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In 1921 and 1922, salesmen from the Point of Purchase Advertising Association visited retail businesses across the country with a simple pitch. If the business joined the advertising association, then it was eligible to receive a dollar a month (roughly $15 today) for each electric sign from a national advertiser that it placed in its business windows. Business owners could not only continue to generate their own sales with products advertised in their windows, but just the act of advertising them would generate income for the business.

“The Point of Purchase bid fair to reap a golden harvest for its promoter, due to the fact that it sounded feasible to retailers,” the York Dispatch reported.

Then in mid-June 1922, the officers of the association were arrested at their York headquarters. York Police took LeGrand Dutcher, president; Charles A. Hoffman, vice president; and Charles W. Newport, secretary, into custody and held on $5,000 bond each. The National Vigilance Committee of the Advertising Clubs of the World had investigated the company and shown their findings to the legal authorities. The investigation showed that the Point of Purchase Advertising Association was running a fraud scheme on the unsuspecting business owners.

The officers were charged with making “Fraudulent representation to organizations using prominent national retailers enabled Point of Purchase to make headway in a national membership campaign,” according to the York Dispatch. The newspaper also pointed out that the case was the first national fraud of its type.

The salesmen sold the membership contracts to retailers who then agreed to place the flashing electric signs in their storefront windows. In exchange for providing window space for the advertisers, the business owners expected a monthly check. The problem was that the retailers were led to believe that plenty of national retailers had signed up to have their businesses advertised when, in fact, they hadn’t.

“In many cases the first intimation they received that their name was being used to sell signs came from the national vigilance committee,” the York Dispatch pointed out.

Attorneys pointed out that the Point of Purchase Advertising Association’s name had been chosen with special consideration. The name reassured retailers who believed that national advertisers were anxious to reach customers at the local level where they purchased their goods.

What made things worse was that as the plan started to unravel, the salesmen went rogue. They would sell memberships and keep the money for themselves. They would call on the business once to collect the membership fee and were never seen by the business owner again. Some memberships were even sold to businesses that didn’t have the proper electrical service to operate the flashing signs.

The York Chamber of Commerce and York Police started receiving telegrams early in 1922 asking for information about the Point of Purchase Advertising Association and whether it was a legitimate business. The police department got so many telegrams that it created a form letter that outlined the scant details that the department knew. These letters were sent in reply to each person who sent a telegram.

Because the scheme had crossed state lines and used the U.S. Mail, the legal case also involved the Office of the U.S. District Attorney, Middle District Pennsylvania. Andrew Dunsmore prosecuted the case and won convictions of the officials.

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Continental Square in York, Pa. Courtesy of the York History Center.

The metallic reverberating sound of gongs repeatedly sounded throughout downtown York, Pa., in August of 1925. It was a sound people recognized as the alert on a fire truck. Somewhere in York, a fire was burning.

 

“During the disturbance patrons of theaters, hurriedly snatched their wraps and fled from the amusement places to ‘go to the fire.’ Others telephoned or went to their homes,” The York Dispatch reported.

People attending a municipal band concert at Farquhar Park heard the gongs over the music and streamed out of the park, seeking the fire or their homes to make sure that it wasn’t burning.

The problem was that there was no fire. “A callithumpian band mounted on a truck which also carried, despite their objections the bride and bridegroom, coursed about downtown streets for about an hour last evening,” The York Dispatch reported.

According to the Merriam-Webster website, “callithumpian” is a word that dates back to 19th century England to describe a very boisterous gathering. A callithumpian band wasn’t a performing band. The musicians used noisemakers, such as pots, tin horns, and cowbells, more than instruments. In the case of this callithumpian band, one of the instruments was gongs with a tone that matched the fire gongs.

While the noise was certainly disturbing, because the bells and gongs mimicked those used by the city’s fire engines, it “gave people who heard but could not see the unique procession, the impression that the whole fire department was out hunting a blaze and could not find it,” the newspaper reported.

