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The Riot Of 1900--The Darkest Night In Akron's History.
>
> Subject:
>           1900 riot in Akron from Doyle's History of Summit County
>     Date:
>           Tue, 26 Oct 1999 09:35:33 EDT
>    From:
>           Leadfoot65@aol.com
>       To:
>           Dick Bolt <dickbolt@his.com>
>
> The Riot Of 1900--The Darkest Night In Akron's History.
>
>         Wednesday, the 22d day of August, in the year 1900, was a day of
> rejoicing in America. The wires under the Pacific had throbbed with a
> message of joy for all Christendom. Pekin had fallen--the capital city
> of China. The Imperial Court had departed in hasty flight to the
> interior. The American troops were the heroes of the allied armies. They
> had attacked and repulsed the Yellow Horde laying siege to the British
> Legation, where the American minister and his family and other good
> citizens had taken refuge when the Boxers arose. America rejoiced that
> her sons and daughters had successfully escaped from the perils of the
> 4,000 shells that fell into that legation; from the famine and sick-ness
> of the long siege, and especially from the ferocity and torture and
> barbarism of the legions of Chinese savages. Akron is a representative
> American community.  Her people were just as glad as any on account of
> the glory which had come upon the American .armies.
>         In the evening of that day a large part of the beauty and wealth
> and culture of the city had met on the beautiful grounds of the Perkins
> homestead where a lawn party was being held for the benefit of a
> splendid charity. Sounds of mirth and music filled the air and countless
> lights and colors made it a brilliant scene. It is a common sight in any
> center of culture and fashion.
>         Out in Lakeside Park the beautiful summer night bad drawn a
> large company of spectators to the Casino, and they were enjoying to the
> full the delights of the theater.
>         But the night in Akron had not been given over to pleasure
> alone.  What strange contrasts human living presents sometimes! The
> darkest night Akron had ever seen had fallen with the coming of dusk
> that night.  The perfect picture of' Hell, that was to be beheld before
> the coming of dawn again, was then in the making.  The Antithesis of joy
> and light and love and good-will was gaining followers in other parts of
> the city and they were preparing for the crowning of Hate, and Revenge,
> and Lust for Blood..
>         If little Christina Maas had not been playing by the roadside,
> near the home of her parents on Perkins Hill, on Monday evening, August
> 21, 1900, in all probability Akron would have been spared her deepest
> shame. Not that the innocent child, in her sweet play, was the cause of
> what followed, but that she was destined to form a link in the chain of
> circumstances, without which completed action could not be had. She was
> the little, six-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Maas. As she
> played by the roadside in the early evening with her girl friends, a
> negro drove by.  He called to her.  She did not fear him. He persuaded
> the older children to leave and promised little Christina a gift of
> candy. He asked her to get into his buggy and she responded in her
> childish confidence and natural faith in mankind and all. He assisted
> her as she climbed in. He whipped up the horse and drove down the
> country road. The negro was Louis Peck. He was a stranger in Akron. He
> had been here but a short time, having come from Patterson, New Jersey.
> His reputation there was very bad and the authorities wanted him there
> for a long list of crimes he had committed. Since coming to Akron he and
> his wife had been working in a restaurant. He was about forty years of
> age and black, and unprepossessing. After his arrest, he confessed
> freely all he did that evening, after he drove into the country and
> until he left the little girl crying and injured by the lonely roadside
> with night coming on.
>         He had hired the horse and buggy from a Main street liveryman.
> After driving back into town he abandoned them and they were found soon
> after by the police  It was by means of the horse and buggy that the
> officers were enabled to learn the identity of the perpetrator of this
> outrage.  As soon as the police department was informed of the crime
> every policeman on duty was notified and instructed to be on the lookout
> for such a negro as Peck. Every place in the city likely to harbor him
> was searched and the railway tracks were watched with sharp sight, but
> Peck succeeded in escaping from the city. He had lost no time in
> beginning his flight. Not a trace of him could be secured.  On Tuesday
> the officers patrolled the railway tracks, rather expecting that Peek
> was still in the city, in hiding, and would try to make his escape. A
> number of them were scattered along the tracks on Tuesday night.
>         Shortly after midnight a freight train rolled into the Union
> depot from the east. Officer Duffy was patrolling the tracks in that
> vicinity and, as the train passed him, standing in the dark, a negro
> jumped from one of the cars almost into his arms . Officer Duffy
> arrested the man. It was Peck. He was taken at once in the patrol wagon
> to the city prison.
>         The prison-keeper was awakened and spent the rest of the night
> talking with Peck about the crime.  By adroit leading and skillful
> questioning Mr. Washer succeeded at last in getting Peck to make a full
> confession.  R. W. Wanamaker, the prosecuting attorney, was summoned, a
> stenographer secured, and Peck's statement was taken down verbatim.
>         At 9 o'clock he was arraigned before the mayor, W. E. Young, in
> the mayor's court. He pleaded guilty to a charge of rape and was bound
> over by, the mayor to the Common Pleas Court to await the action of the
> Grand Jury at the coming September term.  His bond was placed at $5,000,
> and he was committed to the prison because of his inability to furnish
> bail in that amount.
>         Greatly exaggerated stories of his confession and of the
> criminal act were circulated throughout the city. The appearance of the
> evening papers (especially one, very imprudently printed in red ink) and
> the cries of the newsboys selling them, stirred up a feeling of
> resentment. Excitement was slowly kindling.  Many heedless remarks were
> made by persons whose words usually carry weight.  An Akron professional
> gentleman was on his way home at 5 o'clock that bright Wednesday
> afternoon. He stopped in a store and listened to a recital of the
> outrage by the merchant. Said the professional man in the hearing of a
> little company, "I'll be one of a hundred to go over and take him out of
> the jail and hang him." Not a man in the company protested. No one
> deemed the sentiment extravagant or the speech incendiary. There was an
> echo in their own breasts. Every man felt a personal interest in having
> so great a wrong redressed and in having it done at once.  Many such
> intemperate remarks were made that afternoon as the story spread.
