Crime & Punishment

Not all of Albion's Polish residents were on their best behavior. Below is a collection of newspaper articles relating to various Albion Polish residents and natives who seemed to find themselves in trouble with the law.


Disgraceful Sunday Brawl Between Michael Smith and Michael Sierencey

October 7, 1902 - Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

Surnames: Sierencey, Smith

Two men got into a quarrel at the east end of Caroline Street, Albion, Sunday afternoon, in the Polack section of the town, and both were badly cut up, one seriously. They were Michael Smith and Michael Sierencey. The latter had chickens, which got into Smith's garden, and he was trying to get them out when both became angered, and fought each other like fiends. The kicked and pounded each other, and Dr. Sherwood who attends Smith says he appears to have been jumped upon and badly injured in one of his lungs, and bruised in other portions of his body. He is in bed at present. Smith evidently had the knife in his hands for the other Pole is cut over the eye, in his shoulder and other places.

Sheriff Rice and Deputy Reddy were summoned to the house where it seems both men live. Sierencey was arrested and taken to the county jail. A hearing took place before Justice Tucker Monday, which was postponed to this morning, pending the condition of Smith's wounds.


Refused to Buy Drinks; Beaten
Albion Pole Makes Complaint of Treatment by Countrymen

September 23, 1908 - Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

Surnames: Zdwdowski

Albion, Sept. 22 - Joseph Zdwdowski, a Pole, came before Judge Knickerbocker this morning and swore out warrants for four fellow countrymen on charges of assault in the third degree. Zdwdowski was scarcely able to move from a beating he said he had received. Both eyes were blackened and all around his left eye was a swelling over an inch high.

Zdwdowski says he went into a saloon yesterday to buy a glass of beer. In the saloon were four other Poles, and they demanded that he buy them drinks also. Zdwdowski refused to buy, and the men, he says, knocked him down, kicked him, walked on him and pounded him.

Two of the alleged assailants have been arrested by Chief Van Dell and the other two will probably be arrested tonight.


Wife Forgives Albion Pole

June 2, 1909 - Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

Surnames: Bruski

Albion, June 1 - Mike Bruski, a Pole, was discharged in police court last evening and was allowed to go home after being lectured and cautioned by the court. He was charged with beating his wife with a rake last Saturday so severely that she has not been able to leave her bed since. She was not able to appear in court last night, but she sent word by her son Frank that she did not want to prosecute her husband.


Albion Polish Youth Accused
Of Theft of West Barre Team
Transactions Complicated
Michael Gurney has Been Up to Number of Tricks, it is Alleged. Since Horses That Were to be Sold by Sheriff Were Stolen

July 23, 1909 - Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

Surnames: Gurney, Kaminski

Albion, July 22 - Michael Gurney, an18-year-old Polish youth residing on Goodrich Street, admitted to the police authorities today that he be implicated in the sale of a team of horses stolen from the farm barn of Martin [Kaminski] in West Barre, Monday night.

The team was driven to the Rochester hay market and traded by Gurney and another person to a farmer named Leonard for a gray horse, he said, and the pair were to receive cash besides that horse, if after a trial the team proved satisfactory. The money was to be paid to Gurney's companion at 10 o'clock this forenoon at the hay market while Gurney accepted the gray horse, stolen harness and buggy, without a dash, for his [?] in the transaction.

Gurney claims to have met his partner near the Driving Park bridge in Rochester and to have negotiated the sale of the team but the men and team were seen by Night Watchman Kane passing through the public square at Holley at [?] o'clock Tuesday morning, but the two were not arrested as Kane had not learned of the theft at that time. Gurney drove the stolen buggy and grey horse up the Ridge road to Gaines, north of this village, then traded the gray horse for a colt to George Coloney and used his note for $50 in part payment of the colt.

Later, Coloney read in the papers a description of the rig stole in Barre, which spoke of a letter "S" in the rosette of the bridle. His newly acquired harness had this characteristic, and he notified Sheriff Callaghan and stared up the Ridge in chase of Gurney, who had left about an hour before.

The automobile of John Miller of Medina was standing in front of the jail and Sheriff Callaghan pressed it into service and with Turnkey Edward Morton, made a fast trip to Eagle Harbor and down the Waterport road to head off the alleged thief. The overcame Gurney at Powell's mill and arrested him. The team in Rochester was recovered today, and Gurney was at a hearing this afternoon before Justice H. C. Tucker. Gurney's companion failed to pat in an appearance at the hay market in Rochester today to get his money from Leonard, who was there to pay him the balance due on the team.

