Walter Takes in Hungry 10-Year-Old Runaway

This article was published on June 25, 1934, in the midst of the Great Depression.  I can only imagine what it was like for these girls living on the streets for a week.

1934-06-25-10-year-old-girl-odyssey-ends-alice-shields

10-Year-Old Girl’s Odyssey Ends When Ridgefield Cop Offers Good Home, Food

A 10-year old New York girl, who with her 13-year-old sister ran away from their New York home because their mother had too many mouths to feed, is going to know the feeling of having a good home with plenty to eat for a few weeks at least.

The girl, Betty Shields, has been taken in by Sergeant and Mrs. Walter Gallagher of Ridgefield, for a few weeks stay.  She and her sister Alice were picked up in Ridgefield Saturday, while they sat on a curb forlornly awaiting a bus to take them back to their home on Old Broadway, New York.

The sisters told Patrolman Joseph Sucek who brought them to the Ridgefield station, that they had been wandering about New Jersey since last Monday.  They slept for the most part, they said, on open porches and in vacant houses.

They didn’t mind particularly that they hadn’t eaten for a couple of days, for they weren’t used to getting much at their own home.  There are four other brothers and sisters, and with their father out of work, they felt they were making the burden heavier for their parents.

The girls were befriended by a 17-year-old Little Ferry boy, Friday, who took them to his brother-in-law’s home and fed them and then “staked” them to their fare back home.

Tired of wandering about in strange towns, and hungry, too weak to stand in the hot sun while they awaited the bus, Betty and Alice parked their weary bodies on the curb stone, where Patrolman Sucek found them.

They were taken to the station where they related a tale of privation and poverty in their New York home.  Sergeant Gallagher offered to take Betty home with him and his wife for a few weeks.

The mother of the girls came to Ridgefield later in the day, after being notified by the New York police of the whereabouts of the youngsters.  She told police that both Betty and Alice felt very badly because things were so hard for their parents at home.

Mrs. Shields consented to Sergeant Gallagher’s suggestion, and now Betty’s going to have plenty to eat and a good home for a while.  Alice was taken back to New York by her mother.

Billy Gallagher’s Funeral – Part 2

The New York Sun published this article about Billy’s funeral on March 7, 1934; p. 14, col. 1; I never really understood how “well-connected” Billy was until I read this article.  It’s not every day you find a write-up about an ancestor’s funeral where so many public officials and celebrities attended.

1934-03-07-throng-at-mass-for-gallagher-p1-1THRONG AT MASS FOR GALLAGHER

Saloon Keeper Has Real Broadway Funeral

OLD FRIENDS ARE IN TEARS

Show World Well Represented at St. Malachy’s Church.

They buried Billy Gallagher today from St. Malachy’s Church in West Forty-ninth street, from the vicinity in which he had spent his life.  He first broke into Broadway as a caterer to the thirsts of that thoroughfare at the northwest corner of Forty-seventh street some thirty-five years ago and during the last fifteen years he lived he conducted a cabaret at 717 Seventh avenue.

It was such a funeral as Billy Gallagher would have desired – a Broadway funeral.  St. Malachy’s, the “actors church,” was the ideal setting for it.  And the services concluded as Billy Gallagher would have had them conclude, with a burst of sunshine illuminating his onyx coffin, while Joe White, the radio singer, known as “The Silver Mask Tenor,” sang a touching farewell and the temperamental mourners sobbed aloud in chorus.

More than any other saloon keeper, Billy Gallagher formed a direct link with the Broadway at the close of the last century.  Jim Churchill, who used to be his competitor, is dead; George Rector has retired. Mike Dowling, whose place at Forty-third street and Seventh avenue was open twenty-four hours a day for years is dead. The Considine boys and Paddy Roche who used to irrigate the south side of Forty-second street at Broadway are dead.  About the only one of Billy Gallagher’s old rivals of a quarter of a century ago who is alive is Tom O’Rourke and The Sun reporter did not see him at the funeral services.

1934-03-07-throng-at-mass-for-gallagher-p1-2-ny-sun-col-1Old Timers Attend

Everybody else who should have been there was there: From the theater came actors, actresses and managers, bill posters and stage hands, advance agents and musicians, all former customers of Billy’s and many of them with memories of the generosity of the old time saloon keeper who never turned down anybody with a hard luck story.

