Monday, March 30, 2009

Rochester, NY's 19th Ward

I grew up in Rochester's 19th Ward and lived there for more than twenty years (and was damn proud of it). Even though I have lived in south Florida for some thirty-eight years, I still follow news and events in the Rochester area. I have noticed that there is a very active 19th Ward Community Association and I'm delighted that folks have taken an interest in that area of Rochester. However, reading the description of the neighborhood of their 19th Ward is but a part of the 19th Ward that I grew up in.

The Association and the Rochester Wiki describe the boundaries as:

The 19th Ward is bordered, clockwise from its northern edge, by West Avenue, Genesee Street, Scottsville Road and the Erie Canal.
Let's just see what the actual boundaries of the 19th Ward are. But first a bit of the history of the ward system in Rochester and the 19th in particular.

In the first half of the 19th century Rochester, like a number of other cities instituted a political ward system and each ward had an elected representative on the city council. As the sity grew additional wards were created, each with a representative and the 19th Ward was created in 1892. The boundaries for the 19th Ward were generally as noted above except the eastern boundary was not Genesee Street but it was the middle of the Genesee River. That boundary was down the middle of the river to it met the Erie Canal.

I lived on Flint Street (which is east of Genesee Street) until 1950 and I will guarantee you I lived in the 19th Ward!

The 19th Ward as with each of the other twenty-three Wards had their representation in the city council until 1925 when the city council comprised of five at-large representative and four district representatives. Each district covered multiple wards and the 19th Ward was a part of South District, along with the 3rd, 4th, 11th, 13th and 14th Wards.

The ward system was also used for representation in the Monroe County Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors consisted of representatives of each of the twenty-four city wards plus one for each of the county's towns. This was the case until 1967. At that time for all intents and purposes the ward system went bye-bye.

But that doesn't explain why the difference in description of the 19th Ward boundaries. It had to do with the Postal Service and ZIP codes. When I lived on Flint Street it was: 484 Flint Street, Rochester, New York 19. When the ZIP codes were introduced, the ward number was preceded with 146, the are number for Rochester. Before the 19th Ward Community Association was formed, that portion of the old 19th Ward east of Genesee Street was given 14611. The Association took its name from the ZIP code.

So the 19th Ward Community Association should really be called the ZIP Code 14619 Community Association or the One-half 19th Ward Community Association! Or maybe not.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Quelling a Lynch Mob in Rochester - 1872

The following piece was written based on accounts found in the Rochester, NY Union & Advertiser.

The beginning of 1872 found an instance of the 54th Regiment being calling upon for local service. Rather than the Governor, the service of the regiment was requested by Monroe County Sheriff Campbell to thwart a riot and possible lynching at the jail.

On Saturday, December 30, 1871, a young girl named Cecelia Ochs had been to church at Ss. Peter and Paul, and following services there she attended festivities in the church school. Starting home to with her younger sister and a neighbor girl, she was accosted by a black man at the corner of Cady St. and Frances St. (now Jefferson Ave.). She went with him under the pretense of he needing directions to a friend's house. Reaching the Commons, the "scoundrel" threw her down and "Committed a most horrible outrage upon her."

The assailant, William Edward Howard, was finally found near the "Dugway" in Penfield and brought to the Police Station on Monday morning, New Year's Day, 1872. In order for Cecelia to identify Howard as her attacker, police took him to her home for the identification. Hearing of the arrest of Howard, a large crowd had gathered there. Loud cries by the crowd were head to lynch him, and he was struck a number of times in the face. With guns drawn, police quickly put Howard into a carriage and he was driven to the jail, where large crowds had already gathered there. The crowd, embittered toward the police for not allowing their access to Howard, cried "a lamp-post in the Eighth Ward should yet be decked with the corpse of the guilty wretch."

Sheriff Campbell realized that his force was not sufficient to prevent the mob from storming the jail and, as a result, he contacted General Charles H. Clark, at that time commanding the 25th Brigade, and asked that he call out the military.

At Gen. Clark's request, Lt.-Col. Westcott brought out two companies of the 54th: Co. G, under Capt. F. C. Lauer, and Co. D., under Capt. John Swartz. The two companies, comprising approximately one hundred men, relieved police forces at the jail at 5:30 p. m. on Tuesday, the 2nd. Co. G took the east end of the Court St. bridge, and Co. D was stationed at the Mill Race bridge, near Exchange St.

At about 9:00 p. m., as the crowd in the vicinity of the jail increased and the danger of an attempt on the jail seemed imminent, Companies E, A, and B were moved from the armory to the area of the jail. The addition of these three companies brought the total of troops there to about two hundred men. Still at the armory as a reserve were two batteries of the Union Grays.

