Herald Democrat, November 28, 1895


Lavinsky On The Shoot

The Owner of the Owl Joint Takes a Shot at an Obnoxious Colored Customer

Bores A Hole In His Lung


The Proprietor Ordered Out Several Noisy “C-ons,” and One Charged Him With A Poker When Lavinsky Fired – Conflicting Stories Are Told


“Sam Lavinsky, who keeps the Owl saloon at 124 Harrison avenue, got into an altercation with some colored boys and shot and dangerously wounded Joe Faulkner, the bullet entering the right breast two inches below the armpit, passing through the right lung and out the back at the lower end of the shoulder blade.  The shot was from a 38 Caliber revolver.


Since Lavinsky has been proprietor of the Owl the place has gotten the name of being a ‘tough joint,’ there being frequent brawls and disturbances.  It is a sort of homogeneous hole where ‘cullud folks’ and ‘white trash’ congregate.


Miles Phillips, a ‘cullud gent,; runs the bar at such times as Lavinsky is in jail or at police sessions, answering such charges of disturbance of the peace as may be railed against him.


Yesterday’s quarrel, which led up to the shooting, occurred at about half past 4 in the afternoon.  Joe Faulkner, Jasper Findlay, Joseph Anderson, John Hodges, William Johnson and Miles Phillips were all in the room, the latter running the joint in the absence of Lavinsky.  The colored boys say they were engaged in a game of pool when Lavinsky ordered ‘the damned niggers out,’ as he said he didn’t want them in his place ‘nohow.’  There were bad names with terminations ending in ‘nigger’ and ‘sheeney’ which resulted in Lavinsky pulling his gun and firing the shot, or two shots, for two were fired, only one taking effect.

Perhaps the straightest account of the shooting is that given by Miles Phillips the assistant bar-keeper and manager of the joint in the absence of Lavinsky.  He said: ‘Faulkner wanted drinks for himself and another of his chums, but hadn’t money to pay for them.  When Sam Lavinsky refused to give them he grew ugly and Sam told him to behave himself or he would put him out of the house.  The colored man called him a ‘damn Sheeny’ and he called the colored boy a ‘damn nigger.’  Sam was about to grasp a beer glass on the counter to smash the coon when Sam’s wife secured it and took it off the bar.  Findlay tried to grab a billard ball off one of the tables, but I stopped him.  Lavinsky then went back on the bar and picked up a billard cue, when all the colored boys jumped at him with chairs and Faulkner had the poker.  Sam then went back and got his revolver and all the boys ran except Faulkner, who went towards Sam with the poker.  As he was a firing a second time I think Faulkner must have hit the gun with the poker, for the bullet went to one side and struck the wall.  The pistol fell to the floor and Faulkner secured it and was about to fire it at Lavinsky, who had ran behind the counter, when I secured it from him.’


The wound was dressed by Dr. Collins and he pronounced it dangerous, with about even chances for death or recovery.


Lavinsky was arrested by the Marshal Burgess and turned over to Officer Campbell, who led him to jail.  He occupied the same cell last night as Tom Powers, John Connors, charged with burglary: Sam Murray, for assault  and battery, and Charles Johnson, for petty larceny.


Lavinsky had a racket with a fellow by the name of Tom Cannon about a week ago at Ben Loeb’s place.  This is said to have started in a row over a room at the Lavinsky joint, the keeper of the Owl having lodging rooms which he rents without asking questions.  ‘Cannon,’ said Miles Phillips, ‘came in with a couple of women and wanted a room.  I told him it had been rented to a railroad man but that if he’d pay the price I’d give him as good a room in its place.  He swiped out a knife and was going to have one less coon in the world.  When he saw I meant business he put up his dirk.  Afterwards he met Lavinsky at Loeb’s and said he was going to finish him.  In the scrap Cannon hit Lavinsky in the finger and Sam had him jailed for it.”

Herald Democrat, December 14, 1895


Sam Lavinsky Is Held

He Is Bound Over to the District Court for Shooting Joe Fulkner

The Color Line Is Drawn

The Court Room Was Crowded With Colored Boys Who Sympathized With the Man of Their Race.

“The shooting of Joe Faulkner, a colored boy, by Sam Levinsky on November 27, created much excitement among the colored contingent in the city.  Lavinsky kept a saloon to which low whites and negroes resorted, and a number of colored boys were in his joint playing pool at the time of the shooting.  Lavinsky is a Hebrew, and has a very excitable and quarrelsome disposition.  Seeing the men of ‘culler’ in his place he ordered them out.  They objected to his expression: ‘Get out of here you damned niggers,’ and refused to go.  This led to a quarrel ending in Lavinsky shooting Joe Faulkner in the breast. Faulkner’s life was despaired of, but, as the saying goes, ‘you can’t kill a darkey with a gun,’ Faulkner fooled the doctor and was sufficiently improved to attend court.

Lavinsky made no defense and was held to appear at the next term of the district court to answer the charge of assault with intent to kill.


He furnished a $1,000 bond and is now out of jail.”

Herald Democrat, July 14, 1897


The Day In The District Court

Lavinsky and McGeeney Cases Were Tried Before a Jury and an Acquittal Secured in Each


Lavinsky Took a Shot at a Darkey Whom He Claimed Was Disturbing the Peace and Quiet of His Saloon

There Was No Malicious Mischief Proven Against McGeeney

There were two trials of criminal cases in the district court yesterday , resulting in acquittals in both cases.  Neither case was particularly important, but the lawyers naturally consumed much time in arguments, in cross-examination and other legal formalities and quiddities.


M. Lavinsky kept a saloon on the corner of state street and the avenue last year, and one afternoon it was invaded by a gang of colored negro musicians.  Among the members were Charles Faulkner and Jasper Finley. Lavinsky had much trouble in curbing and controlling the colored men and during the melee shot Faulkner, but the bullet struck him in the head and glanced off. For this Lavinsky was arrested, and yesterday had his trial.

 A peculiar circumstance in connection with the case is that since the trouble Finley, who had afterward been arrested for robbery, committed suicide in jail by taking a drink of carbolic acid.  According to the story told by the various witnesses Finley started the row, and when Lavinsky ordered the crowd out of the house Faulkner grabbed a poker and made toward the proprietor, who drew his revolver in self protection.  The jury evidently came to the conclusion that a man had a right to protect his house against a riotous gang and Mr. Lavinsky was duly acquitted.

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