Monday, May 8, 2017


Edward Murphy, Jr.

Cortland Evening Standard, Wednesday, March 7, 1894.


Fight Between Republican and Democratic Watchers at the Polls—One Man Killed and Three Seriously Wounded. Two Sides to the Story of
the Shooting. Murphy's Candidate Elected—Elections Elsewhere.

   TROY, N. Y., March 7.—A mayor was elected in this city, but the record of the election is spotted with blood, and scenes beyond parallel, such as the oldest resident in Troy has no recollection of, were enacted.
   The elections of the city were always looked upon by the outside world as being typical of ring rule, and to have one pass without a disturbance of some sort and few arrests was not thought of, but yesterday's crowns the record and few Southern cities can boast of a worse one than it is.
   In a darkened room in a family residence lies the body of Robert Ross, who left his home to aid in the election of the candidate that the Republican party had indorsed.
   In a room in the same house lies his brother, William, seriously and perhaps mortally wounded.
   In another part of the city lies wounded a notorious rough and ward heeler, Bat Shea, and in still another part of the city is John McGough, who received a bullet and was seriously injured.
   Up to 12 o'clock the election had progressed with less friction than it had been supposed would occur when it was considered that there were no less than six candidates for office, and that the Democrats were split into factions and were waging the bitterest kind of warfare. At that hour the only serious trouble had occurred was at the First district of the Thirteenth ward and for Troy was mild, consisting only of pulling down a railing in the polling place and banging about a few ardent partisans who were anxious to prove that they were working for the interest of their party. But this little fracas was only a small forerunner of the terrible tragedy that was to be enacted but a short half hour later in the same place and participated in by many of the same people who had come out of the first wrangle unscratched and their tempers apparently unruffled.
   Among the watchers at this ward polling place was Robert Ross and his brother William, both of them being there in the interest of the Republican party. There was also there a well known character by the name of Bat Shea, and it was a difficulty between these people that led to the dreadful outcome. Several times the complaint had been made that repeaters were voting several times on one time. Finally at about 1:30 o'clock a gang of at least 15 strangers stood waiting to vote while men whose names were on the poll list, both Democrats and Republicans, were crowded away. Robert Ross objected to this and had some words with Bat Shea.
   There are two stories of the affair and both must be told, because as yet there is no evidence to show which one is true. The police say that from what they can gather that John Haynor, a candidate for ward constable on the Whalen ticket, attempted to enter the polling booth of the Thirteenth ward shortly after 12 o'clock. He was stopped in the doorway by John McGough, a Molloy man, who told him he had no right there. McGough says that Haynor drew a billy and attempted to hit him, the weapon being an iron stove-mounter's wrench, which was found by Detective Markham and is now in the possession of the police.
   McGough says that as Haynor struck at him he clinched him, and at that moment felt a sharp pain in his back and turning, saw a smoking revolver in the hands of John Ross, a brother of the dead man. The Rosses [sic] then pitched on to him, and as he struggled to his feet John Boland began to fire from a revolver. The police say that there is every indication that Boland is the man who fired the deadly shots. The revolver taken from him had four empty chambers corresponding in number to the shots fired. Boland, who was immediately arrested, was a Whelan watcher.
   The story told by the surviving Rosses is to the effect that Bat Shea was the man who killed Robert Ross and, acting upon that statement, the police put him under arrest, although he is badly wounded.
   They say that the trouble began in the polling booth, where a crowd of Molloy repeaters, headed by Jeremiah Cleary and Shea, attempted to vote.
   When the vote was challenged the men went outside and immediately started an argument with the Rosses.
   Suddenly the crowd surged forward and in an instant revolvers were drawn and shots fired.
   William Ross, who was injured, says that he saw Shea fire the shot that killed his brother, but he is not sure that the firing was not going on before that shot was fired.
   When the shots were fired Robert Ross fell to the roadway, and his brother William cried: ''I'm shot." The firing ceased as suddenly as it had commenced. Excitement was so intense that no effort was made to arrest anybody. Robert Ross was unconscious and men carried him into a house.
   John Ross, another brother, rushed to the rescue, and it was a heartrending sight to see the three brothers there in the scene. John Ross was holding his dying brother's head and moaned: "Look at my dying brother's life blood," as the vital strength of Robert Ross oozed from the wound in his head, dyed his brother's hands and the ground a bright crimson.
   Mr. Rogers was summoned, but before he reached the scene the wounded man was dead. He lived about five minutes after he was shot. The bullet entered the brain from the back part of the head.
   William Ross, brother of Robert, was cared for by friends, who took him to the residence of Rev. Joseph Zweifel on Sixth avenue. There he was cared for by Dr. Webster, who said that the bullet had entered the neck just below the base of the skull, and had imbedded [sic] itself in the muscles. He could not say whether or not the wound would be fatal, but was positive that it was a dangerous one. Mr. Ross is weak from loss of blood.
   Bat Shea was wounded, a bullet grazing the skull and making an ugly scalp wound. Shea made his way, unaided, to Dunlop's saloon, corner of Sixth avenue and Douw street, where he was attended by Dr. Fisher. Shea's wound, it is said, would not be dangerous.
   A peculiarity about the wounds of the men is that each one was shot in the back of the head.
   McGough, as has been stated, was shot in the back and was very badly hurt. He insists that John Ross and Boland started the shooting.
   John Ross said: "I did not fire a pistol. It was murder—deliberate murder—and it was premeditated. Only about an hour and a half before this man Shea struck my brother William full in the face. I dragged William away and told him to take the blow and say nothing; the blow would not hurt him. I did not think at the time that they would start in and use their guns."
   Mayor Whelan said: "It is only the natural result of the determination of the Murphy heelers to carry the election by fair means or foul. It is a stain on this city."
   Senator Edward Murphy was busy all afternoon attending to the delegations of cuff and collar workers who came to talk about the Wilson bill, but he found time to say: "It is a most deplorable affair and I am greatly grieved at it."
   At midnight it was ascertained that another man was mortally wounded at the Troy election in the Thirteenth ward tragedy.
   John McGough, one of the alleged gang of repeaters who participated in the bloody riot was found at his home suffering from the effects of a bullet wound in his abdomen. The bullet had penetrated the kidneys, and the physicians say he cannot recover.

Alleged Crookedness at Oswego.
   OSWEGO, N. Y., March 7.—Over 5,100 votes were cast. It is impossible to ascertain who is elected mayor. Duplicate returns made from one ward show that Bulger, Cleveland Democrat, is either elected by 20 or that Higgins, Platt Republican, is elected by two. Charges of crookedness in three wards are made. Affidavits are being taken by Mayor Bulger. The ballots are under police surveillance.

Elections in the State.
   The returns from the town and municipal elections yesterday show Republican victories all over the state, in many cases by largely increased majorities.
   In Rochester the Republicans elected George W. Aldridge mayor over ex-Congressman Greenleaf by 3,000 majority. They also elected the rest of the city ticket, and a majority of the aldermen and supervisors. The campaign was a very warm one, and the Republican victory is thus all the more significant.
   The voters of Gloversville entered their protest against the Wilson bill, which has paralyzed the chief industry of their city, by electing every Republican candidate in nomination. The majorities on the city ticket are among the largest ever given there, ranging from 800 to 1,300. All the Republican candidates for aldermen and supervisors were elected. The county board, as now completed, stands 10 Republicans and 3 Democrats, the same as last year.
   Exercising the rights restored to them by a Republican legislature, the people of Lansingburg expressed their condemnation of the wrongs they had suffered at the hands of the Hill-Murphy machine by changing a Democratic majority of 565 into a Republican majority 1,231. It was a gloriously significant transformation.
   The manufacturing city of Amsterdam vied with Gloversville in expressing its disapproval of the Wilson bill. The Republicans there elected every candidate they had nominated, except one, who was defeated for supervisor by a small majority.
   The wage workers of Auburn also gave a good account of themselves by electing all the Republican candidates in the field except two nominees for aldermen and one for supervisor.
   At the special election for supervisor in the eighth ward of Brooklyn, Fischer, the candidate of the Republicans and independent Democrats, was successful. The Republicans thus gain control of the board of supervisors for the first time in years.
   In Newburg the Republicans made a clean sweep. Their majority on the city ticket was over 1,800.
   There was a close contest in Oswego on mayor between the Cleveland Democrat and Republican candidates. The result is in dispute.
   The Republicans also carried Hornellsville, Ithaca, Middletown, Peekskill, Leroy, Niagara Falls and Corning.
   As the result of repeating, ballot box stuffing, intimidation and assassination Troy was carried by the Democrats, but the end is not yet. They appear also to have carried Elmira by methods something similar, although not quite so heinous. In Bath they won a close election on the merits. They also won in Albion.
   Republican gains in supervisors are reported as follows: Montgomery 3, Essex 2, Dutchess 7, Ulster 2, Orange 6, Cayuga 2, Clinton 2, Greene 5, Rensselaer 5, Saratoga 4, Monroe 8.

