Fifty Days of Sunday: The Preparations for Sunday

The Preparations for Sunday


While the ministers of Joplin were busy raising the tabernacle in advance of the arrival of Reverend Billy Sunday, other preparations were also underway.  Among those was the organization of women to help reinforce the religious teaching of Sunday’s great revival through “cottage prayer meetings.”  112 districts were created which encompassed the city with at least one woman per district.  While several meetings were expected to happen before Sunday arrived, thereafter, thirty-minute meetings would be held every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday after the Sunday services to follow up on the sermons.

Preparations also were afoot in the office of the mayor, Guy Humes.  At his behest, the chief of the Joplin Police Department, John A. McManamy, issued a notice to the department which read:

“To members of the police department: Gentlemen, I desire to call to your attention to the fact that boys are being allowed to shake dice in pool and billiard halls and saloons.  This must be stopped.  Second, that gambling houses are running in Joplin.  These must be closed or the proprietors put in jail.”

Five days later, under the order of Mayor Humes, the Joplin Police under the cover of night, swept through the district of the city between Eighth and Ninth Streets.  Their orders were to investigate “suspicious houses,” where a newspaper claimed “questionable resorts were being maintained in buildings” on the block.   The investigation netted two women, Bessie Cook and Anna Grimes, arrested on the charge of “lewd conduct.” (Both pled not guilty)  Before the specter of Reverend Sunday’s pending arrival, another raid was executed this time on “joints” on Main Street at nine in the morning on the 15th of November.  Three squads of Joplin Police officers worked their way through suspected locations and by noon had arrested over 68 women (similar arrests resulted in $10 fines and a charge of disturbing the peace).

Guy Humes, the crusading mayor of Joplin.

Since his election, Humes had struggled to rein in the vices of Joplin, but often had met with resistance.  One Joplin daily newspaper (which threw its political support to the party of Humes’ opposition) even made a habit of ridiculing Humes’ morality crusade.  Regardless, the fact that Billy Sunday was coming to Joplin had provided the mayor with a new well of support to achieve his goals.  It was with no surprise that with such a groundswell of backing that Humes selected the most (in)famous saloon in Joplin to personally raid, the House of Lords.

By law, alcohol was not to be sold on Sunday, a Joplin blue law.  It was also a law that newspaper articles implied was routinely flouted.  In his effort to ensure that he could catch the proprietor of the House of Lords in the act of breaking the law, Humes made the controversial decision to hire private investigators to go undercover to alert him of the time and practice of the violation.  Thus armed with said information, Humes personally lead a raid into the famed saloon accompanied by not just police officers, but also a newspaper reporter.  The result was outrage by some and congratulations by others and space on the front page of a Joplin daily.

The city’s crusade was not without violence and bloodshed, either.  In the midst of the prior raid on suspicious women, one police officer was killed and another wounded by William Schmulbach, when an attempt was made to arrest his wife.  Schmulbach escaped and became one of Joplin’s most notorious and wanted men.  High rewards failed to turn others against him and Joplinites claimed to have spotted him at one time or another across the breadth of the nation.  Chief McManamy blamed the municipal judge, Fred W. Kelsey, who had ordered the raid for the officer’s death.  Judge Kelsey, likewise accepted responsibility, but fired back that “No officer should shirk the responsibility of a raid made in an effort to enforce the law…”  The severity of the conflict by Humes against the vices of Joplin soon garnered the attention of the Kansas City Star, which sent a reporter to Joplin to report on crackdown.

In the outsider peering in perspective offered by the article that ensued, the true state of the recent events took on the incredible air of a city government divided.  In one corner was the mayor, whom the article referred to as supported by “those who desire to see the laws enforced.”  In another, the long time and often re-elected chief of police, McManamy, who purportedly was lobbied by the ne’er do wells to simply allow the city to be policed as it had before the pre-Sunday enforcement push.  In the third corner, the municipal court judge Kelsey, who in contrast to Humes, wanted an even stricter crackdown on criminals.  Additionally, the city council of sixteen was also divided along even lines of support for and against the law enforcement effort.

Police Chief John A. McManamy, the target of lobbying by the “open town” supporters.

It all, the paper claimed, was due to the eventual arrival of the Rev. Billy Sunday.  His arrival, “caused a shiver to run through the camp of the lawbreakers.”  Purportedly, such was the concern of those on the wrong side of the law that a meeting was held at the House of Lords where a temporary agreement was made “…The gamblers agreed to leave town for a while and the saloon keepers decided to close their places on Sunday while the revival was in progress.”  Thereafter, as soon as the revival and the excitement it generated ended, the gamblers would “slip back again.”

