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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 7, February 17, 2008, Article 24

U.S. MINT'S PHILADELPHIA FISTFIGHT: A. LOUDON SNOWDEN VS. WILLIAM RUNKEL

[Pete Smith has been doing research on William Runkle, a
former U.S. Mint employee and author of an 1870 publication
titled "The United States Mint".  He forwarded a great New
York Times article, originally published June 12, 1895,
about an altercation in Philadelphia between Runkle and
former U.S. Mint Superintendent A. Loudon Snowden. -Editor]

There was a lively set-to last night at Fifteenth and Market
Street between Col. A. Loudon Snowden, ex-Minister to Greece
and Roumania, and Col. William M. Runkel, in which an umbrella
and a cane played prominent parts, to the detriment of the
personal appearance of the two men.

The fight grew out of an old grievance of Col. Runkel against
Col. Snowden.  Some years ago Col. Snowden was Chief Coiner
at the mint here.  Col. Runkel was employed in the mint at
the same time.  Col. Runkel alleges that Col. Snowden had
him discharged without cause.  The memory of this dismissal
has rankled in Runkel's mind ever since.

There are conflicting versions of last night's contest.
Col. Runkel says he unexpectedly net Col. Snowden at
Fifteenth and Market Street.  He says he remarked: "I
would like to have a few words with you," but that Col.
Snowden passed him without replying.

This alleged insult was the culmination Col. Runkel
could not brook.  He admits that he lost control of
himself and struck Col. Snowden with his cane.  Col.
Snowden vigorously replied to the assault with an
umbrella, and the men battered each other about the
head until the cane and umbrella had become useless.

A policeman put a stop to further hostilities by arresting
Col. Runkel.  He had a hearing to-day on the charge of assault
and battery.  Col. Snowden testified that he had not seen Col.
Runkel for years, and added that he had "always looked on
him as a dog and unfit for a gentleman to associate with."

Col. Snowden testified that he paid no attention to Col.
Runkel when he met him last evening.  The first intimation
that he had of any trouble was a violent blow upon a head
from a cane.  He turned, and as he did so, he said Col.
Runkel cried with an oath: "I'll kill you now."  Col.
Snowden then struck at him with his umbrella.  At the
conclusion of the hearing Col. Runkel was bound over in
$800 bail for trial.

Col. Snowden has a bruise on his forehead and a cut across
his ear.  Col. Runkel also has a battered ear and a black eye.

Pete adds: "Runkle was sentenced to three months in the
county prison for his assault on Colonel Snowden."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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