Our Police Protectors
History of New York Police
Chapter 15, Part 1

By Holice and Debbie




Superintendent William Murray -- A Brilliant Record -- What a Policeman May Become by Honesty, Perseverance and Ability -- A Model Police Official -- Methodical, Keen, and Devoted to his Profession -- the First Precinct; Captain Caffry -- "The Iron Man" -- The Most Important Police District in the World -- Fourth Precinct; Captain Webb -- Sixth Precinct; Captain McCullagh -- Seventh Precinct; Captain Hedden -- Tenth Precinct; Captain Allaire -- Eleventh Precinct; Captain Meakin -- Thirteenth Precinct; Captain Petty -- Fourteenth Precinct; Captain Murphy -- Seventeenth Precinct; Captain McCullagh -- Eighteenth Precinct; Captain Clinchy -- Twenty-first Precinct; Captain Ryan -- Twenty-sixth Precinct; Sergeant Stewart.

Superintendent William Murray is an officer whose career illustrates how, by honesty, perseverance, and ability, a patrolman may become the highest officer of the force. He is a native of New York City, and was born in the year 1844. In 1861 he joined the Ellsworth Zouaves (Eleventh New York State Volunteers), and was severely wounded at the battle of Bull Run. He joined the Police force in 1866, and went to the Third precinct, which was then under the command of Captain James Greer. A few days after joining the force he made some very clever arrests, one of them being a Negro named Jake Joralemon, who was notorious burglar, and who had used a revolver in one of his exploits art Newark on a woman named Mrs. Ward, a clothier's wife in that place. The Governor of New Jersey and the Mayor of Newark offered a reward (the former six hundred dollars and the latter two hundred and fifty dollars) for his capture. Then followed the arrest of Worth, from blowing open the safe in Messrs. Steiner's tea store in Vesey Street.

The routine of official duties is about as follows: he reaches his office at Police Headquarters at eight A. M. His first care is to assort the mail and next to examine the returns from the various precincts, noting any irregularities or errors that may have been made, together with the charges of serious felonies made against prisoners. Visitors are admitted to his office at half-past nine, A. M., when their grievances and complaints are listened to and disposed of according to the nature of each case. The reports of District Inspectors are next in order. These reports contain an account of the operations of the force for the previous twenty-four hours. The Inspectors then are instructed in regard to Police matters in their districts. The Superintendents daily refers to his reports to the Board of Police on any Police matters which may have come before him since the previous meeting of the Board. A consolidated report is next prepared and forwarded to the Board of Police commissioners, setting forth the work done by each member of the Department for the preceding twenty-four hours. This consolidated report contains a variety of detailed information, such as giving a list of sick or absent members, those who are absent from duty without leave, those who had their night off, etc. The remainder of the day up to five P. M. is occupied in listening to citizens' complaints of all kinds, in telegraphing instructions to the precincts, and such other duties as the occasion may demand.

The superintendent quits work at six o'clock, and goes home to dinner. As a rule he spends some portion of his time visiting the Police precincts and station houses at night, that he may see for himself if the members of the force are properly performing their duty, that the laws are being enforced, and that business pertaining to the station houses is being transacted in accordance with the prescribed rules of the Department.

After several other clever captures, Patrolman Murray was appointed Roundsman on the first of October, and one year later he was raised to the rank of Sergeant, in which capacity he served in the Eighth, Sixteenth, and Fifteenth Precincts. While in the latter station he arrested the men who had robbed Matty Dancer. Dancer always kept his money and bonds at his house, No. 50 West Eleventh Street, and the burglars, getting scent of this, one day gained admission during his absence, pretending that they were plumbers. Mrs. Dancer was gagged, and the burglars carried off an enormous quantity of bonds and greenbacks, amounting at the time, it was said, to two hundred thousand dollars. Sergeant Murray recovered one hundred thousand dollars in bonds, which was part of this haul. For this burglary, John Farrell and his wife were sentenced to ten years in State Prison.

Shortly after this, Sergeant Murray, in conjunction with the late Inspector McDermott, made a raid on the gambling house of The Allen, in Bleecker Street, and captured all the gambling implements.

