Four More Alcohol Victims at Holyoke

by Laurel | December 29th, 2011

Note: there are many errors in spelling surnames — sometimes different spellings appear even within the same paragraph. Name appear here as in the original article but please note they may be incorrect.

29 December 1919

Total Dead To Date

Total Dead To Date

A Like Number if New Cases Are Taken to the Hospital — Another Raid by Police — Minister Attacks Officials — Warning by Polish Pastor.

Holyoke, December 28 — The Holyoke death list continues to grow and today saw four more deaths and four more in the hospitals from wood alcohol. Medical Examiner Frank A. Woods performed another autopsy today — this one on Anthony Pyszawski of 122 High Street, who was reported yesterday as dangerously ill and who died at 2:30 this morning. The autopsy showed the same evidence of wood alcohol poisoning as had been shown in the four previously performed. Dr. Woods said that the whole five were almost exactly alike in the evidence of poisoning shown in the autopsy.

The new deaths are:

Joseph Kolawski or Kalowski, 45, of 125 Maple street.

Frank Kozanacki or Kazanacki, of Bristol, CT, (visiting with Stanley Manyak of 59 Union Street), 50

Anthony Psczawcki [sic], 50 of 122 High Street

Paul Olik (or Olek) of Westfield.

New admissions to hospitals are:

Stanley Manyak, 50, of 59 Union street (blind, condition dangerous).

Joseph Ouchno or Guchno, 28, of 305 Columbia Street, Chicopee Falls (admitted late Saturday night, blind; dangerous).

John Wyszatycki of Willimansett (partially blind).

Starzyk is Rearrested

John Staryzk, who was arrested on the charge of accessory before the fact was released on bail this morning, bail being furnished by Dennie M. Reardon and another. he was soon after rearrested by Deputy Sheriff Edward J. Leydon for the federal authorities and taken to Springfield where he was held by Commissioner John L. Rice under $500 bonds, which were furnished tonight. It is understood that there is a probability that the charge against him will be changed to manslaughter, the same as the keeper of the Hotel Polski. It is expected that Starzyk will be given a hearing tomorrow morning in the police court. Starzyk told one of the police officials that he had lost 40 pounds the past two or three days.

Frank Kozanoski, 45, was brought to the House of Providence Hospital at 6:30 this morning from 59 Union Street, where he was visiting a friend. He came here from Bristol, CT. He died at 8:20. Joseph Kolanswi [sic] of 125 High Street was brought to the Providence Hospital at 9 this morning and died at 12:05. This ended the deaths up to evening.

Another Raid By Police

This morning another raid was engineered by the police department by Inspector John O’Donnell and Patrolman Murphy at the place run by Boleslaw Uszyaski at 66 High Street. Only a small quantity was obtained. Uszyaski bought the business of two other Poles a short time ago, paying $300 for it, he told the officials. He said that his license cost him $300. Inquiry of the clerk of the licensing board led to the discovery that this license had never been transferred to him and that if he paid $300 for it he paid it to the Poles and never made application for the transfer.

In the opinion of a good many people the licenses were illegal anyway, but it look as though in this case that there was a double illegality.

Two federal officers were visitors at the police station this afternoon and what their errand was was not divulged by them. They were said to be on another case and dropped off to see Holyoke.

Another Family Broken by Wood Alcohol

Isaac Blanchette Family

Isaac Blanchette Family

Above: Isaac Blanchette of Chicopee With His Wife and Children as they Looked a Few Years Ago — Mr. Blanchette Died After One Drink.

A half-pint bottle partly filled with what is supposed to be the wood alcohol whiskey has been resting quietly on the desk of Capt. Cullen the past day or so. It is said that it is to be analyzed, but it has not been divulged from what saloon it came, if any. Capt. Cullen left town this afternoon called away by a matter wholly unconnected with the wood alcohol cases and is expected back in the morning at the latest.

Rev. E. B. Robinson Attacks Officials

Rev. E. B. Robinson of Grace Church took the wood alcohol deaths as a text at the morning service for severely arraigning the local officials for the conditions which have existed for months, stating that they had sowed the wind and were now reaping the whirlwind. He told of personal investigations the past week and stated that places of prostitution had been forced to vacate from the shadow of Grace church and it was time that an end was made to the big gambling joint and notorious liquor joint.

He told of the efforts made to get the local officials to act and said that he had called a meeting of the men of the parish for Monday evening to take practical action on plans that had been carefully and completely developed for ridding the neighborhood of objectionable conditions and places. He told in detail his personal investigations and how the people of Grace church considers it an outrage that the church was spending thousands of dollars each year to raise the moral plane of the neighborhood and these degrading places were allowed to exist to counteract that work as far as they could.

Rev. William Preston of the highlands Methodist church also spoke briefly of the matter contrasting the cheer of Christmas with the sorrow that befell the families of those who took the poisoned drink, and how the blessings of abstinence contrasted with the results of drink in general. He gave some statistics of the results of prohibition in this city, especially in regard to conditions of poverty.

Polish Pastor’s Warning

Rev. Charles Ratajezak, acting pastor of the Mater Dolorosa Church, today spoke on the number of Polish deaths from the mixture marked “whiskey” and said that he regretted that death resulted from this unlooked for way of taking life away from man. He cautioned the men of the parish to refrain from taking anything that resembled “whiskey” and said that the number of deaths in the Connecticut valley during the past few days should be a lesson to all. He said that life was too precious for people to abuse themselves by taking this deadly poison.

That the polish district in the city and which is practically confined to Ward 4, is considerably wrought up over the number of deaths and new cases no one will deny, it feels keenly the loss of its Polish citizens, all of whom were loved and respected in the community. The Polish people are a unit with the police authorities in running down persons guilty of selling the drink that resulted in the deaths of local men.

Adapted from The Springfield Republican.

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