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December 5, 1909


Beautiful Paintings Now Adorn Edi-
fice of St. John the Baptist.

While the nuns were saying their evening prayers before the alter in St. John the Baptist Croatian Catholic church, at Fourth street and Barnett avenue in Kansas City, Kas., last night, workmen were busy in the rear of the church tearing away a great wooden scaffolding The scaffold has been used during the last six weeks by Oton Tvekovic, an artist, who has been decorating the church after the manner of the Catholic churches in Croatia.

In the alcove above the alter the artist has painted the figures of Jesus and the prophets Jeremiah, Isias and Elias. The figures are somewhat larger than life size and are skillfully executed. In the north alcove of the church the artist has executed a painting thirty-eight feet in length, which represents the prophets, Cyril and Methodus, on their presentation to Prince Rastislav of the Slavonic peoples. Thee picture tells the story of these two apostles who first carried the Christian religion to the Slavs at the close of the eighth century.

An unfinished picture in the south alcove will, when completed, represent the birth of Christ. In the ceiling of the church the pictures of the twelve apostles will be executed. Mr. Tvekovic is a native of Agrin, Croatia. He is a graduate of the Fine Arts institute in Vienna, and is a professor of art in the fine arts schools of Karlsruhe and Munich. He is staying with the Rev. M. D. Krmpotich, pastor of the church. Besides being a portrait painter, Mr. Tvekovic is a landscape artist of note. He has several sketches which he will place on display soon at 416 East Eleventh street, Kansas City, Mo.

Father Krmpotich said last night that his church was the first Croatian church in America to be decorated as are the churches in the mother country. Besides the pictures of the Biblical characters, the church has been decorated in the national colors of Croatia. Several designs peculiar to Croatia have been worked into the decorative scheme, and when finished the interior of the church will present a picturesque and pleasing appearance. Father Krmpotich organized St. John the Baptist parish seven years ago. Since that time a substantial brick church, a rectory and a school have been built. The parish now comprises more than 150 Croatian families, and is in a flourishing condition.

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November 23, 1909


Five Men Arrested, Including Bride-
groom, and Beer Confiscated.

Sheriff Al Becker. of Wyandotte county, with a force of deputies, raided a Croatian wedding celebration at Loscke's hall, Third street and Barnett avenue, in Kansas City, Kas. Five men were arrested, and ten kegs were confiscated. The five men arrested can speak but little English.

Their names as the jailer spelled them are as follows:

Mike Stepson, 318 Ann avenue; Paul Medleck, 23 Water street; Mike Balaska, 25 Water street; Mat Milsco, 31 Dugarro avenue; and Paul Pihel, the bride groom, of 310 North James street.

The men were arrested after persons living in the neighborhood had made a complaint. The Austrians in Kansas City, Kas., have held wedding celebrations in Kansas City, Kas., for years. They are accustomed to having beer in the old country, and can't understand why it should be denied them in Kansas.

They do not sell the beverage at the celebrations, but a bartender stands behind an improvised bar, and hands out large schooners to the dancers.

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November 1, 1909



Eulogy Spoken on Hannibal Bridge
by Dr. Miller, Who Braves Sick-
ness to Carry Out Wish of

"Goodby, Dr. Osborne, may God by with you until we meet again."

Standing on the middle span of the Hannibal bridge at 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon Dr. Thomas D. Miller, a physician with offices in the Shukert building, spoke these words.

A minute before Louis Goldblatt, a saloon man on West Ninth street, had unscrewed the top of a fruit jar, and when Dr. Miller spoke, scattering to the winds the ashes which the jar contained.

These ashes were the mortal remains of Dr. E. H. Osborne, friend of the poor; Dr. Osborne, the mysterious, the eccentric.

It was the first time in the history of the Hannibal bridge that the ashes of a human being were thrown from it into the muddy, surging river below.

Fifty persons witnessed the odd spectacle.

A few minutes before they had listened to Dr. Miller make a eulogy on the man whose ashes were to be conveyed to the waters.

