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.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Prison Escapee Foiled in Effort to Kidnap Two Small Boys in North Pelham in 1900

A hardened career criminal who had escaped from the Westchester County Jail attempted to kidnap two young boys in North Pelham on a May evening in 1900. The kidnapping was foiled by a quickly-formed posse led by the boys' father and Constable Marks. The events were described in an article that appeared in the May 15, 1900 issue of the New-York Tribune. The text of that article follows.




After an exciting chase last evening in North Pelham Constable Marks captured Edward Keller, alias Edward Kelly, who escaped from the Westchester County Jail in 1898 in company with two other convicts. Keller was in the act of kidnapping two boys, Peter and John O'Connor, ten and twelve years old.

The boys were playing near their home when Keller came along. After giving them candy he enticed them into the woods. As soon as he was under cover the convict grasped the boys' arms roughly and told them they would have to go with him to New-York. Peter O'Connor says that Keller choked him because he would not go into a house and beg for money. The boys were near the Hutchinson River when Constable Marks, accompanied by their father and a posse of citizens, came in sight. When Keller saw them he left his captives and ran into the woods. Constable Marks finally brought him to a halt after firing several shots. Judge Lyon last night held Keller for the Westchester Grand Jury.

Keller is well known to the police of Westchester County. He has served time in the Elmira Reformatory and in the penitentiary, and was awaiting trial for horse stealing when he broke jail two years ago."

Source: Tries to Kidnap Two Boys, New-York Tribune, May 15, 1900, p. 2, col. 5.

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