Steve John

Steve John, “King of the Gypsies*”
1861 (Serbia) – 26 February 1926 (Detroit)

I really expected to learn nothing about this mausoleum, all bricked up and with such a simple name, but a clue in the form of a note on the record pointing out the cross on top of the mausoleum read “King Steve John” led me to just try that in a search and some truly amazing Roaring Twenties newspaper write-ups appeared.

steve john death certificate
Steve John’s Death Certificate

News of Steve John’s death ran in the papers all over North America in 1926 as did articles on the aftermath of his death. His name came up fairly often before his death as well, often involved with legal scuffles and in one case at odds with another Romany band. All quite dramatic and sensational, so perfect fodder for the time period.

I’ve listed a selection of articles below that give some idea of how Mr. John was viewed by people at the time.

RIP King Steve John

*This seems to have been the common way of referring to Mr. John at the time. In all the articles I found, both before and after his death, he is consistently referred to as the above or “gypsy king.”

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