Sergeant Murray was made Captain on the second of October, 1876, and was assigned for duty to the Fourth Precinct.

The following is a portion of the testimony elicited by the Roosevelt Committee:

"William Murray, being duly sworn, testified:

By the chairman:

Q. What is your name?
A. William Murray.
Q. What position do you hold?
A. Inspector of Police in the Police Department of this city.
Q. How long have you held that position?
A. About seven years.
Q. How long have you been on the Police force?
A. Nearly eighteen years.

By Mr. Russell:

Q. Before you became Inspector what was your position?
A. Captain.
Q. How long?
A. Eight months.
Q. And before that you were a Sergeant?
A. yes, sir.
Q. How long?
A. Six or seven years.
Q. And before that a Roundsman how long?
A. About a year, I think.
Q. And before that a Patrolman how long?
A. Well, the remaining number of years; I think five years.
Q. then you have reached your present position by the strictest application of civil service rules?
A. I have, Sir' I consider it.

By Colonel Bliss:

Q. When you were promoted from Captain to Inspector, do you remember any particular service?
A. For doing that that has never been done in the Police Department by an Inspector, by securing nearly five hundred years of convictions in the State Prison--doing that that has never been done before or since by a Captain of Police.
Q. You were promoted on your record?
A. Solely; I say to you, gentlemen, I was not a candidate or an applicant for the position of Inspector of Police.

While he was Captain in the Fourth Precinct, in eight months he made arrests and

procured convictions amounting in the aggregate to five hundred years. The important services he rendered to society in hunting down male and female abortionists will not soon be forgotten.

Mary Varley, a sister of the notorious "Reddy, the blacksmith," lived at No. 56 James Street. A number of burglars deposited their plunder in her house. The manoeuvres of these men did not, however, escape Captain Murray's vigilance. He went to Mary Varley's house one day and discovered stolen property to the amount of ten thousand dollars. Mary was sent to State prison.

In the year 1875 the inhabitants of Long Island were in a state of the greatest alarm owing to the number of masked burglaries which were taking place almost every day. On the night of December 22, 1875, six masked burglars entered the houses of Mr. M.

L. Hillier, a Wall Street Broker, and Mr. Henry Green, at Astoria, and, holding pistols to the heads of the frightened inmates, ransacked the premises, and carried off everything portable that they could lay hands on. a few days afterwards John Roberts, John James alias "Fatty" Farrell, Jerry McCarthy alias "Carrol," James Reilly alias "Juggy," and John Schmidt were arrest in New York by Capt. William Murray. One of the prisoners got for his share in the burglaries thirteen dollars in money and a silver pencil case, but not being of a literary turn of mind, he pawned the pencil case. Half an hour afterwards the pencil case was in Capt. Murray's hands. With this clue the Captain went to work, and succeeded in capturing the thieves. The people of Astoria, and in fact the whole community, in the vicinity of New York and Brooklyn, were so pleased at the captured of the burglars that a testimonial was presented to Captain Murray for this energetic action. All the prisoners were convicted and sent to State Prison. The Police Commissioners at their meeting also passed highly complimentary resolutions to Capt. Murray for these arrests.

Thomas Belton, a trusted employee of Messrs. H. B. Claflin & Company, had for years been a systemic thief. He stole about fifty thousand dollars' worth of needles and thread. Capt. Murray learned that a dealer in such articles named Hall was able to undersell other dealers at prices that made it impossible for them to make any profit. Apt. Murray also ascertained that Belton left Claflin's at dinner tine, and paid visits to hall's establishment, where he was detected delivering bundles of goods. Belton was arrested, and was sent to State prison.

Thomas Clark murdered his wife at Rose Street on March 6, 1877. He escaped, but was captured an hour afterward by Capt. Murray. The prisoner, when placed on trial, denied all knowledge of what had occurred, but admitted that he was very drunk, therefore could not know what he was about. He was sentenced to State prison for seven years.