The night before, hundreds had gathered at Goldblatt's saloon on Ninth street on a strange mission. They came to view the remains of their dead friend. Many of them were surprised to find no evidence of a casket when they entered, and were more surprised when Mr. Goldblatt pointed to a two-quart fruit jar, filled with what appeared to be white gravel, surrounded by bottles of various brands of whiskey. The saloonkeeper told them that the white substance in the jar was all that was left of their friend.

A large crowd thronged the brilliantly lit saloon that Saturday night. Negroes, Croatians, Greeks and Americans brushed shoulders and laughed and talked as they drank. As Mr. Goldblatt pointed to the odd receptacle among the bottles, he told many interesting stories of the man he had known intimately for twenty years, and nearly all in the large crowd held beer mugs and sipped the beverage as they listened.


"The old doctor and I were friends for many years," he began, "but despite our friendship he told me little of his early history or his people. He came here twenty-five years ago from Brooklyn, where he had owned a drug store. The store was destroyed by fire, and he, disheartened, came here for a fresh start. For a year or two he lived at 1624 West Ninth street, but moved over in Kansas to two little rooms in the rear of 3 central avenue, where he died. He always said he was "Welsh and Saxon, mixed," and that his forefathers settled on Long Island in 1640.

"Dr. Osborne graduated from Columbia University in New York city, and was highly educated. His greatest delight was to argue. He would argue on religion, politics, history, in fact anything he could start an argument about. He believed in a Divine Creator, but did not believe in the scriptures, and had little use for preachers. He could describe the important battles of some of the European wars until I actually believed I could see them. To my knowledge, he has only one living relative, a cousin, Arthur A. Sparks, who lives in Los Angeles, Cal. He was never married and seemed to care but little for the society of women.


"The old doctor was a daily visitor to my place," Mr. Goldblatt continued. "He always came in in the evening. We would have a little drink, and then a friendly game of cards, and then he would go home to his bachelor quarters. He practiced among the poorer classes in the West bottoms, and his life record is full of many kinds of deeds for the poor unfortunate ones. That was Dr. Osborne's platform; that was the sentiment that won him everlastingly to the hearts of his people. He was a man of superior knowledge. He mingled with persons far inferior to him in intellect, but he gave them the knowledge that he had, as best he could, and they worshipped him."

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April 26, 1909


Croatian Builds House to Float
or Stand.

If there is a flood in the West Bottoms this year one householder there at least will be prepared to resist it.

He is one of the Croatians squatting on the "made" land near the Missouri river bank and his handiwork can be plainly seen from the street cars crossing the intercity viaduct. It consists of a crude but large houseboat resting upon piles six feet high driven firmly into the ground. The bottom of the boat is not fastened to the posts, so if a flood comes it will float clear but will be retained in the vicinity by means of an anchor and a stout rope.

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February 14, 1909



Eva Springsteen Fair Caught in Of-
ficial Round-Up at Bartles-
ville, Ok. -- Her
Varied Career.

Eva Springsteen Fair, the woman who bewitched a Croatian priest of Kansas City, Kas., into marriage eight years ago, has again burst into the light of notoriety at Bartlesville, Ok., her present field. Among nine other holders of licenses she has been enjoined from selling liquor. She is now said to be the wife of a Bartlesville liveryman. Of the twenty-eight places where intoxicants are sold, twenty-two are listed for injunction.

Mrs. Fair, as she prefers to be known professionally, has left a wake of witchery wherever she has gone, but she served her piece de resistance when she inveigled Father Antony Politeo away from his priestly vows and his parish of simple Croatians to St. Joseph, where they were married November 19, 1901. Upon their return to Kansas City she is said to have left him at the Union depot and refused to live with him. Politeo, be it said, was straightway unfrocked and his wife obtained a divorce at Independence in the early part of 1907 on the grounds of abandonment and neglect. Soon after her divorce she went to Bartesville, where she has been living since.


Many have been the vicissitudes of Mrs. Fair. As Eva Springsteen she was born in Manhattan, Kas., but later was taken by her parents to Atchison. There she was educated and received a diploma from the local high school. With other girl graduates, clad in commencement white, she sat demurely and listened with kindling ambition to the baccalaureate sermon, wherein the homilist shouted to them in his climax that "beyond the Alps lies Italy." Her intentions were no doubt good at first, but, figuratively, she tired of the irksome Alpine climb and strayed down into into the pleasant field of France an on to its gay capital, tarrying not far from the Moulin Rouge. After graduation she edited for a while the society page of an Atchison paper. She also waited behind a depot lunch counter in that city. On coming to Kansas city, she took the name of Mrs. Eva M. Fair. Here it was that she met Politeo on the street. She dropped her handkerchief. The priest picked it up and returned it to her with a bow. Smiles were exchanged and there was a stroll.


