More on an Infamous Pelham Crime: Robbery by Masked Bandits of the Kemble House on Shore Road in 1873
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I have written before about this infamous robbery that occurred on December 23, 1873. See:
Fri., June 06, 2014: More on an Infamous Crime: The Masked Bandit Robbery of the Kemble House on Shore Road in 1873.
Tue., May 17, 2005: The Masked Burglar Robbery of the Emmett Home in Pelham on December 22, 1873 (Part I).
Wed., May 18, 2005: The Masked Burglar Robbery of the Emmett Home in Pelham on December 22, 1873 (Part II).
In the middle of the night on Tuesday, December 23, 1873 (some reports say December 22, but it seems clear it occurred on December 23), six masked bandits with revolvers forced open a window in the rear of the Emmett Cottage on Shore Road in Pelham. They crept to the bedroom of Richard J. Emmett and "aroused him by pressing a revolver to his head." The bandits threatened Emmett with instant death if he made an outcry, then handcuffed him.
Leaving one thug to guard Emmett in his bedroom, the robbers went to the bedrooms of his sister, his nephew, and the servants, who were all handcuffed, gagged, and then taken to Mr. Emmett's bedroom. There two burglars were placed on guard with drawn revolvers.
The home had a large safe. The burglars demanded the key, but the family convinced them that the key was not kept on the premises. First the burglars used a jimmy they had with them to try to force open the safe. The jimmy, it turned out, was "peculiarly-constructed and very powerful," made of "finely-tempered steel." The safe wouldn't budge, though, and the thieves actually broke the two-pronged tip of the jimmy off while trying to open the safe. They eventually left that piece behind and, according to one report, "[t]his piece of steel furnished the clue, and will also furnish the evidence on which the burglars will be eventually convicted."
Well prepared, the bandits would not give up on the safe. They drilled holes in the door of the safe, filled it with powder, and attempted to blow it open. Although the explosion shook the house and did some damage, the safe was not blown open. But, a resulting hole in the door was just large enough for a man's hand to be passed through.
Once the safe was blown, the burglars compelled one of the servants of the home to take them on a tour of the pantry and wine cellar of the home. They pillaged the supplies and spread "a feast" in the dining room of the home where they mockingly drank to the health of Richard J. Emmett and his family.
The robbers remained in the Emmett Cottage for hours as they ransacked the place. When they finally left, young Charles Emmett "after severe exertion, succeeded in cramping his body up in such a position that he was enabled to slip the handcuffs under his feet, and brought his manacled hands in front of his chest."
The bandits had left a key in Charles Emmett's handcuffs. Once young Charles had gotten his hands in front, he opened his handcuffs and used the key to free his uncle and aunt. The thieves had made off with at least three gold watches, some silver-ware, $150 in money, a gun, and some articles of clothing. Various reports valued the articles stolen between $800 to "several thousand dollars."
The six robbers stole boat oars from a neighbor of the Emmetts and made their way to nearby City Island. There they tried to steal a boat belonging to Captain Stringer who caught them. They convinced Stringer that they had attended a local prize fight that was broken up by the local Sheriff and that they were on the run from the Sheriff. They offered to pay Stringer $1 each to transport them out of the jurisdiction. Reports are not clear regarding whether Stringer ferried the men or declined. According to one report, the robbers made their way to Throggs Neck. Clearly, however, they successfully engaged at least one or more than one boatman who ferried them across Long Island Sound to Long Island. From there, they made their way to New York City.
The small group of thieves, it turned out, was a subset of a much, much larger band of career thieves and burglars operating out of New York City. That band, it turned out, had been burglarizing homes of wealthy suburbanites throughout the metropolitan region for quite some time. Only a few days later the same gang burglarized the home of a wealthy Staten Island family, stealing valuables worth more than $9,000.
