A couple of months ago, when I was re-examining Max's file, I realized I had marked a NY death certificate which seemed promising. Ordering records for a large family gets pretty pricey, but this particular record seemed important to examine. The Indexing information on German Genealogy Group seemed promising. When the certificate finally arrived, it was disappointing. Though the Max H Crane on the record committed suicide, neither the occupation nor his parents names matched my relative. I posted the death certificate on this blog (Mystery Monday: Max Crane) and together with my readers, was able to absolutely prove that, that particular death certificate did not correspond to "my" Max Hyman Crane.
This is where I think the confusion arose. Even though this was not Max's death certificate, the fact he committed suicide was not refuted. The erroneous death certificate concluded that my Max Crane may not have died in NY like I previously assumed nor did he die on March 24th, 1925. He may have died in NY and he most likely died by 1925. All I now know for sure is that his wife and son were listed on the NY State Census of 1925 as widowed and living in New York City with her siblings. The last citing of Max is on the 1922 Hartford City Directory. I hope this clarifies the mix up.
Now, for Part II of Tuesday's post. In part I, I shared my excitement as Max's treasure trail was heating up again. For fear of writing a very long post, I left you guys hanging with the rest of the discovery.
We left off the young Max Crane, on September 17th, 1909, when he took a severe beating for standing his ground on a street corner, claimed by Sam Berkowitz and Sam Waskowitz. If you recall, the newspaper reporter promised a follow up: "An interesting story is promised in the police court today."
Four days after the initial story broke, the paper published the promised court proceedings and the plot thickened!
Berkowitz Was Discharged
|Special to The Hartford Courant; September 21, 1909|
ProQuest Historical Newspapers
"The adjourned case of Samuel Berkowitz, charged with assaulting Max Kranowitz was tried in police court yesterday. P,F McDonough appeared for the accused. Kranowitz first testified and he implicated Samuel Waskowitz, who was likewise charged. Waskowitz is brother-in-law of Berkowitz. Judge F. B Hungerford defended him. The alleged assault took place last Thursday evening at the corner of North and Willow Streets. Kranowtiz alleged he was attacked because he stood in front of Mr. Waskowitz's new block. He formerly worked for Waskowitz. He said both men assaulted him. They ordered him off the curb, and he declined to go, so they pitched on to him. Mr. Berkowitz said that Kranowitz and some others stood in the doorway of the block, as he was about to enter. He ordered them away and all moved except Kranowitz. He showed fight and trouble began between him and Waskowitz. Berkowitz tried to make peace. Waskowitz gave similar testimony. The accused men were discharged.
A few things jumped out at me. Sam Berkowitz spent three days in jail, but released along with his co-defendant brother-in-law Sam Waskowitz. Though they admitted to beating Max, they were not made to pay him a penalty for the inflicted pain and suffering. There is no clear explanation why a person can not stand on "a block", though it seems the word block might not have meant street block in 1909, since street blocks do not have doorways. Perhaps Max and his friend were standing at the entrance to Waskowitz's new store, which would explain why he owned the "block." If this is the case, than Waskowitz certainly had the right to ask the men to stop loitering at the entrance to his store, though I doubt he had the right to severely beat anyone. Most likely, today the Berkowitz/Waskowitz duo would be required to pay some kind of damages for this thuggish behavior.
What changes the entire picture of this interaction is the fact that Max worked for Waskowitz. I knew there was more to this story than initially met the eye. My first impression of two Jewish "street gangs" has shifted to something a bit different. Either way, it's difficult to tell who the instigator was. For some reason, Max seemed to be pushing his limits with his former boss, and therefore paid for it dearly. Waskowitz's brother paid the price of a few days in jail and had enough money to obtain a good lawyer who bailed him out.
Once again, I am left with many more questions and again, my daily post has reach it's length limitations. I promise not to make you wait too long for the next installment, so check again soon!