Politeo was a man of undoubted intellectual attainments. He gave inconsistent accounts of himself, however, and among other distinctions claimed acquaintance with Gabriel d'Annunzio and Sienkiewicz, the author of "Quo Vadis." By reason of his heterodox opinions, political and religious, he was banished from Austria and the church and went to Italy. Later he became reconciled with the church and his political heresies were pardoned by Emperor Francis Joseph. Then he was sent to America to take religious charge of his people in the coal fields of Pennsylvania. After that he came West and organized the Croatians who worked in packingtown into a parish. Thus as shepherd of his trustful flock he administered to their spiritual wants until the fair charmer tripped his path. Then began his undoing.


Mrs. Fair and her lawyer cheerfully admitted that she had married the priest for his money. She claimed, however, she did not know of his churchly office until after their marriage at St. Joseph and that he wanted her to live with him as his housekeeper. This, she said, she refused to do. Five years later she got a divorce.

In the meantime she formed a sort of partnership with one George W. Robinson and together they kept a rooming house at 312-314 East Thirteenth street, this city. Soon she claims her partner became delinquent. She sued for dissolution of the partnership and the payment of what money was due her. At any rate Robinson, who was said to be a grain broker, dropped out of her life, and she kept pretty well out of the limelight until she began suit for divorce from Politeo.

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November 12, 1908


Kansas City, Kas., Police Believe He
Was Killed for Betrayal.

Inspector of Detectives John Quinn and Captain U. G. Snyder of the Kansas City, Kas., police department are convinced that the killing of Michael Grogas near the Swift packing house last Thursday night resulted from his betrayal of some secret Croatian or Polish order. They say they have given up on the theory that a woman had anything to do with it or that robbery was the motive, and here is the argument with which they back up this conclusion:

Two weeks before the murder Grogas lived in rooming house No. 6, Patch, and was an eye-witness to a double stabbing there. When the officers appeared at the place, much contrary to the custom of denizens of this congested portion of the Weest Bottoms, he told them everything, and the right party evidently was arrested. Although both of the men hurt were in a serious condition from three deep thrusts each, they would not do as much as Grogas did under the most rigid sweating, and remained silent as to the identity of their assailant.

The police officials in Kansas City, Kas., have long suspected a secret defensive organization among the foreigners in the Patch. They are now convinced that Grogas lost his life because he gave up a fellow member of the society to the officers.

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October 11, 1908



Today Filled With Events of Unusual
Interest, Including a Parade in
Which Thousands Will

The Catholics of Kansas City, Kas., and the surrounding areas are celebrating today the golden anniversary of St. Mary's Catholic church. Today, for the first time, the Rev. Father Anton Kuhls, pastor of the church, monsignor and prelate to the pope, will don his soutan, the purple robe of his exalted office, and officiate at the services of the church.

The events of the day will begin with a parade this morning, in which it is expected many thousands of persons will take part. Thomas Shea, grand marshal, has appointed the following aids from the different parishes: John Quin, Joseph Doleshal, Jr., John Felter, E. C. Goebel, Nick Clemence, J. W. Bishop, P. C. Schneller, Steve Picnic, Frank Frankowitch and M. J. Caples.


Sergeant N. J. Adams will command the mounted police, which will head the parade. The order of the parade will be as follows: Mounted police, Coleman's Military band, St. Mary's parish, St. Joseph's of Shawneetown, St. Bridget's, St. Thomas's, Third Regiment band, St. John's of Argentine, St. Patrick's, St. Anthony's Slavonic band, St. Joseph's Blessed Sacrement, Holy Name Croatian band, St. John the Baptist, St. Benedict's, St. Cyril Methodius, Hiner's band, St. Rose of Lima, St. Peter's, St. Joseph's (Krainers).

