I’ve given lots of attention to my paternal grandfather, Charles E. Ruhe, lately, so it’s time to balance it out with something about the grandfather I actually knew, Howard Anness.
I called my mother’s father Papa, and he lived with my family from the time we moved to Bethany, a suburb of New Haven, until his passing in 1968, when I was 14 years old. He’d been a salesman for the American Screw Company during his working years, and was an enthusiastic vegetable gardener in retirement, keeping the family well supplied with strawberries and sweet corn from his plot in the back yard.
When my brother and sisters were cleaning out the family house, they came across two yellowed old newspaper clippings with an interesting story about Papa that I’d never heard before. The newspaper name and date are missing, but it seems likely they are from the Providence Journal, circa 1910. I’ve transcribed them below.
‘HOUSE BREAKER’ JUST SON-IN-LAW, BRAVE CHIEF TRAINOR FINDS
Cranston Police Head Responds Briskly When ‘Phone Tells Him Supposed Marauder Has Been Seen Climbing Through Window of House.
Many people in the vicinity of the home of Mrs. Arthur Aldrich at 2096 Cranston Street saw Chief Trainor of the Cranston police catch a housebreaker, as he was supposed to be, who entered the place in broad daylight yesterday afternoon shortly before 3 o’clock. Not only were they on hand at the capture, but Chief Trainor led the man gently but firmly out on the piazza and showed him to the multitude after the capture.
This morning members of the family said that the “intruder” surprised by the fearless Chief was not a housebreaker at all, but husband of the daughter of the house.
However, Chief Trainor said the arrival of a younger daughter was most timely, for the finding of the man was under circumstances that would have made explanations difficult, and, if it had not been satisfactorily explained, the man might have had to accompany him to the station.
One of the neighbors saw the man get in to the house through a window and called up the Chief on the telephone to notify him that the peace and quiet of the town that wants awfully to be a city was being disturbed and the good citizens robbed. Chief Trainor at once had his fast pacer Trifler harnessed up and sped to the scene in tome to nab the supposed marauder, who was calmly making himself at home in the kitchen.
The person who reported the case said that the man got off a Providence car at 2:30 o’clock and walked up to the Aldrich home. Mrs. Aldrich and her two daughters occupy the place. The elder of the girls was down-town with her mother shopping and the younger, a mere child, was in school at Meshanticut. The neighbor who peered out from behind the parlor curtains knew there was no one at home and carefully watched the “intruder.”
He walked around the house and tried several windows and then finally came back on the front piazza and after working a time at one of the windows raised it and stepped into the house. That was enough. Pit, pat she rushed to the telephone.
CHIEF ON THE JOB.
“Hello. Yes. This is Chief of Police Trainor. What! There’s a man entered Mrs. Aldrich’s home and no one there? Be right up. Watch the house.”
Thus spoke Chief Trainor into the ‘phone and so the discoverer watched and waited. The man did not leave the house, nor was there any sign of activity about the place.
Chief Trainor had just returned to his home on Dyer avenue, when he received notification of the break. He had left his fast pacer Trifler, a well-known speedway performer, at the Hotel National. He called the stable and had them get the horse into a rig.
He then rushed from the house pell-mell and just in time to catch the 2:55 trolley from town. Once behind Trifler he felt more sure of being able to reach the scene on time. A hurry of hoofs through the village street, and Trainor clinging gamely to the ribbons. On went the flying Trifler, his owner plying the lash. Never on the speedway did he make such a record. Those who saw the noble animal flying along, bearing right and justice to the oppressed, say that he must have made the mile in close to nothing.
Once the steed was stopped in its headlong flight for the Chief to pick up Patrolman McGee, who had rushed out to stop the runaway and arrest the driver for overspeeding. Then on again, like a whirlwind, went Trifler, while Chief Trainor told the tale to his trusty subordinate.
A FINE DAY FOR CRIME.
It was a day that fairly breathed mystery and held crime as its playfellow. A soft rain was sifting down through the leaden skies, while a breeze moaned through the gaunt trees as though in warning of an awful tragedy. The whole world seemed to ooze water, and a wet blanket enveloped the earth. The flying Trifler threw several tons of Cranston mud into the faces of the police force, without, however, dampening the ardor of the Chief or his brave command.
At last they arrived at the house. The Chief sprang out and ordered McGee to go around to the back door and stand guard. Then he went stealthily up on to the porch and tried the door. It was locked. No sound came from within the house.
Many of the neighbors, who had been told of the trouble, were on hand, and they volunteered the information that Mrs. Aldrich and her daughter were down-town.
“The little girl is over at the school house, and she has a key,” whispered a little boy, with a start as something snapped like a revolver under his feet. The Chief ordered him to bring the girl. And then they waited.
