100 Years Ago - Two Soldiers Caused Brouhaha In Scranton Cafe

April 1, 2019

April 1, 1919

Soldiers cause trouble at bar

Scranton police were searching for two soldiers who caused a brouhaha at Jack Ginty’s Cafe at 217 N. Washington Avenue.

According to police, the pair, dressed in uniforms with gold service stripes and wearing overseas hats, walked into Ginty’s and made their way to the back of the bar, where men were playing billiards.

A man noticed that one of the soldiers was trying to pick the pocket of a spectator and grabbed him. The soldier broke free and tried to make for the cafe’s front door with his partner.

While trying to run, one of the soldiers pulled out a .32- caliber revolver and started waving it at the crowd in the cafe.

When the two soldiers were trying to reach the door brandishing the gun, Rocko Barrett entered the cafe. Barrett, seeing what was going on, used the element of surprise and rushed the two soldiers, slamming them against the wall.

Stunned, and relieved of their weapon, the two soldiers were beset upon by several men in the cafe. Witnesses said that the two received a beating worse than what they could have received in France.

Scranton police were called later after the two soldiers had escaped following their beating.

Thirty years

on the force

Detective Robert Deiter marked his 30th anniversary with the Scranton Police Department.

Deiter said he got his start on April 1, 1889, when he was appointed to the force by Scranton Mayor Ezra Ripple. He said he thought he would not last long in his new job as a cop because he was in a band and liked performing at dances.

After three years as a patrolman, he was promoted to desk sergeant. He said being the desk sergeant also meant you were a driver, a “matron” and a jail warden.

He told a reporter who asked about his anniversary that, “Yes, I’m still on the job as Sherlock Holmes and I am giving people the best that is in me.”

BRIAN FULTON, library manager, oversees The Times-Tribune’s expansive digital and paper archives and is an authority on local history. Contact Brian at bfulton@timesshamrock.com or 570-348-9140.