Monday, February 22, 2010

Amanuensis Monday: Max Newmark - "Bandit Victim"

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them. If you choose to join me in Amanuensis Monday and post your transcriptions, feel free to add a link to your post in the comments.

Below is a transcription of a news article that appeared in the St. Louis Globe Democrat on February 1st, 1931. It describes the armed robbery and fatal shooting of my great-great uncle, Max Newmark, at his grocery store.

St. Louis Globe Democrat – February 1, 1931

Bandit Victim Dies of Wounds After E. St. Louis Holdup
Max Newark (sic), Grocer, Succumbs in Hospital; Trio Escape.

Max Newark, 38, a grocer at 512 South Twentieth street, East St. Louis, was fatally shot in his store yesterday morning by three Negro bandits who fled with $60 and Newark’s revolver, after wounding a customer, Walter Hurnton, 26-year-old Negro of 1937 Piggott avenue, East St. Louis.

Newark died at St. Mary’s Hospital in East St. Louis, shortly before 6 o’clock last night, from a bullet wound in the abdomen. He had also been wounded in the shoulder. Hurnton, suffering from a bullet wound in the right shoulder, was also taken to the hospital.

The search for the bandits was intensified by police, when they received word of Newark’s death.

Newmark opened his store shortly before the Negroes arrived. His money was in a cigar box. One of them asked to buy some ham. Noticing there was a revolver in the holster of Newmark’s belt, he gave a “put ‘em up” order. Hurnton came in to buy a cigar, the dog began to bark and the shooting followed.

The Negroes were between 25 and 27 years old, about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighed between 140 and 150 pounds. They wore dark caps, two had brown overcoats, and the third wore a gabardine.

One of the robbers shot at Newark’s dog when the animal showed fight. The animal was not wounded.

Newark’s body was taken to the Berger Undertaking Compnay, 4717 McPherson avenue. Funeral arrangements have not been completed. The inquest, the time for which has not been set, will be held at the Brichler Undertaking Company, 126 Collinsville avenue, East St. Louis. Police announced last night Negro detectives had been assigned to the case.

The widow, Mrs. Dora Newark, and two small sons survive.

Right now this is the only photograph of Max I have seen. He was the brother of my great grandfather, Barney Newmark. His two sons Nelson and Harold were 16 and 12 years old at the time.

To summarize:
1) My paternal second great uncle, Max Newmark, age 38, was robbed at gunpoint, and possibly the only reason he was shot and killed was because the robbers saw he had a gun.
2) My paternal great uncle, Mandell Newmark, age 22, died during World War II. It is said he was killed by negligent discharge, when a fellow serviceman was cleaning a weapon.
3) My maternal great uncle, Armin Deutsch, at age 8 or 9 felt guilty about injuring his brother in a non-fatal gun accident, and starved himself to death.

These are just three reasons I, personally, don't feel owning a gun would make me safer.

as a sidenote:

Including the caption underneath the photograph, the newspaper mentions my second great uncle's surname 11 times, and gets it correct twice. Personally, I'd give them more credit if they got it wrong all eleven times. A consistent error suggests sloppy reporting, but says nothing ill about the editing. An inconsistent error suggests sloppiness in both departments.

1 comment:

Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

A sad story! I agree with you about guns but know of no incidents in my family where they caused harm.