>         As early in the day as noon, threats were made to the
> authorities that the negro would he lynched.  The executive departments
> of the city government heard the mutterings of the coming storm all
> afternoon. The county officers heard it also. None of them can be heard
> to say now that they were taken by surprise. They were totally
> unprepared when the hour of trial came, but they were not taken
> unawares. They had full warning more than ten hours before the storm
> broke in all its fury. They paid this much attention to the threats and
> warnings they had received--they ordered Sheriff Frank G. Kelly to take
> the prisoner to Cleveland during Wednesday afternoon for safe keeping.
> Another colored man named William (alias "Bug") Howard had been locked
> up in the prison awaiting commitment to the county jail as he, too, had
> been bound over to the Common Pleas Court on a charge of shooting a
> white man in the leg. It was deemed best to take Howard along, as a. mob
> might easily mistake the identity of the negro they sought, or .might be
> so incensed at the whole black race, that they would not ,hesitate to
> hang another than the one sought. These two black men were soon secure
> behind the gray walls of the Cleveland prison The Akron authorities were
> congratulating them-selves on so successful an issue of their wise
> plans.  When a mob appeared they would laugh at them and enjoy their
> discomfiture when told the quarry had flown. They know more about mobs
> and mob nature now.
>         Crowds began to collect at the intersection of Main and Howard
> streets a short time after 6 o'clock. Knots of men stood about the
> prison talking over the affair.  Some were already discussing the
> advisability of trying to make an example of the prisoner. Considerable
> sentiment in favor of such action had been aroused during the day in
> several of the big city factories.  Some of these men were present and
> made up their minds that, if an opportunity offered, they would make
> good what they had said they would do.
>         As it began to grow dark and to become difficult to distinguish
> objects across the street, the crowd, much augmented, closed in about
> the old brick building which Akron people had known for many years as
> "The City Building." They began to call for Peck and to hoot and jeer
> the police officers who were within. The chief of police had become
> alarmed and had summoned every available man for duty at headquarters.
>         Much parleying took place between city officials and the members
> of the crowd. They tried to push into the building through the Main
> street doors, but the officers prevented them. There was still much
> daylight remaining when the first attack on the building was made. A
> shower of stones and bricks broke the windows and bombarded the stout
> doors. Then a ladder was brought out and quickly manned. This was used
> as a battering-ram on the north doors, which lead into the Mayor's
> Court.  The stones and bricks continued to fly.  The doors were rapidly
> giving way beneath the repeated blows of the improvised ram.  Then one
> of the front windows was raised and a policeman emptied his revolver
> over the heads of the assailing party. This was a foolish move. There
> was no ammunition in the city building beside what was already in the
> chambers of the policemen's revolvers and part of a box which was in
> possession of the prison-keeper. The scarcity of ammunition was a cause
> of much alarm to the policemen in the building. They had sent outside to
> secure more, but were unsuccessful.
>         Across the street were a large number of spectators watching the
> efforts of the men in their attack upon the building. Among them were a
> few carriages and buggies. In the one of the latter sat John M.
> Davidson, with his wife and four-year-old daughter, Rhoda. They had been
> out looking at some work Mr. Davidson had taken the contract for and
> were returning home by the way of Main street. They had started to go up
> the Quarry street hill and were told that the Fire Department was coming
> down. They turned back on to Main Street and other buggies crowded
> around them so that they were forced to remain.
>         Mrs. Davidson was looking at the policeman in the window.  She
> saw him shoot his revolver directly at them.  She heard bullets fly
> about their heads. Her little daughter said, "Oh, mamma," and her head
> fell forward on her mother's knee with the blood flowing from a mortal
> wound in her head. Glen Wade,. a boy of ten years, was also standing
> among the spectators on the opposite side of Main street and he received
> one of the bullets from this same policeman's reckless--yes, criminal
> shooting. He was instantly killed. Hundreds of shots were fired
> afterward, and charges and charges of dynamite exploded, and two large
> buildings were burned to the ground, yet these two innocent children
> were the only persons who lost their lives by reason of the riot.  The
> injuries received by other parties that night were mostly of a minor
> character.
>         The party within the walls was increased by this time so that it
> consisted of Mayor Young, the four city commissioners, Chief of Police
> .Harrison and seven or eight police-men.
> A hurried conference was held and it was decided to allow the crowd to
> appoint a committee to enter and inspect the jail to make sure that Peck
> was not in it.  The mob selected a committee of six, headed by a member
> of the City Council, who was one of the loudest and most strenuous of
> all the seekers for the blood of this negro.
>         When the doors were opened to admit the committee, the crowd
> poured, in after them. It was impossible to stem that impetuous rush.
> They filled the building and searched every nook and corner of it. The
> cells of the prison were opened, but the mob found no negro within the
> building. Even Mr. Washer's private apartments were invaded and the
> garments of himself and wife torn from the closets where they hung, to
> see if any one was concealed by them. Their cellar was ransacked, and
> every spot which could possibly contain or shelter a man was searched.
> The disappointment of the mob was plain. Some one shouted that Peck was
> in the county jail. The entire crowd started for the jail.
> Deputy-Sheriff Simon Stone was on duty.  Sheriff Kelly was absent for
> some unexplained cause. His continued absence through all the stirring
> events of that night and until the hour of danger had passed caused much
> comment.
>         The deputy sheriff met the mob in front of the old brick jail,
> which stood on the east side of Broadway, opposite the Court House, and
> which was torn down on the completion of the new jail. Standing on the
> old stone steps at the front entrance, he made them a short address,
> telling them that Peck had been taken to Cleveland that afternoon and
> that he had never been brought to the county jail. He offered to allow a
> committee chosen by themselves to make a search. This was done and the
> same committee searched the jail thoroughly and reported that no negro
> could be found. The crowd moved over to the old Court House; battered in
> the wooden doors, and trooped into every room in the building except the
> office of the treasurer.
> Here the heavy iron doors resisted their efforts to make an entrance and
> caused them to desist in their purpose.
