Police Court Scenes 1915

One of my favorite columns from the Milwaukee Daily News was the Police Court Scenes. Reporters from several dailies at the time always found interesting stories at the Police Court every day. Sometimes they were sad stories of abuse and sometimes odd and funny stories unfolded in the courtroom. This story was one of the latter. Enjoy!

Milwaukee Daily News, June 24, 1915


The wheels of justice were grinding out their grist of verdicts and decisions and fines; the courtroom was silent but for the drone of low-voiced witnesses and the occasional sharp rap of the deputy’s hammer. Suddenly the spectators, the attorney and the judge were astonished to hear irrelevant words apparently spring from the lips of a witness who had just been sworn.

“Rub-a-dub-dub, three men in a tub; the cow jumped over the moon,” was what it sounded like.

The judge glanced up sharply. The lips of the witness twitched and he looked startled.

“Honest. I didn’t say a word!” he stammered.

The court was framing a reprimand when another interruption came. This time a solemn, gray-haired police sergeant, who was sitting in one of the front rows, seemed to shout:

“I’m getting tired of hanging around this blamed court. If something doesn’t happen soon, I’ll pull my revolver and start something!”

Everybody turned his way. The sergeant almost fell off the bench. But attention was distracted when from underneath one of the benches came sounds indicating a dog fight. There were whines, barks and yelps of pain. The deputies made for the spot and nearly collapsed when they found no trace of a canine.

“Spooks!” they gasped.

“Right-o!” cried a dapper little fellow who popped out of the bull pen, hat in hand and smiling blandly. “Reginald Spooks of Spokane, that’s me. Cops nabbed me last night for being drunk. Didn’t know who I was. Here’s my card,” and he handed a pasteboard to the judge.

“‘Reginald Spooks, ventriloquist,'” read the judge. “Oh!” he exclaimed as an afterthought, “that explains it.”

“I can throw my voice forty ways,” grinned Spooks. “Some dog fight that was, eh? Ha! Ha! I’m clever – what?”

“You may entertain the prisoners at the workhouse for fifteen days,” said the judge.

Police Court Stories

The Milwaukee Daily News in the early teens seemed to always have reporters that would cover the quirky cases of the Police Court. The reporters would delve into it and always come up some stories that were odd.

Friday, April 10, 1914

Mrs. Josephine Harczak is the proprietress of a boarding house on Middlemass avenue and up to Wednesday night Stanislaws Wajevic was the star boarder.

Stanislaws won the heart of Mrs. Harczak, who is a widow and a good cook, by praising her hash and her dead husband, and the fact that he sported a clean collar twice a week and paid his board bill promptly led the good housewife to believe that Stanislaws was a Russian nobleman in disguise.

Stanislaws ogled with Mrs. Harczak at the breakfast table, flirted with her at dinner, and he chucked her under the chin and winked at her after the supper dishes had been cleared away.

It was a romantic courtship and it lasted two weeks. It ended Monday night with a proposal of marriage.

“Will you be mine, fair one?” breathed Stanislaws into his landlady’s ear while they were seated on the sofa, “There is nothing on earth I wouldn’t do for you!”

“Oh, Stanny, this is so sudden! But it took you so long to say it.” she gushed coyly. “I am yours for keeps.”

They would be married in May, promised Stanislaws.

Tuesday night the man jumped up from the table while reading a newspaper and pointed out to his promised one an item which stated that a house a block away had been entered by thieves.

“This is bad,” he told the landlady. “They will come here next. I’ve got a gun and am prepared for ’em. Better let me take care of your valuables, Josie, and they’ll be safer.”

“Good idea.” agreed Mrs. Harczak. She turned over to her fiance $135 in cash and a number of rings.

At 11:30 o’clock Wednesday night there was a great commotion in the Harczak boarding house. Doors slammed, there was a sound of footsteps in the dark hallways and suddenly two revolver shots rang out and woke up the sleepers.

White-faced and apprehensive, the boarders peered out of their rooms.

Mrs. Harczak casually noticed that he bravely entered the hall.

She saw Stanislaws hopping in the hall in blue pajamas and a black rage. He was brandishing a gun and cussing.

“They got it, the villyins!” he howled. “Two sneak thieves got in my rooms and stole your money and jewelry. They skipped out. I shot one of the fellows in the ear but he dove through a window.”

Mrs. Harczak casually noticed that all of the doors and windows were fastened on the inside. It was queer, thought she, that the “burglars” could get in through the keyhole. Then a horrible suspicion dawned on her.

Under the pretense of making the beds, Mrs. Harczak entered the would-be husband’s room Thursday afternoon, instigating a search and found the money and rings reposing at the bottom of her boarder’s trunk. She had the man arrested.

In court Stanislaws asked for a continuance for a week. It was granted.

This one seems particularly appropriate today and may be something we should go back to?

March 13, 1914

Gustave Wiese, found guilty of carrying a concealed weapon on March 6, has been judged insane by Dr. A. F. Young, who was appointed to examine him. He has a mania for collecting revolvers. The man will be removed to the Milwaukee County Hospital for the Insane.