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 findagrave.com record pointing out the cross on top of the mausoleum read “King Steve John” led me to just try that in a newspapers.com search and some truly amazing Roaring Twenties newspaper write-ups appeared.
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
- 1 May 1926 — Windsor (Ontario) Star (aftermath of John’s death)
- 1 March 1926 — Baltimore Evening Sun ( Steve John’s estate)
- 27 February 1926 — Detroit Free Press (Death of Steve John)
- 17 November 1922 — Sacramento Bee (drama in the news)
- 3 March 1912 — Daily Arkansas Gazette (perjury charge)
- 23 December 1911 — Raleigh News and Observer (legal drama)
*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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