The groom was J. Morris Crum who had married Alice Thompson in late July in the Grace Evangelical Church. When they returned from their honeymoon to their home on East King Street, they were carried away to a truck by the serenaders.

At first the noise truck seemed content to circle Continental Square, but after it went around several times, Patrolmen Binder, whose beat the square, stopped the truck. He informed the driver that Mayor Ephraim Smyser Hugentugler had recently ruled that vehicles could not circle the square more than once.

“The information did not seem to discourage the celebrants, for they eliminated the square but kept in the central section of the city for some time afterward,” The York Dispatch reported.

After the band continued to cause concern among the citizens, several policemen stopped the truck along its new route. The driver of the truck produced a permit signed by the mayor and the police officers reluctantly let the loud band continue on.

It turns out that the permit was a fake, a fact that wasn’t discovered until the next day.

After an hour or so of noise and fear, the group on the truck finally tired and broke up.

Mayor Hugentugler was asked the next day why he had signed the permit and the mayor denied having done so.

“He said that if he had been in the city last night the party would have been arrested,” the newspaper reported.

He added that if something similar happened again, he would order the police to make “wholesale arrests” because the group’s actions had overstepped the bounds of propriety.

Hugentugler served as York’s mayor from 1916 to 1928. He was a man known to take strong actions. During World War I, he had banned anti-war meetings in the city and prohibited the publishing of anti-war literature, according to the Political Strange Names blog. Hugentugler, “even went as far as to erect a wooden bust of Kaiser Wilhelm in York’s Centre Square that citizens could pound a nail into (at the low price of ten cents a nail!),” the blog noted.

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7277782_f260.jpgPresident Woodrow Wilson turned to conscription as a way to raise an army to fight in World War I. The Selective Service Act of 1917 allowed required all men between 21 and 31 years old to register for the draft, though there were exceptions for dependency, essential occupations, and religious convictions. Local draft boards issued draft calls and determined exemptions. During 1917 and 1918, 24 million men registered and about 3 million of them were drafted into the armed forces. About 3,127 of them were from Franklin County.

Though there was some opposition and fraud, the World War I draft proceeded far more smoothly than the Civil War-era drafts.

One man who didn’t want to fight (at least in the war) was Daniel Kenney of Waynesboro, Pa. When the Franklin County draft board issued a draft call for September 12, 1918, Kenney was in jail.

This registration was the third and final registration call during World War I. The first registration had been on June 5, 1917, to register all eligible men. The second registration on June 5, 1918, was to register men who had turned 21 since the first registration. The September 12 registration was to register all men between 18 and 45 years old because the service age had been extended.

Being in jail was no excuse for getting registered, though. Kenney’s jailer asked him if he needed to register. Kenney said no, he was 49 years old and overage for registering with the draft.

“This was seriously doubted on account of his youthful appearance and Chief Gillan who know Kenney well began an investigation to learn whether this were true,” reported the Waynesboro Daily Record in October 1918.

So the police chief began an investigation into Kenney’s background. Gillan contacted the Hagerstown chief of police to search for Kenney’s marriage certificate, which had occurred in Washington County. The information on the certificate showed that Kenney had been 22 years old when he was married in 1911, which made him 29 years old on September 12, not 49.

Kenney was once again arrested but this time on a federal charge of evading the draft. He was taken to Chambersburg in October where he had a hearing before a United States commissioner and was found guilty.

If he could have held out a little longer Kenney might have gotten away with it. After the armistice was signed on November 11, which ended WWI, selective service organizations were closed. By the end of March 1919, local and district draft boards were closed.

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The prisoners at Stalag 13C are freed.

Charles Pensyl of Biglersville answered a knock on his door on December 1944 and saw a soldier standing in front of him. The man asked to see the Logan children. The five children of Otis Edward Logan were staying with their Aunt Maude and Uncle Charles. Maude Pensyl was Logan’s sister. The army officer told the children that their father was missing in action and believed captured during the first day of the Battle of the Bulge in Europe.

