Our Police Protectors
History of New York Police
Chapter 16, Part 3

By Holice and Debbie

 

CAPTAIN IRA S. GARLAND, in command of the Twenty-fifth Precinct, was born in the city of Utica, N. Y., October 7, 1830. When a small boy his parents moved to Sherburne, Chenango county, N. Y., when the boy was placed in the public school. Having arrived at man's estate, he came to this city, and shipped in the Merchant Marine service. He followed the sea for eight years, and rose to the rank of mate.

On April 21, 1858, he was appointed a Patrolman of the Metropolitan Police, and was assigned to the Harbor Police on May 22, 1860. Six days afterwards he distinguished himself by an act of bravery which gained for him honorable mention by the Board of Police, "for gallant conduct in repressing a mutiny on board of the ship R. F. Starer."

Captain Garland was promoted to the grade of Roundsman in 1860, and to Sergeant in 1862. He was then assigned to the Fifth Precinct, and was subsequently transferred to the Second Precinct (Jefferson Market Police Court), where he was placed in command, and there remained until he was promoted to the rank of Captain, on March 4, 1867, when he was assigned to the command of the Fourteenth Precinct. He served alternately in the following precincts: First, Seventh, Eleventh, Twelfth, Eighteenth, old Twenty-eighth, and Thirtieth. He was transferred to the Twenty-fifth Precinct on October 3, 1876, where is he at present in command.

While in command of the old Twenty-eighth, captain Garland arrested William, J. Sharkey for the murder of Robert Dunn alias "Bob" Isaacs. Sharkey, who was convicted, escaped from the Tombs while under sentence of death, aided by Maggie Jourdan, in whose clothes he had concealed his identity, and had so eluded the vigilance of his keepers.

Aided by Detective Sergeant Von Gerichten, he arrested Hugh Bogan, and William and Nellie Wilsey, for the bold robbery in the day time of Mrs. hardy, in her house at Varick and Broome Streets, whom they tortured by burning her feet with a hot iron to make her divulge the place where she had her jewelry concealed. They were convicted and sentenced to State prison. He also arrested, on December 22, 1883, at thirty-fourth Street and Fifth Avenue, a German named Frederick A. Hartman, who had shot and wounded Augustus Gardiner, a watchmen at the A. T. Stewart mansion. Hartman resisted arrest, and acted like a man bereft of his reason. He committed suicide on January 8, 1884, in the Tombs Prison, by hanging himself in his cell.

This precinct has forty day posts. No night duty is done by its members, who are required to be tall and stalwart. The muster roll of the command is forty-five, but there are generally four or five men sick. The Precinct Detective is Thomas McCormack. The duty of the Patrolmen of the Broadway Squad lies along the line of Broadway. At night there posts are covered by the officers of the precincts which Broadway passes thought or divides.

THE TWENTY-SEVENTH PRECINCT.--The Twenty-seventh Precinct is bounded by Warren Street, Broadway, Battery Place, Pier 1 North River, and the west track of the railroad in West Street. The station house is at No. 35 New Church Street. Formerly the building faced on Liberty Street, but the extension of Church Street cut a good lot off the station house, and, in 1870, Architect Bush reconstructed the station house, and made it almost a modern one. The cells for prisoners are partly underground. The officers are: Captain, William C. F. Berghold; and Sergeants: Thomas E. Willard, Richard Welch, Edward Muret, and Thomas Reilly. Willard was a Patrolmen in 1866, a Roundsman in 1875, and a Sergeant in 1876. Welch's dates are: patrolman 1858, Roundsman 1869, and Sergeant 1870. Muret joined the force in 1873, became Roundsman 1876, and was promoted in 1880. Reilly was appointed in 1866, waited five years to be a Roundsman, and won rank in 1872.

CAPTAIN WILLIAM C. F. BERGHOLD was born in the year 1838. He joined the Police force in 1864, and was made a Roundsman five years later. In 1870 he was made Sergeant, and Captain in 1878. While he served in the Eleventh Precinct he had a number of criminals arrested, and sent to State Prison. He was sent to Staten Island, in 1866, when a disturbance was expected in consequence of a factory having been seized and turned into a hospital. In 1868, when there was some misunderstanding between the German and Irish emigrants on Ward's island, he was sent to that place, and his coolness and determination of character won for him the respect and confidence of the two nationalities who were inclined to be mutinous.

This precinct has eighteen day and thirty-six night posts. Its quota of ninety-two men is reduced about twenty by sickness and details. The Precinct Detectives are Thomas Mulvey and William Flynn. The detailed officers are: Michael J. Hockey, Ordinances; Thomas Fay, West Street; Matthew Looram, Vesey Street; Thomas Dennin, Courtlandt Street Ferry; George Archer, Liberty Street Ferry; Frank D. Weber, Barclay Street Ferry; Frederick Probst, Washington Market.