The House of Lords was, the paper described, “The central point of attack of the law enforcement contingent and the place around which the defenders of an open town are rallying…[It is]…the pioneer saloon, café, pool hall and rooming house in Joplin.  It is the headquarters of many of the politicians, and the stronghold of those who do not like to see old conditions disturbed…”  The House of Lords was a place of “red paint and expensive furnishings” which separated and distinguished the saloon from any similar business in Joplin.  Humes, after the raid, refused to sign the liquor license and vehemently swore the House of Lords would be permanently closed.

Joplin Main Street

On the left, the House of Lords, located at the very heart of Joplin’s financial district and the alleged heart of those who supported an “open town” policy for Joplin.

Rev. Sunday also brought fear to those who indirectly supported unlawful activity.  “Some of those “church goers” who had been renting their buildings for rooming houses of questionable character and for dens of vice, took fright and demanded that their tenants vacate.  The Rev. Mr. Sunday has a way of collecting local information and announcing publicly the names of offending church members.  There was a general stampede for righteousness among that class of church members…”

The Reverend Frank Neff, formerly assistant pastor at the Independence Avenue Methodist Episcopal church in Kansas City, and then president of the Ministers Alliance of Joplin, stated to the reporter, “We expect a great clean up in the city, but it will be in the nature of a religious awakening which will result in a permanent clean up and will come from a sincere desire of the people.”  Neff went on to offer his support for Mayor Humes’ activity and granted him credit for attempting to clean up Joplin since he was elected.

The pending arrival of Billy Sunday shook Joplin to its core.  For some, it was the opportunity to save the city from vice once and for all through an up swell of religious fervor.  For others, it was a direct attack on the customs and habits, if not livelihoods, of a city that had persisted since the birth of Joplin as a rough mining camp in the old Southwest.  While factions fought, compromised and fought even more, all sides waited in one form of anticipation or another for the reverend to arrive.

A Soiled Dove Returns

Florence Woodson was hailed as one of “the most notorious denizens of the north end.” She had spent “many long and tedious hours behind the bars” and “years in dives of ill fame” when her mother appeared in Joplin and forced her to return home. Florence, it was said, had left her home in Springfield years before and journeyed to Joplin’s tough North End where she found work as a soiled dove. She soon gained the reputation as one of the “toughest of the tough.”

When her mother arrived, she found her daughter in jail, held on a charge of prostitution. Their meeting was “a heart rending scene” as Florence’s mother told her that Florence’s father had died from grief after she left home. Florence promised to leave her life on the streets and return home to Springfield. She was released from jail and left Joplin. It was rumored that she had indeed returned to the straight and narrow, but she eventually returned to Joplin, hoping to visit the “scenes of her dissipation” while on an excursion to nearby Carthage.

Florence, however, found that Joplin’s North End had changed. Many of the “resorts” were deserted; some even partially destroyed. Once the scene of “music, dancing, and wrong-doing galore,” reform-minded middle-class women had led a somewhat effort to drive the prostitutes, gamblers, and criminals from the North End, many of whom were African-American.

The police, alerted to Florence’s return, arrested her in a rooming house on Main Street. She begged that if released she would never return to Joplin. The judge fined her $5 and costs before releasing her. Florence reportedly caught a train back to Springfield. One more soiled dove had come and gone, but there would always be more to fill the bars and boarding houses of Joplin.

Source: Joplin News-Herald

The Unfortunate Life of Jung Ling

Life was not easy in Joplin for a Chinese immigrant. The Chinese community was minuscule in the midst of a city whose population was overwhelming white.  In previous posts, we covered the lives and affairs of Joplin’s immigrant community, and found that their lives were fraught with hardship and hostility. Jung Ling, sometimes referred to Lo Jung Sing or just Jung Sing, was one of those immigrants. During his time in Joplin he had to deal with his American wife absconding with his life savings and was forced to defend his business with a pistol.

In June of 1907, Jung attempted to gain legal entry for his son into America. During an interview with a government investigator, Jung claimed his son was born in the United States. When the boy was four, Jung took him to China to live with Jung’s Chinese wife. Now that his son was older, Jung wanted the boy to return to the United States to pursue an education. The government investigator, identified only as Mr. Tape, was a Chinese-American reportedly renowned for his ability to uncover and expose illegal Chinese immigrants. Mr. Tape rarely ventured into Southwest Missouri as few Chinese immigrants made the area their home. Reportedly at this time Joplin was home to only five Chinese residents and Carthage had only one Chinese resident. We do not know whether or not Jung was successful in his attempt to bring his son to the United States, but we do know that he was living alone four years later.