The horses will be returned to Albion tomorrow morning, and the sheriff's sale, at which the had been advertised to be sold previous to the time they were stolen, has been postponed until next Saturday.


Alleged Inhuman Father Arrested
Albion Pole to Have Hearing This Morning

September 9, 1910 - Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

Albion, Sept. 8 - Numerous witnessed who, it is claimed, were present when Frank Gatskowski, a Caroline Street Polish resident, is said to have strung his 12 year old son Bernard up to an apple tree by the arms yesterday morning were subpoenaed to police court this afternoon to make sworn statements as to what occurred, and after taking the sworn statements Justice John Knickerbocker issued a warrant to Noah D. Smith, charging Gatskowski with a misdemeanor. The case was turned over to the humane society, which through its prosecuting attorney, Sanford T. Church, will prosecute Gatskowski.

Chief of Police Andrew Van Dell arrested Gatskowski tonight as he was about to draw a load of corn from a B. L. & R. car in the front of the court house to the Olney Canning Factory, where he is employed with his team. He was taken before Justice Knickerbocker and pleaded not guilty. His case was adjourned until tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock.


Police Drive on Crap Game
Take men from Medina, Niagara Falls and Albion to Jail

July 31, 1917

Surnames: Chick, Koneski, Lubawy, Majewski, O'Kussick, Organiski, Pulkownik

An automobile load of village police swooped down upon a crap game in East State street early yesterday morning and captured dice, money posted in the game and players from Medina, Niagara Falls and Albion. Complaint was made to the police that the place has weekly been the rendevous late at night for crap shooters. The men taken to jail gave their names; Edward Koneski, East Center Street, Medina, NY; John Organiski, No. 113 Fourteenth Street, Niagara Falls, NY; John O'Kussick, No. 510 High Street, Medina; Leo Chick, No. 46 Brown Street, Albion; Frank Lubawy, No. 68 Moore Street, Albion. The police say warrants will be secured for Leo Majewski of Caroline Street, Albion, and John Pulkownik of Knapp Street, Albion.


Used Stones in Their Encounter
Albion Poles Engaged in Battle Royal

Residents of "Little Poland" Did Not Look Like Advocates of Sweet Peace in Court - One of Combatants Held for Grand Jury

January 13, 1911 - Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

Surnames: Nowack, Pawlaczyk, Witkowski

Albion, Jan. 12 - "Little Poland," in the northeastern part of this village, was a battleground yesterday and two of the combatants were in the police court this morning, charged with assault, second degree. The discolored and bandaged heads and faces of both men left no question of the seriousness of the battle they had fought in the public streets with stones as their weapons.

Ignatius Witkowski, 48 years old, of Joseph street, was complainant against Lawrence Nowack, 56 years old, of No. 33 Knapp street. Both men are employed in the local quarries. Witkowski was nursing a badly bruised and cut head and face, and he had required the services of Dr. Edward Whittier to sew up wounds inflicted by a sharp rock weighing over two pounds. Two of his teeth were knocked out in the fight and he had four deep long gashes across his face and nose, besides a deep wound in his forehead, which was bandaged. His finger was also badly lacerated, where as he claimed, his opponend used his teetch when he, Witkowski, was getting the better of him.

Nowack who was held for the Grand Jury is $200 bail for the assault of Witkowski was equally as badly cut up and appeared in court with bandages over his eye and face. His right eye was swollen shut and a black and blue lump as large as a hen's egg lopped on his cheek. Both cheeks were skinned and discolored, where, as he claimed, Witkowski used a large rock to decorate his features.

The argument is said to have started over the placing of a large boulder in a small stream on the boundary line of Nowack's garden on Joseph street, where a patch used by school children exists. Witkowski claimed that he placed the stone there to afford a dry stepping place for the school children in crossing the stream, and he decided, it is said, to give Nowack a satisfactory answere when the latter [became irate] with him and told him to keep off his premises. Both men admitted using hard names toward each other, and while both also admitted having had large sharp-edged rocks, they differed as to who was the aggressor.

When the smoke of their battle cleared up a little, the men were seen by Mrs. Witkowski, who is said to have run out with many other residents of the neighborhood to where the fight was in progress. Mrs. Witkowski is said to have carried a broom handle with her, but was unable to recognize her husband, owing to the blood that was flowing from his wounds and covered his face and hair.

Chief of Police Andrew Van Dell arrested Nowack this forenoon and he was arraigned before Police Justice H. C. Tucker. Nowack was administered to bail in the sum of $300, with Martin Pawlaczyk as his surety.


