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.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pelham Manor Vegetable Thief Sent to Prison in 1888

In 1888, James Morgan of Pelham Manor leased the Jessup Farm on today's Shore Road (then called Pelham Road) to farm vegetables.  Soon he realized that much of his crop seemed to be missing.  A thief was harvesting "large quantities" of his crop.  One day, he observed the thief walking along New Rochelle Road carrying vegetables in bags that had been stolen from his farm.  What happened next was quite interesting.  The news story below published in 1888 recounts the events that led to the imprisonment of the thief.

"Caught in the Act.

Mr. James Morgan, of Pelham Manor, who has leased the Secor place in Pelham, and the Jessup place on the New Rochelle road, has for the last two months been greatly troubled with thieves who stole large quantities of vegetables from the latter place.  On Wednesday last he observed Dan Cashin, a notorious thief, who has served several terms in Sing Sing and in the Penitentiary at Albany, walking on the New Rochelle road with two bags in his possession belonging to him.  He accosted Cashin, and said:  'What are you doing with my property?'  Dan said, 'They belong to Mrs. Havard of New Rochelle; come and see.'  They started for New Rochelle, when after going a short distance, Dan ran away.  Mr. Morgan had an interview with Mrs. Havard, who said that Cashin had told a falsehood.  She knew nothing about the bags.  Several gentlemen in Pelham advised Mr. Morgan to go to Justice Edmonds of Mt. Vernon and state the case to him.  The Justice told him if he would pay the costs in the case he would work it up, as the town of Pelham had four justices and he would not allow the taxpayers of the town of Eastchester to pay any police business of another town, unless it was a felony.  He paid the costs and Constable Shute arrested Cashin in Drake's lane, and brought him before Justice Edmonds.  He was committed to the cells.  About 2 o'clock on Saturday afternoon a person called on the Justice and asked for a warrant for John Fox and John Cody and remarked that Dan Cashin was innocent.  He wanted to see Cashin.  He first gave the name of McCormack, afterward that of Gleason.  Justice Edmonds recollected the man's face, told him to sit in the office a short time, and when Constable Shute came in he would go with him to the lockup.  The Justice sent for Shute, told him to get a reliable man, put him in the next cell to Cashin and hear the conversation between McCormack alias Gleason, who was no other than Jim Cashin, a brother to Dan.  Jim said:  'I've fooled the Judge; say you found the bags on the road.  I have accused Jack Fox and Cody of the theft.'  Jim had a large blank note book like reporters use.  He came back in the court room politely thanked the Justice and bowed himself out.  Dan Cashin was tried on Saturday night, found guilty and was taken to Albany Monday morning, and is now working at his old bench in the shoe shop where he will stay for six months. -- Mt. Vernon Argus."

Source:  Caught in the Act, New-Rochelle Pioneer, Sep. 18, 1888, p. ?, col. 5 (page number not printed on the newspaper page).

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