knocking hats off anyone wearing them and stomping on them

August 28 [Tue], 2012, 14:47

The column that notices everybody is writing a book.

Good evening!

Chance of thunderstorms Monday, Monday night and Tuesday.
Not over a 50 percent chance, but a chance.
And when it says thunderstorms, you listen.
Especially now that derecho is part of our language.

Have you noticed that things we haven’t had to worry about are suddenly happening?
We had an earthquake.
We don’t have earthquakes.
We had a killer derecho.
We don’t have derechos?
Do you suppose it’s a result of the way you’re living?
We’ll ask Jack Van Impe.

Warren Robinson had 40 copies of his book printed.
There was no intention of making money.
“I had to go looking for what my ancestors didand I don’t want future generations to have

to go looking for me,’’ he said.
But he may have to go to a second printing.

Bob Crowe surfaces:
“There was an unwritten rule (if anyone wears a straw hat outside of those dates,

especially after Sept. 15, you are to knock it off their head and stomp on it) that one was

not supposed to wear straw Cheap Snapbacks hats before May 15 or after Sept. 15.
On Monday, Sept. 16, 1912, the young men of “The Crescent Canoe Club” took the unwritten

rule to the extremes by going to the intersection of Commerce & Laurel streets.
The town was filled with people on that day, and they decided to take liberties on what was

told to them by the older members of the club, and that was to knock the hats off club

members heads only.
It started out like that with Police Officer Barton standing on the corner watching and

doing nothing, as it was supposed to be all in fun.
But it quickly got out of hand as the group grew into a mob of few hundred young boys and

men, knocking Cheap Snapbacks hats off anyone wearing them and stomping on them, and knocking some people to

the ground, including women.
Thus, “the start of the Straw Hat Riots of 1912.”
A number of the people fought back.
One of those were Sheriff Garrison, as they found out he was not willing to relinquish his

hat without a fight, striking one of his attackers with his fist.
A well-known athlete’s hat was snatched and the athlete snatched it back and gave his

assailant a body blow which would have sent him reeling to the pavement had it not been that

he fell back against some of his companions.
But this is the best.
“A traveling salesman coming from the late train was approached by a young man on South

Laurel Street who flippantly tilted the hat of the stranger into the gutter.
“The salesman gave one swing with his right and if he had landed, there would have been a

subject for the hospital.
“Immediately, the crowd of boys who had gathered began to yell, ‘Mob Him,’ at the

But the salesman was evidently able to take care of himself, for he deposited his suitcase

on the sidewalk and calmly surveyed the crowd, then he remarked, “Walk right in, children.

Pain will be here waiting for you.’’
The young men who were anxious to mob him faded away and the stranger continued on his way.
It was said that Commissioner of Public Safety Hughes could have done something to quell it

as soon as it started.
But he went up to the second floor of the Poultry Association, of which he is president.
He had been there but a short time before the racket claimed his attention and he went out

to see what was up.
Even then, vigorous and determined action on his part might have averted the riot.
After two hours of rioting, the police arrested one of the ringleaders, one Clarence Young.
The excitement grew and the mob surrounded city hall, acting very disorderly and threatening

to release the prisoner.
Just as a note, there were only six police officers at this time.
The small police force was inadequate to cope with the situation.
The crowd refused to disperse; the fire alarm was sounded for the firemen to gather at

They were instructed to get out their big hose.
The water was turned on and the hose was turned on the mob.
As the water came out with such a force, the crowd quickly scattered.
Mayor George Hampton said, “We had better order about a dozen more of these sticks” as

soon as he entered city hall this morning, picking up one of the policeman’s clubs from the

On Sept. 18, 1912, there were 17 people that had been arrested standing before Mayor Hampton

(as was the law back then that the cases be disposed of by the mayor) to enter their pleas.
Four plead guilty; the others, not guilty.
Some of the names and their pleas:
Arthur Gehring ― guilty
Ed Bright ― not guilty
Oscar Hanners ― not guilty
Austin Hannersm ― not guilty
Valair Carman ― guilty
Elmer DuBois ― not guilty
Robert Fithian ― not guilty
Hay Ritter ― guilty
Harry Lore ― not guilty
Kenneth Carll ― not guilty
Warren Adams ― not guilty
Clarence Young ― guilty.
The charge was being disorderly on the streets.
For those found guilty, the fine was $10.
After the hearing, a prominent member of The Crescent Canoe Club made a statement of the

affair, as he had seen it in an endeavor to show to His Honor that the club, as a club, had

nothing to do with the affair except as to smashing one hat.
This belonged to one of the club members who handed his hat over for that purpose, he said,

and the president of the club had expressly warned them that they were not to touch the Cheap Snapback Hats

of anyone except club members.
Yes, Warren Robinson, you grandfather was one of them.
The picture is of a 1917 parade in Bridgeton at the intersection of Commerce and Laurel,

where most of this took place.
As you can see in the picture, the straw hats were a big deal back then.

For further details on and its Cheap Snapback Hats, log on to
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