ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin





06 22       A sad case of the tramp order hovered around the depot last Monday night and Tuesday morning.  A man, or what purported to be one, hailing from Fond du Lac with his wife and four children, arrived at that time and took up their quarters in the ladies’ waiting room for the night.  All their earthly goods, some old ragged clothing, the man wheels from place to place on a wheelbarrow, while his wife and four little ones from four to ten years old follow up on foot.  The entire outfit was filthy and indeed disgusting, while the care-worn haggard expression on their faces told of the extreme hunger and suffering.  The man pretended to be looking for work but we doubt if he would have accepted employment were it tendered him.  It is bad enough for a man alone to take the road a tramp, but in these times when employment can so easily be obtained to adopt the shiftless vocation of the tramp dragging his entire family after him, he exhibits a sad case of depravity indeed.  The tramp law of last winter should be dealt out to the man with its severest penalty attached.  (Jefferson Banner)


Watertown received a visit from the same family last week, their presence seemed to be appreciated by the small boy very much, whose interest in them appeared to be as great as that usually manifested when a circus proceeds through our streets.  (Watertown Gazette)



12 17       RENDEZVOUS

It is estimated that fifty tramps rendezvoused in the city Monday night, nineteen of them being taken care of in the lockup until yesterday morning.  We are now visited by the best dressed lot of these wanderers seen around here for a long time.  The railroad boys can account for the change for the better in their garb by the large amount of clothing stolen from them lately in the cabooses.



01 23       CRIME REPORT

During the year 1894 there were 226 arrests made by officers in this city . . . In addition there were papers served on 121 tramp cases, making the total 226 arrests.   WR



It seems very remarkable that other counties have succeeded in solving the tramp problem, at least to the extent of making it less of a burden to the taxpayers, but Dodge county allows it to increase year after year, without as much as an attempt to curtail it.  Evidently it is of less importance to reduce the taxes of the people than to take care of the political pets.   WR




West siders are crying for another night police officer in their section.  It is claimed that one man cannot possibly render service to the business portion of that part of the city and at the same time keep a watchful eye on the horde of tramps and tough characters who infest the railroad tracks from the Junction to the Northwestern coal sheds.  It is not deemed safe for a citizen to travel over that route after nightfall.  An extra officer is urgently demanded.   WR


03 06       INTOXICATED

Four tramps, who were so intoxicated they could barely navigate, were taken in tow by the officers Friday.  The following morning they answered to roll call in a justice court and received a sentence of ten days at Jefferson.   WR



Sunday morning a stir of excitement was occasioned by a couple tramps attempting to pick a farmer’s purse from his pocket in a Madison Street saloon.  When detected the fellows were very lively in making their escape, and the police lost all trace of them.   WR



The city is being overrun with tramps and will continue to be unless there is a change in existing conditions, which it is the purpose of this item to try and promote.  I have had some experience with these fellows the past week, having visited their places of rendezvous and been given to understand that I was liable to have my "head punched" for the intrusion; while I was also favored with a means of further diversion, with the tender of a cold bath in an adjacent well.  But I want to speak more particularly of certain discoveries made which may prove of interest to the reader.  First of all, a dozen of tramps were found lying in the grass, and all more or less intoxicated, which was easily accounted for when six beer kegs were discovered in their camp, all of which had been emptied except one.  Some of the fellows were well provided with money, showing that the generosity of people is misused in its bestowal upon such unworthy objects.  The invariable rule should be to give them no money under any circumstances.  Many of them who beg for food, after being supplied, instead of eating it, throw it away, so that here again surety is misapplied . Vigorous measures will be taken to suppress the nuisance, but the city government is powerless in its complete stamping out unless we have the co-operation of the public.  Dealers in intoxicating drinks should not seII to tramps under any circumstances, it being against good morals if not against law.  Cut off their supplies of “booze," and the battle is more than half won.  The police have been instructed to exercise the greatest vigilance in the detection of those offending against this ruse.  The council will be asked to legislate in the matter, and it is hoped that in this way the tramp problem here will have received a satisfactory solution.  - J. T. MOAK, Mayor.    WR




Chief of Police Block reports that during the year 1898 1,648 persons mostly tramps were given lodging in the city lock-up.  The total number of arrests made on warrants was 171.   WR




The Watertown Daily Times publishes an article in which it says:


“It is openly charged by police officers and at least one justice of the peace in this city that men who are sent to the county jail at Jefferson as tramps are in some cases, it is alleged, allowed their liberty before the expiration of the sentence imposed.”


