100 Years Ago in Warren: Riot in the Polish colony


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

Riot in the Polish colony

The north end of the town was the scene of a lively scrap on Saturday night last, between the police and a few Polanders who were the worse for too much liquor. There are several versions of the scrap, and most of them have been highly colored and grossly exaggerated. The accounts which have appeared in one paper are so far from being exact as to reflect greatly on the police force and the Polish people as a whole. The row started over the unwished for attentions that one Polander insisted upon paying to a young lady who was dancing with a compatriot. His actions and remarks were so obnoxious that Officer Perron, one of the special policemen who is on duty Saturday nights and Sundays, was called in to remove the man. This he attempted to do, when suddenly he found himself surrounded by a crowd of the fellow's friends who offered vigorous protest to the man's arrest. Officer Cronin, who had been in the entry of the hall, stepped in and took a hand in the proceedings. There was quite a scrimmage, the officers being obliged to draw their clubs and use them quite freely … By this time things had quieted down considerably. The crowd had separated into small groups. The officers knew who they wanted however, and they succeeded in arresting two, Michael Gerulia who had made an assault on Officer Perron, and Antonio Redzim who had obstructed Officer Cronin in the discharge of his duty. There are others who are well known who are wanted in the affair, and who will be landed by the police force before many days. All sorts of stories and rumors were afloat after the affair took place and it was spoken of as anything from a drunken brawl to a riot. One might have expected the police to be covered with plaster and bandages when seen next, but such is not the case. From appearances one would never suspect that they had had an encounter. All were on duty last night as usual. The affair was precipitated by John Sippe when he "butted in" and attempted to prevent Officer Perron from taking his man. John will get his later. DeBlois hall has been the stage for many a brawl by members of the Polish colony. For a long time dances were held by them regularly every Saturday night and it was at the close of one of these dances that this jamboree began. Instead of "pink lemonade," they have something much stronger to refresh the inner man, one citizen of the town remarking that there was more beer drunk there, than in all the legal places put together on each Saturday night. The better element of the Polish people of the community suffer by things of this sort, and there are plentuy of as fine citizens among that element as could be wished for. It is regrettable that the stigma should fall in this fashion. The town, too, has earned an unenviable reputation by the publicity of such grossly exaggerated statements as have been made about the matter.

Only fit for the hogs

Years ago — seventy five or eighty — one of Warren's old-time school masters went out to a farm and as the owner happened to be dressing some "beef critters" for home consumption, he asked if he might buy some of the liver. By the way, the teacher was not a native of these parts. "Buy some liver?" was the retort of the farmer. "No, take all you want. We don't eat it around here. It's only fit for the hogs." And so it was used for the greater part, beef liver or calf, to feed the swine — and now "the swine" are glad to buy it and the market man happy to sell it. Beef liver, 14c a pound; calf, 35c per pound; if you please. Fresh tripe, 18c. — and steak — why only a prince of the realm can breakfast on sirloin. Where the thing will end, only the wildest dreams of fancy can imagine.



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