Posts Tagged ‘Pittsburgh PA’

Whisky; It Burns

October 30, 2012

Image from Life in Western Pennsylvania



Employee Unable to Escape from a Big Building — Walls Fall and Crush Adjoining Houses — Many Persons Hurt in the Crowd.

PITTSBURG, Pa., Oct. 28. — The explosion of a barrel of whisky in the big warehouse of the Chautauqua Lake Ice company yesterday afternoon caused the destruction of over $500,000 worth of property and serious injury to eight persons. Several of the injured, it is feared, will die. A score of more of others received slight cuts and bruises or were trampled on by the mob surrounding the burning buildings. Those seriously hurt were:

T.J. HEILMAN, married; dropped from the third floor to the ground; hands and face terribly burned. His injuries are considered fatal.

MARTIN GRIFFITH, married; dangerously burned.

EDWARD SEES, body and head badly burned; may not recover.

WILLIAM COX, dangerously burned about face and body.

W.M. SMITH, painfully burned; will recover.

LIEUT. FRANK McCANN of engine No. 7; struck by falling bricks and left leg broken.

WILLIAM WISMAN, struck by falling timbers and skull fractured.

JOHN REISCHE, badly hurt by falling timbers.

It was just twenty minutes after 1 o’clock when a number of employes on the third floor of the ice company’s buildings were startled by a loud report, and almost instantly the large room was ablaze. The men started for the stairs, but the flames had already cut off their retreat, and the only means of exit left them were the windows, fifty feet from the ground. By this time the heat was so intense that they were forced to creep out upon the window sills and hang by their hands until the fire department arrived. The flames bursting from the windows burned their hands and faces, but they hung their until the firemen placed their ladders in position and brought them down.

To aid to the excitement it was discovered that a large tank of ammonia was located in the cellar of the ice company’s building, and the police, fearing an explosion, quickly ordered the occupants of the houses on Twelfth street to vacate. All the houses in the neighborhood are a cheap class of tenements and crowded to suffocation with Poles and Slavs. When they were told to move out a panic indescribable started among them. House-hold goods store goods, children and everything that could be carried away were rushed to a place of safety.

The walls of the Mulberry alley side fell in with a crash and a few minutes later the eastern wall came down. The debris buried a low row of tenements in the alley and a three-story brick dwelling on Thirteenth street. The tenements were occupied by families, but fortunately they had been deserted some time before the walls fell in. Not one of the families had a chance to save any of their goods and all their furniture was destroyed. The ruins took fire immediately, and for a while the entire tenement district of Penn avenue was threatened with destruction.

When the walls of the big buildings fell the great mob of people made a rush to get out of danger. Many men tripped and fell and were trampled under foot. Several received painful but not dangerous bruises. Sheets of iron were cast from the burning buildings by the fury of the flames and hurled into the crowds. Scores of people received slight injuries, which were dressed in neighboring drug stores.

The Daily Review (Decatur, Illinois) Oct 29, 1893

Another article about the same fire:(I think the above newspaper got the date wrong)
Davenport Daily Leader (Davenport, Iowa) Oct 27, 1893

Again with the whisky barrels? Really?


Pittsburg. Feb 10. — The lost of life and property by the fire last night in the great cold storage plant of the Chautauqua Lake Ice company, was the greatest in the history of Pittsburg. At least fifteen persons were killed, over a score injured and property valued at a million and one-half destroyed. The loss of life was caused by the explosion of several hundred barrels of whisky in the ware house, knocking out one of the walls.

The dead are: Lieut. of Police John A. Berry, John Dwyer, William Scott, Jr., the son of President Scott of the Chautauqua State Ice Co.; Stanley Seitz, George Loveless, Mrs. Mary Sipe and her mother; Stanley Sipe, Lieut. Josep Johnson, a fireman name unknown; William L. Wallenstein, and three unknown men.

The missing are: Nathaniel Green, accountant of the Dailmerer building, supposed to be in the ruins; Thomas Lynch, iceman in the employ of the Chautaqua company, supposed to be in the ruins; Edward Berry watchman of the storage building.

It is believed that at least ten more bodies are in the ruins, which are still too hot to be moved. The principal losses are: Union Storage company, $775,900; Hoever’s Storage Warehouse and contents, $600,000; Chautauqua Ice company, $150,000.

Three more bodies were taken from the ruins this forenoon. The dead it is now thought will reach 25. Those taken out this morning were: John Hanna, Bookkeeper and cashier of the Chautauqua Lake Ice Co.; John Scott, another son of President Scott, and an unknown fireman.