New York City Detectives, however, were on the case. They had been trying to capture the band of thieves for weeks if not months. After receiving tips that the band frequented a particular saloon in New York City, the police made their move. One account (quoted in full at the end of today's article) detailed what happened next:
"From information received by Detective Elder a close watch had been kept for a week past on the drinking saloon kept by Geo. A. Millard at the north-east corner of Canal and Washington streets. This rum shop is said by the Police to be a resort for thieves and burglars, and was believed to be the head-quarters of the gang who had been engaged in the suburban robberies. Yesterday afternoon a number of well-known burglars were seen by Detectives Elder, King, Lyon, and Field, who were on the watch, to enter the place, and it was determined to make a descent on the house. Field was sent to the Fifth Precinct Police Station in Leonard street near West Broadway, and Capt. Petty, at the request of the detectives, sent a platoon of men in uniform to their assistance. On the arrival of the reinforcement the liquor saloon was surrounded, and the detectives dashed in with drawn revolvers, and threatened to shoot any person who made the slightest resistance. Eight persons were in the place at the time, and six of these were at once recognized as professional thieves and burglars. These men are Dan Kelly, Patsey Conroy, Larry Griffin, Billy Woods, Billy Hoey, and Big John Garvey. Kelly is an escaped convict, having broken out of Auburn State Prison, where he owes the State two years' service. He was accused by John T. Ivring of having been concerned in the Nathan murder, but no corroborative evidence could be obtained. He is a notorious burglar and horse thief, and has been engaged in several 'big jogs.' Patsey Conroy and Larry Griffin are both notorious burglars, and were formerly river thieves. About seven years ago, while engaged in robbing a schooner in the East River, they were disturbed by the mate whom they murdered to make their escape. For this crime they have never suffered punishment, owing, it is said, to political influence wielded by them and their friends at the time. Billy Hoey is a native of Baltimore, and is said to have been engaged in the Concord Bank robbery and the robbery of the Ocean Bank in this City. Billy Woods and Big John Garvey are well-known burglars and bank robbers. Besides the above-named there were found in the place Millard, the proprietor, and Matthew McGeary, a young man who claims to be a boatman from Yonkers. The Police know nothing about the last-named. All the parties in the place were arrested, and after they had been secured a search of the bar-room was made. Behind the bar were discovered several valises and carpet bags and when these were opened they were found to contain a full assortment of burglars' tools consisting of powerful combination 'jimmies,' a large number of steel wedges, five or six dark-lanterns, several cans of powder, a number of fuses, pieces of black muslin, from which the masks used by the thieves were manufactured. But the most damaging evidence of the thieves' guilt was the remains of the 'jimmy' which had been broken at the residence of Mr. Emmett, and which fits exactly to the piece found in the house, and now in the possession of Superintendent Matsell. The prisoners, guarded by the detectives and several officers in uniform, were conveyed to Police Head-quarters in carriages, and arraigned before the Superintendent."
Following the capture of the suspects, a parade of victims and witnesses was summoned to Manhattan to identify the robbers. Among those who participated was Charles Emmett, nephew of Richard J. Emmett. He promptly identified Dan Kelly as one of the six robbers who "stood guard over me, pointing a pistol at my head." He also identified two others named Conroy and Griffin as members of the gang who robbed his household, "but his identification of them was not so unmistakable as that of Kelly." The boatmen who ferried the gang across Long Island sound that night, however, were far more certain. They identified Kelly, Conroy, and Griffin.
At least one of the six robbers who burglarized the Emmett cottage in Pelham was not among those of the large gang arrested in early January, 1874. Rather, in August, police tracked down "Michael Hurley, a well-known burglar and desperado" on suspicion of burglarizing the Emmett cottage. Police located the boatmen who had ferried the six bandits who robbed the Emmett family across Long Island Sound. They identified Hurley as one of the six. He was jailed in the County Jail at White Plains, where he was held to appear before a Westchester Grand Jury the following September.
It appears that at least four of the six masked robbers who burglarized the Emmett cottage in Pelham were captured. No records of the subsequent criminal proceedings have been found so far. Yet, the evidence certainly seemed overwhelming at the time and it most likely was the case that at least these four burglars spent time in jail for their crimes.
* * * * *
Immediately below is the text of a number of articles that deal with the infamous home invasion and robbery of the Emmett cottage in late 1873. Each is followed by a citation and link to its source.
The police were to-day informed that during Sunday night six men armed with revolvers entered the house of Richard J. Emmett in New Rochelle and made their way to the room in which Mr. Emmett and his wife slept. Both were handcuffed and gagged, after which the robbers treated Mr. Emmett's nephew Charles and two servants in a like manner. -- They then ransacked the house from top to bottom and broke a hole into a safe. The robbers took property valued at several thousand dollars. Young Emmett, after considerable trouble, liberated himself and set his companions free. The police authorities have sent a detective to New Rochelle."
Source: DARING ROBBERY, The Kingston Daily Freeman [Kingston, NY], Dec. 24, 1873, p. 2, col. 4 (NOTE: Paid subscription required to access via this link).
"NEW YORK AND BROOKLYN. . . .
