This article is dated March 19, 1930. It is unknown which paper published it. I do know that this is not the last we hear about Supervisor Darrow.
Retired New York Officer Engaged by Council to Head the Department
FILLS VACANCY CAUSED BY CHIEF BUNCE’S REMOVAL
George F. Darrow, former New York police lieutenant, retired after 25 years of service, last night was appointed supervisor of police in Ridgefield at a salary of $3,000 a year, by the borough council. Councilman Leo Kearney was the only member of the board voting against the appointment. Darrow immediately was sworn in.
Darrow will have complete control of the police department. Edward Bunce, who for years was chief of police of the borough, recently was dismissed from the department on charges brought by Councilman Clarence Kiley, who charged Bunce with neglect of duty and with failure to wear uniform after being warned several times to do so.
Counselor William George, of Jersey City, has been retained by former Chief Bunce to fight his dismissal on the ground that the hearing was illegal. George has been granted a writ to show cause by the Supreme Court.
That the present administration has been dissatisfied with the service of Bunce was evidence since last election. It is said that a few months ago Bunce was asked to resign to escape charges but that he refused to do so.
Darrow comes to Ridgefield highly recommended by the police officials of New York. The following letter from the New York department was read at the meeting of council last night:
“With reference to your recent inquiry, I find that George F. Darrow was retired as a lieutenant of police in this department on June 8, 1926, after having served for a period of a little over 25 years.
His record in the department, during his entire service was excellent. He had varied experience, having performed duty as a detective, plain-clothes patrolman, clerical patrolman in one of the busiest precincts in the city, mounted traffic duty and in addition during his last two years in the department he held an executive office, being lieutenant in command of the division of transportation. In this position he had supervision over the purchase and upkeep of police department horses, automobiles, bicycles and repair shops, etc.
“I feel sure that if you appoint Lieutenant Darrow to the position mentioned, he will give entire satisfaction.”
Darrow served as patrolman at the West 22nd street station; detective at headquarters; foot patrol, East 22nd street station; detective at the West 37th, 30th and 20th street stations; mounted duty at the 152nd street station; traffic division, Tremont avenue station, and headquarters, all New York. He also did mounted duty as a sergeant at Bronx Park station, 152nd street station traffic division and also served as lieutenant on desk duty at West 47th street, West 68th street and West 100th street stations, New York. He was lieutenant, mounted duty, at the Central Park station, and instructor of the school of recruits, horsemanship, pistol practice and military tactics. Darrow had charge of the lecturing at the public schools. He served as aide to the mayor and police commissioner, and did clerical duty for the inspectors. He retired after 25 years’ service.
Bids for stone and tarvia supplies were referred to the committee to report back at the next meeting. Bids for stone were submitted by the Tidewater Stone Supply Company, Cliffside Trap Rock, Herbert A. Relph and Co., Belmont Gurney Co. and Ridgefield Tar Supply. Those bidding on stone were the American Tar Products Company, Barrett Company and Lamsdell Company.
Two bids were submitted for garbage removal from Joseph Navalance and Louis Esposito, which also were held over. It was announced that an assessment hearing on Lincoln place, between Bergen boulevard and Studio road, will be held Tuesday night, April 1. At the same time the Ray avenue improvement will be taken up. Council decided to meet as a committee of the whole together with the assessment commission to take action on the Oakdene avenue assessment complaints received at the last meeting, next Tuesday night at the municipal building.
I was curious about what happened to the three “thugs” in the story, so I set out to find some additional information. I discovered that in 1930, the three of them lived within a half-mile radius of each other. Stewart and Toohey lived on the same street only a couple of blocks apart. Carroll lived three blocks up and in the block between Stewart and Toohey.
Michael J. Toohey:
Michael was born to parents Michael and Anna Toohey in 1902, one of many children. He is shown on the 1910 US census with his family living on Willis Avenue in the Bronx. His father worked as a switchman for the railroad. In 1912, at age 44, Michael Sr. is listed as an inmate at the New York City Home for the Aged and Infirm because he was paralyzed and destitute, apparently after a stay at Bellevue Hospital. He is still listed as a resident of the City Home in the 1915 NY state census.
