Scholla: Berks Batter February 26, 1944

Evan Holben; one-time state senator, from Lehigh District records the following story in his little volume: “Stories and Reminisciences” published more than 40 years ago.

A Berks County lad migrated to Chicago during the days when life in the west was pretty much of rough and tumble affair. The Berks youth was strongly timbered and “by no means lobbish” as Holben expresses it. One day the lad became involved in a fight with another young pioneer in the Windy City. The fight was an overwhelming victory for the Berks County Dutchman but the defeated one lodged charges of assault and battery against the easterner.

To his lawyer the Berks lad declared “We did not have a regular fight.” At the trial the prosecutor testified that he had been knocked down five times. This came as a surprise to the defendant’s lawyer who was primed to plead the case on the basis of false arrest. When the Berks Lad was placed upon the witness stand he made the following explanation.

“That fellow sitting over there told me that he could lick me. I told him that was a game that two could play at. He told me that I was a Dutch sauer-kraut-eater from Pennsylvania. I didn’t care about that. Then he said I was a runaway and a liar and I didn’t care about that either. But when he called me a Dutch son of a —— I knocked him down four five times, but it was not a regular fight.”

“What do you mean by a regular fight?” asked the trial judge.

“I will tell you judge,” came the answer. “I come from Berks County, Pennsylvania and when we fight there we take off our hats, cravats, coats and jackets and tie our suspenders around our waists and then fight until one hollers enough! But I and that fellow there had no regular fight; I just knocked him down. Back home we call that no fight at all.”

The Judge liked the young man’s answer. He instructed the jury to render a decision based upon the law, but urged them to report whether or not there had been a “regular fight.” The jury deliberated for a few moments and returned the verdict “No Regular Fight.”


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