On this page we will look back at life in the city during the war years. Here we will provide the visitor with the stories making the news, what was happening in sports and entertainment, city politics, the social scene and the prominent people at the time. So, check back often for new editions. To share your family or neighborhood stories, please email PhillyWWIyears@gmail.com
TODAY IN PHILADELPHIA – THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 1917
Outrage is the mood in this city over the murder yesterday of police detective George Eppley in the 5th Ward at 6th & DeLancey Streets. Philadelphians are not just angered by those who committed the act but also with those politicians that fostered and supported the violence.
Assistant District Attorney John Maurer and Select Councilman James Carey, whose lives were saved by policeman Eppley are expected to fully recover. Mr. Carey received the worse of the beating yet still left the hospital last night, bloodied and bruised and defiantly returned to his ward to continue campaigning. When the votes were finally counted this morning he had won reelection by 112 votes. His opponent, Isaac Deutsch, congratulated Carey on his victory but also said that if not for the killing of officer Eppley he believes he would have won.
Assistant District Attorney Maurer appeared in court this morning as both a victim and a witness to identify the two men captured by police yesterday. The men were both charged with murder and assault and battery. Reportedly Mascia admitted to shooting officer Eppley while undergoing interrogation. After the hearing the two were taken to Moyamensing Prison. Five other men are still being sought.
According to police, Mascia, Costello and their gang of about 20 were recruited in a pool hall in Jersey City. They were brought to Philadelphia and taken to the 5th Ward Republican Club at 531 Pine Street. This club is a known Vare-Smith stronghold. At the club they received instructions from an unknown man to vote as often as they could and look for Carey supporters to intimidate. They were also told to specifically look for Mr. Carey and to take care of him.
There are also disturbing reports now that some policemen loyal to the Vare brothers were involved in the violence. There are rumors that police supporting Isaac Deutsch, the Vare candidate, were involved in beatings and arrests of Carey supporters. All told yesterday, police arrested 27 men, most of who were campaign workers for Mr. Carey. Some are also claiming that Captain Kenney and Lieutenant Bennett of the 3rd & DeLancy Street station were personally involved with the thuggery and intimidation. District Attorney Samuel Rotan has promised to conduct a full and complete investigation of this matter regardless of where it leads.
George Eppley’s body will be returned to his home at 5116 Merion Avenue this afternoon from Pennsylvania Hospital. There he will be received by his aged mother, Mrs. Theresa Eppley. George was her only means of support and a fund has been started for her by the Police Protective and Benevolent Association and Father D.I. McDermott, pastor of St. Mary’s Church at 4th & Locust. Officer Eppley’s funeral will be Monday with a Mass at St. George’s Roman Catholic Church 52nd & Lancaster Avenue. He will be buried at St. Denis’s Cemetery in Ardmore.
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