Sheriff Jaehnke, when shown the above, denied the charge that he ever willingly allowed a tramp or other person in his custody to leave the jail before the time for which he sentenced expired.


He said that it is possible that one may have escaped from the stockade, as it is a difficult matter to prevent one from securing his freedom if he so desires, but if so it was not with his consent.


We know that Sheriff Jaehnke is endeavoring to faithfully the discharge the dusties of his office, and when he made the above statement we believe it to be true.  Jefferson Banner.   WR




On Monday Justice Stacy sentenced a tramp giving the name of Henry Somers to the county jail for thirty days as punishment for having smashed several windows at the home of H. J Hoffmann, West Main Street, Saturday evening.  Somers was drunk and upon being refused admittance to the house proceeded to his work of the Carrie Nation order.  He was subsequently arrested by Officer Eiffler.   WR



Monday evening the police were called upon to quell a disturbance near the Junction which was being carried on by four tramps who were badly polluted with liquor. The tramps were very boisterous and daring, and made matters extremely unpleasant to the people of that vicinity.  Chief Block and Officer Bruegger responded to the call for help and upon arriving on the scene found the “hoboes” all ready to fight for their liberty.  Nothing daunted, the minions of the law warmed up to their task and in short order had two of the disturbers who seemed particularly anxious to battle in complete subjection.  The remaining two were also captured with the aid of other police.  Yesterday morning the tramps were brought into justice court and given county jail sentences.    WR



Tramps have been rather numerous in this city of late, a gang of about one dozen being rounded up by the police one evening recently.  They were vicious and some of them had to be pounded into submission.    WR



Last Monday evening a tramp made things quite lively on the west side for police officers.  Officer Butzler ordered him out of town, and refusing to go, he was taken in charge by the officer.  At the corner of West Main and Montgomery streets, without warnings or provocation, he struck the officer in the mouth, inflicting an ugly cut, and then followed this up with another punch in the face.  Officer Butzler thought it about time to retaliate, and knocked foe fellow down.  The tramp then refused to go further, and Chief Block was sent for.  His persuasive powers had no more effect on his trampship than Butzler’s, and the unruly fellow was given a ride to foe city jail in a wheelbarrow.  On Tuesday morning Justice Stacy sentenced him to 15 days in the county jail.  Nine years ago our officers had the same kind of trouble with the same tramp, and he did not visit our city again until last week.  Such fellows deserve harsh treatment.  Chief Block says he is the most utterly ugly fellow that has ever visited our city..    WG




Thursday afternoon, a tramp who gave his name as Ole Larason and his home as Minneapolis, was quite severely injured while attempting to get onto a moving freight train on the C.M.St.P. railroad near the east side depot.  He was brought to the city hall and taken into the office of Chief of police Block and Dr. F. C. Moulding, the surgeon of the road summoned, who upon examination found two of the bones in his right foot badly crushed, which would in his judgment, necessitate an amputation of the foot.  He dressed the wound and made the poor fellow as comfortable as possible under the circumstances and at 7 o clock in the evening he was taken to the Northwestern depot enroute to the poor farm at Jefferson.  The unfortunate is a Norwegian and speaks but little of the English language and through an interpreter it was learned his name, residence and the name of his son, Carl Olson, 1102 Camdem Place, Minneapolis, also that in a small town near Chicago he was robbed of his watch and five dollars in money by two negro roughs and was trying to beat his way back to his home.  It was quite probable that he had ridden for a long distance and being cold and stiffened got off the train to exercise and get his blood into circulation and was injured in his endeavor to get upon the train again.  As the poor fellow had no money with which to buy smoking tobacco, Dr. Moulding generously gave him the money with which to buy a supply.  WR





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History of Watertown, Wisconsin