Drought Threatens Albion and Medina
Dry Raiders of Rochester Make it Four Apiece

December 11, 1929 - Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

Surnames: Button, Crane, Eibl, Vahoviak, Wojtowicz

Albion, Dec. 10 - Anti-Volstead partisans in this section received a severe blow in today when four prohibition agents from Chief Newton's force in Rochester, accompanied by Sheriff, L. S. Higley, Undersheriff Herbert Clark, and Depuies Nestal and Harris, raided four places in Albion and four in Medina, finding beer, wine, and liquors in varying quantities, destroying the containers, and citing the occupants to appear before the United States Commissioner in Rochester.

Albion places visited were Frank Crane's on Densmore Street, John Eibl's "Dutch Club," Joseph Vahoviak's place on the Eagle Harbor Road, and Angelo Trevisondoli's on East State Street. Four Medina places were also caught unaware, creating a severe drought in the western end of the county for much time.

The raid victims in Medina were Louis and Mary Button of 106 Pleasant Street; Milton Mavariak of 508 Canal Bank; Teofila Vantaro of 110 State Street and Stella Wojtowicz of 105 Laurel Street. They will all be charged with sale and possession of liquor.


All Troubles Come at Once, Ferrari Finds
Arrested by Government Men and Orleans Authorities at End of Jail Term

June 21, 1930 - Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

Surnames: Ciszek, Crane, Shebweski, Vahoviak

Nicholas Ferrari, 196 Brown Street, seldom has been out of trouble for several years, but he learned yesterday that his luck has changed for the worse.

Ferrari, a one time Democratic leader of the Second Ward, found himself unable to pay a fine of $100 in United States District Court and was sent to jail for 30 days. He emerged yesterday and was met at the jail door by Deputy Marshals Albert Skinner and Joseph Fazio, armed with a warrant for his arrest growing out of another raid on his place on May 6.

The deputies took Ferrari before the United States Commissioner Cyrus W. Phillips, where he arranged through some friends to give bond of $1,000 to assure his appearance at a future hearing. But this was not the end of a far from perfect day for Ferrari.

No sooner had he emerged from the commissioners' sanctum than he was greeted by sheriff's deputies from Orleans County, also armed with a warrant for his arrest, based on a raid made by deputies on a place at 14 Mechanic Street, Holley, said to be operated by Ferrari. Orleans County officials plan to try him in the state courts on a charge of maintaining a nuisance. He was taken to that county to enter a plea.

The two government deputies also served a number of other warrants which were issued by the court as a result of failure of persons named in search warrants to appear before a United States commissions following raids on their places. Those served were:

Thomas Morton, Scio Lunch, Scio Street and Main Street East; Frank Shebweski, Albion; Frank S. Ciszek, Albion; Rose Crane, Albion; James Vahoviak, Albion; Joseph Vahoviak, Albion; Katherine Green, Albion; Joseph Zadroznry and Edward Cook, Ames and Campbell Streets; George L. McCue, Geneva; Owen Mackin, Seneca Falls; Charles Leone, 293 Clarissa Street; James Bottiglieri and James Eagan, 270 Whitney Street; Gesuella Carlese, 171 Atkinson Street.


Policeman Haley Resigns; Donovan in Hospital

January 22, 1931 - Medina Daily Journal

Surnames: Majewski

One Medina policeman is in the Medina Memorial Hospital and another has resigned from the force, the aftermath of an early morning fracus with three men from Albion in a Medina restaurant early Wednesday morning.

At the time that the trouble started Officer David Haley, who was on duty, and Officer Michael Donovan, who was having his night off, were in the restaurant when three men from Albion came in. One of the Albion men is believed to be Leo Majewski proprietor of a resort known as the Big House, located at Five Corners, two miles north of Albion. Officer Hales, is said to have involved himself in an argument with Majewski, which ended verbally when Haley made a hard but ineffectual punch at him. The action from that point on became a bit confused but it is believed that Donovan sprang to Haley's defense as the three men attacked him. Haley is reported to have slipped out the door about the time the Albion men warmed to the fray and were looking for something to hit.

Officer Donovan was unable to successfully continue the one sided battle and went down. With more effectiveness than sportsmanship one of the Albion men kicked him when he went down and broke his ribs. He was taken to the hospital and and examination by Dr. Robert Munson revealed two broken ribs and a smashed nose and several cuts. After the melee the Albion men drove off and as yet no complaint has been lodged against them.


