The following is part of an occasional installment of “old time headlines” compiled by the DuBois Area Historical Society. The headlines were researched by historical society board member Ken Wiser. Headlines and story samplings appear as they did when they were published in the newspaper. This installment is from the week of March 28, 1920.

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Thursday, March 25, 1920Adam Schoch Will Rebuild As Rapidly As Is Possible

Adam Schoch, who owned one of the buildings destroyed in the fire Saturday morning, will rebuild in the very near future. Mr. Schoch has already started his arrangements for reconstruction, and it is probable that a force of men will be put to work immediately in clearing up the ruins. It is proposed by Mr. Schoch to erect a two-story building of a very substantial nature and will be constructed with a view of accommodating the Klewans store, the firm that will occupy it when the building is completed.

Mr. Klewans is completing his arrangements for the opening of his business in the Boyten building, purchased by him, and will have a fairly complete stock on hand by April 1st. Bennie Klewans, who managed the rug department, stated last evening that at the time of the fire he had close to 200 rugs laid away, part payments having been made on them. He stated that an order has already been placed for these rugs and he hopes to have all of the orders delivered by the time specified.

Mr. Klewans has been thirty years in business and the fire of Saturday morning is the first thing of a serious nature that ever happen to him in that time. Although the work of a lifetime was swept away, Mr. Klewans is not discouraged and is going ahead to re-establish himself.

The Broadbent-Martin store, which suffered a very heavy loss, obtained its final insurance adjustment yesterday and immediate steps were taken to transfer the damaged goods from the first floor to the temporary store in the Knarr block next door. Despite the fact that the first floor caved in and an immense amount of water was poured into the building, a large amount of yard goods is being rescued intact. It is largely soaked with water, but there will be some salvage.

Immediate steps will be taken by D. L. Corbett, the owner of the building, to rebuild it at once. It is not likely that there will be any material changes in the layout of the building, as it was ideally arranged. As a matter of fact the firm had been working for the last six month in getting the building fitted out to their satisfaction and it was only the day preceding the fire that a Courier man was taken through on an inspection trip, the write up of this fine store and its partial destruction by fire appearing in the same issue. It will be fully restored to its former beauty of arrangement and convenience just as rapidly as the work can be done.

People Who Swindled Foreigners Of City Believed In Custody

Some little time ago quite a large number of the foreign speaking people of this city were victimized by an alleged fake insurance scheme. An investigation was made at the time, but the operators of the scheme seemed to have covered their tracks so well that there appeared little likelihood of anything being done. But the operatives have finally been rounded up and six of them are now in jail. There does not seem to be any doubt of the fact that they are the same parties who conducted the swindle in DuBois. Their arrest called forth an article from the Progress that in part is as follows:

The population of the Clearfield county jail was increased to the extent of six more or less slick-haired, debonair “vest pocket” businessmen on Friday last, thanks to an investigation started by ‘Squire James W. Ruffner, of Madera, and carried thru to a highly successful conclusion of the first round by District Attorney Arnold and Sheriff Gorman, aided by Harry Ritter, of Harrisburg, an attaché of the Insurance Department of Pennsylvania.

The six gentlemen in question are “Doctor” Walter Zabski, of Madera, the erstwhile alleged birth control expert; Charles Felix, Madera; A. Stielman, John Oana and Albert Roldes, all of Philadelphia, and Mike Holenchak, formerly of Philipsburg but now of Winburne.

The Philadelphia contingent, representing the Pelican Insurance company and the Bennett agency of Philadelphia, hopped into Clearfield county some time ago and let “Doctor” Zabski and Holenchak onto their scheme to sell insurance.

The “stuff”, and stuff it was, was labeled and sold as “life insurance” but the policies sold represented health and accident insurance. Business was confined strictly to the foreigners among the mining population and as each victim was required to put up $12 for a membership fee and $3 for premium, a land office business was soon underway. The new insurance was so good and so cheap that the policy holders couldn’t keep as quiet about it as they were expected to and when the keen-witted Justice Ruffner got a line on how things were progressing he set a trap for the outfit and “some haul” was the result.

More than one hundred policies were sold in the Madera end of the county alone, and while there was an age limit fixed in the policies, that provision cut no ice with the solicitors who took the fee, wrote the policy and fearing a three months old child might be considered rather green for life insurance, when they found such whose parents were willing to bite, the gentlemanly agent immediately shot the age of the insured from three months to thirty years. It was fast going while the going was good, but the Pennsylvania statutes describe certain insurance limitations, hence the upset.

Following the arrests Mr. Ritter came to Clearfield and assisted the District Attorney with the case. Mr. Arnold went to Philadelphia Friday for a conference with Insurance Commissioner Donelly on the matter and while there called at the office of the Pelican Insurance company, who do sell a life insurance policy, and asked them to make good the amounts taken from the alleged Clearfield county victims but this was refused. The Bennett agency was also visited, with the same proposition and the same result.

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