>         They hastened back to the City Building and filled the space in
> front of it. They were still shouting and calling for Peck, and
> occasionally a stone or a brick would fly through the windows on both
> the Main street and Viaduct sides of the building. When the mayor
> appeared at a window in the rooms of the board of health and motioned
> for silence, the crowd listened to him with comparatively good
> attention. He told them that Sheriff Kelley had taken Peck to ,Cleveland
> that afternoon and that there was no use hunting longer for him.  Some
> one insisting that this was not so, the mayor offered to bet $20 that
> Peck was not in Akron. He urged them to disperse and let the law take
> its course in bringing Peck to a full punishment for his crime.
>         Of course, this did not satisfy them. It was a mistake to
> suppose that it would.  They were not there for oratory. They had come
> on a serious business.  They sought vengeance.  Nothing but blood would
> satisfy them. It was a maddened, blood-thirsty pack of wolves, and to
> advise, and to temporize, and to try to compromise with such was
> entirely unreasonable and a waste of effort.  It was the temporizing
> policy of the authorities up to this time which had helped bring the mob
> up to its present pitch. The attack was renewed with increased vigor. It
> was no longer a crowd of men confronting the officers; it was a furious
> mob. Many of them carried pistols in their hands and a few shots were
> fired at the building.  Occasionally a policeman would come to the
> window and discharge five or six shots toward the sidewalk.
>         Prison-keeper Washer had been spending the evening with Mrs.
> Washer and friends at one of the summer resorts south of Akron. He had
> gone out of town on the earnest solicitation of the chief of police, who
> explained to him that, if a mob did form, it would make the story more
> credible if it could be said that the prison-keeper was out of town with
> the prisoner.  When the fish supper was con-eluded, Mr. Washer tried to
> reach the city building by telephone, but was unable to do so. He became
> apprehensive that all was not right and started for Akron about 8
> o'clock. He drove into the mob at Main street about 9 o'clock and they
> dragged him and Mrs. Washer from the buggy. They shoved two revolvers
> into Mr. Washer's face, boring the barrels into his flesh, saying they
> wanted Peck and meant to have him. One man, in a perfectly fiendish
> condition of mind, kept scratching Washer's face shrieking, "It's blood
> we want, blood, blood, blood." He succeeded in drawing some of Mr.
> Washer's. Mrs. Washer finally succeeded in reaching their apartments at
> the rear of the building, with a large part of her clothing torn from
> her body Mr. Washer tried to make a speech to the mob  The noise and
> tumult was so great he could not make himself heard, except to a few
> immediately surrounding him. He saw a man with a brick in his hand
> working his way up to the front. A, minute later and this brick struck
> the speaker on the side of the head and he dropped senseless to the
> street. The blow nearly fractured his skull and he suffered from the
> wound it made for several years afterward.
>         After Mr. .Washer had been carried into. the drug store. on the
> corner, and the police had fired a few more desultory shots .from the
> building, the crowd withdrew.  The larger part of them strangely
> disappeared and an ominous quiet. reigned in the neighborhood from.
> about 9 o'clock until about .11. A few spectators stood on the opposite
> side of the street; another knot or two were scattered at different
> street corners. The electric lights were all burning brightly and the
> street cars were running as usual. But for the broken panes in the,
> building, the stones and bricks on the sidewalk, and the ladder lying
> where the mob had left it, no indications that trouble had happened were
> present  The city commissioners took advantage of this lull to leave the
> building by the rear entrance and made. a successful escape down the
> railway spur. The mayor also took his departure and went direct to his
> home on Perkins street. The Chief of Police, with seven or eight police
> men, remained. About 11 o'clock the crowd began to collect again, and
> the spectators were not long in finding out where its members had been
> in the interim. An electric arc lamp hung about half way between the
> City Building and the Beacon-Journal office and flooded the vicinity
> with light.
>         The spectators saw a couple of men cross the sidewalk with
> bundles in their arms and enter the south door, leading to the stairway
> to the second floor. In a few minutes after they returned, a fearful
> explosion shook the neighborhood, and brought a 'cloud of dust into Main
> street. The concussion was terrific, but little apparent damage was
> done.  The walls still stood just as before. The dynamite for this and
> the other exp1osive which followed had been stolen from the Middlebury
> clay banks and from the chests of contractors doing work on the Erie
> Railway.
> A peddler had been arrested that Wednes-day morning for peddling without
> a license and released on ball. He drove an old white horse in a' spring
> wagon. He volunteered to haul the dynamite to the City Building, and the
> mob gladly accepted his services.  The cessation of hostilities was. due
> to this cause 'and a further desire on the part of several to go home
> and get. arms.
>         The last of. the cars carrying home the throng of
> pleasure-seekers from the Casino at Lakeside Park' had passed, and empty
> ears were on their way back to the South Akron barns. Perhaps a thousand
> men were in Main Street, from Church to Howard Streets. Four or five
> thousand more stretched from these points down to Mill and up to Center
> and covered the bluff on High Street. The active members of the mob
> numbered not more than two or three hundred, including active
> sympathizers.  The rest were mere onlookers some a prey to a morbid
> curiosity; others fascinated by the spectacle of terror enacted before
> them.
>         After the first explosion, a few men started to lower the
> electric lamp that was lighting the scene. They let it fall the last six
> feet upon the brick pavement, and the place was dark enough for the
> vilest purpose. Up to this time, at intervals, a policeman in the City
> Building would approach the window and fire five or six shots in rapid
> succession into the sidewalk, directly under the window. It was easy to
> see that the shots were directed into the ground and it was not possible
> that even the most foolish in the crowd could be fooled by the action,
> yet this silly performance was repeated many times.  Then followed
> dynamite explosions, one after another, each sounding like the discharge
> of a mighty cannon.  These reports should have awakened the entire city.
> The policemen had stealthily taken their departure out of the rear door
> and crept 'off in the darkness. Some of them hid in the lumber yard in
> the rear of Merrill's pottery; others in box-cars in the rear of the
> American Cereal Company's big mill. Their demoralization could have not
> been greater Each man was looking out for himself, and no one else.  The
> city property was' left to the mercy of the relentless mob.
