Flashback Friday Archive 2019-20: Flashback Friday: Week of October 2

2020-10-02 TWIR Image-Suffern Police

October 1, 1870150 YEARS AGO
Rockland County Journal

       The grape vintage being now at its height, tons of this most delicious fruit are being shipped daily from our village to New York, where it brings from eight to ten cents per pound. According to quality, the plateau of land on which we live, has long been celebrated for raising the finest varieties of this fruit, but we question if a single year within the last 20 has been more favorable than the present for yielding a full and choice crop. Whatever drought we have had seems to have had no other effect than to hasten the ripening of the fruit and make it sweeter than we have known it to be for years.
       Speaking of the single production, which is only one of many that can be raised by us with facility, remind us of a proposition which we wish to make to our citizens and friends residing in not only our own County, but that portion of Westchester, which is nearest our village. It is that during the coming year, a society be instituted which shall be known as the Tappan Zee Horticultural Society, or some similar name, the object of which shall be to hold an exhibition of fruits flowers and vegetables during the first or second week in September in each year and by this means encourage and develop the talent among us for these pursuits, that now need, but an incentive to bring it out.
       Nyack, comparatively speaking, is but a small village, and yet we know of no place of double its size, which can surpass it in the profusion of either of the above productions.  Our ladies are proverbial for their love of flowers and their share in the proposed exhibition will be far from inconsiderable while among the fruit growers, we have enough if they can be induced to interest themselves in the project to furnish material for a first class exhibition.
       Such a society cannot in any way interfere with our county fair but would on the contrary, be a most useful auxiliary to it and in a few years render that department one of the most attractive possible.
       There is plenty of time to think about the formation of such a society, but we throw out the hint thus early for the purpose of having it thoroughly canvassed, and that when we do make a start in this direction, it shall be with a view to making the thing a permanency, and a success.

October 1, 1920100 YEARS AGO
Rockland News

NEW YORK MAN BUYS BIG SUFFERN ESTATE – Edward P. Hughes Secures Millionaires Place – Was Formerly a Stenographer in New York Police Department and Retired in 1918
       From a stenographer in the police department to the owner of a millionaire's estate in Suffern, New York is not a jump ordinarily experienced. It is the good fortune however of Edward P. Hughes retired from the police department two years ago, on a pension of $1,315 After a meteoric career of 24 years.
       In April, Mr. Hughes purchased outright the sumptuous home of Allan A. Ryan, son of Thomas Fortune Ryan and considered one of the show places of Rockland County. In addition, he engaged in a suite of rooms at a New York hotel where he announced he would spend the winter months.
       The exact price paid or the nature of the transaction between Mr. Hughes and Mr. Ryan is unknown, but real estate experts said yesterday that the house proper was easily worth $100,000.
       Questioned on the subject, Mr. Hughes declined to furnish any information in the belief, he said, that it was not that it was no one's business.
       In 1895 Hughes was a stenographer at police headquarters. 11 years later, he was made a captain of police in 1911 he was promoted to an inspectorship and headed the Detective Bureau.
       During the administration of Commissioner Woods Hughes was reduced in rank and transferred to the Coney Island precinct. But in 1916 he was placed in command of a Brooklyn district.
       He was retired by Commissioner Enright for physical disability but has since conducted a private detective agency.
       The former Ryan home has 25 rooms and is surrounded by 56 acres of valuable improved land. Interior decorations are of turned oak and ebony and the appointments are handsome and costly. Adjoining the house are a caretaker’s lodge, a stone garage, an improvised hennery with 1,000 chickens, a modern barn with six cows and four horses, an icehouse and reservoir, and an improved hothouse of rare design
       Immense lawns and tennis courts form a part of the estate, while there are more than 40 acres of woodland, rich in brooks and cultivated shrubbery.

