This Week in History: Woman confronts burglars climbing into home

120 tears ago, 1899

Another attempt to burglarize a 1st Ward home was thwarted when Mrs. J. V. Zeve was awakened by an unusual noise in the lower part of her home. Mrs. Zeve bravely got up and proceeded to investigate. Upon going downstairs, she traced the sound to a rear window of the kitchen, the blind of which was drawn closed. She suspected that the burglars were at work and she raised the blind and confronted the three men. They had already unlocked and begun to raise the window while one of them stood on a large trash can taken from the rear yard.

They certainly did not expect to see Mrs. Zeve and were frightened enough to turn on their heels and disappear into the darkness. Mrs. Zeve was unable to get a good description of the men due to the darkness and their speed in running away. She was able to tell the police enough that they were able to link the three men to another case involving others under surveillance for several days. Their arrest would be made quickly.

110 years ago, 1909

Paul Harvey of Youngstown was the center of a ghastly prank of students at Wooster University. Eleven members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity pulled off a strange and dangerous prank when they kissed Harvey, the 12th student in the fraternity. The catch? Paul Harvey was suffering from diphtheria. Their prank was made in the hopes that each would be quarantined in time to miss their exams and recitations.

The young men learned of Harvey’s condition and fled into his room to press their lips against his with as much vigor “as if he had been a fair co-ed.” As a result, Health Officer Lerh deemed every member of the fraternity sick with the illness, quarantined and exempt from their exams.

75 years ago, 1944

Three Youngstown soldiers were reported injured while a Campbell man was reported killed in action. Staff Sgt. Nicholas R. DeSanto, 20, of Campbell, had previously been reported as missing but the War Department announced that he had been killed in action over Germany while serving as an assistant engineer and gunner on a B-17. The day before he lost his life in aerial combat, DeSanto wrote home stating that he was very tired, “but I don’t think we’ll be going out again for a while.” His family was unaware of how many missions he had completed in his short time in Europe. He was a graduate of Memorial High School and formerly worked at the Sharon Steel Corp.

Pvt. Lloyd Kleese, of Youngstown, was in an English hospital after suffering serious wounds in France. He had been in the service for four years and went to Europe in the spring of 1944. He had been able to write home to tell his family of his condition. Private Tony Barbone, of Youngstown, was back in action with Gen. Patton’s army after sustaining a foot injury in France in September. Barbone formerly worked at Youngstown Sheet and Tube before joining the Army in 1943. He and his wife had a small daughter, Jeannette.

Sgt. Edwin T. Parrock, 27, from Youngstown, received the Purple Heart for wounds sustained in France. He was hospitalized at the time. Parrock was promoted from a private first class to a sergeant in his 15 months overseas. He had written home that he and another soldier captured four Nazis in a house. He also had a small daughter, 16-month-old Cheryl Lynn.

40 years ago, 1979

The Poland Historical Society was thrilled to learn the news that the Little Red Brick Schoolhouse would not be sold. Continuing from last week’s story, The Vindicator reported that the Poland Local School District Board of Education would abandon its plans to sell the building. This decision was made “in order to allow the board and newly formed historical society to meet and explore the avenues by which the society can purchase the schoolhouse for the preservation of its historical heritage.”

The community came together when the board advertised for bids to purchase the schoolhouse and sell the land as a commercially-zoned corner. In fact, the board received no bids on the property. As a result, the new Poland Historical Society was formed, digging through records and deeds to learn about the building’s history. Local students also supported the effort — sixth graders from Holy Family School got together to make “Save Our School” signs and carried them to the board of education meeting.

Nick Jeswald, then chairman of the Poland Township trustees, told the school board that he had volunteers who would work to restore the building as a historic landmark and to return it to usefulness. The public’s love for the building helped the Poland Historical Society grow in numbers with memberships coming in from all across the region. Letters even came from out of state: John C. Clark from Weston, Connecticut, wrote to The Vindicator with news that his great-grandparents originally sold the land to the township school board in April 1858. Another letter came from Patricia Garasic of New York City who grew up just a stone’s throw from the schoolhouse and remembered the functions held there. She and many others were pleased that their memories could rest intact — “that the schoolhouse will remain a visible symbol of early education while also being symbolic of a caring community spirit and a cooperative board of education who rendered the last minute reprieve.”

• Compiled from the archives of the Youngstown Vindicator by Traci Manning, Mahoning Valley Historical Society curator of education.


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