>         Soon a little blaze of a match was seen burning at the northeast
> corner of Columbia Hall, the large rambling frame building next south of
> the City Building.  It had been erected as a roller skating rink during
> the days of the first roller craze and had been used subsequently as an
> armory for militia and an assembly hall for concerts and bazaars, etc.
> The little match kindled a pile of paper and dry wood and soon a bright
> fire was burning alongside the front of the hall. The building was so
> dry and of such favorable construction that ten minutes had not elapsed
> until it was in flames at every point. It made a magnificent spectacle.
> Great tongues of flame leaped high above a seething mass of fire, and
> the sparks ascended in showers. On the front side of the hall was a
> tower with a flagstaff. An American flag waved nobly in the breeze made
> by the ascending heat currents. The lesson of that waving emblem of
> freedom was lost on that demoniacal assemblage.  The fire reigned with
> unrestrained fury. Not a drop of water fell into its midst. Violent
> hands were laid on every one who had the courage to attempt to subdue
> it.
>         About midnight a part of the crowd had marched down the middle
> of Main street to the Standard Hardware Company, located on the west
> side of South Main Street about halfway between Market and Mill Streets.
> They made entrance into the store by breaking a plate-glass window. A
> few entered and passed out guns, revolvers, rifles, knives and
> ammunition, until the store was despoiled of its entire stock of such
> goods. Over one hundred arms of various descriptions were stolen by the
> mob in this raid. Hidden behind telephone poles and in dark corners of
> buildings, they kept up a perfect fusillade upon the city building,
> while Columbia Hall was burning. The firemen in the central station,
> only a stone's throw east of the City Building, had on the first
> appearance of the blaze, sounded an alarm of fire and carried a line of
> hose down Church Street. The fire-bell had been rung earlier in the
> evening, with a response on the part of No.1 company, merely as a ruse
> to attract attention of the mob from the City Building.
>         Three firemen from Company No.1 stood out in the middle of Main
> Street, holding the nozzle of the line of hose. The water shot through
> it for only a few seconds. The rioters had cut the hose in, many places,
> and, while the three firemen stood in the street alone, a perfect hail
> of bullets and shot were fired at them. One of them fell and another
> promptly stepped forward and took his, place at the nozzle while others
> came out and removed their fallen comrade. It was the finest exhibition
> of heroism ever seen in Akron. That little band stood out there until
> the walls fell in, waiting for the water to come through that hose, and
> laying new lines to replace the damaged.  Cowards were firing at them
> from behind walls and telephone poles, yet they went about the
> performance of their duty as calmly as though it were an ordinary attack
> upon their customary foe, the Fire Demon.
>         It was a superb exhibition of manly courage. Many a man who felt
> the flame of faith in human nature die out that night, found it
> rekindled after beholding the deeds of those heroic firemen.
>         The alarm had called out other companies. In responding, one of
> them sent a hose-wagon south on Main from Mill Street.  As they neared
> the Wilcox Block, a couple of ruffians called upon them to halt and
> presented guns from behind telephone poles. They paid no attention to
> the command and both guns were discharged point blank at them. How they
> ever escaped alive remains a marvel to those who witnessed the scene.
> They drove on, followed by bullets and shot, and only desisted in their
> efforts to quench that fire when borne down by overwhelming numbers.
>         Shortly after the tower, with its staff and waving flag, had
> fallen into the flaming pit, the fire broke out in the City Building.
> Whether it communicated from the conflagration south of it or was set
> afresh is not known. The more probable view is that the rioters hastened
> the destruction by setting the building afire directly. in an incredibly
> short time fire was bursting from every window in the building.  The
> dynamite explosions had wrecked the floors and partitions, doors and
> windows had been demolished by the battering and storm of shot, and the
> flames made quick work of the resulting debris. Both buildings were soon
> enveloped in flames and the conflagration was at its height. All the
> splendor of the scene when Columbia Hall first burst into flames was
> doubled. The street was as light as day. The heat drove all but the
> firemen back into the shadows. They stood their ground, beside their
> useless hose and apparatus. The mob would not permit a drop of water to
> be thrown upon the fire and, like a tremendous furnace, it seethed and
> rolled and roared-an awful spectacle to the thousands who covered
> hill-sides and house-tops, at a safe distance from the bullets of the
> rioters. The gleam from the fire lighted up their faces, still
> diabolical with hate and bloodlust, as they peered from behind their
> barriers of defense. The frenzy possessing them had been stilled by the
> tremendous power shown by the natural element Fire. Even their
> disordered minds could perceive the magnitude of the influences they had
> called into operation. Even they stood thrilled by the raging and tumult
> of elemental power. Occasionally a malignant jeer, a demoniacal howl of
> delight, or a shot, broke the spell and recalled the thoughtful
> spectators to the dread reality of the scene.
>         The minutes passed unheeded, but probably an hour passed, with
> the great fire holding the center of the stage--the one great spectacle
> that centered the interest and gaze of all. Then the walls of the City
> building fell, and the. flames gradually shrunk within the pit of the
> white heat. In the east, pale streaks along the horizon indicated the
> coming of another day.  The somber gray mellowed into gold and the first
> gleam of dawn mingled with the reddened glow from the ruins. The
> outlines of objects became more distinct. It was a signal from the
> powers of darkness to slink away. As the Sun-God scatters the forces of
> Night; as Death dwindles into insignificance before the truth of the
> resurrection; so the slaves of the Demon of Anarchy slunk away into
> their places of hiding, from their revel of blood and fire, before the
> messenger on the hilltops, who heralded the coming of the source of
> light--typical of order, law and right.
>         By 4 o'clock all of the thousands who thronged the streets had
> gone and the scene was almost deserted.  It was safe enough now for
> those policemen who were in hiding to come forth and go to their homes,
> and they did.
