March 5, 1914


I.W.W. Army of 200 Unemployed Arrested Inside Edifice.


Frank Tannenbaum, Leader, Held on $5,000 Bail, Says Organization Will Back Him Up.

New York, March 4.—Frank Tannenbaum and more that 200 of his hungry followers were arrested tonight after storming and taking possession of St. Alphonsus’ Catholic Church in West Broadway.

In the sodden, motley crowd there was a woman, Miss Gussie Miller, who has lately joined the I.W.W. agitator’s cabinet and Hyman Finklestein, a forlorn looking tailor in whose pocket was found $700 in bills of large and small denomination.

The mob-riotous, ragged and on the verge of fighting the eighty policemen who came to the church, was taken to McDougal street and Beech street police stations, where an assortment of weapons was taken from them. Razors, slung-shots, sandbags, iron bolts, bits of jagged glass, shears huge knives and cast-iron nuts on strings were among the confiscated weapons. A good-sized basketful of like weapons were gathered from the floor of the church after the capture.

Against Tannenbaum and the leaders of the mob were preferred charges of inciting to riot, unlawful entry and disturbing the peace.

Tannenbaum was ripe for just such an outbreak. This afternoon he declared that I.W.W. officials had told him that he might carry out his ideas with full assurances that there would be money and lawyers to help him.

“Something Doing,” He Says.

“There will be something doing,” said Tannenbaum. A picturesque horde of idle men assembled in Rutger’s Park at 6:30 to follow the youthful agitator wither he might lead.

Tannenbaum aroused them by his fiery pictures of their social level. Miss Jane Est, who loudly declared herself to be a militant suffragette followed Tannenbaum and the crown roared approval of her forensic pyrotechnics. Fully 700 men followed Tannenbaum over Spring street. At Allen street the mob assailed a double team when the driver refused to halt to let them pass.

At West Broadway Tannenbaum with Miss Miller at his side turned north. Detective Capt. Gilday and Detective Lieut. Geegan told Tannenbaum he would be arrested if he made any attempt to enter a place unbidden.

“We take no orders from the slaves of capital” was his reply.

The usual Lenten evening service was in progress in St. Alphonsus. The mob swarmed up the stairs of the church. They swept into the lofty ceilinged, dimly lighted auditorium.  They rushed up the stone floor taking in all three aisles. They clamored over the pews brushing aside women who struggled to get out or seek safety near the altar rail.

“Bring on the eats!” yelled a gigantic youth.

“Less noise, boys,” cried Tannenbaum. “Remember this is a church.”

Gilday and Geegan grasped Tannenbaum by the arm and whirled him around. Tannenbaum was hustled into the priest’s house, where he and Miss Est and half a dozen reporters awaited Geegan, who went for Rev. Schneider, pastor.

Tannenbaum was debonair when Father Schneider appeared with Geegan. Tannenbaum’s demand for food and shelter in the church was refused. This led to a harangued against the church and society, and finally Tannenbaum and Miss Est were taken back to the church.

One Is “Millionnaire.”

Tannenbaum, beginning to realize the fact that he was a prisoner, began to calm. He bade Miss Est to be less noisy and shouted to his fellows that they should observe order and do what they police told them to do.

Then began a strange scene. Down the steps of the church, two at a time, the captured followers of a boy, on whose face there is neither sign nor promise of beard, were hustled into patrol wagons.

Tannenbaum gave his age as twenty-one; his occupation, a waiter. He declared that he had no home, but later declared his parents lived on a farm in Sullivan County, N.Y.

The first prisoner to be docketed was Hyman Finklestein. He declared himself a machinist. He is twenty-nine years old. When the huge mass of bills-more than $700—was found in his breast pocket, a murmur arose from the mob behind him.

“You’re a millionaire,” declared the lieutenant. “Why are you pan-handling? Why are you hungry? Where did you get that?”

“Oh, I’m on the level,” answered Finklestein. “I saved it while I was working. I will not spend it. It is not for me to spend it. It is not for me to spend my money when there are others with so much more.”

Miss Est made heroic efforts to be arrested. She even went so far as to clamber upon the steps of one of the patrol wagons. But a policeman shoved her aside. She loudly protested against “such discrimination,” and declared that she would go to the court and demanded that she be treated as are the rest. Tannenbaum was held in $5,000 bail for hearing today.

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