On the eighteenth of September, 1877, Superintendent Walling received a telegram from Boston giving a detailed list of United States and other bonds that had been stolen on the fifteenth of the same month from the Cambridgeport, Massachusetts Bank. The bonds, in all, amounted to sixty thousand dollars. A close watch was kept by the Police in New York, as the thieves were supposed to have gone there to dispose of their plunder. A reward of three thousand dollars was offered for the return of the United States bonds, and one thousand dollars for the return of the Railroad Bonds. Inspector Murray had for some days noticed several suspicious-looking character enter and come out of a house in East Twenty-ninth Street. He accordingly went there and arrested George C. Briggs, Langdon W. Moore, Rebecca Moore, and Elizabeth Hill. On searching the premises a large collection of burglars tools were found. They consisted of sectional steel jimmies, ratchet drills, braces and bits, sledges, and several cans of powder, combination safe locks, several pairs of rubber overshoes, and a number of other instruments for blowing open bank safes. The prisoners were taken the next morning to Essex market Police Court before Justice Smith, and remanded, to enable the Inspector to obtain the necessary evidence for their conviction. Langdon Moore alias Charley Adams, was afterwards recognized as one of the greatest bank robbers in the States, he only having been discharged a year pervasively for robbing a bank in New York State. George C. Briggs was identified as Thomas H. Leroy, a Boston Bank burglar. Elizabeth Hill was identified as Leroy's wife, and Rebecca Moore claimed to be Adams' wife. A sister of Charley Adams' wife had made a statement to the Boston Police that she saw Adams and Leroy, when they were leaving that city, packing three trunks. This clue led to their arrest in New York. The only evidence against the women was that they had been in the house in company with the male prisoners, and they were discharged. Briggs, it was proved at his trial, had exchanged baggage checks at Worcester, Mass., and by that means obtained possession of a trunk containing ten thousand dollars' worth of jewelry, which belong to Messrs. Alling & Co., jewelers at Worcester and New York. A number of previous convictions were proved against Briggs, and he was sentenced to five years in State Prison, and Moore alias Adams, was sent to Boston to stand his trial there for stealing eight thousand dollars in bonds.

On Friday, the twenty-fifth of January, 1878, William, R. Alling, of the firm of Alling Bros. & Co., jewelers, of No. 170 Broadway, and Mr. Hayes, of the firm of Wheeler, Parsons & Hayes, jewelers, of No. 2 Maiden Lane, called on the Police Commissioners at Headquarters and presented the following letter:

"To The Board of Police:

"GENTLEMEN: The manufacturing jewelers and wholesale dealers in watches and jewelry in the city of New York, appreciating the service and fidelity of Inspector Murray, desire to present to him a gold watch and chain and the accompanying testimonial, and have designated the undersigned as their committee to make such presentation, and to request your permission for the Inspector to receive the same.

Yours respectively,

"W. R. Alling,
"Henry Hayes,

Messrs. Alling and Hayes had taken along with them a handsomely engrossed testimonial, and a gold watch and chain valued at one thousand dollars, which they presented to Inspector Murray. The testimonial was as follows:

"The manufacturing of jewelry and wholesale dealers in watches and jewelry in the city of New York, desiring to recognize, as a trade, the valuable and skillful services rendered to them and to the whole community by Inspector of Police William Murray, in the discovery and capture of criminals, and especially the robbery of Messrs. Alling Bros. & Co., the undersigned, manufacturers of and wholesale dealers in watches and jewelry, cordially and earnestly unite in tendering to Inspector Murray this testimonial of their esteem and of their high appreciation of the fidelity, energy, and skill which he has at all times displayed in the efficient discharge of his difficult and perplexing duties."

The testimonial was signed by forty of the most prominent watchmakers and jewelers of New York.

The following is the inscription on the watch: "Presented to Inspector William Murray by manufacturers and dealers in watches, and jewelry in the city of New York as a testimonial of his integrity, zeal and efficiency. January, 1878."

The Police commissioners sanctioned the presentation of the watch and testimonial.

During the labor riots of 1877, at which time millions of dollars' worth of railroad property was burned, the Socialists of New York convened a meeting to be held at Tompkins Square. They were refused permission by the Police to parade; but, nevertheless, they announced their intention to do so. Inspector Murray, at the head of five hundred men, dispersed the crowd of ten thousand, and thus saved New York from the mob.