>         At 7 o'clock the first of the militia. arrived. It was Company C
> of the Eighth regiment, from Canton. it was known as "The Presidentís
> Own." Never were the boys in blue received with more profound
> gratitude.  The feelings of Akron citizens were too deep for cheers or a
> demonstration. Nevertheless, deep in their hearts they welcomed the
> soldier boys. What a relief to see those swinging battalions and to know
> that they represented the majesty of the law! What a comfort in those
> grim rifles, those well-filled ammunition boxes and the keen sight of
> those sworn foes to disorder! For the thoughtful citizen had been much
> disturbed.  He had seen his entire city surrendered to the will of a
> riotous mob. There was absolutely nothing to restrain that mob from
> doing anything it pleased with the property and the lives of all the
> citizens of Akron.  Not a dollar, not a life was safe in Akron that
> night. Had the notion been taken, every store and every home might have
> been pillaged and looted. The leaders of that mob might have easily
> persuaded it to assist in working out revenge for private grievances by
> murder and arson. They were drunk with power to which they were
> unaccustomed, and reveled in the use of it. For instance, just as the
> City Building burst into flames a number broke in the doors of the
> little building alongside and ran out the electric police patrol
> automobile.  As many as it would hold climbed into it; others clung to
> the steps and climbed upon the top. Then, it was started amid the
> cheering of the mob and run about the downtown streets, with its
> occupants singing and yelling, until they tired of the sport and ended
> the wild orgy by sending it full speed into the canal.
>         It was like a scene from the wildest period of the French
> Revolution.  One must go to the orgies of that carnival of disorder to
> find a parallel, unless, indeed it shall be found in the conceptions of
> certain great minds concerning the Inferno.  It was the very apothesis
> of evil.
>         In the meantime something was being done in an attempt to stop
> the tide. There were a few citizens aware of what was happening, who
> were not spellbound by the awful scenes nor frightened into supine
> subservience by the exhibition of the power of the mob.  Some of them
> sought the sheriff. For reasons known to himself, and guessed at by
> others, he could not be found. Akron had two full companies of militia
> and some other organizations of a semi-military character who carry
> rifles, and look real brave on parade days. The captains of these
> companies were appealed to. The reply was, "You must see the Governor."
> An attempt to assemble the companies resulted in getting only three or
> four men at the armories; the rest were mingled with the crowd watching
> the fire. As be-fore stated, the city authorities, from the highest to
> the last-appointed policeman, were completely demoralized. Finally
> Governor Nash was reached by telephone and he promised to send a,
> regiment of militia, if requested by the sheriff of the county or the
> mayor' of the city.  Probate Judge George M. Anderson, accompanied by a
> few citizens, then took a cab to search for the mayor.  They found him
> at home and persuaded him to ask the Governor for help.
>         The Fourth regiment of the Ohio National Guard was in camp at
> Minerva Park, near Columbus.  They had arrived there only a day or two
> before for their annual encampment, as required by law. They were under
> the command of Colonel J. D. Potter, who is a son of General Potter, of
> the United States Army. They received their orders at 1 :45 o'clock A.
> M. At 2:45 the entire nine companies were entrained and on their way to
> Akron. A special train on the Cleveland, Akron & Columbus Railway
> brought them into Akron at 9 o'clock on the morning of the 23,d. They
> immediately marched downtown and joined Company C of the Eighth Regiment
> in guarding the city.  Colonel Adams of the Governor's staff arrived and
> took charge of all the military forces in the city, including the local
> companies, which were never called from their armories during the
> disturbed period.  The streets near the ruins were roped off, and none
> was allowed to approach them.  The downtown street assumed a martial
> appearance. Armed sentries paced everywhere and companies were marching
> back and forth to mess and temporary barracks at all hours.  At noon,
> after a consultation of officials and citizens, the mayor issued a
> proclamation closing all the saloons in the city until further notice.
> The revulsion of feeling against the rioters was so strong that the
> saloon-keepers were very willing to assist, as much as possible, in the
> general effort to restore law and order.  The proclamation was generally
> respected.  Closing the saloons undoubtedly was a great factor in the
> bringing back of peace and quiet to the city.
>         In the afternoon of the 2nd a meeting of all the city officials
> and a few prominent citizens was called at the Hotel Buchtel.  Chief of
> Police Harrison could not be found anywhere. It was reported that be was
> last seen about 4 o'clock in the morning driving out of the city. John
> Durkin had been appointed by the city commissioners as acting Chief of
> Police. With the city officials, there assembled at the Hotel Buchtel
> Judge U. L. Marvin, Prosecutor R. M. Wanamaker, Judge G. M. Anderson,
> Fire Chief Frank Manderbach, Colonel Potter, Colonel Adams and others.
> At this meeting the situation was thoroughly discussed and the city
> government reorganized. It was understood the city was not under martial
> law, but that the city authorities were in power and the military arm of
> the government was there, not to supplant, but to assist them. Barracks
> were arranged for the militia and they were quartered at the old Market
> House Hall, at the Court House and in a North Main Street livery barn.
> Business was practically suspended in the downtown stores and offices
> all day of the 23d. The riot was the one theme of conversation
> everywhere. A constant stream of people kept moving all day long about
> the ruins of Columbia Hall and the City ,Building. No crowds were
> allowed to congregate. The soldiers kept everyone moving; a good example
> for the police, don't you think? These latter moved about town in
> companies of two and three. When night came many people were
> apprehensive that more trouble would take place. Many rumors had been
> heard during the day that another attack would be made. Many persons
> remained down street rather expecting excitement of some sort, but they
> were disappointed, and the soldiers had no other duty than the weary
> work of sentry posting.
>         On Friday business was resumed and the marching of the soldiers
> was the only incident different from the ordinary routine of Akron
> affairs.  In the middle of the afternoon those in charge of things
> startled the whole community by an act of exceeding daring. It was
> successful and can be called daring; if it had failed, it would have
> been termed foolhardy. This coup de'etat was no less a feat than
> bringing the rapist Peck back to Akron for trial.  It happened in this
> way:
>         A meeting of the officials was held Friday morning to determine
> the course to pursue in regard to Peck.  The crime was committed in
> Summit County and he would have to be brought back here for
> arraignment.  Why was it not better to bring him back while the militia
> were here to protect him and prevent additional rioting? The stay of the
> soldiers must, of necessity, be brief, hence, the sooner action was
> taken, the better.  The very audacity of the thing, too, would aid in
> its successful prosecution.  The people would be far from expecting any
> move of this kind and the rioters would not be prepared to take
> advantage of their opportunity. John F. Washer, the prison-keeper, was
> still weak from the effect of the blow on his head, but it was decided
> that he was the best man to go to Cleveland for Peck, who was still
> confined in the Cuyahoga County jail. Dr. A. K. Fouser was engaged to
> accompany Mr. Washer and give him such medical attention as he might
> require. Driving to a Valley train in a cab, they succeeded in getting
> out of town unobserved.