In 1915, Michael Jr.’s mother Anna is found on the NY state census living at 550 133rd Street in the Bronx and working as a janitor. Her marital status is not given. However, by the 1920 US census she is listed as a widow living with her sons John and Raymond, still working as a janitor, but under the name Anna Moorehead. She also has a 1-1/2 year old daughter named Catherine Moorehead.
This explains why Michael Jr. isn’t listed with his mother in 1920. I found him on the 1920 US census at age 18 already in prison at the New York House of Refuge, a youth detention facility in New York City.
I next located Michael in the 1925 NY state census living at 310 135th Street in the Bronx with his wife Adel. His occupation is listed as “brick hand,” which I guess we all know by now wasn’t the whole truth.
Michael Toohey was listed with his fellow thugs in the 1930 US census as a guest of the New Jersey State Prison, a result of the 7-year sentence he received in February 1930.
At some point during the year, the three of them must have been transferred to Rahway Prison. But Michael Toohey and John Carroll had other plans and decided to make a break for it in December 1930.
I found Michael in the 1940 US census listed as inmate #22788 at Clinton Prison in Dannemora, New York. I guess they found him.
In the 1925 NY state census, the Carroll family resides at 300 E. 134th Street in the Bronx. Father John is a chauffeur and 18-year-old son John is a bookkeeper (I’m not sure who decided to trust this kid with their books).
I searched for his family in the 1930 US census to see if I could identify his parents (to be sure I had the correct John Carroll, since it is a fairly common name). I found his family listed at the address shown in the newspaper (356 E. 139th Street address in the Bronx); parents John and Mary, both born in Ireland. His father is a car inspector for the railroad. His brother is a chauffeur for a wholesale company, and … there is 22-year-old John listed as a clerk for a wholesale company … but he was already in prison!
I find the family living at 372 E. 139th Street in the Bronx on the 1940 US census, where they apparently have lived since at least 1935. No occupation is listed for John Sr., but son Thomas is a bus driver and sister Louise is a counter girl for a five-and-dime.
Rewind a bit … remember the prison break that Carroll and Toohey pulled off? John Carroll was injured in a shooting in Manhattan on March 12, 1931.
I found John Carroll at Dannemora Prison in Clinton, New York in the 1940 US census too; inmate #24615.
William is the son of William H. (born in New Jersey to German parents) and Louisa Stuart (born in New York). In the 1920 US census, the family is living at 344 135th Street in the Bronx.
I found William Stuart in the 1925 NY state census enumerated with the New York Catholic Protectory, a home for destitute children and juvenile delinquents that was in operation from 1865 until 1938. It was located in the area now known as the Parkchester housing development in the Bronx. I understand that the LDS church has the records from the Protectory on microfilm, but I have been unable to locate them in the FamilySearch catalog.
William’s permanent residence is listed as 306 East 136th Street, which is exactly where I found the rest of his family in the 1925 NY state census. It appears that William Sr. is now working as a cooper and brother Gerald is a chauffeur. It also appears that William Jr. is also listed with the family and works as a roofer helper. I guess it is possible to be in two places at one time.
It appears that by the 1930 US census, William’s mother is a widow and is still living at 306 E. 136th Street in the Bronx with son Charles and son Emil. Son Gerald is living next door with his own family.
Unfortunately, I think Louisa may have died before the 1940 census, as I lose track of her after 1930. Fortunately, I believe prison may have made an impression on William Jr. I find a William Stuart in the 1940 US census living at 496 166th Street in the Bronx with wife Dorothy and 2-year-old daughter Barbara. The census shows that William and Dorothy were living in the Bronx in 1935, but not at the same address. This is contradictory to what we know about his 7-year sentence handed down in 1930. He would still be in prison in 1935. I can’t be certain this is the same William Stuart, but I would like to think that maybe he learned his lesson and got out early on good behavior.