The police were to-day informed that, during Sunday night, six men, armed with revolvers, entered the home of Richard J. Emmett in New Rochelle, made their way to the room in which Mr. Emmett and his wife slept, both were handcuffed and gagged, after which the robbers treated Mr. Emmett's nephew Charles and two servants in a like manner. They then ransacked the house from top to bottom, broke a hole into a safe and took property valued at several thousand dollars. Young Emmett, after considerable trouble, liberated himself and set his companions free. The police authorities have sent a detective to New Rochelle."
Source: NEW YORK AND BROOKLYN, Democrat and Chronicle [Rochester, NY], Dec. 24, 1873, p. 1, col. 3 (NOTE: Paid subscription required to access via this link).
"THE NEW-ROCHELLE OUTRAGE.
Up to yesterday afternoon no information had been received in regard to the arrest of any of the burglars engaged in the outrage and robbery committed at the Emmett Cottage, in the lower section of New Rochelle, adjacent to the Pelham Priory. It was ascertained yesterday that six of the robbers, after stealing a pair of oars belonging to Mr. Edgars, a neighbor of Mr. Emmett's proceeded to City Island and there attempted to steal a boat belonging to Capt. Stringer, about 6:30 o'clock on Tuesday morning, about an hour and a half after leaving the house they had robbed, but were detected by Capt. Stringer, when they halted and engaged the owner of the boat to row them across the Sound to the Long Island shore, and gave him $6 for his services. They told Capt. Stringer that they had been attending a prize fight, and that the Sheriff was in pursuit of them; they were therefore willing to give him $1 each to be placed beyond his reach. The other five men of the gang, with a large dog they had with them, are supposed to have proceeded toward Westchester or Throgg's Neck, and rowed thence across the Sound to Long Island, and then made their way to New-York by railroad or steamboat. It is believed that had the robbers succeeded in getting the key of the safe, and thus avoided a delay of over two hours, they would have committed other robberies in the neighborhood before they left. The supposition that there was a rich booty in the safe, induced the robbers to obtain possession of its contents. They carried off three gold watches, some silver-ware, $150 in money, a gun, some articles of clothing, &c., valued in all at about $800, and did considerable damage by attempting to blow open the safe."
Source: THE NEW-ROCHELLE OUTRAGE, N.Y. Times, Dec. 26, 1873, p. 8, col. 5 (NOTE: Paid subscription to access via this link).
CAPTURE OF NOTORIOUS BURGLARS.
THE PERPETRATORS OF THE CATSKILL, NEW-ROCHELLE, AND STATEN ISLAND OUTRAGES ARRESTED WITH ALL THEIR IMPLEMENTS.
One of the best captures of notorious thieves that has ever been accomplished by the Police of this City was successfully made yesterday by several detectives from the Central Office, and six very important members of a skillful and desperate gang of burglars have been arrested, and are now locked up at Police Head-quarters. The men under arrest are all distinguished cracksmen, and from evidence in the possession of the Police authorities of this City to the gang is credited all the robberies of suburban residences that have occurred recently within twenty miles of this City. The leaders have been captured, and all the tools and implements used by them in their nefarious enterprises are in the possession of the Police.
The readers of THE TIMES will doubtless remember that for several months past a gang of burglars have been perpetrating a series of robberies at the residences of wealthy citizens in the vicinity of New-York, and their operations were so bold and met with such success that the inhabitants of the suburban towns became alarmed and appealed to the Police of this City for protection, as it was supposed, and rightly, too, that the burglars haled from New-York, and sought refuge here after the commission of their desperate deeds. The first case brought to the notice of the Police was the robbery at the residence of Mr. Abram Post, a wealthy farmer residing at Eimbracht, near Catskill, on the Hudson. At 6:30 P. M. on the evening of Oct 17, while the family of Mr. Post were sitting quietly enjoying their supper six masked and armed men rushed into the place, and drawing revolvers threatened with instant death any person who offered the slightest resistance or attempted to give an alarm. The members of the family were then handcuffed, bound and gagged, and were taken to an upper bedroom, where one of the ruffians stood guard over them while his companions proceeded to ransack the house. They forced all the bureau drawers, &c., and secured $235 in currency, $20 in gold coin, two Greene County bonds of $500 each, a check on the Farmers' National Bank for $1,000, and a quantity of jewelry. After securing this property, the thieves fled and made their escape, leaving the family gagged and bound. A neighbor happening to call at the residence of Mr. Post, at about 10 o'clock, discovered their plight, released them, and gave an alarm. A pursuit was organized and the fugitives were tracked to the railroad, where all further trace was lost. Information was sent to Capt. Irving, of the Detective Office, who detailed Detective W. G. Elder to work up the case. On Dec. 12 Elder arrested Charles Hobbs, alias the 'Captain,' on suspicion of having been the leader of the gang who robbed Mr. Post's residence. He was sent to Catskill for examination, and is understood to be still locked up there, awaiting trial. The next case occurred at East New-York, were, on the morning of Saturday, Dec. 20, the office of the Jamaica, Woodhaven, and Brooklyn Railroad Company was entered by six armed and masked men. The watchman was bound hand and foot, gagged and secured under a desk in the office while the burglars forced open the safe and rifled it of its contents, consisting of $3,000 in bonds, gold coin, and currency. They then stole a silver watch from the person of the prostrate watchman, and decamped. It was some hours after their departure that the watchman succeeded in releasing himself from his bonds, and when he gave an alarm no trace of the fugitives could be obtained.
