turned within a month. If the train should be ditched at this point, where there is a sharp curve, there is no doubt but what loss of life and of property would ensue.

No wonder the bay was polluted

The work of applying oil to the streets of the town has been started. The oil has arrived and is being laid by the Daniels Oil Co. of Providence. THe method of applying the oil this year is considerable of an improvement over the methods formerly in vogue and beyond doubt will prove highly satisfactory from every standpoint. In order that all may be in readiness to receive the oil, the streets are first being scraped and swept, under the direction of highway surveyor Mason. The effect of this, is to give as smooth a surface as is possible for the oil, to break up any hard places where the oil would be likely to drain off rather than mix with the road material. Instead of employing an ordinary watering cart to spread the oil, this year the Daniels company is using a sprinkling machine which is mounted behind a motor truck.

100 years ago


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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.