"Wash" Geary, a brother of Ed. Goody, (who was recently sentenced to State prison for a butcher cart robbery) was arrested for stealing a quantity of silk from H. B. Claflin & Co. Oakey Hall, who had just returned from Europe, defended the prisoner. Nobody being able to swear positively that they saw the silk in the bales from which they had been purloined, the prisoner was acquitted, although it was well-known that the bales were shipped as silk, and were so marked on the ship's manifest.

A man named Roberts, who was also employed by Messrs. Claflin & Co., as superintendent in the silk department, had stolen silks which Superintendent Murray discovered were conveyed to the house of Jake Falkenberg, at No. 160 Rivington Street. He followed them one evening, and when they got the box into the house he jumped in and found seven thousand dollars' worth of silk. Roberts confessed to having taken fifty thousand dollars' worth of silk. He was sent to State Prison for five years.

Superintendent Murray's record is a long and interesting one. Suffice it to say that he has unmasked more crime, and fastened the guilt on the perpetrators thereof, than any man in the force, with the exception of Inspector Byrnes.

Superintendent Murray is a methodical, keen officer, and as devoted to his profession as he is to his family, and that is saying a great deal. He lives comfortably but unostentatiously, at seventy-eight Street and Lexington Avenue.

Superintendent Murray succeeded Superintendent Walling June 9, 1885. By act of the legislature (chap. 364, Sec. 307, Laws of 1885) the Board of Police Commissioners were empowered to retire any members of the Police force--who had reached the age of sixty years--upon a pension. Under this clause Superintendent Walling could be removed from office. He choose to resign. For a long time previously superintendent Murray had been looked upon as the coming man. His distinguished service and conspicuous talents left him without a rival for the place. The Board was not behindhand in appreciating these facts. No other name was submitted, the claims of no other official considered, although the Department is not lacking in the timber out of which able superintendents are fashioned; but, with prompt unanimity, the Commissioners called Inspector William Murray to assume the chief executive control of the Police force. The new superintendent, with his accustomed energy, soon demonstrated that he was master of the situation, and he went about remodeling certain Police matters after his own ideas. His first important move, three days after he assumed control, was to abolish the old system of District Inspection, and to cause the Inspectors to be aids to the Superintendent, with their offices located at Police Headquarters. The more the management was centralized, Superintendent Murray declared, the better for the efficiency of the force. The change was also manifestly in the interest of economy. The new system is practically a return to the old one which was abolished by General Smith. The salaries of the men detailed to Inspection District offices amounted to forty-two thousand dollars per year. The men who had been so employed were sent to do duty in the several precincts, to the dismay of the six Sergeants, twelve patrolmen, and two doormen, who had enjoyed "soft" places under the old regime. His next move was to call all the Captains and the three inspectors before him at Police Headquarters. There he laid down certain sensible and practical rules for their guidance, and issued instructions that the Captains should refrain from calling at Police Headquarters, and remain in their respective precincts, except when they were specially summoned to the Central Office. He warned the Captains that they would be held accountable for order in their respective precincts, and for the efficiency of, and proper patrolling by, the men under them. He also issued instructions with a view to the suppression of gambling and the parading of streets by women of immoral character. The effect of all this soon became apparent in the demeanor and efficiency of the force. Every man, from the humblest Doorman to the highest in command, was imbued with new-born energy and a more praiseworthy ambition to do his full duty by the public and the Department. The new Superintendent had imparted a portion of his own enthusiasm to the officers and men of the Police force. They worked together for the common weal with a cheerful alacrity which demonstrated the fact that they knew and felt that the transfusion of new blood at the fountain head, as was expected, would be followed by a corresponding degree of official industry throughout the subordinate branches of the Department, and, as a natural consequence, the most beneficial results were made apparent from the beginning. Superintendent Murray, it is conceded, is nothing if not thorough and practical. He is every inch a Policeman of the modern school, he is the right man in the right place.