Its Own Business.
   In referring to the department of agriculture the New York Sun says that "the business of the government is to mind its own business. Let the farmers take care of themselves as shoemakers and conductors and lawyers do." The Sun is given to a good deal of this kind of pernicious nonsense. It is not only the right, but it is the duty of the government to plan and pursue the general welfare. It has been potent enough to embarrass the laws of nature, and it should be potent enough to aid them.
   The Sun's remark was called out by the efforts of certain congressmen to secure an appropriation for the purpose of exterminating the Russian thistle, which is spreading rapidly and bids fair to ruin certain portions of the northwest, and it adds, "The government has no more right to pull up weeds for the benefit of a citizen than to pay for his shoes or to paint his cart." Just as much right as it has to build a postoffice or a war vessel, impose customs duties or issue bonds. It is merely a question of expediency.
   The government rules its citizens as circumstances and exigencies demand. It puts them in office, or it puts them in prison. It leaves them unrestrained, or it conscripts them according to the case in hand. It quarantines our ports against infectious diseases, and it reaches out its strong arm to protect a citizen at the uttermost ends of the earth. Nor can the well being of the country be met by any other course. These considerations impose the utmost caution, it is true, but they do not forbid effort. Please make no mistake on this point, esteemed Sun. Or do you mean that it is not expedient for the government to conduct a department for the benefit of the farmers—that this does not conserve the general welfare? If you do, why don't you say so?

Benton Bushnell Jones.
Mr. Jones Interviewed.
   A STANDARD man to-day called upon Mr. B. B. Jones, the postmaster-to-be, and inquired of him when he expected to enter upon his new duties. Mr. Jones replied that the papers only reached him from Washington yesterday. He must fill them out, get his bonds fixed and have all approved at headquarters before he could begin. It might be several weeks yet. It would be a good time for him to take up the duties April 1, as that would be both the end of a month and of a quarter, and it would save making several extra reports.
   In reply to questions about the deputy postmaster, Mr. Jones said that he had not yet decided who he would be. A number of applications had been entered. He might make the appointment soon, or he might delay it until about the time when he should enter upon the duties himself.

A Fine Supper Served last Night at The Brunswick.
   A few of the friends of Mr. G. K. Straat were last night invited to assist him in disposing of a quantity of oysters, which had been sent to him by Col. Mott of Baltimore. Accordingly, they met at the Brunswick hotel on Main-st. and at about 10 o'clock last evening sat down to a table which fairly groaned with the substantial supper. The oysters were served in stews and roasted on the half shell and served hot. An hour was spent in the discussion of the excellent menu, after which impromptu speeches were in order. The dining room rang with the merry laughter as the points to the jokes became visible and it was midnight when the banquet broke up. All expressed themselves as having enjoyed the oyster roast, something new to Cortland and thanked Mr. Straat for honoring them with the supper of the season. Mr. A. D. Wallace was also the recipient of many compliments for the excellent supper his caterer served.
   Mr. Straat's guests were Messrs. John Courtney, Jr., James Dougherty, William Corcoran, H. F. Bingham, W. A. Wallace, E. E. Lakey, John O'Connell, N. L. Miller, Henry Corcoran, Fay Barker and William Grady.