Prior to the arrival of the 54th, there was a crowd of between two and three hundred on Court St. leading to the jail. They were ordered to dismiss but—although most obeyed the order and left the area—by 7:30 p. m. they had returned and their number had increased substantially, possibly reaching two thousand. Yells were heard from the obviously agitated crowd demanding Howard with cries of "Hang him," and occasional revolver shots rang out.

Although there were reports of shots being directed at the troops stationed at the race bridge, those were not confirmed, but there was no question that the troops were being pelted by stones thrown by the mob and one or more of the Co. D troops were hit. By nine o'clock large crowds were standing along Exchange St. from the Swing Bridge up to Court St. within a few feet of the soldiers. As the front ranks of the crowd moved in on the troops, the soldiers fired two shots into the air. Rather than calming the mob, the shots only seemed to increase its intensity, and the troops became uneasy so the order was given to disperse the crowd.

Co. G was ordered forward but the crowd held its ground so Co. D was ordered up and they fell in at the right of Co. G. Finally, faced with the two companies with bayonets, the crowd began to fall back. At that moment a shot rang out from among the troops, followed by two volleys and the crowd broke and ran. Whether or not an order to fire was actually given was never determined, but the result was two dead (John Elter and Henry Merlai) and at least six wounded (John Nolan, Louis Hamp, Elias Swanton, John Hillbert, Joseph Kohle, and an unidentified young boy).

Following the shooting most of the crowd fled but a few still remained in small groups on Exchange St., Buffalo St., and other of the central streets. One group on Exchange St., spotted Lieut. George Begy, Adjutant of the 54th Regiment, in uniform and gave chase but he was able to escape into the Clinton Hotel. Near midnight several additional shots were fired by the troops but these were warning shots, and the rest of the early morning hours of Jan. 3rd was quiet.

Mayor Charles W. Briggs issued a proclamation urging citizens to remain home and off the streets, and to assist the police in keeping the peace. His proclamation also ordered the city police to assist the Sheriff in his efforts to prevent lawlessness and violence. At the same time that Mayor Briggs was issuing his proclamation, orders were given by the 1st Battalion, Light Artillery, for members of both Batteries A and B to report immediately "in full uniform, with side arms." The two Batteries responded and their howitzers were placed on Court St.—one facing east and the other toward Exchange St.—thus commanding the bridge over the river and the one over the race. In addition to the artillery, Sheriff Campbell directed that the remaining six companies of the 54th be on duty that evening (Wednesday, Jan. 3), and if that was not sufficient he would order out the veteran companies and possibly request aid from the Governor. As a result of the precautions made by Sheriff Campbell, Wednesday night and the early morning hours of Thursday were calm.

William Howard, the target of the crowds' wrath, remained in jail until Thursday when he was brought before the court where he entered a plea of guilty for raping the young girl. He was sentenced to twenty years a hard labor, and immediately transported to the state prison in Auburn.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Stephen Eagan - A Traveling Man!

Even though my grandfather, Stephen Eagan, was born and raised in Rochester, NY, he left there in 1880 to go to New Haven, CT. He stayed for only a year and then came back to Rochester, staying there only about three years and went on to Cincinnati, OH. There he met my grandmother, Elizabeth Josephine Clarke, who he married in 1885. They stayed in Cincinnati until 1890 and then moved to New Haven where they stayed until about 1904. From New Haven they moved to Springfield, MA for about five years and then moved to Rochester where he spent the rest of his life.

More after the jump.

When I began researching my family I wondered why my grandfather had moved so often and why to these particular cities - especially why to New Haven. My father had told me that his father was a blacksmith but I have found out that he was a particular type of blacksmith - he was a carriage blacksmith. At the latter part of the 19th and early 20th centuries, three cities in the United States hosted the bulk of carriage business and these three were: Cincinnati, New Haven and Springfield. In Cincinnati he worked at the Gainsford Carriage Co.; in New Haven he worked at the New Haven Carraige Co. both times he lived there; and he worked at a carriage company in Springfield. (I cannot find my notes for the Springfield period but I have found his entries in the Springfield City Directory.) If he was a carriage blacksmith and the work was in Cincinnati, New Haven and Springfield why would move back to Rochester and where would he found work?