Albion Man Found Guilty of Assault Against Policeman

June 13, 1933 - Medina Daily Journal

Surnames: Majewski

Leo Majewski, 36, proprietor of an Albion drinkery, was found guilty of assault, third degree, yeasterday by a jury in county court on a charge of attacking Officer John L. Finn on the night of March 26. Judge B. E. Harcourt will impose sentence Thursday.

The defendant was indicted by the May Grad Jury for second degree assault after the case had been removed from police court on a higher court order on the objection of David A. White, Majewski's attorney, that the atmosphere would be prejudicial because of the presence of W.C.T.U. members with bias against Majewski.

He was acquitted of second degree assault yesterday by this jury but found guilty of third degree assault after his defense had declared he did not use abusive language and only followed Finn from the place after the officer had entered to inquired for the driver of a truck parked improperly outside to tell him to come in quietly.

Questioned by District Attorney William H. Munson, Finn testified that Majewski followed him from the establishment and rushed at him, making it necessary to draw his gun and then his club. After he had used his club, Finn said, they clinched and rolled on the sidewalk, resulting in bruised ribs and lacerations for the officer.

Majewski testified that Finn drew his gun and used the club before any threatening move was made against him.


Majewski Gets 30 Days and No Beer

June 17, 1933 - Medina Daily Journal

Surnames: Majewski

Leo Majewski, convicted of assaulting Patrolman John Finn of Albion last March, was sentenced yesterday by County Judge Bertram E. Harcourt to 30 days in Orleans County Jail. The jury had returned a verdict for third degree assault following an indictment for second.

More than 150 Albion residents yesterday petitioned the Orleans County A.B.C. Board asking that Majewski's application for a beet license be refused with the result that it was refused. It is understood that Majewski will appeal to the state board for a review of his application.


Nabbed for Selling Booze Sans Licenses

April 7, 1934 - Lockport Union Sun & Journal

Surnames: Daniels, Majewski

Albion, April 7 - In an effort to enforce the license provisions of the liquor law, three Orleans County residents were arrested yesterday on charges of selling liquor without licenses. Special raids were made by Sheriff Sidney Treble, Undersheriff Herbert Clark, Sergt. Harry Adams and Trooper G. C. Cooper, of the State police.

Frank Daniels, alias Crane, 27 years old, was arrested as alleged bartender in the establishment of Rose Crane, 16 Densmore Street, Albion. He was arraigned and released on $200 property bail.

Mrs. Nellie Hutchinson, 30, 25 Brown Street, was arrested on a similar charge and released on $100 cash bail.

Leo Majewski, 34, Gaines, alleged proprietor of the Castle, was arrested and when arraigned before Justice Fred A. Burns, pleased not guilty. Majewski, who recently served 30 days on an assault charge, was released on $100 cash bail. The Castle is reputed to have been the former home of Jessie Bonesteele, American actress, famous 26 years ago.


First ABC Raids

April 12, 1934 - Medina Tribune

Surnames: Crane, Daniels, Majewski, Monacelli

Two men and a woman were arrested Friday afternoon by Orleans County authorities and state police for alleged violation of the state liquor control law. Each was charged with selling liquor at a place which held only a beer license.

Leo Majewski, 34, was arrested as actual proprietor of "The Castle" located on the Childs road two miles north of Albion. He was arraigned before Justice of Peace Fed J. Berns of Gaines, and pleaded not guilty. Cash bail of $100 was supplied and a hearing was set for April 13. The beer license for "The Castle" was issued to Albert Monacelli.

Frank Daniels, 22, was arrested while working as a bartender at 16 Densmore Street, Albion. The beer license for the address was issued to Mrs. Rose Crane. Arraigned before Acting Police Justice John D. Daniels, he pleaded not guilty and supplied property bond of $200 and was released for a hearing April 13.


A. B. C. Case is Now on Trial

June 12, 1934 - Niagara Falls Gazette

Surnames: Majewski

Albion, June 12 - An alleged A.B.C. violation by Leo Majewski

, 35 years old, Gaines, the first to reach court here, was on trial in Orleans county court term before Judge B. E. Harcourt and a jury. It is expected to be completed.

The charge involved the alleged sale of liquor under a beer license at The Castle in Gaines, of which Majewski is the owner. The place is leased to Albert Monacelli, who holds the beer license, but Majewski is charged with having made the sale of the liquor to Carl Wenzel and Emerson Yerge, two "buy men" employed by the sheriff's and district attorney's offices.

Two similar charges against Albion beer licenses are pending in the village police court and disposition of them is considered to depend on the outcome of Majewski's case.