"War of Two Races - Greeks and Germans Have a Battle at Maywood" article - Chicago Daily Tribune, January 19, 1896

Published in Chicago Daily Tribune, January 19, 1896

Greeks and Germans Have a Battle at Maywood
All But One Are Volunteers on the Tenton Side
Fight Is the Outcome of a Long Standing Feud
Eighteen Greeks, twenty-five Germans, and two Irishmen were the combatants in a riot at Maywood yesterday.  Knives, clubs, bricks, coupling pins, and stones were the weapons used in the fight and the two Irishmen, with a deputy constable, John Smith, were the persons injured.

The Injured.

BURNS, FRED, 40 years old, head cut.
MAHONEY, JAMES, 35 years old, several scalp wounds.
SMITH, JOHN, 32 years old, left side of face badly cut

The fight was between the Greeks and Germans, the two Irish combatants being volunteers on the German side, while the deputy constable was trying, single-handed, to arrest the entire crowd.

Three weeks ago Maladis Contos and Herman Bauer, Greek and German boys who work in Norton Bros.' tin factory, had a fight.  It didn't amount to much, but the outcome was unsatisfactory to the adult Greeks and Germans who work in the same place.  Consequently ever since there has been a rumor of war between the two factions.

Greeks Get Reinforcements.

There were only eleven Greeks, however, in the place, and there were twenty-five Germans.  So unless the Greeks could be reinforced they knew it was useless for them to declare war.  News of the trouble was told in Chicago, and seven warlike Greeks enlisted and went to Maywood to help out their countrymen.  They reached Maywood yesterday morning and loitered around the factory until closing time, which was 3:30 o'clock in the afternoon:

The Germans live in Melrose Park, near Maywood, and were in the habit of walking home.  The twenty-five started up the railroad track as usual, and when they got to Ninth avenue and Railroad street found they were followed by the Greeks.  The Germans knew the time had come for the threatened battle, and formed a hollow square.  On came the Greeks, growling, muttering, and picking up coupling pins, rocks, and any old thing they could lift, while those who had knives drew them.  They soon faced the band of Germans, and then the battle was on.

First Shot a Brick.

The first show fired was a brick, which a Greek threw into the midst of the Germans.  It didn't hit anybody.  The Germans retreated.  They got to the middle of the street, but close behind them came the Greeks, preparing to fire another volley.  This time they let drive a shower of bricks, stones, and sticks, but nobody was seriously hurt.  This was the end of the first attack and then both sides rested for a moment, each expecting the other to make another rush.  

Then came the Irish volunteers, James Mahoney and Fred Burns.  They joined the German army, and their presence served to renew hostilities.

In a minute the fight was renewed.  There was no parleying, no threats, no idle talk about arbitration or flags of truce.  The Greeks wanted war, and they went at it with a will.  They closed in on the Germans and beat them back to the opposite sidewalk, with Burns and Mahoney in the front rank, each doing his best to whip a half dozen men.  The odds though were too great and they failed.

Ireland Fights Galliantly.

Two Greeks tackled Mahoney and beat him on the head, one using a coupling pin and the other a sharp piece of brick, and when he fought his way back to his comrades it was found he had been cut in two places on the head and once on the left cheek.  Meantime Burns, the other Irish volunteer, was trying to hold his own against five Greeks.  he escaped more fortunately than his comrade, but not without cuts.  Two gashes on the back of his head showed where he had been belabored with a brick and there was a contusion on the left side of his face.

Then came the police.  Village Marshal John Camphouse had been told of the war and he at once summoned the entire Maywood police fore - Policeman Fred Tantor.

"We need men," the Marshal said.

Nine Brave Men Enlist.

Tantor in a few minutes had nine men lined up in front of the City Hall and they were sworn in as deputy constables.  These volunteers were:

William Dickey
Jacob Kuen
Al Hatch
Harry Nichols
Robert Jenneson
John Languish
Charles Riley
Albert Burke
John Smith

Marshal Camphouse took the lead and marched his volunteer force to where the men were fighting.  They got there just in time to see the finish of the second attack.  Camphouse and Tantor were in the lead, revolvers and others had clubs.  They rushed right into the middle of the fight and tried to arrest some of the Greeks, one of whom made a slash at John Smith with a long knife, cutting him across his left cheek.

Blood settled it.  The Greeks saw what one of their men had done and they immediately retreated.  Up Ninth avenue they ran to a vacant house owned by John Languish.  Forcing open the front door they rushed inside and barricaded the windows.  They were soon taken, however, and fined $25(?) each, which they couldn't pay.