The parade will start at St. Mary's church, Fifth street and Ann avenue to Tenth street, south on Tenth and Sandusky avenue and west on Sandusky avenue to Twelfth street, where it will be joined by Bishop Lillis, accompanied by J. A. Stall and A. C. Fasenmyer of St. Mary's parish. The parade will then continue north on Twelfth street to Minnesota avenue, east on Minnesota avenue to Fifth street and south on Fifth street to the church, where it will disband.

In a large tent which has been erected on the lawn, the Very Rev. J. Ward of Leavenworth will celebrate mass, and the Right Rev. Mgr. Tihen will preach at the same hour that Bishop Lillis is celebrating pontifical mass in the church.

Of far more than passing interest is the celebration of St. Mary's golden anniversary to those familiar with the history of the church. Founded fifty years ago in what was at that time practically a wilderness, the little pioneer church has kept its stride with the little straggling village, which has grown from a mere hamlet to a city of more than 100,000 souls; and the magnificent edifice in which the parishioners of St. Mary's worship today is a worthy tribute to the untiring energy and resourcefulness of the aged prelate who has guided its destinies through the storms of half a century.

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July 23, 1908



They Had Forwarded as Much as
$300,000 Through the Concern,
None of Which Reached
People at Home.

Affidavits showing that foreign residents of the West Bottoms had entrusted $300,000 and lost it in the Croatian bank, operated by Frank Zotti & Co. of New York, were sent yesterday morning to the district attorney thre by Father M. D. Krmpotic of St. John's Croatian Catholic church, Fourth street and Barnett avenue, Kansas City, Kas.

The Frank Zotti & Co. bankers handled money for the Croatians and other Austrian peoples in the United States who had friends in the old country to whom they regularly remitted at the week ends. When the company closed doors last week, it is alleged that the books showed no instance where the money had been remitted further than the bank. The total deficit amounted to over $1,000,000, affecting many thousand Croatians all over the country, a it is a comon custom with them to send part of their weekly wages to Austria.

"I am representing my countrymen to the best of my ability in this very important matter," said Father Krmpotic last evening. "Some of them are, of course, very ignorant of our banking system and when they received letters from the old co untry telling of hte failure to receive needed money, they thought the remitance had been lost somehow in the mails, and never distrusted the bank.

"I know many Croatians here who are out as much as $4,000. Not only are they suffering from the loss of this money, but relatives in Austria, who were in very bad circumstances, are still suferring. Many of them plunged deeply in debt, thinking the money would finally reach them in a budget accompanied by an apology from a mail clerk somewhere along the route."

Father Krmpotic is teacher, doctor and interpreter as well as Catholic priest to his countrymen in the West Bottoms. He is highly respected by them in his diverse capacities.

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June 9, 1908


But Squatters May Yet Have to Be

The Missouri river is over its banks east of the Armour packing house and many homes of Croatian laborers at the plat were half under water at midnight. Despite the sinister tidings of "more water from Manhattan," which was occasionally heralded about in the babel of nine different languages employed by the people of the "Patch," there seemed to be no serious intention among the squatters there to move last night, at least, and they viewed the water about their doorsteps apparently without alarm. In the flood of 1903 the "Patch" was entirely washed away with considerable loss of life. Since then it has built up to about 250 houses, many of which contain more than thirty peopl. Castle Garden, a brick flat nearby, rooms 400 Croatians. It is seventy-five feet long and fifty feet wide.

If the Kaw and Missouri rivers continue to rise this morning some of the squatters near the river banks may have to be rescued by boat.

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July 5, 1907


Jospeh Czski Receives Only Slight
Injuries, However.

Joseph Czski, a Croatian, 200 South Mill street, Kansas City, Kas., fell through the "L" road bridge near Reynolds avenue last night at about 9:30 o'clock. Although he struck the pavement twenty feet below on his head and shoulders, he sustained only sight injuries, the worst being a cut on the head. Report was sent in to No. 2 police station and Assistant Surgeon D. E. Smith fixed up Czski's bruises so he was able to come home unassisted. Czski says he had just returned from Chicago, where he has been employed, and that he had been down to a saloon on the State line for a few drinks.

"I was a little uncertain in my steps and put my foot down in the wrong place," he said.

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