Strangling on North Swan Street

Strangling on North Swan Street!


Joe Ganger


Colon Express newspaper clipping, date unknown. ‘Colon is having its trouble with car thieves. One night recently, Night watchman Otto Frohriep became suspicious of a car in the early morning hours and attempted to stop the driver, who speeded north on Swan Street. Cutting through to the other street to head them off, Otto caught up to the car which had been driven in the alley back of the lumber yard. Evidently the thieves became confused, thinking North Swan Street would take them out of town, left the car in the alley. The car belonged to Mrs. Alice Doran. While searching the neighborhood for the driver, Otto saw someone running away from the Drumhiller premises, carrying a large white object. Giving chase through the Parsonage and church yards, he came to the white object which proved to be a large white rabbit laying in the yard, the thief having strangled it in making the getaway.  Saturday morning under sheriff Lincoln came in and asked Ward & Frisbie where their 36 Pontiac was located. Raymond says “right out in front,” and on taking a look, there was no car to be found. It was stolen Thursday night and had not been missed. Lincoln then informed Raymond that three young men from Battle Creek had been picked after a car-stealing spree. The story goes they stole a car in Battle Creek which they abandoned in Fairfax, Coming to Colon they took the Ward & Frisbie car, which was minus a radiator, and drove it through a dead-end road into a farmer’s barnyard north of Athens. They then picked up a car in Fulton and drove back to Battle Creek where their joy-riding came to an end, officers catching up to them. Don’t leave your keys in your car at any time.’  This is an article that appeared in the Colon Express on May 9, 1946.  There is no mention as to who owned the rabbit! For those of you too young to remember, Ward & Frisbie was a car dealership located at what is now Hemel Chevrolet. The Carl Drumhiller home was at 438 N. Swan. What is interesting to me is that a car driving around in the early hours of the morning must have been unusual, gathering attention wherever the boys went. Also remember that the war had ended just a year earlier and there were virtually no private automobiles manufactured from 1942 to 1946. The ten year old Pontiac would have been a valuable thing, even without a radiator! Fairfax is referred to in the article as if it were a thriving town on its own. It is located on M86 two miles west of Colon. Not much now to identify it as ever having been a village. At one time it was the intersection of two railroads, one north/south and the other east/west. Both railroads have gone with just a few scars to the countryside.