Clearly, none of these men were saints, but they didn’t exactly have an easy start at life either. I’m not sure what happened to them after 1940, but let’s just hope they got out of prison and had long, fruitful lives.
And now the story comes out about why the three thugs were speeding around town. It’s just a shame that they got Pop’s name wrong. This story must have been published within a day or two of the others, but I don’t know which paper.
Patrolman Henry Lustman, and Patrolman William [sic] Gallagher, “a rookie” cop, captured three bandits Tuesday afternoon, in a wild chase through the residential section of Ridgefield and the West Grantwood section, during which many shots were fired. It’s said that the trio had been frustrated in an alleged attempt to take a Hoboken gangster “for a ride”.
All of the three have police records in New York. The automobile in which they were riding was recognized as having been stolen Sunday night from 70th street and Third Avenue, New York. The men are: John Carroll, 22, of 356 East 139th Street, convicted three times in New York, twice for robbery and once for assault and battery.
Michael Toohey, 28, of 297 East 135th street, convicted three times in New York for robbery.
William Stewart, 21, of 427 West 135th St., convicted twice in New York for theft.
According to the story given out by the police, the men admitted being in a saloon in Hoboken earlier in the day. It was said that while there they discussed taking someone “for a ride.” Their conversation, it appears was overheard, and the men knowing this, jumped into the automobile and fled, pursued by another car, which they outdistanced. On the Boulevard they drove at a fast rate of speed, ignoring signal lights. At Tonnele [sic] avenue and Hackensack plankroad 1 they narrowly missed running down Patrolman Herman Farcender, of the Hudson County police who had the stop signal set against them. Farcender commandeered another car and gave chase. He recognized the car as the one for which a description had been broadcast from New York. The men escaped him.
Farcender, when he saw that he could not overtake the trio, telephoned the Ridgefield police to be on the lookout for them. The men however, succeeded in eluding the Ridgefield police sent out to trap them.
Shortly after 12 o’clock noon, while Patrolman Gallagher was on duty at Edgewater avenue and Shaler boulevard, Ridgefield, directing traffic to safeguard the children, he saw the car in which were the three men approaching. There was something about the men, Gallagher says, that excited his suspicion. He signaled for them to stop, but instead of doing so, they stepped on the gas. Nearby was the Ridgefield Park police car which Gallagher had used to take him to the school. He jumped into the car and started in pursuit of the men. Gallagher managed to ride abreast of them. The driver of the other car attempted to ditch him at least a score of times, once forcing Gallagher to run his car upon the sidewalk. the policeman was unable to draw his revolver, the management of the car requiring all of his attention.
While speeding up the state highway, Gallagher saw Patrolman Lustman a short distance ahead. He signaled the latter to stop the fleeing car, but Lustman was unable to do so. Gallagher slowed down to let Lustman in the car and then renewed the chase. Time and again the fleeing car attempted to ditch the police. Near Bergen boulevard, where there is a steep embankment, the bandits tried to force the police car off the road, but failed.
Both cars were being driven at breakneck speed. Patrolman Lustman drew his revolver and opened fire on the trio. All three crouched down on the seat, but made no tempt [sic] to return fire. Lustman aimed at the rear wheels and succeeded in blowing a tire, bringing the car of bandits to a stop.
The men were taken to Ridgefield headquarters and after being booked on charges of driving a car without a license were taken to the Bergen County jail in Hackensack by Patrolman Gallagher. They will be given a hearing this morning before Judge Charles J. McCarthy of the First District Criminal Court.
