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Each week we bring you the front page of a local newspaper that covered the news in Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow (North Tarrytown) one hundred years ago. This front page comes from the Tarrytown Press-Record. The Press-Record was published as a weekly from 1893 to 1946 and has been preserved by the on microfilm.
Friday, September 6, 1912:
Gun Fight with Black Hand Agent
Two Italian men caused a commotion on Orchard Street “when they started to pump each other full of bullets”. An array of gunshots rang out at noon, and a number of people on the street had to dive for cover. Officer Cregier was patrolling nearby when he heard the ruckus, and he immediately ran towards Orchard Street. He met a crowd of people coming in the opposite direction who told him that the man with the gun was hiding by a barn near the brook.
Cregier followed the directions which led him to a large manure heap, behind which an armed and frantic man was hiding. The police officer drew his own gun and ordered the man to surrender, but instead the desperate man jumped the manure heap and tried to make an escape. He didn’t get far though, since he ran straight into the robust arms of Matthew Graham, of the Empire State Tea Company, and was held tight.
At police headquarters the man gave his name as Joseph Drago and said that he owned a fruit store on Cortlandt Street. He admitted shooting at another un-named man, but said that he suspected this man of being an agent of the “Black Hand” (a criminal society associated with the Mafia and Camorra). Drago had owned a prosperous bakery in New Jersey, but his store had been burned out, and since then he had been pursued and threatened by the un-named man, who demanded money. Eventually, when Drago continually refused to hand over cash the other man had drawn a revolver, but Drago had whipped out his own gun and fired four times. That was the story according to Joseph Drago, who was sent to White Plains jail to await the action of a Grand Jury.
The victim disappeared after the shooting, and could not be found. However, it was said that he had run down the railway tracks, and rail workers reported seeing a man answering to the police description, which was as follows:
A black moustache and hair brushed straight back
Wearing a dark suit and yellow shoes
Train Kills Man and His Fiancé
“Two more deaths were added on Monday evening to the already large list caused by the condition of the Main Street railroad crossing.”
Thomas Talbot Jr., 28, and his fiancé Miss Anna Lynch, 25, had travelled from New York City to visit Miss Lynch’s sister, Mary, in North Tarrytown. Mr. James Marl had also joined the group, and they had spent a thoroughly enjoyable time together, and were in a “most happy frame of mind” as the day drew to a close.
At around 9 o’clock in the evening Mr. Marl and Miss Mary Lynch accompanied Mr. Talbot and Miss Anna Lynch to the train station, walking about 50 yards ahead of the engaged couple. When Mr. Marl reached the crossing the gates were down, but since the bell was not ringing he assumed there was no immediate danger and pushed through the gates, leading his companion. When they reached the other side and stepped up onto the southbound platform they looked around and noticed that the other couple were no longer behind them.
They waited for a few minutes, and called out, but hearing no reply they walked back out across the tracks. Mr. Marl looked around the street and into the stores nearby, but Mr. Talbot and his fiancé were nowhere to be found. When Mr. Marl rejoined Mary lynch by the train tracks he noticed several men with lanterns further up ahead. Beginning to fear the worst he approached the men. About 100 yards along the tracks he abruptly came across the bodies of the missing couple, horribly mangled.
Dr. Fairchild arrived as soon as he could, but Mr. Talbot and Miss Lynch had been killed instantly when they were hit by the northbound train, and there was nothing the doctor could do. The families of the young couple were grief-stricken.
Sent to Industrial Home
Mr. Walter Belcher, of Washington Street, appeared before Judge Moorhouse to state that the behaviour of his son, nine-year-old Walter, was so bad that he no longer knew what to do with the boy. He claimed that Walter was continually running away from home, and that he could do nothing with him. As a result, Walter was sent to an Industrial Home near Rochester, where he would live alongside abandoned or orphaned children, under the guidance of the home owners.
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