Monday, April 25, 2011

Amanuensis Monday: Gambling Raid - 1911

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, newspaper articles, 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.

This week I transcribe a newspaper article from September of 1911. It tells of a poker game disrupted by the police, and a great great uncle, Harry Feinstein, was among the charged.

St. Louis Post Dispatch
Sept 25, 1911

Raid Follows Complaint Made by Man Who Then Disappears
They Also Take the Cards and Arrest Men in the Game

When Louis Ginns played single-handed in the poker game at Joseph Roseblum’s, 2707 Dickson street, he lost, but when he played partners with three policemen and a police court judge he won.

The losing game was played a week ago, when Ginns called at Osenblum’s with $19, his week’s salary, in his pocket, and left without it. The second game began Sunday night at Rosenblum’s and ended Monday morning in the Dayton Street Police Court.

Had Four Aces

In the first game Ginns held four aces, and he remarked airily, as he laid them down: “I guess I get the money.” Nathan Stone, sitting next to Ginns, said he guessed so too, as four kings was the best he could do, but Rosenblum exhibited a straight flush and added Ginns’ $19 to his assets.

Ginns was not a good loser. It looked like a cold deck to him. He decided to play the game a different way the next time.

Sunday evening he walked past Rosenblum’s and saw Rosenblum and White and seven others gathered around the kitchen table. He went to the Dayton Street Station and told Lieut. Walsh about it. Special Officers Hare and Hunt and Patrolman Dvorak accompanied him to Rosenblum’s.

Nine men were seated about the table, on which were cards and money. As the forms of the unbidden guests darkened the door there was a scramble for the money. By the time the policemen got inside there was only $2 and two decks of cards. They did not discover what game was being played.

The nine men were taken to the station, where they gave these names and addresses: Joseph Rosenblum, 2707 Dickson street; Max Sirkus, 2306 Wash street; David Rovit, 1019 North Eighth street; David Friedman, 2629 Dickson street; Nathan Stone, 2707 Dickson street; Sam Eastman, 1016 North Nineteenth street; Sam Prints, 2803 Gamble street; Morris Safforn, 2803 Gamble street; Harry Feinstein, 5604A Garfield avenue.

It seemed that Rovit had either been a good winner or swiftest in the scramble, for of the $118 found in the pockets of the men, Rovit had $74.56. It was very evident that Feinstein was a loser in both the game and the scramble, as he had only 15 cents.

Rosenblum was charged with running a gambling game and gambling. The other were charged with gambling.

Ginns took a hand when the game was resumed in the Dayton Street Court Monday. After telling about the other game, he told Judge Sands he saw Rosenblum and Stone playing Sunday evening, but he could not identify any of the others as having been in the game. Rosenblum was fined $5 for running the game and $5 for gambling. Stone was fined $5 for gambling. The others were discharged.

Source: ProQuest Historical Newspapers - St. Louis Post Dispatch (1874-1922)


1. Harry was 27 years old at the time of the events. He had been married for six years, and had four children. There is no way to know from the article how often he gambled before or after that evening. It doesn't sound as if Lady Luck was with him that night, though.

No comments: