Badly Beaten by Pal of Man Boss Laid Off

1929-1931 Badly Beaten by Pal of Man Boss Laid OffBadly Beaten By Pal of Man Boss Laid Off


Ridgefield Stock Clerk Victim of Alleged Plot to Rob and Get Revenge




John C. Dunn of Englewood, employed as a stock clerk at the Lowe Paper Manufacturing Company, Ridgefield, was beaten to insensibility it is charged, by a companion of his assistant whom he had laid off temporarily a few days before.  Charles Riti, 18, of 36 Moonachie road, Moonachie, Dunn’s assailant, laid in wait all night with Louis Capsaso, 17, of 32 Moonachie road, the suspended clerk, and Andrew Gabo, 19, of Union street, Little Ferry, intending to rob Dunn when he arrived for work, it is alleged.

Confessing his intent to Patrolman Walter Gallagher, his captor, Capsaso said that he had told his companions Dunn carried large amounts of money, and that he had agreed to assist them in the robbery.  Although their victim wore a diamond ring valued at $1,000 and carried a purse described by police as “stuffed,” the three youths ran away without stopping for plunder when they realized the plight of Dunn, whom Riti, it is said, had beaten with an iron rod while Gabo covered him with a revolver.

1929-1931 Badly Beaten by Pal of Man Boss Laid Off p2According to the story told the police by Riti, captured by two factory employees, as he fled and Capsaso, who was arrsted [sic] at his home Saturday, the trio made their way into the building on River road by means of the fire escape.  Capsaso, they say, kept lookout while his two companions lay in ambush behind tiers of rolled paper.  According to the two men, Gabo, who fights as a middleweight under the name of Andy Dumpie, hend Dunn at the point of a .32 calibre revolver while Ritti felled him with an iron bar.

Seeing their victim bleeding from the mouth, nose and ears, the three fled, Riti speeding up River road and the other two along Grand avenue.  Two factory employees who saw the assault blocked the avenue and caught Riti, whom they turned over to Patrolman Gallagher.  The policeman was nearby at the time of the capture.  Gabo escaped capture by Gallagher when the policeman who called at his home after arresting Capsaso, a neighbor.

Dunn returned to work after treatment for scalp wounds by John D. Lynn of Ridgefield.  Riti and Capsaso are in Bergen County jail charged with burglary, attempted robbery and atrocious assault.


2 Arrested At Ridgefield Still

This article is one of the first that mention Pop after he became a police officer.  Date is unknown and newspaper is unknown.  It was published during the Prohibition era, and Pop didn’t become a cop until 1929, so it had to occur between 1929 and 1933.

Also – the Joseph Gallagher mentioned in this article is [so far] no relation.


1929-1931 2 Arrested at Ridgefield Still2 Arrested At Ridgefield Still

1,000-Gallon Plant Destroyed by Federal, Municipal Raiders

Federal prohibition agents of the Newark office of the Department of Justice visited Ridgefield yesterday afternoon, destroyed a 1,000-gallon alcohol distillery adn took with them two Elizabeth men as prisoners.

The raiding party, called in by Ridgefield police, included Agents R. E. Klohr, Joseph Gallagher and E. C. Deadman, and two Ridgefield patrolmen, Walter Gallagher and John Paul.

Suspecting the presence of a still, Patrolmen August Vohl and Paul and been detailed in plainclothes to keep the Oritan avenue garage under surveillance since last week.  The garage building, supposedly unoccupied, is situated near the Northern Railroad of New Jersey station.

Two Caught at Work

Breaking into the structure shortly before 5 o’clock yesterday afternoon, the raiding party found the plant in operation by two men who identified themselves as David Miller, 38, of 1113 Elizabeth avenue, and Leo Marseillan, 39, of 1100 Elizabeth avenue both Elizabeth.

In addition to the 1,000-gallon distilling apparatus, the plant included three 10,000-gallon vats containing 4,000 gallons of mash, and 100 gallons of finished liquor.  Five five-gallon tins of this were taken as evidence. [I’m sure it was.]

After the two men were taken to Ridgefield police headquarters and charged with illegal operation of the still, Police Sergeant Charles Erickson and Patrolmen Henry Lustmann and Vohl went to the garage building and destroyed the apparatus.

The prisoners were removed to Newark, where they will be arraigned before a United States commissioner.



Walter makes good!

In April 1929, Walter decided to leave the “restaurant” business.  He and his wife Ruth were living in an apartment at 1 Elizabeth Street, Ridgefield, New Jersey.

1929 - 1 Elizabeth Street Ridgefield

He completed his application to the Ridgefield Police Department, and it was received on April 17, 1929.

1929 06 12 - Police Department applicationHe was applying for the position of Patrolman.  He states that he has been living in New Jersey for 12 years, but I found him and his wife Ruth enumerated at 1600 Jackson Avenue in Jackson Heights (Queens County), New York, in the 1925 New York state census.  Not sure what’s going on there.

I got a chuckle when I reached item #9.  Apparently the only marital conditions available were “single” or “divorced.”  Clearly, the creator of this form had a very jaded view of society at that time.

On June 18, 1929, the Police Commission sent a letter to the Mayor requesting appointment of Walter to the position of Patrolman.

1929 06 18 - Request to Mayor for appointment of Walter Gallagher


And on July 10, 1929, Walter appeared for his physical examination.  At the time, he was working as a night manager at a restaurant.  The person who taught penmanship to this examiner should have their hands rapped with a yardstick.

1929 07 10 Walter Gallagher Physical Exam for police dept

I love that it gives a physical description: Height 5’8-1/4″, weight 190 lbs., chest girth 36.4″, and abdominal girth 34″.  He has one child age 4 (his adopted son – my grandfather – John Joseph Gallagher).  He looks to be in pretty decent health, with the only thing notable listed under ‘other illnesses’ is what looks like either “H of C” or “D of C” only.  I can’t really tell what letter that is supposed to be, but by comparison, I know it’s not a G.  If you know of any illness that might fit that description, please share.

It is interesting to note that (spoiler alert) Walter eventually contracted diabetes. I’m curious to know whether this ‘other illness’ is related to that in any way.


Regular Programming Will Resume Shortly …

CBS_News_Bulletin_1963The next dated entry in the scrapbook is from 1932.  That’s a pretty big jump, considering the last entry was from 1923.  Now, there are many undated entries that may fall between these dates, but I am having a hard time nailing down any definite dates.  I was curious what happened during this period of time that wasn’t worthy of being recorded in the scrapbook.

I felt compelled to interrupt the scrapbook entries and focus on the story.

Making a Supreme Court Case Out of It

The other night, my aunt sent me a link in an email and said “Have you seen this?”  It was a link to an item in GoogleBooks.  My first instinct was that it was unrelated because (1) we’re searching for Gallaghers, which is quite common, and (2) we’re never THAT lucky.

I was wrong.

What she found was the 693-page record of an appeal to the Supreme Court of New York County Appeal Division on a 1929 case involving Billy Gallagher.  The case itself is virtually irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, but the testimony offered throughout the case from various witnesses is priceless!

Walter’s Dossier

My great grandfather’s police department file is resting peacefully on the corner of my desk following a traumatic mission of frantic scanning and digital organizing.  Fortunately, nearly every single piece of paper in that file has a date on it, which will make it easy to fill in some of the blanks for Walter.  Even better, some of those papers coincide with some of the articles in the scrapbooks.

I will try to weave the testimony from the court case and the police department records into the articles from the scrapbook to fill out the story a little more than I could with just the scrapbooks.

Stay tuned for a story riddled with deception, intrigue, debauchery, and more!