This command looks after vastly important interests. Within its limits are Trinity Church, and graveyard, St. Paul's Church, St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church, the Astor House, Washington Market, the Coal and Real Estate Exchanges, the Western Union Telegraph Company's building, thousand of offices in Broadway, the Graphic and Frank Leslie building, the crockery, fireworks, and glass trades, much of the produce surface cars of the Seventh Greenwich and Washington Streets, In it end the surface cars of the Seventh Avenue, Sixth Avenue, Eighth Avenue, and Broadway Railroads. The most memorable fire in it of recent years was that on the Twentieth of December, 1877, when saccharine dust exploded in Greenfield's candy factory in Barclay Street, and ten persons lost their lives. The fire did one hundred and twenty thousand dollars damage.

THE TWENTY-NINTH PRECINCT.--the Twenty-ninth Precinct is included between Seventh avenue, Forty-second Street, Park Avenue, Fourth Avenue, Union Square, and Fourteenth Street. The station house is at Nos. 137 and 139 West Thirtieth Street. It is not such a structure as the importance of the command warrants. It has a separate prison, but the office is so small that at muster the men have to form three sides of a square, and some of them are invisible to the officer at the desk. It has often been planned to make two precincts out of this one, and the sooner it id done the better for the men who have the outposts at Fourteenth and Forty-second Streets the officers are: Captain, Alexander S. Williams; and Sergeants, Josiah A. Westervelt, Adam A. Cross, James M. King, and Max F. S. Schmittberger. Westervelt was a Policeman in 1867, Roundsman next year, and Sergeant in 1870. Cross joined the force seven years ago, became Roundsman in 1882, and was promoted last January. King has the record of being appointed in 1874, and three years later he passed the grade of Roundsman and won rank. Schmittberger's dates are: Patrolman, 1874; Roundsman, 1880, and Sergeant, 1883.

CAPTAIN ALEXANDER S. WILLIAMS, of the Twenty-ninth Precinct, is well known throughout the States as one of the most efficient and determined Police officers in New York. Captain Williams was born in 1839 in Nova Scotia. When he came to New York he learned the trade of a ship carpenter, and was placed in charge of a portion of the docks of the well known shipbuilders, W. H. Webb & Co. He afterwards visited Japan, Mexico, and other countries. He was the first white man to build a ship in Japan. After his return to America, he was engaged by the Government to raise a sunken vessel off the coast of Key West, Florida. He was then connected with the navy yard for a time. Having succeeded in accumulating some money, he went into partnership with a shipbuilder, but a strike occurring, Williams was obliged to dissolve partnership with his colleague. He applied for a position on the Police, and was appointed Patrolman in August, 1866, and was assigned to the Forty-seventh Precinct, Brooklyn. He remained there until 1868, when he was transferred to the Broadway (New York) Squad. While here he was Roundsman and Acting Sergeant, and was then sent to the Mounted Squad. In July, 1871, he was made Sergeant, and on the twenty-fifth of September, 1871, he was promoted to the rank of Captain, and assigned for duty to the Twenty-first Precinct. He was transferred from there to the Eighth Precinct, then in 1874 to the Fourth, and in 1876 to the Twenty-ninth. He served four years in the Street Cleaning Department, and finally went back to his present precinct, the Twenty-ninth. As a result of the energy and vigilance which he displayed while in the Eighth Precinct, he arrested no less than nine murderers.

Lockwood alias Cully, a desperate burglar, was also captured by Captain Williams, and over one hundred burglar's tools were found in his possession.

The Florence Saloon, which was at the corner of Broadway and Houston Street, was the rendezvous for all classes of criminals. While he was yet a patrolman, Captain William's succeeded in having this notorious establishment closed.

Houses of ill-fame and the meeting places of dens of thieves have been raided and closed up by the score of this undaunted officer. He is not a favorite, by any means, with the criminal classes.

There was a place at No. 155 Broome Street which was not inaptly called "Milligan's Hell." At all hours of the night the boisterous tongues of roughs could be heard, their conversations interspersed with the most horrible oaths and blasphemy. The place was considered so dangerous that Policemen, it was said, were loathe to enter the place. Captain Williams made a raid one night on the den and cleaned out the place. Once he has made up his mind to accomplish a thing, he will do it at any risk.

The amount of stolen property recovered by Captain Williams would foot up a fabulous sum. He returned over six thousand dollars' worth of stolen laces to Herman, Ivans & Co., of Broadway, and about five thousand dollars' worth of silks to Richards, of Broadway.

During his Captaincy in the fourth Ward he broke up several of the low dives in Chatham, Water and Pearl Streets.

