A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Monday, April 25, 2011

History: Pool Hall Fight, May 1929

The 3 May 1929 edition of The Matawan Journal contains this article:

Three Colored Men Sent to County Jail by Recorder Bolte.
As the result of a free-for-all fight at the Edwards pool room, Main street, in which a razor and an iron bar played an important part three Matawan colored men are serving sentences in the county jail at Freehold. The prisoners and the sentences handed out to them by Recorder Harry Bolte Sr., follows:
  • Emanuel Ellison, thirty, of 21 Atlantic Avenue, accused of cutting Joseph Worsley with a razor or knife, six months.
  • Joseph Harrison, twenty-three, 21 Atlantic Avenue, charged with throwing a pool ball through a window and being drunk and disorderly, ten days.
  • Joseph Worsley, Dock Street, accused with attacking Ellison with an iron bar, ninety days. Worsley has a knife wound under the left shoulder blade that Dr. Cyrus C. Knecht, Borough Physician, found it necessary to take three stitches to close. The wound was about three inches long and quite deep. 
Theodore Edwards, a child was cut on the head by flying glass and was treated by Dr. Knecht.

Others arrested but later dismissed when it was learned they had not taken part in the trouble were: Joseph Taylor, Angler Francis and Edward Tibbs. Joseph Taylor testified as a witness. It is believed that action will be taken to close the pool room which has been the scene of other disturbances.

The 1930 Federal Census shows Emanuel Ellison, age 31, born in Florida to Florida parents, living on Atlantic Avenue in Matawan with his wife of one year Bessie (22), her widowed father James Brown (50), Bessie's siblings Arthur (20) and Daisy (15), and two children under ten of unclear parentage. Emanuel was working at a lead factory. James Brown and his son Arthur both worked at the brickyard. Most of the Browns were born in Virginia to Virginia parents.

I couldn't find Joseph Harrison in the 1930 census. There was a mechanic named Joseph Worsley, age 39, of North Carolina, living with his wife and son in Philadelphia in the 1930 census.

Theodore Edwards was 8 years old in the 1930 census, son of Ervin Edwards, 38, barber, and his wife Mary. There were six children, all but the last born in North Carolina. Perhaps Ervin was running a pool hall at night, which would explain his son Theodore being caught up in the brawl? Check out this stationery from The Orient, a pool hall in Ann Arbor, Michigan that included a barber shop. There are still some establishments in California and Tennessee that have both pool and barbering under the same roof.

Dr Cyrus Knecht was a 78 years old retired widower living at 210 Main Street in the 1930 census. He was born in Pennsylvania to Pennsylvanian parents.  His son Russell, age 44, lived with him and was also listed without occupation. The doctor's son, Cyrus I Knecht, age 29, lived at the same address in a separate household with wife, Ann, two young sons, and Ann's widowed father, Edward Nix, age 60, and her brother, Edward Nix, Jr, age 23.Cyrus was living with his parents in Easton, Pennsylvania in the 1870 census. He was a physician, married and still living in Easton in the 1880 census. By the 1900 census he was a physician in Matawan Borough.

There was a father/son pair of Harry Boltes in town, but they were foundry executives. Perhaps the younger, who lived in Keyport, was the mentioned Recorder?

This same paper included a front page story about legislation by Assemblyman E Donald Sterner that had passed both the Assembly and the Senate proposing construction of a bridge across the Raritan Bay from Staten Island to Keyport. The bill was due to be signed by Governor Morgan F Larson.


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