The same year, Jung, who owned both the Troy Laundry (located at 109 West Fifth Street) and a restaurant (in a 1909 Joplin city directory it is simply called “Chinese Restaurant” located at 117 East Fifth and 624 ½ Main Streets — Google Maps indicates the laundry was located roughly where Columbia Traders is today and that both businesses were across the street from each other) found himself in trouble once again. Jung was working late at his restaurant on a Wednesday evening when four strange men entered. The men sat down as if they were going to order a meal. Jung walked over to take their order. Without warning, the men jumped to their feet and attacked Jung with a blackjack. Frantically, Jung tried to escape out the back door, only to be beaten and choked into unconsciousness by his attackers.

Twenty-one hours passed before friends of Jung aroused him with loud knocks on his door.  The thieves had locked him inside, perhaps to create the illusion that the restaurant was closed for business and to prevent a sooner discovery of their victim. Jung managed to unlock the door before he fell back into unconsciousness. A broken blackjack club, the metal shot used to give the weapon its heft spilled across the floor, illustrated the brutality of the attack. Once again, Jung’s savings had been stolen.

It was not until two weeks later, when the Joplin police had arrested a notorious robber, Arlie Smith, that Jung had the chance to identify one of his attackers.  The Chinese immigrant still bore the wounds inflicted upon him from a fortnight before, but was by no means fearful when he spied Smith in a cell.  The Joplin News-Herald reported that Jung leapt forward, prepared to attack Smith.  Smith, meanwhile, dismissed Jung with a slur, and laughed.  It’s unknown if Smith was tried for his robbery and assault of Jung, but already accused of other such thefts, it’s likely he was sent off to the penitentiary for one crime or another.

Sources: Joplin Globe, Joplin News Herald

More Trouble at the Silver Moon Saloon

In the rough and tough world of Joplin’s saloons, it seems excitement was never far away.

Henry Moon, the proprietor of the Silver Moon Saloon in August 1904, did not suffer fools.  Will Sowder was in a bad mood.  It ended, of course, with bloodshed.

Sowder, whose real name was Will Davis, was the stepson of Deputy Marshal Frank Sowder.  Perhaps Sowder felt this relationship gave him special privileges.  He had already faced arson charges earlier in the year, but was acquitted. Or maybe he just didn’t care after a night of heavy drinking with his friend Mike Ryan.  In any event, Sowder got into an argument with Moon.  Heated words were exchanged. Sowder lunged behind the bar and hit Moon.  Moon hit the floor and Sowder jumped on him.  He was in for a surprise, though, because Moon was able to draw his revolver.  With a squeeze of the trigger, Moon shot Sowder in the leg, then hit him over the head with the gun.  Sowder staggered and fell, leaving a pool of blood on the floor.

An ambulance picked Sowder up and took him to his home at the southeast corner of Fourteenth and Wall Streets.  There he received medical attention from Dr. Tyler who felt that Sowder would recover from his wounds without any problems.  Moon, however, was hauled off to the home of Justice Potter who turned Moon over to Constable Arch McDonald.  Moon bonded out after he ponied up $1500.  He refused to talk to a Joplin Globe reporter about the incident.

In the end, it was just another night in Joplin.

Source: The Joplin Globe

A Hold Up at the Silver Moon Saloon

Joplin had the atmosphere of the roughest mining towns in the American West. On the evening of December 8, 1903, the Silver Moon Saloon was the scene of a “bold hold-up.” Located at the northeast corner of Fifteenth and Main Streets, the Silver Moon Saloon may not have been as refined as Joplin’s famed House of Lords, but it served the needs of the countless men who crossed its threshold.

Main Street Joplin circa 1906 or earlier.

Main Street Joplin circa 1906 or earlier.

It was 10:40 in the evening. The saloon was empty, save for Einhart, the proprietor, and an old man who was passed out from a bout of heavy drinking. Einhart was cleaning glasses when two men strode into the saloon. As Einhart later told a Globe reporter, “They were strangers to me and I did not pay any particular attention to them when they started to the rear. I did not take my eyes off of my work. They certainly did not appear to be robbers. Neither of them looked vicious.”

The two men silently approached Einhart with their Colt .45 revolvers pointed at him. The saloon owner confessed, “Without saying a word they induced me to throw up my hands for I could see then that they meant business.” One of the men came around the bar and riffled through Einhart’s pockets. He pulled out Einhart’s watch, but the bar owner protested, saying it was a present from a “very good friend.” The robber laughed and told him he could keep it. Einhart then pointed his assailant to the cash register, secretly pleased he had already taken out most the night’s take earlier in the evening.