>         In Cleveland they were not so fortunate. They had been in the
> jail hut a few moments when the news spread fast that they had come for
> Peck and, when they were ready to depart, a large crowd surrounded the
> carriage in front of the jail and filled the street. It was a crowd
> disposed to make trouble, too. What was to be done? The afternoon was
> passing and whatever was to be done must be decided upon quickly. A
> special train on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad had been engaged by the
> Summit County authorities and was waiting at the station to take the
> party to Howard Street, without any stops. Colonel Potter had detailed a
> company of soldiers to meet the train upon its arrival. Sheriff Barry
> was to telephone from Cleveland as soon as the party started. Judge
> David J. Nye had been called over from Elyria to hold a special session
> of Common Pleas Court. A special Grand Jury had been empaneled at 2
> o'clock that afternoon. One witness had been heard and a true bill found
> against Lewis Peck. It was understood that he would plead guilty to the
> indictment. He would then be taken to Columbus on the afternoon train
> and the cause of the riot would be safely out of the jurisdiction. These
> were the plans and they were carefully laid. But in the crowd outside
> the Cleveland jail, and constantly growing larger and more restless, was
> an obstacle not considered by the plotters.  What was to be done? So
> much time had been lost that it was nearly time for the Columbus train
> to start the one upon which it was planned to carry Peck to the
> penitentiary. Washer and Barry got their heads together and planned a
> neat trick upon the crowd. They telephoned for another closed carriage
> to be driven to the rear door of the jail. Washer, Fouser and, the
> prisoner, the latter manacled to Washer, were all ready to enter so soon
> as it drove up. As it appeared in sight, Sheriff Barry went to the front
> door and thus engaged the attention of the crowd, which pressed forward,
> expecting the prisoner next.  Giving his party time to enter their
> carriage, he re-ntered the jail, as if he had forgotten some-thing, and
> joined them.  The horses were whipped up and a wild race started for the
> Union depot to catch the Columbus train. The Baltimore & Ohio special
> was left standing at the Water street depot.
>         A few who had observed the ruse gave an alarm and the crowd
> started after the carriage. Most gave up the chase after running a
> block, but a few newspaper reporters reached the station nearly as quick
> as the officials, one or two hanging onto the carriage, which they had
> overtaken. They rushed by the ticket inspector at the gates and the
> party was soon safe within the railway car. The newspaper men followed
> and the whole party were scarce-ly seated when the train pulled out.
> Sheriff Barry ordered the conductor to lock the doors of the car and
> this was done.  As the train neared Euclid Avenue, the reporters
> prepared notes to be thrown out and carried to their papers. The windows
> were all put down and, upon Washer's threat to shoot the man who touched
> a window, no effort was made to throw out notes at Euclid station.
> Sheriff Barry left the train there and Mr. Washer and Dr. Fouser
> proceeded alone, with the cringing negro on his knees, on the floor
> between them, imploring Washer to shoot him. The newspaper men were
> carried along, although some of them had no money to pay their fares.
>         Sheriff Barry telephoned the change of plans from Cleveland and
> a carriage was waiting at the Union depot in Akron. There was no crowd
> at the station and no guard but two soldiers and one policeman, who were
> on duty there. Arrangements had been made to hold the train for thirty
> minutes at the station. It arrived at 3:20. The employees of the Taplin
> Rice & Co. saw Peck taken into the Court House and swarmed out into the
> street.  In the court room the judge was waiting and all the other
> requisites of a criminal action at law were ready. The judge cleared
> .the room of soldiers, ordered Washer to put up his pistol and remove
> the manacles from the prisoner. Peck waived the reading of the
> indictment. Upon being asked whether he wished to plead guilty or not
> guilty to the charge of rape he replied, "Guilty."  Thereupon the court
> inquired if he had anything to say before sentence should be pronounced
> upon him. His answer was no. The court then imposed a sentence of life
> imprisonment in the penitentiary at Columbus, the first thirty days of
> which were to he passed in solitary confinement.  Peck was visibly
> frightened throughout the whole proceedings. He was again manacled,
> trembling like a leaf. A guard of twenty militiamen surrounded him and
> Sheriff Kelley as they started for the train. In the meantime the
> conductor of the train had been ordered by telephone to bring his train
> up to Center Street. As the little party moved out into Broadway toward
> Center the crowd of workingmen surged about and tried to seize Peck. The
> soldiers fixed bayonets and met the new rioters with sharp steel. They
> desisted their attempts only when the prisoner was safely within the
> train. The sheriff was waiting for it as it drew up.  It did not come to
> a full stop, but the prisoner was hustled aboard, the sheriff followed,
> and Peck was on his way to the only spot that will again know him on
> earth. He was arraigned, pleaded guilty, was sentenced, and on his way
> to prison all within twenty minutes. Just four days after his crime was
> committed he had commenced to serve his sentence. Justice can move
> quickly when it has' to.
>         These things happened on Friday, August 24, 1900. Justice in
> this case was fully done. It was not overdone as some very interested
> parties would have you believe. Peck richly deserved his sentence. No
> more heinous crime was ever committed in Summit County. It was revolting
> and repulsive in the extreme. The public has never learned the details
> and it never will, for they are too loathsome to publish. Unspeakable
> cruelty was practiced by that black ravisher upon that innocent little
> baby.  Not only that, but Peck's record was a bad one before coming to
> Akron. The New York Tribune printed a list of the crimes for which he
> was wanted at Patterson, New Jersey. It is far better for him and for
> society that he be denied his liberty until Death shall free him, and
> his shriveled .soul shall pass on for the sentence of the Great Judge.