Held at the Normal Over the Ashes of Queen Dido.
   Yesterday the sixth Latin class at the Normal arrived at that interesting passage in Virgil which treats of the death of Queen Dido, and the time-honored custom of celebrating this event was carried out by the members of the class in a manner which reflected credit upon their ingenuity and skill.
   The Latin room was heavily draped, a beautiful sketch of Dido's death scene hung over Prof. Banta's desk, and in a prominent position was placed a basket of ancient appearance and large proportions full of ashes over which appeared the legend, "The Urn of Dido's Ashes."
   When the eventful hour arrived the class, dressed in deepest mourning and with every sign of sorrow marched into the Latin room to the music of a funeral dirge played by Mr. H. M. Butler. The exercises of the hour were introduced by Miss M. Louise Myers, who in a very interesting manner stated to the instructor that it was the desire of the class to remove the mysteries which surround the death of Dido; that this might be accomplished satisfactorily; the principal members of the Olympian Counsel, a large part of Dido's court and the ghost of Creusa had been found and brought to Cortland to give their testimony; that if Prof. Banta would kindly act as coroner, the class would immediately hold an inquest over the ashes of Dido, with these celebrites [sic] as witnesses. The professor consenting, a very interesting program was carried out.
   At the inquest it was clearly proven that the ashes were those of an image placed upon the funeral pyre by Dido, while Dido herself had quietly sailed away to Italy with Aeneas. At the critical point Dido and Aeneas appeared upon the scene and made it evident that they were not dead. The following is a cast of characters:
   Anna, Miss Ida B. Butler.
   Priestess, Miss Julia Bush.
   Ladies of Dido's Court, Miss Lena E. Dalton, Miss Anna M. Sharp, Miss Lillie  M. Thurton, Miss Claribel Warren.
   Laundress, Miss E. G. McGraw.
   Creusa, Miss Catherine M. Buchanan.
   Cupid, Mr. M. L. Buckley.
   Venus, Miss May Ward.
   Juno, Miss May F. Johnson.
   Jupiter, Mr. E. P. Carr.
   Mercury, Mr. W. E. Brown.
   Dido, Miss Jessie L. Barnes.
   Aeneas, Mr. F. B Niles.

   —Mr. L. E. Edgcomb has taken charge of the picture framing department at the Fair store and is kept very busy.
   —The Russel Gold Cure Co., are making arrangements to open a branch in Cortland. Until fully settled they will be located at the Messenger House.
   —Prof. D. L. Bardwell will repeat his stereoptician lecture upon the World's Fair at the Normal hall to-night at 8 o'clock for the benefit of the Normal Athletic association.
   —Do you want to sell any property, do you want to rent any property, do you want a house or some rooms, have you lost anything, have you found anything? If so let the people know it through The STANDARD'S want columns and you will quickly be happy. A lost umbrella found, a quantity of furniture sold, two houses rented, three families pleased with rooms found, a servant girl procured, are the things we know of that proceeded from The STANDARD'S want column yesterday alone, besides hosts of things we haven't heard of. One cent a word. Try it.

Prohibition Ticket.
   At the Prohibition convention held in the W. C. T. U. rooms Monday evening the following ticket was nominated:
   President—Charles W. Collins.
   Assessor—John A. White.
   Trustee, Second ward—Lynn R. Lewis.
   Trustee, Fourth ward—E. A. Fish.
   Collector—Benjamin Burchard.
   Commissioners of union free school district No. 1—Dr. E. B. Nash, J. W. Keese, Henry B. Greenman.
   Inspectors of election—
   First ward—C. W. Cook and Wellington Moss.
   Second ward—W. B. Stevenson and William Ryder.
   Third ward—B. M, Phelps and Newell Cogswell.
   Fourth ward—A. H. Mudge and Judson Merritt.
   Corporation committee—R. McMillin, W. R. Weld and William Ryder.

A Surprise Party.
   A very pleasant surprise party was given to Walter E. Bliss at his home, 57 Lincoln-ave., Friday evening, March 2, from 7 until 12 o'clock. Nineteen of his young friends met at the residence of Dr. Higgins and went in a body to his home. A very delightful evening was spent in playing games, etc. About 10 o'clock refreshments were served to which the young people did ample justice. Those present were Misses Pearl Hitchcock, Bergene Watson, Satie Benjamin, Lela Francis, Bernice Rowe, Gertrude Winters, Dora DuBois, Carrie Amerman, Mattie Alexander, Messrs. Dell Hollister, Paul Higgins, Max Higgins, Fred Amerman, Eddie Reid, Fred Anderson, James Corwin, Page Benjamin, Eddie Murphy.

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