Look Back: Trouble with the sauce

Historical newspaper excerpts from the Wood County Historical Society

In the late 1890s, A. PAHL Liquors was located at 123 Ann St. in Parkersburg. This establishment quite possibly contributed to the police “pickings” in this article. (Photo provided by Bernie Dowler)

Police court pickings

A. Sams, soaked inside and out, was arrested last night and taken in out of the wet, likewise John Lynch, who resembled a sponge. Spencer Bailey was run in for assaulting Jas. Wickens; Tim Easely was locked up for being disorderly and Rob Harpole spent the night in the lockup for loitering. He is a hobo and was arrested while coming out of a yard last night. All these cases will be disposed of at police court this morning.

The Parkersburg Sentinel

April 20, 1901


Wine caused a night of hilarious excitement in The Tenderloin!

This morning’s term of Police Court was a busy one. The ordinary routine of regular drunks, was relieved by the presence of four women who are prominent in the Bohemian society of the Pickle District. They were Madame Minnie Fitch, Ivy DeMarr, Georgia Reynolds and Madge Holliday. There was much disorder down at the Fitch house, No. 111 Market Street, last night and in the early hours of this morning. Wm. Ball dropped in with money and began to cut into the grape very extensively.

It appears that the female persons who reside with Madame Fitch, and indeed, the madame herself, are unused to handling wine. Beer and booze are not strangers to them, but wine is a liquid luxury that they understand not how to handle. That is apparent, for they dallied too long with it last night and it caused them to do things and make noises in the neighborhood that attracted the attention of Lieutenant Smith and a party of his police guardians. They pulled the house, escorting Madame Fitch and the three girls aforementioned, and also Ball, to the city lockup. They were arraigned before Judge Smith, this morning, Madame Fitch charged with keeping a bawdy house and the three girls and the man with loitering therein. The women pleaded not guilty and a trial was gone into. The evidence of Ball alone, was sufficient to prove the charge preferred against the four women by Chief-of-Police Landsittle. It was strengthened by that of the officers and the Chief himself. Madame Fitch was fined $20 and costs and the three girls $5 and costs each. The Madame put up her diamond ring as security for the payment of her fine and the fines of the three girls.

The Madame and the girls were very huffy about being hauled to court and did not hesitate to remark on the indignity thrust upon them. The Madame vowed, as she departed from the tribunal, that she would have the whole lower end of the city — the entire Tenderloin — pulled before night. As she was leaving the building, Constable Deem of Squire Carfer’s court placed her under arrest. This was well-nigh too much for the Madame and she howled with rage. She was compelled to accompany the constable to the magistrate’s office, where her trial on a warrant sworn out by Myrtle Tucker charging her with calling the complainant vile and indecent names and threatening her bodily harm, will be held this evening.

Ball pleaded guilty to loitering in the Fitch house, where the officers found him, and was fined $5 and costs which he paid. When arrested he had $96 on his person which the police took charge of. He claims to have been robbed of some of his money while he was indulging in the wine drinking contest at the Fitch residence.

Excerpt from the Parkersburg Daily State Journal

July 11, 1901


Bob Enoch is president of the Wood County Historical and Preservation Society. If you have comments or questions about Look Back items, please contact him at: roberteenoch@gmail.com, or by mail at WCHPS, PO Box 565, Parkersburg, WV 26102.


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