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, February 24, 2010

Attempted Suicide of City Island's Long-Time Horse Car Driver

I have been working hard for the last year or so to document the history of the "horse railroad" that ran from Bartow Station to City Island during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  For a few examples of Blog postings transcribing just a little of my research, see::

Wed., February 3, 2010:  Early Information Published in 1885 About the Organization of the "City Island Railroad", a Horse Railroad from Bartow Station to City Island

Tue., February 2, 2010:  Information About the Pelham Park Railroad at its Outset

Fri., January 22, 2010:  1884 Account of Early Origins of Horse Railroad Between Bartow Station and City Island

Tue., September 1, 2009:  Pelham News on February 29, 1884 Including Talk of Constructing a New Horse Railroad from Bartow to City Island

Wed., December 2, 2009:  Accident on Horse-Car of the Pelham Park Railroad Line in 1889

 Thu., December 31, 2009:  1887 Election of the Board of Directors of The City Island and Pelham Park Horse Railroad Company

Mon., January 4, 2010:  1888 Local News Account Describes Altercation on the Horse Railroad Running from Bartow Station to City Island

Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog transcribes a sad article published in 1916 describing the attempted suicide of Patrick Byrns, the man who operated the City Island horse car for about 30 years.

Patrick Byrnes, Who for Years Drove Only Car on City Island, Prisoner in Hospital.

Brooding and grieving over the death of his wife two ago is believed to have caused Patrick Byrnes, fifty-seven years old, of No. 121 Pell street, City Island, to attempt suicide to-day.  He  is a prisoner in Fordham Hospital with an ugly wound in his neck and throat.  It is not believed he will recover.

When Byrnes' son John, twenty-two years old, awoke to-day he heard groans coming from his father's room.  He found his father lying on the bed with a gash in his neck and a razor lying near by.

Policeman Neggersmith, of the City Island station, was informed and took Byrnes, a prisoner, to Fordham Hospital.  Dr. Conboy, the ambulance surgeon, stated that he did not believe Byrnes would survive.

Byrnes for the last thirty years was the best known man on City Island.  Every man, woman and child on the Island knew him, for he was the driver and conductor on the lone horse car which connected City Island with the Bartow station on the New Haven Railway. 

A year ago, when the line was electrified, he went into the express business on the Island.  Two months ago his wife died, and his son to-day told the police that Byrnes had been grieving over her death ever since."

Source:  Grieving Over Wife's Death, He Gashes Throat, The Evening Telegram - New York, Aug. 10, 1916, p. 4, col. 2. 

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