The answer was the James Cunningham & Son Company, a manufacturer of carriages and later automobiles. Located in the Canal Street area in Rochester, my grandfather worked in the factory on 13 Canal St. and, for some time, his son James worked there. In the Rochester City Directory, my grandfather was listed as a blacksmith and my uncle was listed as "auto repair" and later as a blacksmith also. I believe that some of the original buildings are still there on Canal Street. (I could never understand why there was a Canal Street downtown when there was no canal there. At another time we'll talk about that.)

But back to New Haven, CT. In the New Haven City Directory for 1880, Stephen Eagan was listed as a boarder on 4 Adeline Street. In the Federal Census for that year, 4 Adeline Street was the home of Timothy Eagan, a 30 year old railroad fireman from Ireland; his wife, Alice, also from Ireland; and Timothy's brother Patrick, a butcher. On the same block of Aldeline Street were four additional Eagan families. Were these folks related to my grandfather? Who knows. I have written to a number of Eagan families in New Haven but have not been able to determine any connection between 'my' Eagans and the rest of the Eagans on Adeline Street in 1880.

In the same year, Stephen is listed in the Federal Census for New Haven as living in a boarding house owned by a woman named Kate Reynolds. (I don't know which was put together - the City Directory or the Census for 1880.) This is probably just another of those coincidences in New Haven but persons named Reynolds were sponsors at Baptism for my Aunt Mae, Aunt Anne and my father. Sponsors for Mary Eagan in 1890 were John (or James) Eagan and Jennie Reynolds; sponsors for Anne Eagan in 1894 were Thomas Lace and Mary Reynolds; and sponsors for my father in 1901 were Carl Wagner and Margaret Reynolds. Were the Reynolds' friends, relatives or what? Was Kate Reynolds related to the Reynolds individuals who served as sponsors for the Baptisms of my father and aunts? We'll probably never know.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Circuit City Going Out of Business Sale

The Circuit City store near Florida Atlantic University, along with others, will close for good later on this afternoon. I thought I would stop and see what, if anything, was left. Not much as it turns out but as I was leaving there was a plastic bin by the door with assorted items. One in particular caught my eye - a Body Fluid Clean-up Kit! I'm at a loss as to why an electronics store would sell kits to clean up bodily fluids. They have to be sold someplace but a Circuit City?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Will of Patrick Eagan

Recently I came across an interesting item concerning the will of my great-grandfather, Patrick Eagan. In The New York Supplement, Volume 100, containing the decisions of the Supreme and lower Courts of Record of New York State. August 27 - December 17, 1905 is an appeal court decision as to whether some stock was part of my great-father's estate or had he previously given the stock to one of his daughters. In 1906 the stock was worth $6,000. The company today is known as NL Industries. In addition to the stock, all of his property was about $40,00 - not a small sum in 1906.

The decision is found after the jump.

In re KING.

(Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department. November 14, 1906.)

Appeal from Surrogate Court, Monroe County.

In the matter of the settlement of the accounts of John C. King, as executor of Patrick Eagan, deceased. From a decree overruling the objections of Sarah Eagan and another to the account, they appeal.

The proceeding was commenced by the presentation by the executor to the surrogate of Monroe county of a petition bearing date November 20, 1905, praying that his accounts as such might be judicially settled. Thereupon a citation was duly issued to all persons interested, returnable in the Surrogate's Court on the 29th day of November. 1905. requiring them to attend upon the judicial settlement asked for. On the return day the executor filed his account, which was duly verified. The appellants duly filed objections thereto, which, so far as important to know upon this appeal, consisted in the allegation that there belonged to the estate of Patrick Eagan, deceased, and came into the possession of the executor, John C. King, 50 shares of the preferred stock of the National Lead Company, of the value, with the accrued dividends thereon, of about $6,000; that such stock was wrongfully omitted from the account filed by the executor. The executor claimed that the stock did not belong to the estate, but was the property of his wife, Catherine J. King, and therefore was properly omitted from his account. This was practically the only question of fact tried before the Surrogate's Court. The court decided that such stock was the property of Catherine J. King because given to her by Patrick Eagan, deceased, in his lifetime, and was not the property of Patrick Eagan at the time of his death, and therefore was properly omitted by tbe executor from his account. The correctness of that decision presents the only question raised by this appeaL

Argued before McLENNAN, P. J., and SPRING, WILLIAMS, NASH, and KRUSE, JJ.
H. W. Rippey, for appellants.
John M. Murphy, for respondent.