On the 23d of December, at 2:30 o'clock in the morning, the residence of Mr. J. P. Emmett, known as 'The Cottage,' at Pelham, within two miles of New-Rochelle, was visited by this same gang, the number at this time increased to eleven, and robbed in the most outrageous manner. The thieves, who were all armed and had their faces concealed by masks improvised out of strips of black muslim, forced open a window in the rear of the residence, and going direct to Mr. Emmett's bedroom, aroused him by pressing a revolver to his head. Threatened with instant death if he made an outcry, Mr. Emmett submitted to being handcuffed. The robbers, leaving one of their number to guard him, went to the bedrooms of his sister, his nephew, Edward Emmett, and the servants, who were all handcuffed and then taken to Mr. Emmett's bedroom, where two burglars were placed on guard with drawn revolvers. The key of the safe was demanded, but on being assured by Mr. Emmett that it was not in his possession, the burglars proceeded to force it open. They drilled holes in the door, which they filled with powder, and although the explosion shook the house, the safe was not blown open, but an aperture was made sufficiently large for a man's hand to be passed through. In this way they gained access to the contents of the safe, and after ransacking the house, which occupied several hours, they left, taking with them property valued at $800. After their departure, young Emmett succeeded, after considerable exertion, in releasing himself, and then freed the rest of the family from their bonds. The facts were reported to Superintendent Matsell, and placed in possession of Capt. Irving, who determined to ferret out the perpetrators of these desperate burglaries if possible, and while working on this matter still another robbery, of the nature described above, was perpetrated.
The victim of the latest exploit was Mr. Wm. K. Soutter, a banker doing business at No. 53 William street, and residing at West Brighton, Staten Island. His residence was entered on the night of the 30th ult., and robbed of silver-ware, jewelry, and money to the amount of $9,000. Mr. Soutter, with his wife and daughter, were spending the holiday week with some friends in this City, and the house on Staten Island was left in charge of the servants, who, on the night in question, were having a jolly time of it in the kitchen, when eleven armed and masked men burst in upon them and put an end to their festivities. Robert Armstrong, employed in the house as waiter, the only male servant, was seized, bound and gagged and the female servants were similarly secured. The robbers then searched the house, and took all the loose valuables they could find. They then bored holes in the safe, which the subsequently blew open with powder, and obtained silver-ware, jewelry, and money to the amout of $9,000, with which they decamped.
