Discoveries From the Attic

clipped by Kerin Colson

The following is an interesting article from  It was on the front page, 100 years ago in June. Hope you enjoy the wild times in Fennimore, Wisconsin.
If you would like to know more about how to use for free, courtesy of Southwest Library System, reach out to our genealogy/local history specialist, Kerin Colson at

From the Lancaster Teller.  07 June 1922 

Another scene in the big eight reel comedy-drama starring Joe Harrington and an all star cast was enacted at the Storrs hotel at Fennimore last Wednesday night when Fred Jones, farmer awoke in a room at the above mentioned tavern and found that his roll was gone and his pocket was turned, wrong side out.  Fred had, he said, been participating in a round of craps and poker with three jolly companions and had, to use an expression more descriptive of the incident than it is literary, picked them clean. Then something heavy descended upon Fred’s head from the rear, he declares, and the lights, so far as he was concerned, went out.

When he came to, the amount of ready cash he had on his person was so negligible he couldn’t have purchased a white chip in a penny ante game.

This was; about 9:45 by the hotel clock. At about 1:30 a. m. by the same clock, Chief of Police Ike Loomis came upon the scene and enacted a part not written in the original scenario.

He arrested:

First– Roland Hernandez, a bon vivant said to hail from Cuba who has been in evidence about the Storrs hotel for some time. In legal parlance Hernandez was charged with robbing from the person, the person being Jones. In common American slang he is accused of soaking Jones over the head with some blunt weapon calculated to ease him into a state of unconsciousness while Hernandez lifted his cash.

Second – Chester Tucker, Fennimore product, charged with being present and aiding and abbetting in the alleged robbery.

Third — Pete Mundon of Platteville also a hanger-out at the Storrs, charged with being present and aiding and abetting in the alleged blackjack act and robbery.

The next morning these also were arrested:

First — Mrs. Jos. Harrington, wife; of the unfortunate martyr who is wearing his life away at hard labor as a clerk in a Platteville hotel.

Second — Mrs. Bess Bradley widow of Len Bradley and sister of Mrs. Harrington.

Mrs. Harrington is charged with permitting gambling in the Storrs hotel, which she is operating for her mother, Mrs. A. E Storrs during Joe Harrington’s enforced vacation at Platteville.

Mrs. Bradley is charged with inciting the alleged robbery of Jones and as an accomplice.

The three men who were arrested were brought to Lancaster and the two women were arrested the following morning. Then came one Ted Anderson from Fennimore to bail out the men and Ted was immediately placed under arrest for carrying concealed weapons.

Mundon, Tucker and Anderson, are at liberty on bail.  The first two gave bond for $2,000 each and Anderson gave bond for $1,000. Mrs. Harrington and Mrs. Bradley gave bond for $1,000 each. Mrs. Storrs furnished the bond.

The hearing of the men will be June 15 and the ladies will have their day in Justice C. W. Burrows court June 16.

The Storrs hotel at Fennimore which is now popularly known as the Hollywood of Grant county, and its erstwhile proprietor, the jovial Joe Harrington, have been in the limelight for some time.

They broke into print when Joe was sentenced to six months in jail on March 6, by Judge S. E. Smalley in circuit court. Joe was charged with running a gambling house. Joe pleaded guilty and was give six months at “hard labor.” At the intervention of Governor J. J. Blaine, who had harkened to the appeals of Joe’s friends and mother-in-law, Mrs. Storrs Joe was sent to Platteville to serve his six months at hard labor as clerk in the Columbia hotel. For remuneration he was to be paid $40 per months. The forty goes to the sheriff who pays it to Mrs. Harrington.

Sheriff Holmes, it is said, had been a little bit reluctant to “farm out” Joe before receiving Mr. Blaine’s lengthy personal letter in which the governor pointed out that the law required that prisoners serving sentences at hard labor must be hired out at some suitable occupation for pay.

Mr. Blaine had, he said, received a very pathetic letter from Mrs. Storrs in which the situation was outlined in such a manner as to appeal to human sympathy in a most touching way. The governor reminded Mr. Holmes that if Joe was denied his privilege of being, hired out at hard labor the sheriff might find himself liable to $100 fine and removal from office.

So Joe was taken to Platteville. According to Mr. Holmes, the proprietor of the Platteville hotel re-marked, when Mr. Holmes delivered the new clerk, that he didn’t need another clerk.

“Then why are you agreeing to pay $40 a month, for Harrington’s services? asked the sheriff.

“Oh,” the hotel man is said to have replied, “I guess you know where the money is coming from.”

The sheriff “guessed” that he did. Sometime later when. Mr. Holmes handed Mrs. Harrington a check for $20, Joe’s first two weeks’ salary, and asked for a receipt, Mrs. Harrington in surprise asked, “Is that for me.”

 When she learned that it was for her she remarked that it was a good joke and laughed heartily while she wrote out the receipt.

These things would seem to indicate that $20 judiciously handled can pay the hire of $40 a month hotel clerk for six months. The cycle of the $20 it would seem, is from Harrington to his employer, the employer to Sheriff Holmes, Sheriff Holmes to Mrs. Harrington and Mrs. Harrington back to Mr. Harrington.

After Joe’s imprisonment at Platteville, things were quiet at the Storrs for a time.

Last Wednesday night occurred the alleged robbery which resulted in the wholesale arrests.

Fred Jones who owns to the fact that he enjoys a friendly game once in a while went to the hotel with $400 he had received from the sale of some cattle. He states he indulged in a game of craps with Tucker and Hernandez in a room in the hotel and that Mundon was in the room but not in the game. Jones was lucky, he said, and soon had most of Tucker’s and Hernandez’ money. Then Mundon went out and came back with a pint of liquor. All drank. Jones believed, the liquor was served with the idea of getting him drunk. The game was then changed from craps to poker. Still Jones, won. Mrs. Bradley was in and out of the rooms several times during the evening, Jones declares.  Mundon joined the game.

Finally Hernandez left the room again, leaving Jones alone with Mundon and Tucker. Then somebody came up behind Jones and struck him over the head, Jones declares.

When he regained consciousness, he says, he was lying on a bed in the same room and Mundon was bending over him. His pocket where he had his money and the money he had won was wrong side out. Then Mundon informed him, Jones says, that he had lost all his money in the card game and had gone unconscious from the effects of the booze. He was told he had also lost his horse which was at a livery stable nearby, but that if he would go on about his business and say nothing about the incident he could have his horse hack, he declared.

 Jones left the hotel and went to the livery stable where he found the horse which he had driven to Fennimore. He then phoned to District Attorney George B. Clementson and Mr. Clementson notified Sheriff Holmes to go over and get the prisoners.

Ted Anderson, who was arrested for carrying concealed weapons, had been, in the room a while during the and had flashed a revolver, according to Jones.  Anderson had bragged about what he would do with his gun if any officers of the law interrupted the session, so Jones says.

It is not known whether or not Mrs. Harrington or Mrs. Storrs will appeal to Governor Blaine to use his influence to facilitate justice in this matter or not.

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