Jewelry and diamonds to the amount of seven thousand dollars were stolen in South America by two Swedes. The vessel on which they traveled had scarcely arrived at the port of New York when the two thieves are in the clutches of Captain Williams.

During his command of the Twenty-first Precinct, Captain Williams was presented with a handsome gold shield, bearing the following inscription:

"Presented to Captain Alexander S. Williams, in acknowledgment of his valuable aid in suppressing the roughs and defending his officers in the discharge of their duties. NEW YORK, September 16, 1872."

I his examination, before the Roosevelt committee, to interrogatories, Captain Williams gave the following responses:

By the Chairman:
Q. What is your name?
A. Alexander S. Williams.
Q. What position do you hold?
A. Captain of Police.
Q. How long have you been on the Police?
A. Nearly eighteen years.
Q. How long have you been Captain?
A. nearly thirteen--thirteen years.

By Mr. Russell:

Q. You have been on the force how long, Captain?
A.
Nearly eighteen years.
Q. and how old are you now?
A. Forty-four.
Q. And what was the name of the force when you went on?
A. The Metropolitan.
Q. And in what capacity did you first go on?
A. As a patrolman.
Q. Where?
A. Forty-seventh Precinct, Brooklyn, now the Seventh.
Q. How long did you remain a Patrolman?
A. Less than five years.
Q. Then what?
A. Sergeant; I was made Roundsman first off.
Q. How long?
A. About ten minutes. I was made Sergeant and put in charge of the thirty-third precinct, which was the Mounted Police.
Q. How long did you remain in charge of the Mounted Police?
A. Eleven months.
Q. Was that under the old Metropolitan system?
A. Metropolitan.
Q. where was the Thirty-third precinct?
A. I had a stable fitted up in Forty-first Street, and Seventh Avenue, 154 West Seventh Avenue, part of Sixth Avenue, and Fourteenth Street, and Lexington Avenue was then wooden pavement--and it was to prevent fast driving on those streets.
Q. When did you become a Captain?
A. May 31, 1871, I think, or 1872.
Q. How long have you been in your present precinct?
A. I went there the latter part of October, 1876, and remained there until the nineteenth of December, 1879, and returned there on the sixteenth of June, 1881, and have been there until now.
Q. From 1870 until 1882 you were employed elsewhere?
A. Superintendent of the Bureau of Street Cleaning.

This important precinct has twenty-seven day and fifty night posts. Its full force is one hundred and sixteen men, of whom about eighteen are sick or detailed. James K. price and John Dunlap are the Precinct Detectives. The detailed officers are; John Neyland, Tax office; John Mangam, Ordinances.

What the First Precinct is, commercially and financially, the Twenty-ninth or "Tenderloin Precinct" is socially, and--if the term may be coined, cosmopolitanly. No other command approaches it in importance as the center of civilization and all that makes Nineteenth Century city life agreeable. It embraces nearly all the great caravansaries, parks, clubs, theatres, and stores. Within it are the most frequented streets and avenues, and at night city life for the "upper tem" alone exists within its boundaries. It takes in the Union Square, Madison Square and Reservoir Parks. Its principal hotels are the St. cloud, Rossmore, Grand, Gilsey House, Albemarle, Hoffman House, Leland, Fifth Avenue, Glenham, Brunswick, Park Avenue, Everett House, St. James, Sturtevant, and the Parker House. Its hospital, the New York, is by far the best in the city. Its clubs are the American Jockey, the American Yacht, the Blossom, the Calumet, the Carlton, the Columbia, the Coney Island Jockey, the Crescent, the German, the Grolier, the Knickerbocker, the Lotos, the Manhattan, the New York, the New York Racquet, the New York Yacht, the Owl, the Republic, the St. Nicholas, the Lamb, the Union, the Union League, and the University. Of the public buildings it has the Academy of Design, the Masonic Temple, and the Young Men's Christian Association. Its theatres and places of amusement are the Metropolitan Opera House, the Bijou Opera House, the Casino, Chickering Hall, Daly's Theatre, the Fifth Avenue Theatre, the Fourteenth Street Theatre, Madison Square Garden, the Park Theatre, the Standard, the Star, Wallack's, the Comedy,. Eden Musee, Koster & Bial's, and the Metropolitan Concert Hall. The famous restaurants are Delmonico, Pinard and Clark are here. And its stores? First: Tiffany and Starr's countless attractions in jewelry, watches, gold and silverware, bric a brac, and art objects; W. & J. Sloane's carpet store; Lord & Taylor's, Arnold & Constables, Sypher's & Co., the Gorham Manufacturing Co.'s, C. G. Gunther & Sons, Park & Tilford's. Collamore & Co.'s, and Brooks Brothers'. Then there are the armories of the Twenty-second and Seventy-first Regiments of the National Guard; the Fifth, Garfield, Lincoln and Sixth National Banks; the Excelsior and Union Dime Savings Banks; the Metropolis and Madison Square State Banks, Calvary, Messiah, Tabernacle, Madison Avenue, Brick, Fourth Avenue, Twenty-third Street, St. Ann's, Dr., Ormiston's, St. Francis Xavier's. St. Vincent de Paul, Holy Trinity, St. Paul's, Lutheran, St. Luke's, St. Mark's, St. Paul's Methodist, Covenant, Fourth Presbyterian, Madison Square, Rutger's, Scotch, Shiloh, Westminster, West Twenty-fifth Street, Annunciation, Christ, Du St. Esprit, Holy Communion, Incarnation, St. Ignatius, Trinity Chapel, Zion, Fifth Avenue Reformed, Holy Innocents, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Leo's, Tabernacle of Twenty-third Street and Union Tabernacle Churches, and Shearith Israel Synagogue. Its population is, mainly, the "upper ten," and those who serve them. It has a Negro colony, and is infected with people who live viciously; but the law, not the Police, is at fault. The problem how do deal with this class is probably such a serious, and at the same time a delicate one, that before it is solved we shall have to elect a special legislature to deal with it. Yet, with all its hideousness, this feature of New York is not by any means as black as the night haunts of London or the principal European cities, where vice, if not licensed, is under surveillance.