> No maudlin sentimentality should be allowed to interfere with the
> complete execution of this just sentence. The pleas of lawyers engaged
> by his friends to obtain his release are mercenary and should fall upon
> deaf ears.
> The Aftermath Of The Riot.
>
>         With Louis Peck safely in the penitentiary, the members of the
> military forces began to think of discharge from the irksome duties
> which had been unexpectedly imposed upon them. The Fourth Regiment had
> lost a large part of the benefit of their annual encampment and they
> longed to return to Minerva Park. Colonels Adams and Potter desired to
> leave Akron with their commands on Friday night. The city authorities
> were apprehensive of trouble to come on Saturday night. The mayor urged
> the colonels to remain until Monday morning. Saturday brought with it a
> half-holiday and most of the shops and factories paid their men off that
> day. Hence, it was thought that if new trouble were to arise it was most
> probable that it would come Saturday night. The militia officers
> reluctantly complied with the wishes of the mayor. Saturday and Sunday
> passed without extraordinary incident.  If anything, the city was more
> orderly than usual.
>         On Saturday afternoon the mayor held the first session of Police
> Court since Wednesday morning. By consent of the county officials, it
> was held in the Court House.  The city government was without a home of
> any kind. On Monday, August 27, at an early hour in the morning, the
> military companies took their departure and the city was left to take
> care of itself.  The city commissioners had leased for one year the
> substantial stone office building of the American Cereal Company, on the
> corner of Mill and Broadway. This had been abandoned by the company when
> its principal offices had been moved to Chicago.  The postoffice
> department of the federal government had occupied it for a while as the
> site of the Akron postoffice while the government building was being
> completed. It had been vacant several years and was the only available
> location for the purposes of the city. The Board of City Commissioners
> met here on Monday morning and transacted their first real business
> subsequent to the riot. Their first business was to act upon the request
> of Chief of Police H. H. Harrison for a leave of absence for ten days.
> It was granted and lie left for Chicago to attend the annual reunion of
> the Grand Army. of the Republic, of which he is a member. The coroner,
> E. O. Leberman announced that he would hold his inquest over the victims
> of the shooting during the latter part of the week, as evidence was
> rapidly being secured. The public authorities, both city and county, had
> already taken steps to bring about the arrest of all parties who had
> been active in the lawless proceedings of Wednesday night.  Detectives
> from Cleveland and Pittsburgh were on the scene by Thursday and were
> fast securing evidence against the guilty ones. By Tuesday, the 28th,
> the authorities began to suffer from a perfect deluge of anonymous
> letters, threatening them all with death if any arrests were made. They
> paid no attention to these threats, but persevered in the task of
> running down the criminals. Many of the rioters were strangers in the
> city and many others had left upon learning that they were likely to be
> brought to justice. Hence, the work was very difficult. Finally a.
> special grand jury was impaneled and J. Park Alexander was made foreman
> of it The county prosecutor, who had been indefatigable in the work,
> laid before it the evidence he had secured. True bills were returned
> against forty-one men and boys who had been the leaders of the mob. Soon
> the county jail was filled with the accused persons. Officer John E.
> Washer arrested one man, Vernand Kempf, down in Tennessee, and brought
> him safely back to Akron. Upon his trial for shooting with intent to
> kll, he was found guilty and sentenced to imprisonment in the
> penitentiary for eighteen months.  The other cases were disposed of as
> follows
>         State of Ohio vs. William Hunt, George Brodt and James
> McNaughton--Charge, rioting.  Hunt retracts his plea of not guilty and
> enters plea of guilty, and is sentenced to pay a fine of $25 and costs.
> Defendant McNaughton plead guilty; sentence, $20 and costs.
>         State of Ohio vs. Harry Earle, Jr., Claude Bender, Andrew
> Morgan, Andrew Wilburn--Charge, rioting.  Defendant Bender pleads
> guilty, sentenced to workhouse for thirty days and pay $10 fine and
> costs. Nolle entered as to all the defendants except Bender.
>         State of Ohio vs. Walter Wingerter, Arthur Sprague, Frank
> Sickles, William Henry--Charge, burglary and larceny. Wingerter
> sentenced to the reformatory. Same as to defendants Sickles and Henry.
>         State of Ohio vs. Frank Bisson--Shooting with intent to kill or
> wound. Sentenced to Boys' Industrial School.
>         State of Ohio vs. Howard McClelland. Shooting with intent to
> kill or wound. Sentenced to penitentiary for one year.
>         State of Ohio vs. John Rhoden. Shooting with intent to kill or
> wound.  Sentenced to penitentiary for one year.
>         State of Ohio. vs. Charles Timmerman, David Spellman, Frank
> Wheeler, Joseph Higy--Charge, rioting.  Defendant Wheeler plead guilty;
> sentence, thirty days in jail and pay the costs. Defendant Spellman, $25
> and costs. Dismissed as to Higy.
>         State of Ohio vs. Walter Wingerter, Frank Sickles. and William
> Crile--Charge, rioting. Defendant Crile sentenced to pay $20 and costs.
>         State of Ohio vs. Arthur Sprague, Norman Breckenridge and Edward
> Eppley--Charge rioting. Breckenridge, thirty days in jail and $25 fine
> and costs. Sprague the same. Eppley, no trial.
>         State of Ohio vs. Sandy Coppard, William Henry and Edward
> Henry-- Charge, rioting. All sentenced to thirty days in jail and $25
> fine and costs.
>         State of ,Ohio vs. William Averill, Andrew B. Halter and Frank
> Bisson--Charge, rioting,:. Halter and Averill fined $50 and costs.
> Bisson dropped from the docket.
>         State of Ohio vs. Charles Timmerman--Charge, breaking into
> prison and attacking officer for the purpose of lynching.  Sentenced to
> penitentiary for one year.
>         State of Ohio vs. Edward Eppley, Harry Earle, Jr., and Oliver
> Morgan--Charge, unlawful possession and use of dynamite. All sentenced
> to reformatory and to pay costs.
>         State of Ohio vs. William AverillóCharge, shooting, with intent
> to kill or wound. Sentenced to reformatory.
