What Became of the Gangsters?

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.

House_of_Refuge,_Randall's_Island,_New_York
House of Refuge, Randall’s Island, NY

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 1925 NY census

 

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.

Thugs in prison in 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.

 

John Carroll:

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!

 

John Carroll 1930 census

 

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 Stewart/Stuart:

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.

catholic protectory bronx
Catholic Protectory, 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.

 

Walter Gets Married

My aunt and I were searching for my great grandparents’ marriage certificate when we stumbled across this little tidbit:

It’s April 15, 1921 in New York City.  Walter Wiltze Gallagher marries Ruth Jean Arameta Olmstead.  Ruth was born in New York in 1901.  She is the daughter of Charles Olmstead (b. 1878 NY) and Nellie Smith (b. 1879 PA).

1921 Ruth Olmstead marriage #1

 

They were married at the Church of the Transfiguration in Manhattan. It appears to be the first marriage for both of them.

1921 Marriage record - Transfiguration Church

Aside from being blindsided by this mysterious first marriage that no one had ever mentioned, something seemed weird about this union.  First, it’s in an Episcopal church instead of a Catholic church (even though there is a Roman Catholic church by the same name on the other side of town).  Neither of them were Episcopalian.  She was Presbyterian and he was Catholic.

So I did a little digging.  Walter was technically in the “restaurant business,” but was very closely affiliated with actors, dancers, and other entertainers.  Historically, theater folk were not felt to be worthy of Christian marriages and burials, so many churches turned them away.  But not the Church of the Transfiguration (the “little church around the corner”).  They were always a “church of inclusion.”  Even today, the church maintains close ties with the theatrical community.  Of course, I can only speculate that this has anything to do with the reason they were married there.  It’s still a neat story.

Here is the church today:

Transfiguration

Unfortunately (but fortunately for me!), the marriage didn’t last long.  By 1922, Walter had remarried another woman: Ruth Burrows, and would go on to adopt my grandfather.  Ruth Olmstead remarried Joseph Cook in 1923 (and a Mr. Spafford sometime after that).  Locating those divorce records are on my to-do list, for sure.

I also have not found a marriage record for Walter’s marriage to Ruth Burrows, which is another mystery all its own.  This entire episode creates some questions that need answering: (1) was Walter still able to marry Ruth in the Catholic church? (2) since his first marriage (and subsequent apparent divorce) were not in the Catholic church, does that count?  I will have to consult the Catholic experts (my cousin) to see if I can get answers.

 

Paul Geittner Receives Watch

This undated, unidentified article (most likely from around 1924, when Billy opened the Monte Carlo) shows why everyone loved Billy.

1924+ Paul Geittner gets pocket watch from Billy
Paul Geittner was recently the recipient of a handsome gift — a platinum open-face watch — from “Billy” Gallagher, proprietor of the Broadway Gardens, Broadway and 48th street, and the Monte Carlo, Broadway and 51st street, New York, with whom he became associated on August 1, at the latter establishment where he has general supervision over the dining room and kitchen.  The watch has the Gruen movement, and bears the monogramed [sic] initials of Mr. Geittner on the reverse side in small diamonds.  The gift was in the nature of a testimonial of appreciation for the assistance Mr. Geittner rendered the donor in opening the Monte Carlo, formerly the Club Maurice.

This platinum watch was probably similar to this one, which was sold by Gruen in 1924 to commemorate its 50th Anniversary … for $500.  That’s nearly $7,000 in today’s money.  No wonder Billy was always broke.

Gruen watch ad 1924

 

Next Holiday Plans Complete

This is another of the MANY undated and unidentified articles in Pop’s scrapbook.  Based on the fact that reference is made to the presidential election and Thanksgiving, and Billy didn’t own the Monte Carlo until after 1920, this one is likely from mid November 1924.

1924.11.00 Next Holiday Plans CompleteNEXT HOLIDAY PLANS COMPLETE

—————

Broadway Restaurateurs Ready for Thanksgiving Eve and Day – Business Increasing.

—————

By David G. Casem.

Although the spirit of election week is still manifest on Broadway and its environs, in point of general liveliness, most of its famous eating and dancing establishments as well as its big hostelries are pointing their efforts toward Thanksgiving Eve and the day itself.  Restaurateurs are well aware that the vast majority of the younger generation seek parental firesides, but there are thousands who annually find themselves unable to do so, and for these they are to furnish a good substitute.  Not a few of the restaurateurs have announced that they will continue their yearly charitable dinners.

The current week probably broke many records as to crowds on Broadway and into every one of the smart establishments.  There were no new openings, but the revues are of such recent vintage that they are either new to thousands of guests or have been brought to the point of newness by additional feaures [sic] or recasting.

One of the most outstanding events of the week, that is outside of celebrations incident to the election, was Jack Dempsey’s party Thursday night in William J. Gallagher’s Monte Carlo, Broadway at Fifty-first street.  The champion gave a supper to forty-six of the best-known sport writers in the East.  Dempsey had as his guests of honor “Tex” Rickard, Jack Renault, and Jack Kearns, his manager.  Luis Firpo had been invited, but failed to put in an appearance.

The restaurant was jammed from as early as nine o’clock.  The big fellow put in an appearance at half-past eleven o’clock and bowed his acknowledgements to the spontaneous cheering.  In a few moments he was surrounded by guests seeking to shake his “million-dollar” hand.  His natural, boyish exuberance and fun-loving proclivities earned for him a host of friends who had never seen anything but the taciturnity he assumed in battle.