As may be expected, this command has furnished many thrilling and scandalous stories to the public. Hardly a week passes but something interesting is told over the desk in the Thirtieth Street Station House. In fires its specialty is in theatres. The Fifth Avenue Theatre went up in clouds of smoke and showers of sparks and brands January 1, 1873, with a loss of one hundred and ten thousand dollars. On the thirtieth of October, 1882, a few ours before the time that Mrs. Langtry was to make her debut in America, there was a fatal fire that destroyed the park Theatre, and the loss was eighty thousand dollars; and on the fourteenth of December, 1883, the Standard Theatre was destroyed, with a loss of sixty thousand dollars. On the tenth of December, 1872, a number of servant girls lost their lives by a fire which cut off escape from their quarters on the roof of the Fifth Avenue Hotel. March 8, 1877, witnessed a terrible panic in St. Francis Xavier's church, No. 36 West sixteenth Street. Father Langcake was preaching a sermon on "Hell and the Horrors of the Damned," and his audience were worked up to a supreme degree of interest, when a boy, either through devilish inspiration or from a belief that he was doing well, cried "Fire." In the stampede that ensued six women and a boy were trampled to death at the foot of a corkscrew stairway. The murder of Benjamin Nathan, on the twenty-nine of July, 1870, in his mansion opposite the south side of the Fifth Avenue Hotel, is one of the mysteries of the age. The true story of what occurred in that second floor room on that bright summer morning has not yet been told. The murder of Mrs. Jane L. De Forest Hull, wife of Dr. Alonzo Grandison Hull, at No. 140 West Forty-second Street, on the eleventh of June, 1879, by the Negro, Chastine Cox, was the talk of all America for months. Cox was captured in Boston through a reporter named Balch, and was hanged July 16, 1880. It is almost certain he did not intend to hill Mrs. Hull, but simple to silence her. He did his work, however, so surely, that she died, and he was executed because he took life while committing a felony. A bloodier ending of a feud was probably never witnessed than that by which, in "Shang" Draper's saloon, No. 466 Sixth Avenue, on the sixteenth of October, 1883, "Johnny" Walsh, alias "Johnny the Mick," and "Johnny" Irving, two noted thieves, lost their lives. An associate, William O'Brien alias "Billy" Porter, strongly suspected of shooting Walsh, who was to have been killed for Porter by Irving, was arrested, but he escaped conviction. Another celebrated case was the murder, at No. 144 West Twenty-sixth Street, on the twenty-fourth of December, 1881, of Louis Hanier, an inoffensive French Saloon keeper, by Michael McGloin, whose capture, by Inspector Byrnes, was one of the finest pieces of detective work ever done in any city. McGloin, on the ninth of March, 1883, went to the gibbet. One of the saddest accidents that ever occurred in this city was the falling, on the twenty-first of April, 1880, of the west wall and part of the ball-room of the Madison Square Garden. A church fair was in progress, and a number of ladies and gentlemen were dancing in the ball-room, when the wall gave way and four persons were killed. One of the unpunished murders of this district is that of Charles P. Miller, "king of the bunko men," who, on the first of November, 1881, was killed in "Dick" Darling's saloon, No. 11217 Broadway, by "Bill" Tracy, who was tried and acquitted.

 

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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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