Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

March 12, 2014

Pat Smith: Community forms 'Good Citizens League'

When the train from Shelbyville pulled into the Greensburg station officers Dickey and Robbins boarded the train to arrest John Green.

He gave several stories including that his landlady had sent him to Shelbyville to get medicine. She denied that.

The 42-year-old Green was taken to Indianapolis on the 6 a.m. train where he was questioned by the Chief of Police there. He confessed after the Chief told him the coins he had taken from Mrs. Sefton were marked. He said he’d been an actor in Uncle Tom’s Cabin troop and had eaten lamp chimneys with the act.

Prosecutor Frank Hamilton arraigned him and a preliminary hearing was waived. He was bound over to await a grand jury. Bond was placed at$6,000. The indictment charges were rape and robbery. Longtime residents were now getting riled-up about the rape of the elderly woman. It was decided best to take the prisoner to a Jeffersonville prison for safe keeping. The Sheriff left Greensburg on the 9 a.m. train. The trial was set for June.

One “hell-hole” in the basement of the DeArmond Hotel was raided May 10, less than two weeks after the “mini-riot.” Other places where the “bad element” congregated were raided off and on and nearly all of the disreputable saloons closed for good not long after. Most of the brothels soon closed because the work that brought men here was nearly finished. They began leaving town to find work elsewhere.

A “Good Citizen League” met May 17 at First Methodist Church. The room was overflowing. Other mass meetings were held about “the loose, careless and reckless management of our city affairs.” One meeting was held in April and two in May 1907 in the Methodist Church. The Prosecutor tried to reason with the standing room only crowd, but they weren’t easily appeased. The issues discussed weren’t clearly stated, but people basically wanted sin outlawed – at least the drinking and gambling and brothel visiting part.

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