- Now the intersection of Tonnelle Ave. and the Bergen Turnpike ↩
Just when you thought it was over, the newspaper articles just keep comin’. I don’t know which newspaper published this, but it is dated February 27, 1930. In any case, it’s the best account of the harrowing event so far …
Trio, in Stolen Car Had Evaded Police of Union City and Outwitted North Bergen Officers
HAVE BAD RECORDS
Great excitement prevailed in Ridgefield on Tuesday afternoon when Officer Gallagher and Officer Lustmann [sic] of the Ridgefield Police Department succeeded in capturing three men in a stolen car who had evaded the Union City, Boulevard and North Bergen Police.
The three young thugs were arraigned Wednesday afternoon in Part 2, Common Pleas Court, at Hackensack, before Judge Frederick W. Mattocks and plead guilty. The three were immediately sentenced to 7 years each at Trenton. They were relieved to thus plead, for if returned to New York, two would have received life sentences under the Baume’s law.
John Carroll of 356 East 139th street, New York City, Michael Toohey of 297 East 135th Street and William Stewart of 424 East 135th Street, New York City left a Hoboken speakeasy on Tuesday afternoon in a Peerless car, License number N.Y. 3C62-95, which they had stolen from 70th street and Third avenue in New York City. They were speeding along on the Hudson Boulevard 1 and failed to stop on signal for Officer Roarty.
He gave chase and in North Bergen, the trio almost ran down Officer Erbeck whom they forced to the sidewalk. He, also, gave chase and Officer Luke Sarcander of the Hudson County Police went after them. The trio speeded down Dan Kelly’s Hill 2, followed by the officers. They speeded through Shaler Boulevard and here the officers lost trace of them.
Officer Gallagher of the Ridgefield police stationed at the school crossing on Edgewater avenue and Shaler Boulevard, started after them in the Police Ford when the men in the car refused to stop to let two children cross.
The men zigzagged in and out of the Morsemere streets, several times forcing Gallagher to the sidewalk in his car. At the intersection of Maple avenue and the State Highway, Officer Gallagher stopped a second to pick up Officer Lustmann [sic] who was doing duty there. They chased the runaways up the state highway and when nearing Fort Lee, Officer Lustmann [sic] opened fire twice damaging their rear tires before they were brought to a halt. The three surrendered then and were taken to the Ridgefield Police Department where the police officers from the other towns had already been inquiring after the speeding car.
The men and the stolen car were turned over to Detective Dawson of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s office.
When the three were arraigned, it was found that this was Carroll’s fourth offense, as he had been previously tried three times, once for stealing an automobile, once for assault and once for petty larceny.
It was Toohey’s third conviction and the second for Stewart who had previously been arrested for petty larceny.
The chase and capture thoroughly aroused the town and Officers Gallagher and Lustmann [sic] received the congratulations of many citizens for their display of courage.
All told, the entire chase probably took a little over 20 minutes, and Walter and Lustman’s part of it was probably only about 8 minutes. This is what I was able to map out to determine where this chase occurred. All the locations are approximations (that zig-zagging part through Morsemere is definitely an approximation):
- Per Wikipedia, now named John F. Kennedy Boulevard, commonly referred to as Boulevard East – the road that overlooks the Hudson River and the skyline of Manhattan ↩
- Dan Kelly’s hill is an approximately 1-mile stretch of road that was named for an Irish teamster in the early 1900s. Dan Kelly had the only team of draft horses large enough to pull heavy wagons to the top. He charged fees that would be considered price gouging today ↩
In the wake of his heroic adventures, Walter received a letter of commendation from the Police Commission.
Mr. Walter Gallagher,
Borough of Ridgefield.
Dear Officer Gallagher:-
The Police Commission take this opportunity to commend you for the very efficient and courageous manner in which you handled a difficult situation on Feb., 25th, 1930.
It is fearless work of this character that the citizens of our Borough appreciate.
With our heartiest congratulations, we are,
Ridgefield Police Commission
Clarence A. Davis Pres.
Alan B. Conor
Henry Formon, Secty.
