Posts Tagged ‘police court’


Vagrants Beware!

   Posted by: admin    in Police court

The Messenger: March 8, 1906

Vagrants Beware!

The Mayor Prepares for the Spring Migration of the Tramp Class

As the time when tramps begin to wander around among the fields and in the towns is fast approaching, and the usual spring incoming of the ragged, “neverwork” class may be expected to strike Fort Dodge at any time, Mayor Bennett had prepared himself and will be in a position to make the stay of hoboes (sic) in Fort Dodge an interesting one.

The paths of such, as strike the city will not be lined with roses – Oh! no! It will be “back to the high grass,” or else away to the stone pile or the city streets; the hammer and the shovel for thirty days. The mayor’s policy with “vags” worked so well last spring that the formula has been preserved and as fast as the “Willies” drop into Fort Dodge they will be added to the street commissioner’s force.

The street graft for police court prisoners has not been worked hard during the winter but unless Fort Dodge is given a wide berth by those qualified the ranks of the street forces will grow to surprising dimensions from now on.

(Editor’s note: In this time frame, the mayor – an elected official, possibly with no legal experience or training outside of being mayor, presided over police court – equivalent of Magistrate Court today – and handed down sentences. One sentence favored by Mayor Sidney Bennett for hobos was cleaning the city streets. The term “Willies” is short for “Weary Willies,” a slang term for tramps, hobos or vagrants.)

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