These repreated robberies showed by their mode of execution, even to the smallest details, that they were the work of the same gang, and it was apparent to the detectives that the gang was composed of a number of fearless and reckless men, well skilled in the burglar's art, and whom it would be very difficult to capture. Capt. Irving, who had himself taken an active part in investigating these robberies, selected Detectives Elder, Field, and King, of the Central Office, and to them intrusted the difficult task of discovering who these burglars were, and of effecting their capture. Detective Holley Lyon, of the Tenth Precinct, was associated with the officers named above, and rendered valuable assistance. The only clue to the thieves, except the vague descriptions given by their victims, was a portion of a peculiarly-constructed and very powerful 'jimmy,' which had been broken by the thieves in their endeavors to force open the safe at the residence of Mr. Emmett, at Pelham. The 'jimmy' was of finely-tempered steel, and the piece which had broken, consisting of two sharp-pointed prongs, was left behind by the thieves in their flight. This piece of steel furnished the clue, and will also furnish the evidence on which the burglars will be eventually convicted. From information received by Detective Elder a close watch had been kept for a week past on the drinking saloon kept by Geo. A. Millard at the north-east corner of Canal and Washington streets. This rum shop is said by the Police to be a resort for thieves and burglars, and was believed to be the head-quarters of the gang who had been engaged in the suburban robberies. Yesterday afternoon a number of well-known burglars were seen by Detectives Elder, King, Lyon, and Field, who were on the watch, to enter the place, and it was determined to make a descent on the house. Field was sent to the Fifth Precinct Police Station in Leonard street near West Broadway, and Capt. Petty, at the request of the detectives, sent a platoon of men in uniform to their assistance. On the arrival of the reinforcement the liquor saloon was surrounded, and the detectives dashed in with drawn revolvers, and threatened to shoot any person who made the slightest resistance. Eight persons were in the place at the time, and six of these were at once recognized as professional thieves and burglars. These men are Dan Kelly, Patsey Conroy, Larry Griffin, Billy Woods, Billy Hoey, and Big John Garvey. Kelly is an escaped convict, having broken out of Auburn State Prison, where he owes the State two years' service. He was accused by John T. Ivring of having been concerned in the Nathan murder, but no corroborative evidence could be obtained. He is a notorious burglar and horse thief, and has been engaged in several 'big jogs.' Patsey Conroy and Larry Griffin are both notorious burglars, and were formerly river thieves. About seven years ago, while engaged in robbing a schooner in the East River, they were disturbed by the mate whom they murdered to make their escape. For this crime they have never suffered punishment, owing, it is said, to political influence wielded by them and their friends at the time. Billy Hoey is a native of Baltimore, and is said to have been engaged in the Concord Bank robbery and the robbery of the Ocean Bank in this City. Billy Woods and Big John Garvey are well-known burglars and bank robbers. Besides the above-named there were found in the place Millard, the proprietor, and Matthew McGeary, a young man who claims to be a boatman from Yonkers. The Police know nothing about the last-named. All the parties in the place were arrested, and after they had been secured a search of the bar-room was made. Behind the bar were discovered several valises and carpet bags and when these were opened they were found to contain a full assortment of burglars' tools consisting of powerful combination 'jimmies,' a large number of steel wedges, five or six dark-lanterns, several cans of powder, a number of fuses, pieces of black muslin, from which the masks used by the thieves were manufactured. But the most damaging evidence of the thieves' guilt was the remains of the 'jimmy' which had been broken at the residence of Mr. Emmett, and which fits exactly to the piece found in the house, and now in the possession of Superintendent Matsell. The prisoners, guarded by the detectives and several officers in uniform, were conveyed to Police Head-quarters in carriages, and arraigned before the Superintendent. As may be readily imagined, they protested their entire innocence, and denied all knowledge of the valises and their contents. The prisoners gave their names as follows: John Burns, John Thompson, Daniel Kelly, Matthew McGeary, Francis P. Kayton, Lawrence Griffin, Patrick Conway, and George A. Millard. They were locked up in the cells at Police Headquarters, and several officers of the Fourteenth Precinct were detailed to guard them. The victims of the robberies alleged to have been perpetrated by these prisoners will be notified to appear and identify them."
Source: Modern Bandits, N.Y. Times, Jan. 6, 1874, p. 5, cols. 4-5 (NOTE: Paid subscription to access via this link).
"THE MASKED BURGLARS.
The public interest caused by the arrest of the gang of notorious burglars, of which Dan Kelly is said to have been the leader, already fully reported in THE TIMES, appears unabated, and the Police Central Office was thronged yesterday by a number of gentlemen who were anxious to see the prisoners and identify them if possible, as having been engaged in the robberies perpetrated at their residences. Among those who called for that purpose were: Mr. J. P. Emmett, and his nephew, Edward, of New-Rochelle; Mr. Delafield, an intimate friend of Mr. Soutter, of West Brighton, Staten Island, and Officer Deveau of the New-Rochelle Police force. The prisoners, Daniel Kelly, Big John Garvey, Billy Woods, Billy Hoey, Larry Griffin, Pat Conroy, Geo. A. Millard, Matthew McGeary, and John O'Donnell were brought from their cells by the detective officers and placed in line in the sitting room in the rear of the detective office, and the victims of the robberies alleged to have been committed by the prisoners, were then admitted.
The first man identified was Daniel Kelly, who was pointed out by Robert Armstrong as one of the men who had been concerned in the robbery at the residence of Mr. Soutter, on Staten Island. Without the slightest hesitation, Armstrong identified Kelly as the man who had handcuffed him and had remained on guard for two hours at the kitchen door while the rest of the desperate gang of robbers ransacked the house. A question was put to Kelly, and, as soon as his voice was heard in reply, Armstrong recognized the voice, and became still more positive in his identification.
