N&W in 1904 -- Passenger Train Fight

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Nov 29 20:25:49 EST 2007

No Arrests Made as Participants were Satisfied with Result
Yesterday afternoon five Hungarians boarded east bound passenger train No. 16 at Keystone. It was apparent as soon as they entered the second class coach that they had spent the day in that town trying to drink it dry of all intoxicating beverages, but as to how successful they were we have not learned. However, it was very evident that the exhilarating effects of their day's debauchery had worn off and they were in a very ugly mood. One of the number soon tried to revive his companions by what he considered amusement at the expense of an old gentleman, aged perhaps 60 years, by blowing the smoke from his pipe which, considering its appearance and the odor which issued from it, had been in use for a long time, the old gentleman requested the Hungarian to quit, as the smoke was very offensive. The Hungarian could speak some English and replied by calling the aged man a vile name. The man resented the remark by striking the Hungarian, whose companions came to his assistance. Several passengers who had witnessed the whole proceedings then took sides with the old gentleman, and a general fight followed. After quiet had been restored four Hungarians were bleeding about the head, only one having escaped injure, and he jumped from the train at the risk of his life or else he would have received the same chastisement as his countrymen. The old gentleman escaped injury, and got off at Maybeury. None of the passengers were injured. The Hungarians left the train before reaching Maybeury. No arrests were made as the result of the bout was satisfactory to all present.

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
August 20, 1904

[As explanation to "outlanders," i.e., those who are not from the coal fields, or from near there, the early boom in the coal fields attracted many nationalities such as Hungarians and Italians as well as blacks from other parts of this country. Because of the untoward behavior of some of them, these non-Anglo-Saxons were stereotyped, and it took some time for them to become an accepted part of society.]

Gordon Hamilton
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