At this, the old man who had been passed out suddenly revived, looked at the two robbers, and “ran out the side door and headed down Fifteenth Street as hard as he could, screaming meantime as loud as possible.” Frightened, the two men grabbed money from cash register, dashed out the door, and ran east down Fifteenth Street. For their efforts, the two men pocketed $32.10 out of the cash register, a couple of dollars out of Einhart’s pockets, and some checks.

Joplin Police Officer Snow and Night Watchman Heady began tracking down leads in the case within the hour. By the end of the night, they arrested two suspects, Oscar Orman and C. Ownes, both of whom had come to Joplin from Galena, Kansas, earlier in the evening. Both men were locked up and charges followed the next day.

Source: Joplin Globe

An Outlaw Killed in Joplin

The end of an era came to a close when, on August 16, 1924, Joplin Police Detective Lee Van Deventer shot and killed Roy Daugherty.  Daugherty, a member of the fabled Wild Bunch, met his end when Van Deventer shot him just above his heart as a young child clung to his leg. The mortally wounded bandit staggered, then collapsed onto a nearby bed, and died. With his death ended a saga of the Wild West that began in 1870 in nearby Barry County, Missouri, where Daugherty was born.

At the age of 14, Roy Daugherty ran away from home to Oklahoma.  It was there that he adopted the nickname “Arkansas Tom Jones” and fell in with Bill Doolin of the famed Doolin Gang.  A string of subsequent robberies ended with the “Battle of Ingalls,” in a saloon in Ingalls, Oklahoma, when United States Marshals under the command of E.D. Nix sought to capture the Wild Bunch.  It was a bloody gunfight that ultimately left three marshals and four outlaws dead.  Daugherty was captured when James Masterson, brother of legendary lawman, Bat Masterson, hurled a stick of dynamite at the outlaws and managed to stun Daugherty long enough to arrest him.

United States Marshal E.D. Nix

Legendary United States Marshal E.D. Nix who oversaw Daugherty's capture at the Battle of Ingalls.

Daugherty was sentenced to prison for 50 years, but was released early. It wasn’t long before he returned to a life of crime. It was approximately 1901, after an arrest, when Daugherty’s first recorded visit to Joplin may have happened, purportedly as an unwilling participant in a traveling exhibit of the Wild West.  It is entirely possible this event never happened, but the lifelong outlaw did find his way to Joplin in 1917.

While much of Daugherty’s criminal career happened in neighboring Oklahoma, by 1917, it was rumored he had played a role in a series of robberies in Missouri, including a bank job in the small town of Fairview, in neighboring Newton County.  In 1917, Joplin police detectives William F. Gibson and Charles McManamy sought him for robberies in Oronogo and Wheaton, Missouri.  Their investigation led them to a farmer who, after an hour of intense interrogation, finally confessed the location of Daugherty’s safe house.  The hesitation had not been out of loyalty, but for fear that the outlaw would seek vengeance for the betrayal of his location.

Possibly out of doubt of their informant’s confession, or perhaps for lack of a better plan, the Joplin detectives simply knocked on the door of the house in which Daugherty was reportedly inside.  It may have come as shock when the outlaw opened the door himself, but if the men were surprised, the moment quickly passed as both lawmen charged into the house to arrest Daugherty.  Daugherty stumbled back into the house, while McManamy and Gibson rushed after him, and the three found themselves caught in a moment of hesitation focused around a revolver that lay on a nearby table.  All three men lunged for the weapon, and had Daugherty been the quicker, the stories of Detective Gibson and McManamy might have ended that day.

Gibson reached the pistol first.  Daugherty, who seemed to have known the detective, reportedly said, ” I’m glad you got it, Billy.  If I had beat you to it, I would have had to kill you.”  And so, the Barry County native was returned to prison courtesy of the Joplin Police Department and sentenced to 8 years.  Daugherty, despite being a former member of the Wild Bunch with a string of robberies to his name, was released early on good behavior.  If Daugherty had served his entire prison term, it is entirely possible that the events of August 16, 1924, might have never happened.

Roy Daugherty in the prime of his life.     Roy Daugherty in the prime of his life. Via Wikipedia.

Roy Daugherty in the prime of his life. Via Wikipedia.