Dempsey and Rickard, old friends of Mr. Gallagher’s insisted that the last named be photographed with them.  Pictures were also taken of the champion sitting amid the cast of the show and orchestra, as well as with his guests.  In one of them he was wielding Ace Brigode’s baton.  Walter Gallagher, son of the owner, who has spent six months in touring the country, is back in the Monte Carlo again as one of his father’s personal representatives.

 

Needless to say, I would LOVE to have the photo of Billy with Jack Dempsey and “Tex” Rickard, but it was not among the articles in the scrapbooks.  However, at least now I know Dempsey visits Billy Gallagher's - no datewhen this photo was taken:

 

 

 

Ouch. And Double Ouch.

So uh … Dude.  Where’s My Car? 

1924+ Johnny Weismuller beat Wally by 1 second for world titleTed Riely, the theatrical agent who produces revues and all that sort of thing, was sitting in the Monte Carlo with Walter Gallagher the other night when he suddenly jumped up as though struck by lightning.

“What’s the matter?” asked Walter.

“I just remembered that I left my car somewhere this afternoon,” replied Ted.  “I stopped several places where acts of mine are rehearsing; now I’ll have to make the rounds to try to locate my car.”

This is a new kind of absentmindedness.

Ouch.

 

“Oh, and by the way … did I forget to mention that Johnny Weismuller was a friend of your great-grandfather’s?”  ~Jenny’s mom.

And by the way, did you know that Wally Gallagher two or three seasons ago was swimming in such form that he looked like a coming champion.  Johnny Weismuller only beat him for a world’s title by a second and a quarter.  Rich food and late hours have kind of slowed Wally up a bit.

Double ouch.

November 1923: The Bean Scoffers

I was hesitant to put a date on this article.  It is clearly published in the Daily Mirror – which I can only assume is a New York newspaper – but the first issue of the Daily Mirror in New York was not published until 1924.  However, the date that is written in the scrapbook is 1923, so that’s what we’ll go with for now.

At the very least, we can be sure that our ancestors did indeed have a sense of humor.

 

1923 11 00 - The Bean Scoffers p1The Bean Scoffers

By Gene Fowler

Knives are trumps tonight at Billy Gallagher’s milk and honey depot, the Monte Carlo.  Champion Jack Dempsey is entertaining there.  His guests of honor include Luis Angel Firpo, champion prune and been demolisher of the Andes, and Tex Rickard, the charlotte russe magnate of Madison Square.

There will be speeches, and will you please excuse Firpo for talking with his mouth full?  Once Firpo and Dempsey were enemies.  Now they are thick.  But we don’t mean the kind of “thick” that one might infer from this observation.

Sporting writers and their grandsons will be there in droves.  Chauncey DePew has sent his regrets.  The famous after-dinner speaker is quoted as having failed to [sic]

“I am strictly a Marquis of Queensberry after-dinner speaker.  From where I sit, it looks as though I wouldn’t get any dinner.  There will be entirely too much competition when the Blue Plate Special steams into the station.  No eat, no speak!  That’s the motto of the DePews.”

1923 11 00 - The Bean Scoffers p2

Say, What’s Eating on Firpo, Anyway?

Wall Street is laying heavy odds on Firpo to win the Billy Gallagher championship belt.  This belt is inlaid with Bermuda onions and Florida grapefruit.  It must be won three times in succession before it becomes the permanent property of any one food-destroyer.  Inside advices have it that Firpo will solve this question of perennial ownership by eating the belt once he has won it.

Dempsey, the host, will enter the lists himself.  He is said to be in great gastronomical form.  The fact that $90,000 income tax had to be paid made it necessary for the Champ to starve a month.  This was a lucky thing, as it will make the Dempsey-Firpo nosebag futurity a real race.


Joe Bannon Spurns the Victual Watch

Billy Gallagher is referee.  Joe Bannon, the Duke of William Street, would have been timekeeper.  But Joe was afraid it would be too brutal.  Hence, he sailed on the S. S. Berengaria.  Commissioner Enright will act as Club Physician.  Anyone caught cheating in such manner as hiding a side of beef under the table will be automatically disqualified.  Contestants who drop gravy on the necktie instead of in the proper receptacle will be warned.

At the command of the referee, which shall consist of a gentle rap with a meat cleaver on the neck, a scoffer and his steak shall break cleanly.  Fighting trunks shall consist of a napkin knotted under either ear.  Celery and lettuce is barred, as it makes too much noise.  Give Firpo ten heads of lettuce and a cluster of celery and it sounds as if he is half-soling a pair of Epinard’s shoes.

Referee Gallagher has issued explicit orders that no contestant shall eat the pictures on the wall.  Anybody detected gnawing upholstery on the chairs will be set back two yards.  The wrinkle-crowding classic makes it look like a year of famine for the boys on Broadway.  Nothing will be left when those Dempsey guests get through with their rations.

 

Luis Angel Firpo (aka “The Wild Bull of the Pampas”) was the first Argentinian to challenge the world heavyweight title.  Even though he lost to Dempsey in a controversial match in September 1923, he returned to Argentina a hero.  After a few uneventful comebacks, he retired in 1936 and became a car dealer for Stutz and by 1940 had a successful ranching business.  Firpo and Jack Dempsey teamed up to manage amateur boxer Abel Cestac, who later became the heavyweight champion of South America.

Chauncey DePew was a senator from New York, and a lot of other things.  Here is a brief biography.

I’m pretty sure Joe Bannon was a muckety-muck of some sort, but it was difficult to find any information on him or his title “Duke of William Street.”  However, this is a history of the S.S. Berengeria (aka RMS Imperator), in case you wondered.

Commissioner Enright could quite possibly be Police Commissioner (1918-1925) Richard Enright.  His wikipedia page is here.