At the next Commission meeting, this Resolution was made:
Presented by Councilman Brown
that the Mayor and Council express their commendation and appreciation of the capable and courageous action of Officers Walter W. Gallagher and Henry J. Lustmann in which they handled the hazardous situation that occurred on Feb. 25th, 1930, and that the Clerk be and hereby is instructed to send a copy of this resolution to each of the officers.
I hereby certify that the above is a true copy of resolution passed and approved by the Mayor and Council at a regular meeting held on March 4, 1930.
(Signed) C. A. Davis
(Signed) Adele McDermott
This article, presumably from February 27, 1930 (paper unknown), is another in the long string of public accolades surrounding the heroic feats of my great grandfather, Walter Gallagher.
Jersey Justice Redeems Reputation
“Jersey Justice,” which in former years meant swift and exact justice to criminals, came back into its own yesterday when three gangsters from New York City were started for state prison to serve maximum terms of seven years, 24 hours after they had been arrested.
This exemplification of old-time “Jersey Justice” is a flash-back into the past that should continue as a paragon for all law-enforcement authorities throughout the state.
It was Bergen County that yesterday brought back this all but forgotten kind of justice.
Three gangsters were overhauled after a running chase from Hudson County in Ridgefield. The Ridgefield police got the credit for the capture and obtaining confessions of enough crimes to send them to prison. Then Prosecutor West stepped into the picture and with the aid of Common Pleas Judge Mattock swift justice was meted out. The gangsters did not want to be taken back to New York City lest they be sent to prison for life as fourth offenders under the Baumes laws. They were so anxious to escape trial in New York that they readily pleaded guilty to four charges.
It is unknown when or in which paper this article was published. I believe it to be 1929 or 1930, as I think Alan Conor was Mayor until 1928, but if the articles are in a somewhat chronological order in the scrapbook, one has to wonder about the timing of it in light of other recently published heroic tales …
No Negligence on Part of Lustman in Carruth Death, He Says
On examination of a preliminary report by investigators of his staff on the death of Charles P. Carruth, who died Saturday of heart disease in Ridgefield jail where he was held on a charge of drunkenness and disorderly conduct, Prosecutor Edward O. West said yesterday he had found no indication of negligence on the part of Patrolman Lustman, Ridgefield policeman, who arrested Carruth.
The report was required by the prosecutor after an autopsy performed by Acting County Physician Dr. Arthur W. Greenfield revealed that no alcohol had been in Carruth’s stomach when he died. According to an earlier report made by the Ridgefield Park police physician, Carruth had died from acute alcoholism.
Carruth, a member of a prominent Hempstead, L. I., family, was arrested near Overpec kbridge [sic] Friday night. Patrolman Lustman had been detailed to the scene after persons living in the vicinity of the bridge had reported to police headquarters that a man, apparently drunk, was shouting profanely from his car, near the bridge.
According to Lustman, Carruth had left the car and fallen in the road which he had attempted to cross. The policeman found him on the ground, he said, and took him to headquarters. Lustman says the man showed every indication of being drunk and made no protest that he was ill. If he had, he added, a physician would have been called.
Former Mayor Alan B. Conor, a member of the Ridgefield police commission, said Sunday night, that no investigation of the department’s disposition of Carruth’s case would be made by the commission. He believes, he said, that the other commissioners would agree with him that the patrolman on duty had no occasion to call a doctor. Only persons who notify the police they are sick, he said, are visited by a physician.
“If we called a doctor for every man arrested on a charge of drunkenness,” he said, ” we might as well close the borough treasury.”
Prosecutor West said when he announced he would make an investigation that he believed there had been no criminal avtion [sic] on the part of the police.
“But the unusual nature of the case,” he said, “warrants an investigation by this office.”
Clearly, this was big news in Ridgefield.
Jersey Justice Moves Swiftly for Trio Caught by Ridgefield Police
TRIO EVIDENTLY FEARED HOBOKEN RACKETEERS
Within 24 hours after they had been arrested by Policeman William Gallagher, of Ridgefield, three New York gangsters, all of whom have records of three and four convictions for robberies and assaults, yesterday were sentenced to seven years each in State Prison by Judge Frederick W. Mattocks, at Hackensack. They will be taken to the Trenton prison this morning.