Some things had changed since 1917.  Joplin detective, William Gibson, had been promoted to Chief of the Joplin Detectives.  Likewise, some things had not changed, such as Roy Daugherty’s penchant for robberies.  This time it was a bank in Asbury, a town on the Kansas — Missouri line, just northwest of Joplin.  The Joplin police sought out the 54 year old outlaw, and were tipped off to his location on a hot Saturday afternoon.  Once more, William Gibson set out to arrest Daugherty, accompanied by fellow detectives Len Van Deventer, Tom DeGraff, and Jess Laster.  Chief of Police Verna P. Hine also joined the detectives.

Word was that Daugherty was in the home of a Joplin local known as “Red” Snow at 1420 W. Ninth Street.  The plan was simple.  Two cars, one with Gibson and Van Deventer, the other with DeGraff, Laster, and Hine, would speed to a stop in front of the home and the men would rush the house.  Afterward, Detective Chief Gibson reflected on his thoughts as the lawmen left to capture Daugherty:

“I knew there would be trouble when we left the station to get Daugherty.  I knew we were after a man who had shot first in eighteen fatal encounters and I expected no surrender.  Daugherty would die with his boots on and I believed that someone else would unlace them tonight.”

As the police neared their destination, the car in which Police Chief Hine was riding in veered off a block early.  At that point, Gibson believed that Hine had elected to stay out of the capture, a claim that Hine later denied.  When Gibson arrived, he headed for the rear of the house, convinced that Daugherty would try to escape out the back.  Gibson described what happened next to a reporter:

“I saw him [Daugherty] through a window as I ran toward the back door to cut off his escape, and I knew then he knew that it was to a finish.  He ran crouched, to present as small a target as possible, his gun clutched in both hands before him.  I reached the porch in the rear of the house and met him at the door.”

At that point, Daugherty opened fire point-blank on Gibson.  Gibson later was at a loss as to how he was not hit by the outlaw’s fire, especially after he discovered a bullet hole in his hat. Gibson sought cover behind a nearby bush and returned fire.  Three of his bullets hit their intended target. Daugherty was hit in his left wrist, his right side above the kidney, and was grazed on the side of his head above an ear.  Sufficiently discouraged from escape out the back door, Daugherty headed for the front.

As Daugherty did so, Red Snow’s wife, caught in the middle of the gunfight, screamed loudly.  He did not get far.  In the time in which Daugherty and Gibson had exchanged shots, Detective Van Deventer entered the house through the front door.  The two found themselves in a face off and the younger Van Deventer fired first.  The large .44 caliber slug from Van Deventer’s revolver struck Daugherty in the chest and the man who had rode with the Wild Bunch fell dead onto a nearby bed.  At his feet, the young child of Red Snow bawled, confused and frightened.

After confirming that Daugherty was dead, Van Deventer and Gibson helped themselves to two cigarettes from the dead man’s shirt pocket. His body was sent to the Hurlbut Undertaking Company and reportedly attracted the attention of thousands who came out to view the corpse of the famed bandit.  Later it was discovered that Daugherty’s .38 revolver had jammed after he had fired only two shots at Gibson, which might have been a reason that both Gibson and Van Deventer had emerged unscathed in the ordeal.

Roy Daugherty's death certificate.

Roy Daugherty's death certificate.

Daugherty’s death brought about the resignation of the Joplin Police Chief Hine.  When the police had set out to capture, Hine’s car had turned away a block too early.  Hine later stated that he thought he was supposed to go to the rear of the house to cut off escape.  Hine was later accused of cowering behind a barn while Gibson shot it out with Daugherty.  The police chief claimed he had thought Gibson had been shot dead, when the detective had only crouched for cover, and thus had paused in his approach toward the house.  Hine also argued that he had never even paused, but the entire time had been on a slow approach to the house; slow only because of high grass that had grown up in the rear of the property.  His explanations were not enough.  Joplin Mayor F. Taylor Snapp publicly called the police chief a yellow coward and demanded his resignation.

Ironically, Hine, a former barber, had been appointed by Mayor Snapp two years before, his only experience was having served as a special park policeman in Schifferdecker Park and six years on the Joplin police force.  His inglorious end as Joplin Police Chief came only two days after the gun battle when Hine handed in his badge..

Roy Daugherty was not the first notorious gunslinger to visit Joplin, nor was he the last infamous outlaw to come to the city.  In less than ten years, a modern successor to the Wild Bunch rolled into town, headed by two outlaw lovers commonly known as Bonnie and Clyde.  Unlike Daugherty, the Barrow Gang escaped fate in a hurried departure from Joplin, but that is a story for another post.

Sources: U.S. Marshals website, the Joplin Globe, and Digital Missouri.