SZLUPAS ( PART II )
From the EVENING HERALD of Shenandoah, 3-27-1894
A TOWN’S DISGRACE
Mortifying Scenes on the Streets Yesterday
HOOTING AT A FUNERAL
A Demonstration Which the Borough Authorities Cannot Allow to Pass
Without Some Inquiry - Ignorant Classes Flagrantly Violate the Law
One of the most disgraceful and outrageous displays ever made on the streets of this borough was that perpetrated by a gang of drunken foreigners whose ignorance has led them to believe that any one who dos not agree with their religious views is a devil or some other despicable creature.
The affair occurred at the funeral of the late Matthew Andrukaitis, who accidentally shot himself to death at the home of Dr. Szlupas, on South West Street, Saturday evening. In view of the deceased having been abandoned by his wife and children on account of a difference in their religious opinions, Dr. Szlupas and other friends arranged to bear the expense of the funeral and it took place from the doctor’s residence last evening.
Long before the time set for the start of the funeral the drunken scum of some of the foreign population of the town gathered about the residence, hooting and shouting, gesticulating derisively and threateningly toward the house, and otherwise behaved themselves worse than they do at the riotous weddings which so often become the subject of lawsuits before the justices.
Some of the drunken scoundrels, utterly devoid of all sense of shame or humanity, made attempts to force their way into the house, but were repulsed and for a time it was feared there would be a combined attack upon it.
When the funeral procession moved from the house and marched along West, Cherry and Main streets to the road which leads up the mountain to the cemetery, the mob followed, jeering, hooting and yelling like so many maniacs.
The people who waked beside and behind the casket showed a Christian forbearance that was admirable. They turned neither to the right, or left, but walked apparently unconcerned along the whole route and up to the Odd Fellows’ Cemetery, where they interred the remains as those of a human being should be.
It is not remarkable that this outrageous affair should arouse the town as it has, and it would not be surprising if some step should be taken to apprehend the scoundrels and teach them a lesson on American liberty which they seem to be sadly in need of. And it is not at all improbable that there will be an investigation to ascertain why the borough authorities allowed such a demonstration to take place in broad daylight on the public streets.
It is a blot upon the town and its authorities that will not fade for some time.
It has been said that the deceased was an atheist, but this has since been denied and pretty conclusively shown to be a mistake. A very prominent and highly respected gentleman of town stated today that he had thoroughly investigated the matter and was convinced that Andrukaitis was wringed by his countrymen. Because he renounced his and their church (the Roman Catholic) they declared him and atheist, which in fact he was still a firm believer in God and had become an earnest student of the Bible and works on the Protestant faith. This much is said in justice to the memory of the deceased and in justice to the friends who gave his remains a decent burial.
But even if the man was an atheist, or anything else, the disgraceful scenes of yesterday and the apparent indifference of the borough authorities would not be justified. The borough pays an official $25 a month to give even dogs a burial and a queer state of affairs must exist if the borough authorities do not feel bound to see that the body of a human being cannot be carried to its last resting place in peace.
People of the Town Still very Much Exercised
The Case Will be Placed Before the Borough Council in an
Official Manner and Charges are to be Made Against Certain Officials
Monday afternoon’s outrage at the Andrukaitis funeral continues to be a subject of animated discussion and general condemnation, and the more the matter is talked over, the more outrageous and disgraceful the affair seems to have been.
The matter is not likely to end in talk. On the contrary, it will more than probably end in an exhaustive investigation by the Borough Council and possible several suits in the courts.
Several prominent Polish and Lithuanian citizens have taken a hand in the matter and are very bitter in denouncing the men who participated in the demonstration. They say that these men compose the scum of their people who are continually committing some act to cast reflection upon the Polish and Lithuanian nationalities and that no sane or respectable man will attempt to defend or justify the scoundrels.
A member of the legal profession semi-officially stated today that the matter will be presented before the meeting of the Borough Council next week in an official manner. Not only will a prompt and active investigation be asked, but specific charges against certain officers of the borough will be presented.
It is said that these steps will be based upon a collection of positive evidence as to the outrage, with a long list of the names of witnesses and also a list of many of the people who took part in the affair.
Legal advice has also been taken to decide what features exist to warrant the prosecution of the offenders for inciting riot.
One lawsuit has already grown out of the affair and was tried before Justice Williams. It seems that Henry Balshenick, who was one of the pall bearers at the Andrukaitis funeral, last night entered the saloon of Joe Pachinski, on East Centre street, and called for a glass of beer. One John Meluskey, alias Miller, and several others wee in the saloon and Meluskey said to Balshenick, “You buried the mule yesterday.” Balshenick asked what was meant and if Meluskey intended to call him a mule; to which Meluskey replied, “Your brothers are.” Balshenick became angry and declared that if the assertion should be repeated he would smash Meluskey’s face. Quietness was restored, but shortly after Meluskey made use of more offensive expressions and then Balshenick did as he promised - smashed the offender in the face and repeated the dose several times.
Balshenick was arrested and after hearing the evidence Justice Williams said that, although there appeared to be great provocation for the assault, the law left him no option in the matter. An assault had been committed and the law required that the disposition of the case should be left in the hands of a jury, and they could acquit or convict, as to them might seem just after hearing all the evidence on both sides. Accordingly Balshenick was put under $300 bail for trial at the next term of criminal court.
It was stated this afternoon that conclusive evidence as to the identity of some of the mob who threw stones at the funeral had been secured and that this evidence will have a bearing on the charges to be made against some of the borough officials.
The party who gave this information said he preferred to withhold from publication names of the parties to be charged and other definite information until after the case had been placed in the hands of the Borough Council, but the names of men who took part in the outrage may be given out before that time, as suits may be commenced at most any time.
To Be Continued
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