Kelly, Griffin, and Conroy were also identified, by Mr. Emmett and his nephew, as three of the eleven masked men who broke into their residence at Pelham, near New-Rochelle, and ransacked the house. Young Emmett stated positively that Conroy is the man who removed the rings from his aunt's fingers, and threatened to put a gag into her mouth if she made any outcry. Larry Griffin was also positively identified by the boatman who, on the morning of the robbery, ferried him across to the Long Island shore. Griffin stated to the boatman at the time that he was going to witness a prize-fight. Besides the identification by the boatman, the detectives state that they have conclusive evidence to connect Griffin with the robbery of Mr. Emmett's house, but which cannot be made public at present. Big John Garvey was also identified as having been seen in the vicinity of New-Rochelle on the morning of the robbery. He was seen by an ex-policeman, formerly a member of the New-York Police Force, as he was making his way toward the river. The ex-policeman knew him, and spoke to him, but having no knowledge of the robbery which had been committed, allowed him to pass unmolested.
After the identification of Kelly, Conroy, and Griffin, Officer Deveau, of the New-Rochelle Police force presented to Superintendent Matsell a warrant for the arrest of the ruffians named, and requested that the prisoners named in the warrant be delivered into his custody. The warrant was issued by Judge Porter, at New-Rochelle, on affidavits made by Mr. Emmett and his nephew. The Superintendent recognized the validity of the warrant, and transferred the prisoners to the custody of Officer Deveau, and directed Detectives Elder, King, Lyon and Fields to accompany the officer to White Plains and see that they were safely lodged in the County Jail at that place. The three prisoners were accordingly brought out of their cells, handcuffed, and placed in carriages. In company with the detectives having them in charge they were driven to the Grand Central Depot, and took the noon train on the Harlem Railroad for White Plains, to await examination. Should the District Attorney of Westchester County fail in obtaining the conviction of Kelly, he will be transferred to the Richmond County Jail to stand trial for breaking into and robbing Mr. Soutter's house, his connection with that outrage being clearly established.
During the afternoon Abram Post, Jr. and his sister arrived from Catskill, having been telegraphed for to come to this City to see if they could identify any of the prisoners as the men who, on the evening of the 17th of October last, entered their father's residence near Catskill, bound and gagged all the inmates, and robbed the house. Post and his sister arrived at the Central Office after Kelly, Griffin, and Conroy had been taken to White Plains, and on being shown the rest of the prisoners, failed to identify any of them. On being shown the coats found on Monday last stowed away behind the bar in Millard's rum-shop, where the men were arrested, Post and his sister both positively identified an overcoat which belonged to their father, and which had been stolen from the house on the night it was robbed. This evidence connects the gang with the robbery at Mr. Post's house. At the suggestion of Inspector Walling, young Post and his sister went to White Plains yesterday, to see Kelly, Griffin, and Conroy, for the purpose of identification.
To still further connect the gang arrested with the robbery at Mr. Soutter's residence, a policeman from Staten Island brought to Superintendent Matsell yesterday afternoon, a piece of wood which he had cut out of the jamb of one of the doors in the house, and which had been forced open with a 'jimmy' by the robbers. This piece of wood bore plainly the marks of the 'jimmy' which had been used, and on comparing one of the 'jimmies' found in Millard's place it fitted the indentations in the wood exactly, and to the sharp edge still adhered atoms of the paint scraped from the door. Among other articles found behind the bar at Millard's was a handsome red marocco writing-case, filled with fine note-paper and envelopes. This writing-case was yesterday identified by Mr. Delafield, a friend of Mr. Soutter, as belonging to that gentleman.
Chief of Police Rogers, of Newark, N.J., and a number of his detectives, Marshal Hills, of Englewood, N. J., and a number of residents of that neighborhood, called at Police Head-quarters yesteday, and were shown the prisoners, but failed to identify them as having been concerned in the numerous robberies that have been recently committed in New-Jersey.
New and startling developments may be looked for soon. Mrs. Millard, the wife of the proprietor of the drinking place in which the prisoners were captured, has been at Police Head-quarters every day since the arrest of the gang of burglars, and has been for several hours each day in close consultation with Superintendent Matsell. From this it is surmised that Mrs. Millard is negotiating for protection for her husband on condition of his placing the information in regard to the operations of the burglars he is in possession of at the service of the Police. This would, doubtless, lead to the conviction of the robbers, and the recovery of the property stolen by them."
Source: The Masked Burglars, N.Y. Times, Jan. 8, 1874, p. 8, col. 2 (NOTE: Paid subscription required to access via this link).