From the night clubs came performers and managers, waiters and headwaiters and here and there in the church could be seen shabby old men who were young “singing waiters” when Billy Gallagher introduced that type of entertainment to what was then Longacre Square.1

All the scrubwomen who were employed by Gallagher to clean up his place every morning were at the funeral and al [sic] wept unceasingly because in Billy Galagher [sic] they lost not only a good employer but a god [sic] friend.  All the members of orchestra and his floor show company were there, wiping tears out of red-rimmed eyes, for few had ben [sic] to bed last night.

Gallagher’s old performers, in years so long that nobody wanted to try to remember them, mingled with the chorus girls who were employed by him at the time of his death.

Jack Sheerin, doorman of Gallagher’s Cabaret, who contributed a blod [sic] transfusion in an effort to save his employer’s life, was a sort of unofficial floor manager and usher, seeing that all the old friends had prominent places in the center aisle.

The Rev. Edward F. Leonard, pastor of St. Malachy’s, sang a requiem high mass.  The Rev. Joseph McKenna and the Rev. Patrick A. Gallagher, his assistants, acted as deacon and sub deacon respectively.  A mixed quartet under the direction of the organist, Joseph Davis, chanted the responses and Joe White rendered solos before and after the mass.

One of the principal mourners was Laura, who has been the hat check girl in Gallagher’s cabaret ever since it opened.  Another who was profoundly grief-stricken was Joe Callahan, formerly a manager for Gallagher and always one of his closest friends.

1934-03-07-throng-at-mass-for-gallagher-p2Sheriff Finn Is Mourner

Others who attended the services were Sheriff Dan Finn, Jay Finn, deputy clerk of the Board of City Magistrates Court; General Sessions Judges George L. Donnellan and Owen Bohan ex-Senator Harry Doll, who succeeded Big Tim Sullivan; Deputy Chief Clerk of the City Court Charles A. Hussey and Mrs. Hussey, Alderman John Mahoney; ex-Alderman John W. McCann, Charles A. Harnett, State Commissioner of Motor Licenses, and Mrs. Harnett; James Thornton, Charles Connington, head waiter in Gallagher’s cabaret; Dick Pritchard, Gertrude Dwyer, Fred McCloy, former manager of the Columbia Burlesque Theater; Herman Beyer, the Republican leader of the Fifth Assembly district; former State Senator Elmer Quinn, Patrick H. Bird, Frank J. Clausman, Kid Broad, the former pugilist; Billy Murphy, Billy and James Fogarty, George W. Pease, Billy Arnold, Joseph W. Falvey, John J. Nevins and Mrs. Nevins Ben Levy, Michael Kennedy, former Detective Mike Quinn, John O’Connor and Tess Dardell.

Mr. Gallagher died last Sunday in the Medical Arts Sanitarium of diabetes, with which he had been a sufferer for years.  At the conclusion of the funeral services the body was taken to the Pennsylvania Station, where it was put aboard a train for Camden, N. J., Mr. Gallagher’s birthplace, where it will be interred.  It was accompanied to Camden by his brother, John Gallagher, and his three sons, Joseph, Walter P. and Bernard Gallagher.

 

  1. Longacre Square was renamed by Mayor George McClellan in 1904 when the New York Times relocated there. See this article.

Billy Gallagher’s Funeral – Part 1

Once again, someone forgot to mention to the newspaper folks that Billy had been married twice more.  This unidentified article announced the funeral, mass, and burial.

1934-03-06-funeral-notice-billy-gallagher-no-date

GALLAGHER — On March 4, 1934, William J., beloved husband of the late Mary, and devoted father of Joseph M., Bernard J., Walter J., and brother of Joseph M., Emma, Frances and Lillian[.]  Funeral from his late residence, 34-51 75th St., Jackson Heights, L. I., Wednesday, 9 A. M. Solemn Requiem Mass St. Malachy’s Church, 10 A. M.  Interment Camden, N. J.


Another announcement from another unidentified newspaper. Whether he had a ton of money or not (but seriously, not), he was certainly popular.

LEADERS ATTEND GALLAGHER MASS

City Officials and Night Life Figures at Services for Cabaret Owner

Many figures prominent in the city’s night life during the last four decades gathered in St. Malachy’s Church on West Forty-ninth Street today at a requiem high mass for William J. Gallagher.