THE FIRST PRECINCT.--The First Precinct is bounded by Battery Place, bowling Green, Broadway, Fulton Street, the east track on the East river front, and the Castle Garden, and Battery fronts. The station house is in Old Slip, at Front Street. It is a model structure in every sense, and an ornament to the city, it is the most modern Police building; was finished in 1884, and the command was moved in from No. 54 New Street, which was a better station house than some which are yet erected. It cost about eighty thousand dollars. Nathaniel D. Bush was the architect, and its site is that of the old Alms House or Franklin Market, where Eighteen Hose company "Franklin," under foreman Hallin Chesebrough, was stationed, the old First Precinct Station House being upstairs. The staff of this command are: Captain, Charles W. Caffrey, an officer with twenty-six years service; Sergeants, John L. Fitzgerald, Andrew McClintock, Patrick Oates, and Arthur Rork. Fitzgerald was appointed in 1863; was made a Roundsman in 1869, and reached the present rank in February, 1871. McClintock became a Patrolman in 1862, Roundsman in 1865, and Sergeant in 1872. Oates was appointed in 1865, became Roundsman two years later, and was promoted in 1870. Rork's dates are Patrolman, 1862, Roundsman, 1865, and Sergeant, 1867.

The First Precinct contain more than the usual proportion of the substantial, representative wealth of the country, and the management of the Police system of a business centre such as this brings with it considerable amount of responsibility. In the selection of a Captain for such an important post, the Commissioners have chosen the present incumbent, who is a man of experience and sagacity, who knows every nook and corner of the precinct like a book, and is familiar with the business community of that section for along number of years.

This Precinct has twenty day posts and forty night posts, and its force of patrolmen should be one hundred men, but sickness and men put on detailed duties, reduce it to about eighty men. James Oates and Charles Hagan are the Precinct Detectives. The detailed men are: E. A. Burgoyne, Ordinances; Richard Ganley, Barge Office; Harvey S. Holly, Custom House; Francis Hagan, Register's Office; William Cotter, Staten Island Ferry; Daniel S. Arnold,. Wall Street Ferry; Lawrence C. Daly, South Ferry; William Goodwin and Peter O'Donnell, Fulton Ferry.

CAPTAIN CHARLES W. CAFFREY was born in Provost Street, now Franklin, in the year 1822. He is the son of the principal of a school remarkable for having taught the three R's to a number of well-known down town New York brokers. The Captain served his time to the carpentry business, and was very successful in his trade till the panic of 1857 brought down a change in his fortunes. While engaged in the building of a house at Abingdon Square, he, together with a number of others in the same business, failed. After this he joined the Police, not as a dernier resort, but because he always had an instinctive liking for a military or semi-military life. He was detailed for duty in the first place to the Sixteenth Precinct, in the year 1858. The authorities appreciated his services so much that before the lapse of twelve months he was appointed, successively Roundsman, Sergeant, and Acting Captain in the same year. On the twenty-eighth of April, 1860, he was sent to the Broadway Squad as a Sergeant, but wishing for a change he applied for permission to join the army. The commissioners answered his application by again promoting him to a full Captaincy in the Fifteenth Precinct. In July, 1859, he was ordered to the Twentieth Precinct, which was one of the most notorious places in the city at that time. Speaking of Captain Caffrey, one of the Commissioners said: "It is our duty to clean out the cut-throats of that Ward (the Seventeenth), and Caffrey is the man that will do it to perfection." Captain Caffrey remained here until 1872, when he was assigned to the Second Precinct. The capture of James Buchanan, for murdering Widow Shanks in 1861, was a very clever piece of work. The bloody finger marks on the door, which had escaped the detectives' attention, were noted down by Captain Caffrey, and he immediately wrote a note for the evening papers, knowing that the news would travel as fast as the murderer. As a consequence of this the assassin was captured at Susquehanna. There was great excitement when Captain Caffrey returned to the city with his prisoner, and the men christened him the "Iron Man," for displaying such courage and determination.



Our Police Protectors, History of the New York Police, Published for the benefit of the Police Pension Fund, by Augustine Costello, Published by Author, 1885.

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Debbie

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