An Interesting Exhibition at the N.Y. Central Office -- Further Facts of the Masked Men's Frolics.
The distinguished gang of burglars in custody of the New York Police were on exhibition at the Central Office yesterday, and were identified by several of their victims. The ceremony began at ten o'clock. All who had actually been in the robbers' hands, or had seen them near the scene of their depredations, were admitted to the detective's office, where the prisoners were guarded. The nephew of Judge Emmett, after closely scrutinizing the whole gang, walked up to Dan Kelly and said: 'I should know this man anywhere. He
STOOD GUARD OVER ME,
pointing a pistol at my head.'
He had never seen Kelly's face before, but knew him by his portly figure, shaggy black hair, and peculiar voice. Kelly had used the weapon during the robbery, threatening the prisoners with instant death every time they moved. Mr. Emmett also pointed out Conroy and Griffin as members of the gang, but his identification of them was no so unmistakable as that of Kelly. The boatman who ferried the band over the Harlem River, on the night of the New Rochelle robbery, partly identified all, but was perfectly certain that Kelly, Conroy, and Griffin were three of them.
Mr. William K. Soutter's servant, Robert Armstrong, the only man in New Brighton house when it was robbed, singled out Kelly as the man who kept watch over the prisoners while the others ransacked the house. He also pointed out Conroy and Woods. Mr. Soutter recognized as his own a red morocco porte-monuaie, which the detectives found in Millard's salon. The purse was left in New Brighton by Mr. Soutter, and contained considerable money. Armstrong says he saw one of the burglars put it into his pocket. A piece of wood was found in one of the captured valises, and Detective Field yesterday ascertained that it fitted the hole in the window sash of Mr. Soutter's residence, and had been pried out by the burglars in effecting an entrance.
James Moore, the watchman of the Jamaica and Brooklyn Railway depot, thought that he
Kelly by his size and general makeup, but could not identify any of the others. At 12 o'clock Mr. Post's family had not yet arrived, and a consultation between Chief Matsell and the detectives resulted in sending Kelly, Conroy and Griffin to White Plains. Their identification by Mr. Emmett's family was so complete, and the circumstantial evidence in that case was so convincing, that the prisoners' conviction is regarded as certain. Detectives Field, Elder, King and Lyon took the prisoners away in three coaches.
Soon after they started, the son and daughter of Mr. Post arrived at the Central Office, and were shown the five remaining prisoners, but they failed to recognize any of them. Chief Matsell conducted them to the room where the captured tools lay. In the pile of clothes lay a homespun and homemade coat. Mr. Post recognized it as his father's. The garment is of a yellowish brown cloth, lined with a lighter gray cloth. A small piece of the lining near the pocket had been torn out. Mr. Post produced the lost piece, and it fitted the rent exactly. This bit of cloth fully establishes the fact that frequenters of Millard's house participated in
THE CATSKILL ROBBERY,
but leaves to the detectives to prove the connection of the prisoners. Mr. Post and his sister followed the three prisoners to White Plains, hoping to be able to identify them, and thus complete the chain of evidence against them.
Dugan and Carroll who were convicted in the General Sessions for river piracy and sentenced to twenty years each and who are now awaiting their trip to Sing Sing, say that they are positive that the burglars now in custody are the men who boarded and robbed the brig Matano. The robers
in Judge Emmett's house. There were four grown men in the family besides the servants. The robbers went to the room of each, frightened him to silence when awake, and then collected all the household in the dining-room where one bandit could guard all. When they entered the room of Mrs. Emmett the concentrated stare of four dark lanterns and four rough men bidding her to arise did not frighten her. One of the men seized her by the wrist to bind her. 'Unhand me, sir,' she exclaimed with such dignity and determination that the robber dropped her hand and fell back a step. 'Are you men? Do you dare to insult a lady?' she continued. One of the robbers replied they would not bind her if she would make no alarm. She promised, and suffering her to put on a wrapper and slippers, they locked her securely in a room adjoining that in which the others of the family were bound. After they had blown open the safe and stolen everything of salable value, they compelled a servant to show them
THE PANTRY AND WINE CELLAR.
They spread a feast, at which the owners of the good cheer were imprisoned spectators. As they ate and drank the banditti mockingly drank Judge Emmett's good health and his family's. It was nearly six o'clock when they departed. Neighbors were then astir, and several of them saw what they supposed to be a gang of prize fighters trying to shove off a large boat left high and dry by the falling tide. They gave up the attempt soon, and were next seen on the steamer Seawauhuka on her morning trip to New York."