 

Logan was among the millions of Americans who either joined or were drafted into the Armed Forces during World War II. Despite the fact that he was a married father of five children, he entered the U.S. Army on December 1, 1942.

He trained for nine months at Camp Van Dorn in Mississippi and Camp Maxey in Texas before he was shipped overseas to fight as a “mortar gun operator” with the 99th Infantry, 393rd Division, Company B.

The Logan family waited anxiously in the following weeks wondering whether Logan was alive or not. Then on February 17, 1945, Logan’s father, Otis A. Logan, received a card that Logan had written from a German prison camp. He had been captured and was now a prisoner of war.

Logan was sent to Stalag 13C in Hammelburg, Bavaria. The camp had been created in the summer of 1940 when short, wooden barracks were built to house POWs. The first prisoners housed there Belgian and French soldiers captured during the Blitzkrieg of 1940. Serbian, Polish, Italian, British, Russian and American POWs were also eventually housed in the Stalag 13C. Each nationality was housed in separate barracks.

Enlisted men, corporal and below, were required to work while in the camp. They were assigned work groups at nearby farms and factories. After the war, Logan told the Gettysburg Times that the food and treatment he received at the camp were “pretty bad.”

The Red Cross agreed about the camp conditions. A Swiss delegation from the Red Cross reported in March 1945 that prisoners consumed only 1050 calories a day about half of what the average person needs. The average temperature in the barracks was 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Men were sick and malnourished. Morale and discipline were low. “No Red Cross packages had reached the Americans since they started arriving in January. They only reason they didn’t starve was the generosity of the Serbian officers, who shared their packages,” according to the web site, Uncommon Travel Germany.

In 1945 as the Third Reich crumbled, Gen. George Patton sent a tank force to penetrate the German lines and free the prisoners in Stalag 13. “The men of Task Force Baum, as it was called, ran into heavy resistance coming in but they reached the camp on March 24, 1945. The tanks knocked down the fences, but they also started firing at the Serbian officers, mistaking them for Germans,” Uncommon Travel Germany reports.

Things were quickly straightened out and the tanks eventually left with many of the prisoners who were fit to march. “On the way back, the Task Force was ambushed and forced to surrender. Out of the 314 men in the unit, 26 were killed and most of the rest were captured. Most of the POW’s returned to the camp as well,” according to Uncommon Travel Germany.

The 47th U.S. Tank Battalion ultimately liberated the camp for good on April 6, 1945. Logan finally left the camp on April 29.

“At the time of his liberation the prisoners from Stalag 13C were being evacuated to the rear. Yankee tanks took the guard completely by surprise and they laid down their arms without a fight,” the Gettysburg Times reported. “Pfc. Logan said that he had his first decent meal of roast beef, mashed potatoes, peas and gravy after liberation, and that he had no personal belongs when he was freed. All had been taken from his by the Germans.”

Once freed, Logan received a 60-day furlough and returned to Biglerville to reunite with his family in early June 1945.

Because he had also been injured before being taken a prisoner, Logan also received the Purple Heart for his service.

Logan died on March 16, 1986, at the age of 77. He was living on Middle Street in Gettysburg and died at home. His service was held at the Peters Funeral Home and he was buried in the Biglerville Cemetery.

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diamonds.jpgIn 1922, York resident Herbert M. Rothery was 64 years old and at the top of his profession. His work was well-known in Europe, although nobody knows it was Rothery. Rothery was a jewel thief, in fact, newspaper reports called him the “Dean of Diamond and Jewelry Thieves.”

The York Dispatch noted that Rothery “is known not alone to the police of the United States, but has for years been sought by the authorities of the European continent. In England, where he once escaped from the Marlborough prison, his record is known to Scotland Yard and for years he was sought, without success, by the London metropolitan police.”

His escape from Marlborough prison was made in 1892, and he remained at large in Europe after that. He continued stealing and making good his escapes. He was feared because his targets were usually expensive hauls, and his getaways were clean.