The men are: Michael Toohey, 28, of 297 East 135th street; John J. Carroll, 22, or 356 139th street, and William Steart, 21, of 427 West 135th street.
The formal charges against the men were: Transporting a stolen auto in their possession, reckless driving, and failing to stop when signalled [sic] to do so by a policeman.
The three, it is said, had plotted to take a Hoboken gangster for a ride, but when their plans were discovered made their escape in an automobile which they had stolen from 70th street and Third avenue, New York.
The men pleaded guilty to all four of the charges. They regarded this as their safest course. Had they fought the case it is probable that they would have been turned over to the police of New York for the theft of the car. Under the Baumes law 1 operative in that state, they would have been sentenced to life imprisonment, if convicted, the Baumes law making such sentence mandatory upon the fourth conviction.
The trio also feared that if liberated they would be taken for rides by friends of the Hoboken gangster. The fact remains, however, that Bergen County yesterday upheld the traditions of Jersey justice by sentencing the men within 24 hours after their arrest.
According to the report in Ridgefield last night, Patrolman Gallagher, the youngest member of the department in point of service, is to be honored by the borough council. He has been on the force less than six months.
- Named after Caleb H. Baumes, chairman of the New York State Crime Commission, who proposed the reforms to the criminal code; enacted in New York on July 1, 1926, Baumes laws required mandatory life imprisonment for a fourth felony conviction. Since each of these men already had at least three felony convictions, they would have spent the rest of their lives in prison ↩
On the evening of February 26, 1930, a meeting of the police commission was held. One topic of discussion was a result of the hearing reported here. The other topics are directly related to these prior posts:
Meeting of Police Commission called on Feb. 26/30, at 830 P.M.
Clarence Davis, Pres.
Henry Formon Sec.
Motion made by Alan Conor & seconded by Clarence Kile that Tel. Co. be notified to cut off connection at board for Mr. Edw. S. Bunce’s home; also that Borough will not be responsible for calls coming from phone at Morsemere 4677.
Motion made by Henry Formon & seconded by Clarence Kile that letters of apreciation [sic] be sent to Officers Gallagher & Lustman commending them on their capture of three criminals. Letters form a part of this record.
Motion made by Alan Conor & seconded by Clarence Kile that letter also be sent to Mayor & Council commending the action of Officer Gallagher & Lustman, also part of this record.
Motion made & seconded to adjourn 11 P.M.
This act occurred on Friday, February 21, 1930, but was not reported in the newspaper until the following Thursday, February 27.
Tried Before Police Commissioners On Charges of Neglect of Duty
RIDGEFIELD, N. J. — On Friday afternoon of last week Police Chief Edward S. Bunce was dismissed from the Ridgefield Police Department after a hearing which had been postponed several times. Mr. Bunce did not attend the hearing but was represented by his Counsel, William S. George. The charges against him were neglect of duty and failure to wear his uniform.
He was tried by Commissioners Conor, Kile and Forman and Mayor Clarence A. Davis.
The hearing had been postponed from Thursday evening until Friday afternoon. Attorney George had asked for a week’s postponement but it was not granted, and on Friday afternoon he sent his representative Mayer Hilliel, to ask again for the week’s postponement stating that the chief’s two witnesses were out of town.
Mayor Davis presided at the meeting. Commissioner Kile who preferred the charges against the Chief and Mr. Rose of the Prosecutor’s office were the witnesses. A recommendation for dismissal will be placed before the Mayor and Council at the next meeting and the next step will be the appointment of a Supervisor of Police. Mayor Davis stated that the officials had sought a man who is capable of handling the Departmnet [sic], and at the same time instruct the men under him in modern police procedure. He hopes that when this has been accomplished, the Police Department will not be the source of further worry.