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 02, 2009

Brother Shoots Brother in the Pelhamville Train Station in 1880

In 1880, a bitter divorce battle led to a fight between two brothers at the Pelhamville train station. One shot the other.

The train station at that time was a wooden building that stood essentially where the post office at One Wolfs Lane now stands (the Pelham National Bank building). To see one of the only known images of the Pelhamville Depot, see:

Friday, August 12, 2005: The Little Pelhamville Depot: Forerunner to the Train Station Serving New Haven Line Passengers Today.

An article about the altercation appeared in the February 22, 1880 issue of The Sun published in New York City. I have transcribed the text of the article below.

The Culmination of a Bitter Quarrel of Several Years' Standing.

Thomas Barker of this city, formerly of Pelhamville, separated from his wife some three years ago, and she went to live with her brother-in-law, Charles Barker. Thomas Barker brought a suit for divorce, which was susequently [sic] discontinued. The accusation was adultery. The brothers met yesterday morning for the first time since the beginning of the suit for divorce. The meeting was at the railway station in Pelhamville, to which village Thomas Barker had gone to visit his mother. On seeing his brother, Charles is reported to have said: 'You scoundrel! I have not met you before since you made the charge against me in court. I now have you, and I mean to kill you.'

Thomas warned him not to resort to violence, but a scuffle ensued, and on extricating himself from his brother's grasp, Thomas said: 'I am armed, and if you strike me again I shall defend myself.'

Charles then seized a poker and threatened his brother, and the latter drew his pistol and fired. Charles threw up his hands, and said to the ticket seller: 'I'm shot, Charley; go for a doctor.
The 7:11 train for New York came along, and Thomas Barker got aboard and rode to Williams Bridge, but, not knowing the extent of the injury to his brother, he returned to New Rochelle on the next train, and consulted with his lawyer, Martin J. Keogh. In company with his counsel he started to surrender himself, but was met by a messenger from Pelhamville, who said that the injury to his brother was not so serious as was at first supposed, the bullet having torn the flesh of one arm before reaching the body. Thomas Barker then came to this city. Charles was taken to his home."

Source: Shot by His Brother, The Sun, Feb. 22, 1880, p. 5, col. 3.

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