McLENNAN, P. J.: Patrick Eagan died in the city of Rochester, N. Y., on the 1st day of June, 1903, leaving him surviving his widow, Mary Eagan (one of the appellants), his two daughters, Sarah Eagan (the other appellant) and Catherine J. King (the wife of the respondent), and a son, Stephen Eagan, who were his only heirs and next of kin. The deceased left a last will and testament bearing date December 21, 1898, by which he devised practically all of his property, amounting in value to about $40,000, in trust, the income thereof to be used for the benefit of his widow. Mary Eagan, during her lifetime, and at her death to be divided into three equal parts, one of said parts to go to each of his said daughters, Sarah Eagan and Catherine J. King, and the remaining part to the children of his son, Stephen Eagan, with a life use of said part or third to his son Stephen. By the will Johm C. King, the son-in-law (the respondent), Catherine J. King, daughter of the testator and wife of the respondent John C. King, and the widow, Mary Eagan, were named as executors. The daughter and widow renounced. The will was admitted to probate on the 11th day of June, 1903, and the respondent John C. King was appointed and has since acted as sole executor. The suggestion is made in the argument of appellants' counsel that the conduct of the executor in respect to the investment of the funds of the estate was improper, and that by other acts he did not conserve the best interests of the estate, but no such issue is presented by this appeal.

It appears, without contradiction, that on the 26th day of March, 1898, the deceased made and executed an instrument in writing, of which the following is a copy:

"To Whom It may Concern and Especially to John C. King of Rochester, N. Y.:

"Take notice that I hereby declare and state that I hold the stock consisting of fifty shares of the National Lead Co. stock, preferred, in trust for my daughter, Catherine J. King, to be delivered to her at my death.
"I however retaining the right during my lifetime of drawing the dividens thereon. The certificates for said stock are annexed to this paper and direct you to hand said certificates to her at my death."

This paper was discovered to be in the posession of John C. King at the time of the testator's death. We think, under the circumstances, the instrument in question transferred irrevocably the stock in question to Catherine J. King, the wife of the respondent, and that it was not a part of the estate of Patrick Eagan, of which the respondent is executor. There is no question presented by the evidence in this case as to the competency of the donor, or of undue influence, and we do not think the evidence offered by the appellants impeaches in any manner the genuineness of the trust deed by which Catherine J. King became the owner of the stock in question.

We think it is unnecessary to discuss or consider any of the other questions raised by the appellants upon this appeal. The deed of trust was unambiguous and was specific, giving to Catherine J. King the stock in question, reserving the income or dividends declared thereon to the donor during his lifetime. Under those circumstances we think it is of no consequence whether the executor testified to a transaction within the prohibition of section 829 of the Code of Civil Procedure, because, wholly independent of such evidence, the gift expressed in the deed of trust was valid and became operative upon the death of the donor, and so it is of no consequence that incompetent evidence was admitted, or that competent evidence was rejected, tending to show the attitude of the respective parties in the premises. The deed of trust above quoted, which was made voluntarily by the testator while in the possession of his mental faculties and without undue influence, should determine the rights of the parties to this controversy.

I conclude that under the deed of trust above quoted Catherine J. King, the wife of the executor-respondent, became the absolute owner of the shares of stock in question, and that the executor was under no obligation to account for the same in his judicial accounting; that the decree of the Surrogate's Court is correct and should be affirmed, with one bill of costs to be paid by the appellants personally.

Decree affirmed, with costs. All concur; SPRING, J., in separate memorandum.

SPRING, J. (concurring): The essence of a gift, even though it be in the form of a trust created by the donor, is delivery (Martin v. Funk et al., 75 N. Y. 134-137, 31 Am. Rep. 446; Brown v. Spohr, 180 N. Y. 201-209,73 N. E. 14); and that was fulfilled in the present instance. Eagan, the testator, executed an assignment of the stock certificates in blank. He attached to them a memorandum signed and witnessed by him denoting the ownership of Mrs. King and his trusteeship. He delivered the certificates and memorandum to Mrs. King, the donee. There was, therefore, an unqualified delivery to her. His retention of the dividends gave him no right to recall the transfer. The transaction is no different than if he had executed and delivered a conveyance of real estate, retaining its use or income during his life. The title would have passed absolutely to the grantee or donee. Mrs. King handed the papers to her husband for safe-keeping, and he retained them until after the death of the donor, and then returned them to his wife. He is the sole acting executor, and on the judicial settlement the attempt was made to surcharge his account with the amount of this stock. If the stock had been in his possession as executor and he had transferred it to his wife, he might have been disqualified from testifying to the transaction by section 829 of the Code, but he never had possession of the stock as executor. His possession came from his wife and not the testator, and he is competent to testify. The criticisms made in the cases upon a husband testifying to establish title in the wife do not apply here, for the papers themselves indicate Eagan's intention.