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  • Writer's pictureKyra Mangold-Ostovich

Voices of the Past: Thomas and Carabelle (Garman) John

Updated: Sep 13, 2021

Voices of the Past will showcase an interesting person or family within the Cemetery each week.

Thomas and Carabelle H. (Garman) John

Born: January 27, 1889, and 1891, respectively

Died: April 8, 1959, aged 70, and October 24, 1983, aged 92, respectively

Thomas John, was born to Isaac and Elisabeth (Edwards) John in Scott Haven, PA. He resided at 228 W. 8th Avenue, West Homestead, with his wife, Carabelle H. G. John, whom he had married in Brooke, WV, in 1913. Together, they opened their confectionery shop, John's Confectionery, located on 405 West 8th Avenue.

Interestingly enough, their shop was part of a surprise cleanup raid by West Homestead police in 1934, where slot machines and punchboards were forcibly removed from 8th Avenue and surrounding area establishments. The raid took place following a confrontation at the nearby Horey's Beer Garden, when the proprietor, E. J. Horey, refused to pay a patron their 15 cent "hit" after besting a horse racing machine. The West Homestead Burgess (mayor), Richard H. Lawry, ordered Police Chief D. R. Lindberg to confiscate gambling devices around the area.

The November 9, 1934 edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that three truckloads of machines, worth nearly $3,000, had been confiscated the night prior, and that 10 men and 1 woman, including Mr. John, had been arrested on charges of maintaining gambling devices. The machines, slated to be destroyed, were held at the police station. Per Chief Lindberg, all found coins were to be donated to a charitable organization. Along with Mr. John, other raided and arrested proprietors included E. J. Horey of Horey's Beer Garden (who withheld the 15 cent winnings), Mike Wargofchik of the West End Pharmacy, Arthur Quinn of McDermott's Hotel, Jess Corey of the Corey Confectionery, Thomas Rice of the Rice Hotel, Peter Franks of Frank's Confectionery, Anna Wack of Anna Wack's Beer Garden, C. DiRocco of the DiRocco Beer Garden, and Bruno Panaiaa of the Bruno Panaiaa Confectionery. All held were released of their own recognizance, and the group was scheduled for hearings by Burgess Lawry the following Saturday evening.

Mr. John was a 22-year member of the West Homestead Council, serving from 1928-1950, and was elected as President for part of his service. He had been a chief clerk in the Mesta Machine Company's pattern shop, and was a member of the First Baptist Church, Lodge 582 of the Free and Accepted Masons, and the Elks Lodge.

Mrs. John had been a former tax collector and auditor for the borough of West Homestead, and served as a deaconess at the former First Baptist Church of Homestead (currently the Calvary Baptist Church of West Mifflin), where she was a beloved Sunday School teacher. She was also a member of the church building committee and senior citizens organization, the Daughters of Rebekah Anabelle Lodge 218, and Harry McKee Chapter 34 Order Eastern Star.

They were survived by their son, Thomas G. John; 5 grandchildren; and 7 great-grandchildren.

Their funeral arrangements were both handled by the George I. Green Funeral Home of Munhall. Mr. John's funeral took place at the Funeral Home on Saturday, April 11, 1959, at 2 PM; Mrs. John's funeral took place the at Calvary Baptist Church of West Mifflin on Thursday, October 27, 1983, at 12 PM.

Photo courtesy of Find A Grave user, Just Amy

Information gathered from:

  • "Carabelle H. G. John," Pittsburgh Press, 25 October 1983, p. 18

  • "Carabelle John, Store Owner," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 26 October 1983, p. 45

  • Carabelle Garman John's Find A Grave account

  • "Slot Machines are Seized by Police in Surprise Raid," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 09 November 1934, p. 1, 6.

  • "Thomas John, W. Homestead Councilman," Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph, 09 April 1959, p. 17

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