Sunday, November 10, 2013

West Side Story, set in Campbell

I wonder if Preiser makes HO teenage gang figurines? It looks like they may be a necessary part for building a model of a cannery. And for those of you who always feared that Campbell was a violent town: congrats, you've been proven right.

A gang fight which has been culminating at the Ainsley cannery at Campbell some time past broke out last night and for a time threatened to develop into serious proportions.
The seat of the trouble is the animosity of the Campbell faction to the outsiders who are given employment at the cannery and there have been numerous indications of feeling within the past few days.
By a tacit agreement, it was decided to settle the contention last evening by permitting the leaders, Frank Weeks for the town boys and George Hyer for the aliens, to engage in fistie combat and the opposing gang lined up at the closing hour to witness the fray between the champions.
Weeks was outside the cannery ready to do battle when Hyer came forth, but instead of doffing his coat and rolling up his sleeves the alien leader drew a big revolver and fired point blank at Weeks.
The bullet whizzed just above Weeks shoulder so close that the clothing was penetrated. Hyer then held the other faction at bay with his weapon and made his escape from town.
Word of the shooting was sent to Sheriff Ross and Deputy Sheriff Cottle arrived at the cannery in time to prevent further trouble. A warrant was sworn out for the arrest of Hyer on the charge of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to commit murder, and he was captured while attempting to escape on an outbound train from Campbell shortly after midnight.
This morning Hyer was brought before Judge Benson for arraignment and his preliminary examination was set for Thursday morning at 10 o'clock.
It is stated that there is danger of further trouble at Campbell as the local boys declare that they should be given preference at work in the fruit over strangers.
Seriously, conflict between the locals and out-of-towners for jobs was a challenge for the canneries in lean years; in the 1930's, there's comments about Ainsley giving priority to workers who had been at the cannery in previous years. For the crops that didn't attract locals, such as the pea harvest in Alameda County, there was always the tension of huge numbers of outsiders appearing, especially if the workers showed up before the harvest started. (See, for example, Migratory Labor in the California Market Pea Crop by Raymond Barry.

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