>         State of Ohio vs. Vernando Kempf--Charge, shooting with intent
> to kill or wound. Sentenced to penitentiary for eighteen months.
>         State of Ohio vs. Charles Fink and David Snyder Charge, rioting.
> Defendant Fink pleads guilty; sentence, thirty days in jail, $25 and
> costs.  Defendant Snyder plead guilty sentenced to pay $20 and costs.
>         State of Ohio vs. Frank Viall, Lovell Nigh and August
> Simmonet--Charge, rioting. Nigh sentenced thirty days in jail, $25 and
> costs Simmonette, thirty days in jail, $25 and costs.  Viall $50 and
> costs and thirty days in jail.
> Thus it will be seen there were thirty convictions in the cases
> resulting from the riot. When one reflects upon the amount of work
> necessary to prepare for and conduct one important criminal action at
> law, he will readily appreciate the titanic labor performed by the
> public authorities.  Able counsel ,had been secured to defend each of
> the accused men, and the trials were hotly contested. The result
> reflects every credit upon R. M. Wanamaker the prosecuting attorney. It
> is hardly possible to bestow too much praise upon the energy and skill
> he devoted to his work in bringing retribution upon those guilty of
> causing so much shame to the fair city of Akron.
>         There was one glaring miscarriage of justice. The public felt
> keenly that the menber of the city council, of whom mention was in the
> last chapter, and who was one of the leaders of the mob, should have
> been punished for his misdeeds that night. He escaped free. It was also
> regretted by many that the court, in passing sentence upon those
> convicted, did not impose heavier sentences because of the heinousness
> of the offenses. There is this to be said in extenuation, that many of
> them, it was a first offense; that excitement of the moment carried some
> them off their feet; that some up to this had borne good reputations in
> the community; that some had families dependent upon them for support,
> and that the sentences, such as they were, would be a sufficient
> deterrent from future violation of law.
>         Thus justice emerged triumphant, as she always will. Law and
> Order were fully restored and affairs moved along in orderly
> procession.  The citizens began to take an account of their losses. The
> City Building was but a heap of bricks, stones and twisted iron.
> Columbia Hall, one of the chief meeting-places of the city, was the
> same. The buildings on the opposite side of Main Street had been damaged
> by flames and the violence of the mob.  One of the stores there had been
> looted. The stores south of Columbia Hall had been damaged by fire and
> smoke. The Standard Hardware Company had lost its entire stock of
> fire-arms. For all this loss not one cent of fire insurance could be
> collected Several cases brought to collect insurance dragged their weary
> lengths through the various counts for several years afterward, but it
> was uniformly decided that the companies were not liable for loss
> occasioned by the mob.  The loss in money was about a quarter of a
> million dollars.  A whole regiment of soldiers was quartered for nearly
> a week. The city and county had large bills to pay for detective service
> and the expense of the trials. Many citizens received serious injuries
> from bullets end flying missiles of all kinds.  Among them the
> newspapers mentioned the following: Fred Vorwerk, W. H. Dussel, Park
> Stair, Arthur E. Sprague, John Ahern, E. Chemelitzki, Albert Grant,
> Frank Sours, E. Shelby and Albert Stevens, of the citizens; L.
> Manchester, W. Roepke, Minor Fritz, John Denious, A. Eberle and David
> Phillips, of the firemen, and John E. Washer, Alva Greenlese, John King
> and Edward Dunn, of the police force.
>         Although seven years have passed since that momentous time, the
> city is still occupying the old office of the American Cereal Company as
> a City Hall. Three different administrations have conducted the city's
> affairs within its walls. They are still called "temporary quarters,"
> but there is no prospect of anything more permanent for years to come.
> The city is so busy building viaducts and paving streets and expending
> so much. money for such purposes and the present quarters are so well
> adapted for the present needs that it is probable that Akron will have
> no City Hall of her own for many years to come. In spite of some
> objections on ,the part of some officials, it must be admitted that the
> present building makes a very good housing for the conduct of municipal
> affairs, and that the rent is not unreasonable for such a structure. The
> City Council has a room large enough for its deliberations; the Mayor's
> Court is well provided for; the Board of Health, the Auditor, the
> Solicitor and the Police Department, all have separate and commodious
> apartments.
>         The main damage caused by the riot was that done to the hitherto
> fair reputation of the city. In the heart of the cultured Western
> Reserve of Ohio, it was not thought possible that such an outbreak of
> lawlessness could occur. The other cities of the Western Reserve blushed
> for us. The great state of Ohio was ashamed of us.  We had brought
> discredit upon the great state of which we are so proud.  Our shame went
> abroad throughout the land--throughout the world., The great newspapers
> sent special correspondents to Akron and covered their front pages with
> great, blac,k headlines to publish to the world our disgrace. As an
> example, the Pittsburgh Dispatch of August 24, 1900, bore across the
> entire front page in startling type, this inscription: "National Guard
> Preserves Order in Ashamed Akron." This shame, this disgrace, this
> damage to a splendid reputation, was our greatest loss
>         If the cause of it all can be said to belong to those who might
> have averted it, then there is no difficulty in putting the blame where
> it belongs--at the door of incompetent public officials. The errors of
> judgment on their part. were so numerous that, it will not be possible
> to mention them here. Even when the riot was at its height, a dozen
> determined policemen could have put the entire mob to rout. Many times
> that night it happened, that some one would cry, "The Police are Coming
> Out," and the entire crowd would take to their heels and scatter in all
> directions. It is to be feared that downright cowardice, as well as lack
> of judgment, was one of the prominent characteristics of those now
> criticised.
>         From the black picture let us turn to a bright one. Letters of
> shining gold, should be used to tell of the deeds of Akron's fire men
> who played so noble a part in that night's doings.  From, its very
> beginning, Akron's fire department has never been found wanting in any
> emergency, but on this occasion, it covered itself with everlasting
> glory The prison-keeper and a few of the policemen proved also that
> night that they were brave men. These, with the county prosecutor, and
> the members of the Grand and Petit juries who dealt with the riot cases,
> are they who emerged with credit from the Riot of 1900.