Mr. Gallagher was for fifteen years proprietor of the underground cabaret at 711 Seventh Avenue, near Forty-seventh Street, and had been a cabaret proprietor for more than forty years.  He died Sunday in the Medical Arts Sanitarium.

Joseph White, who, at the age of eighteen, got his first chance in the show business from Mr. Gallagher, sang two offerings at today’s mass.

“It was Billy’s last wish that I sing here,” Mr. White said afterward.  Mr. White is known as the masked tenor on the radio.

Prominent Men Attend

Among the prominent men at the mass were Michael J. Kennedy, City Marshal and leader of the Fifth Assembly District; Judge Owen Bohan; John J. McCann, former Alderman; Commissioner Charles Harnett of the Motor Vehicle Department; John J. Nevins, Deputy Register; Jay Finn, Deputy Chief Clerk of the Magistrates’ Court; Alderman John J. Mahoney; ex-State Senator Harry Doll, and General Sessions Judge George L. Donnelman.

Also present were “Laura,” the hat check girl in Mr. Gallagher’s establishment, and Jack Sheerin, the doorman there.

 

 

R.I.P. Billy Gallagher (1870-1934) – Part 3

Two more unknown newspapers report the death of Billy Gallagher.  The stories presumably ran on 5 Mar 1934, the day after his death.  Note that they refer to his wife dying eight years prior – that was his first wife, whom he divorced around 1903.  He had two subsequent wives: Lotta (from about 1906-1909) and Betty (from about 1920-1929).  He was divorced from them as well.

The second article is likely from a New Jersey newspaper – probably Camden or Bergen County – given the weight of Walter Gallagher’s position that was given (doubtful anyone in New York City would have cared that Walter was a Police Sergeant in Ridgefield).

1934-03-05-billy-gallagher-dies-brooklyn-daily-eagle-p2-col2Billy Gallagher, Cafe Owner, Dies

William Gallagher, Broadway cabaret owner, who ran Billy Gallagher’s, a carbaret [sic] at 711 7th Ave., Manhattan, died yesterday in the Medical Arts Sanitarium, Manhattan.  He was 65 and resided at 3451 75th St., Jackson Heights.  The funeral will be held from the house Wednesday.

Billy Gallagher is said to have formerly had at least $1,000,000 and to have given most of it away to those who had worked for him and others who came to him when they were down on their luck.  He was one of the earliest to introduce singing waiters uptown after they had become popular on the Bowery and his floor shows gave the first chance for many entertainers who later achieved fame.  He is survived by three sons, Joseph, with whom he resided, and Walter P. and Bernard Gallagher, and a brother, Joseph.  His wife died eight years ago.


1934-03-05-complications-fatal-to-ny-club-operatorCOMPLICATIONS FATAL TO N. Y. CLUB OPERATOR

Gallagher, Father Of Ridgefield Cop, Succumbs

SICK SIX WEEKS

William J. Gallagher, father of Sergeant Walter Gallagher of the Ridgefield Police Department and one of the oldest and best known night club owners in New York, died yesterday morning at the Medical Art Hospital, 57 West Fifty-seventh Street, New York.

Although funeral arrangements have not been completed it is believed the funeral will be held Wednesday from the home of a son, Joseph, at 3451 Seventy-fifth Street, Jackson Heights, L. I., followed by burial in Camden.

Mr. Gallagher was admitted to the hospital six weeks ago and during that time underwent two minor operations, one major operation and several blood transfusions.  Until last Friday it was believed that he had a chance to recover but on that day he was afflicted with septic poison and later developed pneumonia from which he finally succumbed.

He was born in Camden, and was about 65 years old when he died.  Mr. Gallagher has been a prominent figure on Broadway for forty years and for the last twenty years had operated the Broadway Gardens, a night club at Forty-seventh Street and Seventh Avenue.

He is survived by three sons, Sergeant Walter Gallagher, Ridgefield; Joseph, of Jackson Heights, L. I., and Bernard, of New York; a brother, Joseph, of New York, and three sisters, Mrs. Emma Wood and Mrs. Michael Durkin of Camden, and Mrs. Joseph Zavorski of Philadelphia.