Later. — But eight bodies were recovered instead of 14, as first reported. Four are missing, and the firemen believe that a number of others are still under the ruins. The correct list of the identified dead is Lieut. Police Berry; John Dwyer, William Scott, Jr., Stanley Sipe, George Loveless, William A. Wallrobenstein, Josiah Hanna, and William Smith. The missing, Nathaniel Green, Thomas Lynch, John Scott and Edwin Barry.

Davenport Daily Leader (Davenport, Iowa) Feb 10, 1898

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More about the Chautauqua Lake Ice Company:

The Olean Democrat (Olean, New York) Mar 14, 1889

The Olean Democrat (Olean, New York) Jan 15, 1891

Seven Die In Yule Tragedy; Grief-Crazed Mother Amuck

December 19, 2011

Seven Die In Yule Tragedy; Grief-Crazed Mother Amuck
(Associated Press)

Pittsburgh, Dec. 24.

The paper bells and tinsel garlands that made Walter Dempsey’s home ready for a happy Christmas grace a house of tragedy today, for all but one of the family of six are dead, slain, police say, by a woman driven mad by the death of her own son.

In addition, the woman herself and her sister are dead in the multiple Yuletide tragedy.

Coming to the suburban home of Dempsey, her brother, Mrs. Kathryn Schoch, 37, of Dunkirk, N.Y., a trained nurse made the family merry with gifts for all, but in the night shot them with a pistol and ended her own life with poison.

Five of the Dempsey family died in the shooting yesterday. The mother alone still lives.

A pitiful note, telling how she could not have her little seven-year-old son with her to enjoy Christmas happiness, was found by police who said it held the explanation of the motive for her act.

At Mrs. Schoch’s apartment in Dunkirk, police broke in and found her sister, Mrs. Ruth Dempsey Hughes, dead of a bullet wound. They said she possibly had been slain by Mrs. Schoch before the later left for Pittsburgh.

Besides Mrs. Hughes and Mrs. Schoch, the dead are: Walter Dempsey, 42, a welfare worker; Robert, 12; Thomas eight; Walter, Jr., 10, and David, aged 15 months, all sons of Dempsey.

Mrs. Clara Dempsey, the mother, is in a hospital with a bullet wound in the head. Physicians said she has a chance for recovery.

Hamilton Daily News Journal (Hamilton, Ohio) Dec 24, 1934

Hello Girl Pops a Peeper

June 30, 2010

Image from Wiki


Man Was Climbing Through Window at Telephone Exchange.

(By Associated Press.)

Pittsburg, Pa., Sept 16.

While working at the board in the Homestead Telephone exchange early today, Miss Margaret Wall, the operator saw a man climbing through a window of the room.

She seized her revolver, and fired.

Blood on the side walk showed at least one bullet had found its mark.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Sep 16, 1911

Conrad Hawk: Over the Allegheny Mountains

November 20, 2009

Pittsburg, Pennsylvania 1839

Image from the Historical Maps of Pennsylvania website.

DIED, recently, in Pennsylvania, Mr. Conrad Hawk, aged 79 — he was the first man who drove a wagon over the Allegheny mountain, being driver in the expedition under gen. Forbes, which took Fort Pitt in 1758. When we recollect that from 4 to 5,000 wagon loads of goods have been delivered at Pittsburg in one year, we may estimate the change that has occurred since the “first wagon was driven across the Aleghenies.” — Balt. W. Reg.

Ohio Repository, The (Canton, Ohio) Apr 20, 1815

To Punish Scolds

March 1, 2009



In Law Latin There Was No Word For Male Common Scold — Woman Indicted In Jersey City In 1889 as a Common Scold.

Not only is the common scold still within the purview of laws against routs and riots and favoring tranquility of the vicinage, but it is held that the ducking stool is yet a means of punishment should some appreciative Pennsylvania judge have the nerve to decree a renewal of its use. Fine and imprisonment are the modern refuge agains the shrewish. No judge would care to return to the old ways, for the gossips might wonder over his woman hatred and the public might think he was getting personal.

It is likely that few people know that the ducking stool was once employed in Pittsburg. It is held that women had more grounds for scolding in pioneer days than now, and hence the stool should again be brought into requisition.

The English settlers brought to the United States the ducking stool as an implement of punishment, as they imported the common law. At Plymouth, whence the pilgrims sailed, can be seen today the old ducking stools. Even in 1808 a woman was ducked there. The Puritans brought over the common scold law, and it was adopted in New Jersey and Delaware. In 1889 the grand jury of Jersey City indicted Mrs. Mary Brady as a common scold. It was found to be there, as here, still an indictable offense, and that the ducking stool was yet available as a means of punishment, not having been specifically abolished by the revised statutes.