“Men of Scotland Yard and continental police came to recognize Rothery’s work through it thoroughness and the absolute lack in any case of any definite trace or clue to the identity of the perpetrator of the crime,” the newspaper reported.

Rothery had a police record that dated back to 1886, according to an article in The Jeweler’s Circular. He fine-tuned his skills in Europe until his work was feared for its effectiveness and respected for it professional manner.

The York Dispatch also noted further evidence of Rothery’s success as a thief, writing, “Rothery bears evidence of prosperity, wears expensive clothing and has a distinguished air.”

Then he disappeared from Europe and never returned.

He began stealing again in the United States, but these were smaller jobs and sloppier. Now in his 60s, his skills may have been fading.

Although he was caught and imprisoned several times, he managed to escape despite extra precautions being taken. One of his techniques was to effect a disguise by dying his hair, goatee, and mustache.

He came to live in York for reasons unknown. He roomed with a family on Philadelphia Street near Pine Street. From York, he would make out-of-town trips for days and sometimes weeks, always returning.

“While he was living quietly in York last year, detectives believe, Rothery was planning big jewel and diamond robberies which, because of his arrest in Baltimore, he never got the opportunity to execute,” The York Dispatch reported.

He was arrested in 1919 in Baltimore after selling stolen jewelry to a fence. He was released on bail, but when his case came to trial, Rothery didn’t show, and by that time, he had also left York. He was finally arrested again while in St. Louis in 1922.

At that time, he was wanted in Syracuse, N. Y., for jumping bail; Washington, D. C. for jumping bail; Baltimore for escape; Ft. Madison, Iowa, for escape; Cincinnati for robbery; Buffalo, N. Y. for robbery; Sioux City, Iowa, for robbery; New Orleans for robbery; Denver for escaping from a cop after being charged with assault to kill; Atlanta for robbery; Omaha, Neb., for robbery; and Richmond for robbery.

“For many years he has been recognized as one of the most dangerous thieves operating against the jewelers of the country,” The Jeweler’s Circular noted.

The article also said that he was able to continually make bail because he had “powerful friends in New York and Chicago” who were willing to pay it when needed.

Once the extradition claims were sorted out, Rothery, who also went by the alias Henry McClelland, was sent back to Baltimore where he was sentenced to four years in the Maryland State Penitentiary there.

His luck had finally run out, and his long career had come to an end.

 

 

 

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This is the third in a series of articles about the civilians who were taken as prisoners of war by the Confederate Army after the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.

 

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Salisbury Prison for Union soldiers in North Carolina.

Eight civilians from Gettysburg were arrested during the 1863 battle, taken south, and imprisoned in POW camps where they endured brutality and starvation.

 

The arrested men were George Codori, J. Crawford Guinn, Alexander Harper, William Harper, Samuel Pitzer, George Patterson, George Arendt, and Emanuel Trostle.

“Both Pennsylvania and the U. S. government informed the Confederacy that they had taken noncombatant civilians, and demanded their return. Because it refused, and since it was regarded as an act of state terrorism, the U. S. Secretary of War ordered the U. S. Army to seize 26 Confederate civilians and hold them as counter hostages at the Fort Delaware Prison on the Delaware River,” according to the Gettysburg Times.

The fort is on Pea Patch Island in the Delaware River between Delaware and New Jersey. It had granite and brick walls that ranged in thickness from seven to 30 feet and were 32 feet high. Conditions for prisoners there were unpleasant, although not as unpleasant as things had been in Salisbury Prison for the Gettysburg civilian prisoners.

One Union doctor wrote of his visit to the prison and was recorded in The War Of The Rebellion: A Compilation Of The Official Records Of The Union And Confederate Armies. “The barracks were at that time damp and not comfortably warm, and I suspect they have been so a part of the time during the winter…Some, perhaps a large majority, were comfortably clad. Some had a moderate and still others an insufficient supply of clothing. The garments of a few were ragged and filthy. Each man had one blanket, but I observed no other bedding nor straw. Nearly all the men show a marked neglect of personal cleanliness. Some of them seem vigorous and well, many look only moderately well, while a considerable number have an unhealthy, a cachectic appearance.”

