Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

An Odd Incident in Pelham Manor in 1902

On September 19, 1902, The Sun published an article about an odd incident in Pelham Manor that involved a number of prominent Pelham citizens. A young man who tried to catch a train departing from the Pelham Manor Station on the branch line fell from the rear car and was dragged. The incident was witnessed by a Pelham Manor police officer and Harry E. Day, a prominent artist. When the two men went to the assistance of the young man, what happened next could not have been anticipated by either. An article detailing the incident is transcribed below.





The Policeman, Who Is Also a Pinkerton Man, Had Tried With an Artist to Aid Strachan, Who Called Them Robbers and Cowed Them at a Pistol's Point.

PELHAM MANOR, Sept. 18. -- W. A. Strachan, a young cotton broker of New York, was arrested to-day by Chief of Police Marks of Pelham Manor and held in $200 bail for trial as the result of some fun which he had on Sunday night at the expense ov the Pelham Manor police.

The broker, who is a Southerner, and comes of a prominent family, held up Patrolman Joseph Colgan, a Pinkerton man employed in the Manor, and Harry E. Day, an artist, and marched them a mile and a half at the point of a revolver. Mr. Day is a prominent citizen of Pelham Manor. His father is the Rev. John H. Day, formerly editor of the Evangelist.

Mr. Strachan is a member of the New York Athletic Club. On Sunday, in company with many others, he attired himself as an Indian, and attended the annual handshake of the Indians of the club and the flubdubs of the Larchmont Yacht Club, which took place at Huckleberry island on the Sound.

After the jamboree was over the broker returned to the Pelham Manor station to take the 9 o'clock train for New York. The train was pulling out of the station when he reached there, and in his anxiety to get aboard he ran after it and grabbed the handrail of the rear car. The train was moving too fast for him and he was dragged along and then thrown upon the track.

Policeman Colgan and Mr. Day, who saw him fall, ran to his assistance, supposing that he was killed. They were surprised upon reaching the prostrate man to have him spring up and level a big revolver at them. The broker declared to the officer and the artist that they were robbers, and he told them to throw up their hands or he would kill them. The two men, uncertain as to what he might do in his condition, obeyed. Then the broker proceeded to march them toward the New York Athletic Club.

The men protested that they had intended to do him no harm, and tried to explain who they were, but he would not listen to them. Every time they lagged or tried to explain he levelled the gun at their heads and threatened to fire.

The distance to the club is a mile and a half, over a lonely road, and the broker and his captives traversed it about ten paces apart. When the club gates at Travers Island were reached the broker faced the captives and, covering them again, said:

'Now, get, you rascals, get. If you don't I'll put a couple of bullets through your bonnets. Tell your friends that the Huckleberry Indians are hot stuff.'

The prisoners hurried away and the broker ran into the clubhouse and disappeared. The men who were held up were inclined to treat their experience as a joke, but some of the citizens of Pelham heard of the matter and brought it to the attention of the Village President, William B. Randall, who was forced to act.

Accordingly, a warrant was sworn out, and it was served to-day by Chief Marks, who found young Strachan at the office of S. Munn. Son & Co., in Beaver street. He brought the broker to Pelham Manor to-night and he was arraigned before Justice of the Peace Hill, who held him in $200 for trial.

Bail was furnished by Horace Hatch, a wealthy resident of the Manor. The young broker when arraigned still declared that he thought the two men when they rushed at him were robbers.

It was reported to-night that some of the people of Pelham Manor, indignant at the way their police officers had been treated, would bring the whole affair before the governors of the Athletic Club. Young Strachan's parents are in Europe. The family home at 57 West Seventy-sixth street is closed."

Source: This Broker Arrested a Cop, The Sun, Vol. LXX, No. 19, Sept. 19, 1902, p. 1, col. 5.

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