Historic, but not famous

Wild Maggie Carson started her gang career at the very young age of 7. She was the leader of the Little Forty Thieves gang of Five Points. Rumored to have not bathed until she was 9 and disfigured by small pox scars, she begged on the street to support her drunkard mother. She was saved from the slums at the age of 11 by a couple looking for the hardest case.

Maggie responded to the kindness and cleanliness, but was forced to return to her mother when the she was released from prison. This was a short reunion and Maggie eventually returned to the Howe family. The Howe family formally adopted her and began educating her. It took her over a year to learn the alphabet, but she soon became an avid reader and was schooled by the family.

Maggie soon learned to sew and became part of the church community of the Howes and did all she could to forget her Five Points days. Maggie eventually married a well to do gentleman. Her mother eventually gave up alcohol after her last time in prison and became a cook and productive member of society as well.

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Historic, but not famous

Edward “Monk” Eastman (1875 – December 26, 1920) was a New York City gangster who founded and led the Eastman Gang, which became one of the most powerful street gangs in New York City and is considered to be one of the last of the 19th-century New York gangsters. His father was a civil war veteran who abandoned the family by the time Edward was 5 and he lived with his maternal grandparents, mother and siblings.  

His first arrest was in 1898 and while in prison became part of the Allen Street Cadets. He was known for his messy hair and small derby hat as well as gold teeth.  His legitimate work included owning a pet store where he sold birds and as a bouncer for a local club. Eastman became acquainted with Tammany Hall politicians, who would eventually put him and his cohort to work as repeat voters and strong-arm men.

Eastman was sent to Sing Sing prison for 10 years after attempting to rob a young man who’s family had hired 2 Pinkerton guards to follow him. Eastman shot at the bodyguards and was caught by the police. Though Tammany Hall had helped him out multiple times in the past, they sat this one out, so Eastman had to do the prison time. He served 5 of the 10 years, but when he got out he found his gang fractured into many small divisions and one of his cohorts dead. With no gang to run with, he became a petty thief and opium addict. He served many small sentences in jail.

Eastman enlisted in the army for World War I and received many accommodations for bravery. He served in France with “O’Ryan’s Roughnecks”, the 106th Infantry Regiment of the 27th Infantry Division. After Eastman’s discharge in 1919, the Governor of New York, Al Smith, recognized his honorable service by restoring his U.S. citizenship (voting rights were removed with his conviction as a felon.). After returning from military duty, he returned to a life of petty crime and was shot on the street by corrupt Prohibition Agent Jerry Bohan.

Mr. Eastman was buried with full military honors in Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. Bohan was later convicted of his murder and served three years in prison.

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Historic, but not famous

Lew Baker was a patrolman in the New York Police Department who was simultaneously employed as a “slugger” for Tammany Hall. He was involved in voter intimidation and election fraud during the 1840s and 1850s.

Mr. Baker was born in Wales, but emigrated to the United States in the 1840’s. He became a police officer and often battled against the Bowery Boys and other gangs in NYC that were anti-immigrant. He is most remembered however as the assassin of William “Bill the Butcher” Poole. Mr. Poole was portrayed by Daniel Day Lewis in the film “Gangs of New York”, though the character was a combination of a couple gang members of that time.

Mr. Baker, who had been fired from the police department prior to killing Mr. Poole, fled NYC after the killing and was eventually brought back to New York to stand trial. Baker stood trial and twice appeared before the state supreme court before his acquittal by a Tammany Hall judge in 1856.

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Historic, but not famous

Rev. Charles Henry Parkhurst (April 17, 1842 – September 8, 1933) was an American clergyman and social reformer. He preached two sermons in 1892 in which he attacked the political corruption of New York City government. Backed by the evidence he collected, his statements led to both the exposure of Tammany Hall and to subsequent social and political reforms. He served at the Madison Square Presbyterian Church in New York City, from 1880 to 1918.

Interested in municipal affairs, Parkhurst was elected president of the Society for the Prevention of Crime in 1891, and he challenged the methods of the city police department. He started a campaign against the political and social corruption of Tammany Hall. The hall had begun innocently as a social club, but had drifted into politics and graft. It acquired a lock on elections in the city, and its bosses protected crime and vice in Manhattan and surrounding boroughs. Grand jury investigations were ineffective, despite the appeals of social reformers.

Few in Parkhurst’s congregation recognized that Tammany Hall, the police, and organized crime were interconnected. On February 14, 1892, he challenged Tammany Hall from the pulpit. Pointing to the hall’s political influence and their connection with the police, he noted that men fed upon the city while pretending to protect.  Parkhurst’s campaign led to the appointment of the Lexow Committee to investigate conditions, and to the election of a reform mayor in 1894. Although Tammany Hall did publicly clean house, it remained influential on both the political front and in organized crime until the 1950s.

Mr. Parkhurst died of an accident while sleepwalking in 1933.

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