In early 1865, the Gettysburg civilian POWs finally got their hearing before General Winder in Richmond. “He called some of us disloyal Pennsylvanians. I told him I was loyal to the backbone,” Samuel Pitzer wrote after the war.

This led to their release and they began returning home to Gettysburg in the middle of March 1865.

The return of the prisoners was a surprise to many because most of them had been presumed dead after the battle. Emanuel Trostle’s wife hadn’t given up hope that her husband still lived and was rewarded for her dedication when he returned home. He went on to lead a successful life as a shoemaker and a farmer.

He died in 1914 at the age of 75. He would have been alive to see the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and perhaps, the same men who had captured him during the battle. It is not known whether he attended the reunion, though.

George Cordori’s return on March 13 got a small mention in the Adams Sentinel. The joy of his return lasted only two weeks. He died of pneumonia at the age of 59.

“For a number of years he had had an attack of this dangerous disease almost every winter, but during the past 18 months, though suffering the privations incident to the life of a prisoner of the South, he informed us his health was very good,” the Gettysburg Compiler reported. It is believed he caught a cold riding the crowded transport that brought freed prisoners to Annapolis and dropped them off.

Ironically, three days after Codori died, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate released a joint resolution asking “That the Secretary of War be respectfully requested to use his utmost official exertions to secure the release of J. Crawford Gwinn, Alexander Harper, George Codori, William Harper, Samuel Sitzer (sic), George Patterson, George Arendt, and Emanuel Trostle, and such other civilians, citizens of Pennsylvania, as may now be in the hands of the rebels authorities, from rebel imprisonment and have them returned to their respective homes in Pennsylvania.”

Here are the other parts of the story:

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slingshotThe famous line from the movie “A Christmas Story” is “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.” A variation of that line is said throughout the movie whenever the young boy who is the center of the story expresses his wish for a Red Ryder B-B Gun for Christmas.

However, a bigger threat to young boys’ eyes during the later decades of the 19th Century and even into the 21th Century was not a B-B gun, Red Ryder’s or otherwise. It was the bow gun and its sibling, the sling shot.

Though crossbows have been around for centuries, it wasn’t until 1868 that Howard Tilden patented “The Flying Comet,” a toy bow gun for children. He wrote on his patent application that, “the object of my invention is to provide for children a mechanical toy, that shall be once harmless and amusing.”

Unfortunately, things didn’t work out that way.

Case in point, the Franklin Repository reported in 1890 that, John Zullinger, an 11-year-old boy who lived in Orrstown had injured his right eye playing with a bow gun at his home.

“The little fellow was using a horse shoe nail to shoot at a mark, and while drawing up the bow, the string slipped and the nail struck fairly upon the ball of the eye inflicting a dangerous wound,” the newspaper reported.

John’s father brought him into Chambersburg the next day to have a doctor look at his eyes and see what could be done. The prognosis was not good. It appeared as if the youngster would lose most of his sight in his injured eye.

“This is another warning to boys not to play with dangerous toys. That there have not been some bad accidents in Chambersburg with this ‘cat and dog’ nuisance is almost a marvel,” the newspaper reported.

The newspaper article noted that because bow guns and sling shots had been such a problem in Philadelphia recently that the city police went through each public school in the city and searched the pockets of the boys in the schools. If they found any sling shots or bow guns, the toys were confiscated.

“There have been a number of fatal accidents from them in the city. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a similar raid here,” the newspaper suggested.

There’s no reference as to whether such a raid ever took place in Chambersburg, but it is not hard to believe that it wouldn’t have. It wouldn’t be much different than the no-tolerance policy that schools nationwide have for weapons being brought into the school.

As far sling shots and bow guns, they can still cause problems for young boys who test the limits of their toys. Only last year, a 12-year-old Roseville, Minnesota, boy was killed when he was hit in the chest by a rock from an oversized sling shot.

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