A Pendleton man was beaten with a club in November 1932 after asking another resident to attend church.
James Montgomery, an employee of a Pendleton barber shop and a member of the Nazarene Church, went to the home of John Sirvilas on Nov. 11, 1932, with R.S. Taylor, a fellow church member and evangelist. The men wanted to ask Mr. Sirvilas to attend church with them the following Sunday; Sirvilas was known to have attended services several times in the previous week. Sirvilas was in the yard burning when Montgomery and Taylor arrived, and the pair encouraged Sirvilas to come over to the car, Montgomery calling Sirvilas “my brother.”
Sirvilas responded with, “You’re not my brother.”
Montgomery got out of the car to continue the conversation, and Sirvilas suddenly attacked him with a heavy club, bashing him in the temple and knocking Montgomery to the ground. When Montgomery got up, Sirvilas hit him again in the back.
Taylor jumped out of the car, and Sirvilas ran to the rear of his house. Taylor put Montgomery in the car but had to go back to recover Montgomery’s glasses. When he saw Sirvilas returning, and heading in his direction, Taylor jumped in the car and drove with Montgomery to the church. When Montgomery began to feel dazed Taylor took him to the hospital, where doctors treated severe bruises and a nasty gash.
City and state police descended on Sirvilas, who was attempting to get hold of a double-bladed axe when they arrived. Sirvilas was arrested and then committed to the state mental hospital the next morning.
In talking to Sirvilas’ landlord, Lemuel Dunlap, police learned Sirvilas had struck him the previous day when he told his tenant he could rent the property for $10 less than the year before.