Meet Walter Gallagher

Walter W. Gallagher is the eldest son of William J. “Little Billy” Gallagher.  He followed in his father’s footsteps in the entertainment industry, acting as manager for several of his father’s establishments, and even running a few of his own.


Walter Gallagher business card

This is his business card when he was Manager at Billy Gallagher’s Broadway Gardens Restaurant:






Rainbo Gardens Card (Atlantic City) - Walter Gallagher Manager

Here is another when he was Manager at Rainbo Gardens in Atlantic City:






And he was running the Monte Carlo “barely out of his teens” – and the media was predicting a bright future for him!

Wally Gallagher runs Monte Carlo - no date Wally Gallagher, son of the popular Billy Gallagher, is putting over the handsome Monte Carlo all by himself.  Although scarcely out of his teens he already knows all the tricks of the trade and he seldom, if ever, has anything put over on him.  There’s no prettier restaurant in town than the “Monte,” formerly the Club Maurice, and Wally conducts it in a high class manner.  He sure is a “chip of the old block,” it being a case of like father like son, and if Wally keeps on as he is going some day he may be as popular as his dad – if such a thing is possible – as up to date no one yet has been able to endanger Billy Gallagher’s reign as the king of restaurateurs.

In June 1929, Walter applied for and was appointed as a patrolman in the Ridgefield (NJ) Police Department, where he would become popular in a whole different way.


Stay tuned!


The Lost Scrapbooks Finally Have a Home!

First, a little background.

My grandfather was born Joseph Smith on September 30, 1924 in New York, New York.  He was adopted by Walter and Ruth Gallagher on December 4, 1928, and given the name John Joseph Gallagher.

Walter Wiltse Gallagher was the oldest of six children of William J. “Billy” and Mary Gallagher.  He was born February 22, 1902 in New York, New York.  Walter married Ruth Burrows around 1921.  John Joseph was their only son.  Ruth passed away in April 1971, and Walter married a woman named Marie Talmo.

When Walter passed away in September 1973, instead of offering Walter’s belongings to his only son, Marie decided she would just divvy everything between her nieces and nephews (she had no children of her own), and donate the rest to the Ridgefield Public Library without mentioning them to Walter’s family.

But I’m not bitter.

Fast forward to 40 years later … we are finally made aware of the existence of these scrapbooks quite by accident.  We were told there were three or four of these books.   My mom, two of my aunts, and I traveled to Ridgefield, New Jersey, to look at the scrapbooks ourselves.

2014-03-04 22.14.59

We discovered a total of at least 11 scrapbooks (I’m still not convinced that we found them all) and 5 other books that were donated in his name (Police Journal magazines and Chief’s Association Annual Meeting Books).  The scrapbooks date from the early 1920s to the mid 1960s.  We made a request to the Board of Trustees of the library to allow us to borrow or have the scrapbooks, and they agreed to let us have them.  As I scan them for my blog, I will be putting them on a CD so I can provide a digital copy to the library when it’s all done.

There are very few articles and photos that are dated, and even fewer that contain the name of the newspaper from which they were cut.  Several of the articles are duplicates – possibly from multiple newspapers.  I can’t begin to imagine how many bottles of rubber cement were used.

I will attempt to date as many of the articles as I can and post them chronologically, in an effort to tell the stories of my great grandfather, Walter Gallagher, and his father, Billy Gallagher.  Occasionally, I will make a mistake.  So, I’ll say it ahead of time … oops.  Ultimately, this blog may read like the story of the Ridgefield, New Jersey Police Department, because it played such a huge role in my great grandfather’s life and the majority of the newspaper clippings are related to his activities within the police department.  There will also be people (criminals and victims alike) who are named within the articles that are no relation, but I feel compelled to list them since I know of no other place that the Ridgefield area newspapers are archived and searchable online.

My intent is to post at least one article per week – hopefully more.  I just hope you enjoy watching the story unfold as much as I will enjoy telling it!