Gypsies in Tonawanda

We seldom hear about gypsies in modern American society. Early in this century gypsies were frequently in the news, usually maligned, seldom tolerated for long in any community. Many passed through the Town of Tonawanda where they were regarded with curiosity but encouraged to move along. This account comes from 1905.

(1908) A band of gypsies who had been ordered to leave their camping place in and about the District School, known as the Brick School House on River Road a few rods north of the Log Cabin Hotel at the Ely trestle, took refuge in the school building yesterday morning and threatened trouble for the farmers and force of constables who stormed the stronghold and were determined to oust the gypsies at any cost. The nomads finally capitulated and were allowed to pack up their belongings and depart. They went in the direction of Buffalo and it is thought that they are encamped in the Town of Tonawanda between here and Buffalo.

Thirty gypsies in four covered wagons passed through the Tonawandas this morning after spending the night near the Palace Park grounds (Mt. Olivet Cemetery) on Delaware Street. They paraded through Buffalo yesterday. The band has been wintering in Maryland, and started north on April 1. At Niagara Falls, Ont., the gypsies intended to cross into Canada, and head for the Canadian Northwest. They anticipated no difficulty in showing the $25 apiece required by the Canadian Government of all immigrants.

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