The stool was used in Virginia, for Bishop Meade, in his “Old Churches, Ministers and Families In Virginia,” writes of ducking scolds from a vessel in the James river. From the Old Dominion the practice of thus treating scolds reached Pittsburg. It would be digressing to repeat the history of the establishment of courts in this city by Virginia, which began Feb. 21, 1775. On the second day of that court, the birthday of George Washington, then but 43, the sheriff was ordered to employ workmen to build a ducking stool at the confluence of the Ohio with the Monongahela.

By patient delying one can dig up much curious information about the ducking stool. Allusions to it recur in English chronicles all through the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Scolding women in these olden times were deemed offenders against the public peace. Blackstone in his “Commentaries” treats of the common scold in his chapter on “Public Wrongs.” After discussing offenses of graver degree his prelude is, “To descend next to offenses whose punishment is short of death.” These offenses are such, he says, “as annoy the whole community in general, and not merely some particular portion, and therefore are indictable, not actionable, as it would be unreasonable to multiply suits by giving every man a separate right of action for what damnifies him in common only with the rest of his fellow subjects.”

Then the great jurist treats of six classes of public nuisances and concludes: “Lastly, a common scold, communis rixatrix (for our law Latin confines it to the feminine gender), is a public nuisance to her neighborhood. She may be indicted, and if convicted placed in a certain engine of correction, called the trebucket, castigatory or cucking stool, which in the Saxon language is said to signify the scold stool, though now it is frequently corrupted into ducking stool because the residue of the judgement is that when she is so placed therein she shall be plunged in water for her punishment.”

Blackstone was a better jurist than etymologist. There was in even as early as the fifteenth century the punishment of sitting in the cucking stool for using short weights, selling bad ale and scolding, but it was a chair of disgrace placed in front of the offender’s own home. In the lapse of time the cucking and the ducking stool became synonymous.

In his “Travels In England” in 1700 Mission writes: “The way of punishing scolding women is pleasant enough. They fasten an armchair to the end of two beams, 12 or 15 foot long and parallel to each other, so that these two pieces of wood with their two ends embrace the chair, which hangs between them upon a sort of axle, by which means it plays freely and always remains in the natural horizontal position in which the chair should be, that a person may sit conveniently in it, whether you raise it or let it down. They set up a post on the bank of a pond or river, and over this post they lay, almost in equilibrium, the two pieces of wood, at one end of which the chair hangs over the water.”

The English poets have had their thrusts at the ducking stool, when their eyes in fine frenzy rolling seem to have caught inspiration from the temper of the shrew. In 1665, in “Homer a la Mode,” the poet sings:

She belonged to Billingsgate
And oftentimes had rid in state
And sat in the bottom of a pool
Enthroned in a ducking stool.

West wrote a complete poem on the stool in 1780, the philosophy of which likes in the extracted couplet:

No brawling wives, no furious wenches,
No fire so hot but water quenches.

All through England there were the stools used for ducking scolds. There was one at Rugby, and in 1820 a man was ducked for beating his wife. Court records reveal many instances where the penalty was inflicted on women.

The chair used at Scarborough, England, is yet preserved. It was last used in 1795, when Mrs. Gamble was “ducked three times over the head and cars.” In the museum at Ipswich is another. It has rods converging over the seat, with a ring through which to run a pole. In 1728 the constable of Morley charged 2 shillings for a pole. The stools in some cities were on wheels, and were called scolding carts. At Kingston-upon-Thames ducking was not infrequent, and the London Post in 1715 reports the ducking of  “a woman who keeps the Queen’s Head alehouse for scolding, in the presence of 3,000 people.” It was at Leominster in 1809 that the last recorded ducking of a woman occurred in England. The stool used is preserved in the jail there. Jenny Pipes was paraded through town on the stool and ducked near Konwater bridge.

Common Scold Wearing a Brank or Bridle

Common Scold Wearing a Brank or Bridle

There was another instrument of punishment for scolds, but not as ancient as the stool. It was the brank, or scold’s bridle. Its modern autotype is the mask of the baseball catcher, except there was a sharpened plate of iron in front that hurt the tongue when an effort to talk was made. The brank figures in literature as frequently as the stool. — Pittsburg Dispatch.

Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth, New Hampshire) Feb 16, 1901