Source: ROBBERS RECOGNIZED -- An Interesting Exhibition at the N.Y. Central Office -- Further Facts of the Masked Men's Frolics, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Jan. 8, 1874, p. 3, col. 8 (NOTE: Paid subscription required to access via this link).
"SOME OF THE RUFFIANS IN COURT.
The announcement in the City journals yesterday morning, to the effect that the burglars who, on the 23d day of December, committed a most daring outrage and robbery at the Emmett cottage, New-Rochelle, would be examined at White Plains in the course of the forenoon, attracted persons from almost every section of the county to obtain a glimpse of the accused perpetrators of the crime. Shortly after 11 o'clock, John Kelly, alias Dan. Kelly, Patrick Conroy, Larry Griffin, and Billy Woods, alias John Barns, being taken up in one of the morning trains, were brought into court, before Judge Porter, of New-Rochelle. Detectives Elder, Fields, King, and Lyons, of the New-York Central Office, were present, with a large assortment of burglars' implements, consisting of four dark lanterns, numerous powder casks, eleven soft felt hats, a lot of masks, and other articles found at the head-quarters of the robbers in New-York City, together with some fragments of tools left behind them in the dwelling of the Emmett family. All that could obtain an opportunity of inspecting the tools availed themselves of it. Mr. Charles H. Roosevelt, of New-Rochelle, appeared as counsel on the part of the people, and Col. Fellows, of New-York, for the prisoners.
Col. Fellows inquired of the court what course would be pursued in regard to Billy Woods, alias Burns, who was not charged in the proceedings had at New-Rochelle with being implicated with him. He desired that the names of Kelly, Conroy, and Griffin were charged in the complaint against Burns with being implicated with him. He desired that the names of Kelly, Conroy, and Griffin be stricken from the warrant against Burns. He would then waive an examination of Kelly, Conroy, and Griffin, remarking that public feeling had been so worked up against the perpetrators of the robbery that it would be impossible to expect anything like justice being done them. The suggestion of Col. Fellows was conceded, and Col. Fellows then objected to Judge Porter, as Police Justice of New-Rochelle, having jurisdiction, but as Judge Porter announced that he presided there as one of the Justices of Peace of Westchester County, the objection as to his jurisdiction was withdrawn. Col. Fellows then remarked that he should also waive an examination in the case of Burns, as he had in the others, and await the action of the Grand Jury and trial by another tribunual, where his clients would stand a much better chance of securing justice. The four prisoners were then fully committed to the County Jail to await the action of the Grand Jury next month.
In order to prevent the possibility of Burns, alias Woods, slipping out of the custody of Sheriff Carpenter by a writ of habeas corpus, inasmuch as no evidence had been recorded against him, Mary Lyon, colored cook on board of the steamer Seawauhaka, was examined. She testified that she prepared breakfast for seven men on board of the steamer on the 23d day of December. They ate their breakfast in the kitchen, where she waited upon them; that she identified the four prisoners present as four of the seven persons that she provided breakfast for. They had with them a large black valise, a yellow or light-colored valise, and a long black bundle, which was covered with black muslin or rubber, and that the light-colored valise produced in court is like the one she saw in possession of the prisoners."
Source: Some of the Ruffians In Court, N.Y. Times, Jan. 11, 1874, p. 8, cols. 1-2 (NOTE: Paid subscription required to access via this link).
"IDENTIFICATION OF A MASKED BURGLAR.
Michael Hurley, a well-known burglar and desperado, who was arrested last week by Detectives King and Lyon, on suspicion of having been concerned with the gang of masked burglars in the numerous robberies in the vicinity of this City during last Fall and Winter, has been fully identified. The boatmen who ferried the burglars who robbed the residence of Judge Emmett, at New-Rochelle, from that point to Whitestone Dock, L. I., identified Hurley as one of the party. The accused was taken to White Plains by Detective King yesterday, and lodged in jail there to await trial."
Source: IDENTIFICATION OF A MASKED BURGLAR, N.Y. Times, Aug. 16, 1874, p. 8, col. 4 (NOTE: Paid subscription required to access via this link).
"WESTCHESTER COUNTY. . . .
Michael Hurley, recently arrested in New-York on a charge of being one of the masked burglars who entered the Emmett cottage, in the town of New-Rochelle, has been fully committed by Justice Porter to the County Jail to await the action of the Grand Jury at the September term of the Court of Oyer and Terminer. . . ."
Source: WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. Times, Aug. 25, 1874, p. 8, col. 5 (NOTE: Paid subscription required to access via this link).
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