Monday, September 3, 2007

Gypsies Are Ordered Out of This County (1905)

Columbia City Commercial Mail ~ Friday, July 14, 1905

The large band of gypsies, which camped yesterday and last night along the road near the Foust woods just east of the city were told to hike this morning by Sheriff Logan Staples and deputy John Clapham and after a great deal of bustling around finally moved on west. The sheriff arrived at the camp at about eight o'clock and ordered them to leave before nine. the leader of the gypsies immediately remonstrated and said that one of the gypsy women was about to give birth to a child. The sheriff told him that one or two wagons could stay and take care of her but the rest of the party would have to move on.

The gypsies were very slow hitching up and getting ready to go and exceeded the time by forty minutes. Meanwhile the woman, who was in the woods at the side of the road, lying on the grass, surrounded by the rest of the women of the camp, gave birth to a baby boy. The baby was rolled in the grass and received its first and probably last bath in the morning dew. It was then bundled up, the wagon drove to a position near the mother, who got up and putting her foot on the hub of the wheel climbed onto the seat without any assistance from her husband, who say hold the lines over a team of crow-baits, that were almost immovable. The gypsies were part of the band of thirty wagons driven out of Allen county by Deputy-sheriff Huguenard, Thursday. There were only eleven wagons in this party and the band has evidently divided up.

The nomads had two or three dozen poor looking horses, as many dogs, several coops of chickens, bicycles and other odds and ends. They were very insistant [sic] on telling everyone's fortunes, for dollars, quarters, dimes, knives, smoking tobacco or any commodity. A number of the women made a canvass of the city Friday but in the evening night watchman Isaac Swigart ordered them to stay in camp.

Several small things were stolen from residences but nothing was taken of great value. One of the gypsies told the fortune of Fred Shaw, who resides in Union township, and then stuck her had down in his pocket and got two dollars but was persuaded to give them up again. George W. North found seventeen of their horses in his field of oats just east of town early this morning but they were driven out before much damage was done. The band claimed that the animals got in accidentally.

The gypsies are the real thing and many of them can talk very little English. they came originally from Austria and are on their way to Chicago. They wear a large quantity of Austrian silver coins bearing the likeness of Emperor Joseph. Deputy Clapham told the leader of the party that the road to Chicago turned south at the edge of town and the band left this vicinity going in the direction of Huntington.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are always appreciated. Comment Moderation is turned on so your comment will not display immediately. If you are a spammer, your comment will never see the light of day!