Finally little Miss Aldrich came, bringing with her the needed key. Chief Trainor unlocked the door and the crowd watched in awestruck wonder as he went over the threshold beyond which lurked untold dangers and a bold bad man with a gun, or maybe a dagger!
SURRENDERS WITHOUT STRUGGLE.
There was not a sound as Chief Trainor, prepared for the worst, entered the hall. He walked at once to the kitchen, that door being open. And there he saw the man, sitting comfortably back in a chair with his feet on the kitchen range and a pipe dangling idly from his mouth, while about his head was a hazy halo of smoke. His coat was off, too but he wore instead a calm, devil-may-care expression.
“What are you doing here?” demanded Chief Trainor in stentorian tone.
“What do you think I’m doing?” answered the stranger nonchalantly.
“What do you want here?” again queried the Chief, with his most official air.
“My ease, and I’m getting it,” flung back the daring fellow.
Here was calm, here was bravado, here was everything that goes to make the modern Jesse Jimmy—and in Cranston, too!
Chief Trainor was just about to clap down the hand of the law when the little Aldrich girl, braver than the rest, peeked around the door.
“Why, it’s Howard, the fellow that goes with my big sister,” she shyly remarked. Howard blushed and the hand of the law remained suspended. It was later removed. Chief Trainor had a peculiar little smile when he remarked to the intruder that he had just escaped landing in jail. Then he took Howard out on the front porch and formally introduced him to the crowd. Of course Mr. Annis—for he was the intruder—explained that he had come down from Boston, and knowing that one of the front windows was accessible had decided to wait and meanwhile take his ease.
When Patrolman McGee passed the Aldrich house this morning, he says, Annis met him, still smoking the pipe and still wearing the same nonchalant air. The patrolman says Mrs. Aldrich told him also that the “intruder” was no intruder at all, as he and the oldest Aldrich girl had been married a few days ago.
Inquiry at the Cranston Town Clerk’s office this morning showed that no license had been issued to the couple.
CRANSTON’S GREAT ROMANCE INVOLVES DR. ROUSMANIERE
Former Grace Church Rector Unites in Boston Young Man Mistaken for Burglar and Young Lady Whose Little Sister Spoke About a “Beau.”
People out in the vicinity of one part of Cranston street went to bed in comparative peace last night, and this morning arose without any unseemly speed and ate their breakfasts in what approached a calm condition o mind an no apparent dilation of the eyeballs.
Thanks to the police, the veil of what looked like a deep, dark and menacing romance, with its consequent marriage, brought to light. The bridegroom and the bride had been discovered, and a worried, overheated neighborhood enabled to return nearly to its normal state.
It all came about through the frantic appeal of an apprehensive person, who telephoned Chief Trainor that a person had been observed working his way through a window into the house of Mrs. Arthur S. Aldrich at 2096 Cranston street, and that a great opportunity of catching a thorough-going burglar red-handed was ripe for seizing.
But it wasn’t a desperate robber, carrying an arsenal and an electric searchlight, that the valorous chief forthwith surprised in the dwelling, but a very mild-mannered, peaceable, complaisant and urbane young man, who said he was Howard T. Anness, and was unaware he had done anything very dreadful. To the statement of a little girl in the place, that he was her big sister’s beau, he did not deem it necessary to reply.
As a matter of fact, he had only the day before been married to the big sister, Miss Olive S. Aldrich, in Boston, Rev. Edmund S. Rousmaniere, D.D., of St. Paul’s Church, formerly rector of Grace Church here, performing the ceremony. The went to Boston Monday and were wedded, returning on Monday afternoon.
Tuesday he went back to Boston to get some personal belongings, and on arriving at the house in Cranston found that his bride and her mother had gone down street.
He decided to go in through a window and did so, never suspecting that a lynx-eyed neighbor was observing the operation. He disposed of his effects and proceeded to take things easy until the others should come home. He was thus engaged when he heard a commotion outside. He paid no attention, and soon was astonished to have the Chief march into the place and demand an explanation of his presence. He did not know that people roundabout were interested in his identity, and did not even then think it essential that the Chief or they should be enlightened as to the matrimonial event and so said nothing about it. Being a regular member of the household he considered its and his business of no concern to others.
The result was that it went from mouth to mouth that the little girl’s big sister’s best fellow had been interrupted in a soliloquy, in which a pipeful of tobacco played a solacing part, and that the joke was somewhat on him and very much on the head of the police force.
To-day the young man feels as if he has the better end of the laughing game. He expressed regret that he forgot to serve notice on the neighborhood that he and Miss Aldrich contemplated being made husband and wife by a former leading Providence minister, and suggests that it overlook so grave a slip, as he was far from appreciating the intense interest in his affairs and those of his bride that the locality nourished. This, too, he thought, might explain his failure to take out a marriage license in Cranston.
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