September 30, 197050 YEARS AGO
The Journal News

[Image: Debbie Osborn and other children from Suffern get their fingerprints taken by Special Agent Hugh Ford at the Suffern F.B.I. office.]
        A tall conservatively dressed man enters and leaves an unimposing red brick building at 141 Lafayette Ave., Suffern, during all hours of the day and night. Yet relatively little is known about his activities in room 202 on the top floor of that building. This seems especially odd when one considers that the tall man manages what appears to be a normal business office and that he is a native of the village.
       The office is the local resident agency of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the man works for J. Edgar Hoover. He is Special Agent Hugh Ford, the senior agent directing F.B.I. activities in Rockland and Orange counties.
       Photographer Warren Inglese and Frank Leonard requested and received permission to follow Ford on one of his jaunts in order to observe and photograph his normal routine. It should be noted, however, that only his general movements, were recorded and that Ford neither discussed nor engaged in any confidential F.B.I, activity during the trip or at any other time.
       Briefing for special agents—the number will vary—working out of the Suffern Special Agent Hugh Ford of Suffern office begins with Ford's arrival. The 46-year-old G-Man is responsible for keeping tabs on more than 180 possible investigative matters over which the F.B.I. has jurisdiction. The Bureau's resident agency at Suffern falls within the immediate realm of the F.B.I's New York City field office under Assistant Director John F. Malone. Overall command is centered at F.B.I, headquarters, Ninth and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C., where Director Hoover has, since he assumed the Bureau's top post in 1924, become one of America's living legends.
       In addition to scouring Rockland and Orange counties seeking fugitives from Justice, Ford is involved with the varied tasks a modem-day Special Agent is called on to perform. He is also available for speaking engagements before business and fraternal organizations.
       Agent Ford, however, doesn't have to move from his Suffern office to meet the community's youth. Enthusiastic neighborhood youngsters “Junior G-Men” as he calls them often pay the office unexpected visits worthy of comparison with drama-packed surprise raids conducted by the F.B.I. The “Junior G-Men,” by the way, include a number of “very liberated” young ladies.
       But the nature of Ford's profession—at times grim—remains ever-present in the G-Man's consciousness. Training that began when Ford first entered the Bureau as a career agent consumed 11 weeks at the F.B.I. Academy in Quantico, Va., and at the bureau's headquarters in the nation's capital.
       Ford must, in addition to maintaining peak physical fitness at all times, be available for periodic two-week training courses held by the bureau to emphasize those practical skills and techniques demanded by day-to-day investigations. Many hours are spent at the F.B.I. firing range at Camp Smith where Ford, accompanied by other special agents, practices with the pistol and with a firearm tha became a trade-mark of the bureau during the lawless era of the 1930s—the Thompson sub machine gun.
       Because of his F.B.I. training over the past 20 years—more than one out of two special agents have 10 years or more of service—Ford is one of many agents now qualified to instruct county, state and municipal law enforcement agencies in various phases of police work. Ford, and the other agents from 59 major field offices throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, are available on request to local authorities such as the Palisades Interstate Park police by providing instruction on searches and seizures, arrests, firearms, defensive tactics, fingerprints, photography and investigative procedures for major crimes.
       The Federal Bureau of Investigation has jurisdiction over military reservations such as the United States Military Academy at West Point. Ford, in the course of his duties, confers with West Point's Superintendent, Maj. Gen. William A. Knowlton, and with Provost Marshal (commanding military police), Lt. Col. Robert N. Hulley. Federal agents such as Ford will appear at Army posts and other government installations when a crime concerning government property or funds has been reported.
       The F.B.I. in Rockland County is not a long way from its headquarters in Washington. Ford, though stationed at Suffern, has at his command the resources of what has been termed “the greatest crime laboratory in the world.” An F.B.I publication at the Suffern resident agency notes that “Laboratory experts are available at all times to testify in both Federal and local courts regarding their findings. All these services are rendered free of charge.”
       In addition, Ford is able to locate suspects, missing persons, military deserters or fugitives attempting to avoid prosecution by fleeing across state lines, through a Bureau check on more than 197-million fingerprints on file for immediate reference at F.B.I. headquarters in Washington. While it is not generally known, fingerprints are formed about three months before birth and remain many months after death.
       In his daily coverage of this area, Hugh Ford travels about Rockland County; part of an “F.B.I. family” that includes more than 7,000 special agents and almost 10,000 technicians, stenographers and clerks spread throughout the Bureau's field offices and 10 Headquarters Divisions.
       There is nothing about Ford's manner to betray the fact his work is highly dangerous. Yet Ford, like all special agents, leaves his home to investigate crimes ranging from violations of the Red Cross Act and the Switch-blade Knife Act to interstate transportation of unsafe refrigerators. Twenty-three F.B.I. agents have been killed in the performance of these duties.
As he moves through Haverstraw, Pearl River or Spring Valley, Ford, in addition to being able to make arrests by warrant, also carries with him the power to effect arrests without warrant for any Federal offense committed in his presence, or when he has reasonable grounds to believe that a suspect has committed or is attempting to commit a felony violation of the United States laws.
Who in Rockland County may encounter Ford and why?
       Those who would, for example, indulge in bank robbery, interstate transportation of stolen vehicles, extortion, or kidnapping, might expect a formal introduction to the mild-mannered man from Suffern. As to the scope of Ford's activities, the F.B.I. has asked that law enforcement officers, patriotic organizations and individuals report all information on subversive activities and related matters to the F.B.I. office closest to them. In Rockland County, that means Suffern and Hugh Ford.
       Special Agent Ford may be involved in any number of matters. A Stony Pointer casting a casual glance at “that chap who is obviously in town to sell insurance,” would be surprised to learn that “the insurance salesman” is gathering items of criminal intelligence. It is not uncommon for the F.B.I. to gather and then disseminate as many as 300,000 items of criminal intelligence to other Federal, state, and local police agencies during a single year.
       Why is the F.B.I. in town?
       What does Ford want?
There are any number of possibilities. According to bureau statement, “The New Left movement has mushroomed into a major security problem, with some of its adherents talking about sabotage, violence and the forcible destruction of certain key facilities.”
       Finally, what about the man himself? Hugh Ford emanates an aura of self-discipline. While the bureau is ready to send him additional agents, should the need arise, Ford works mostly alone and without immediate supervision. Probably because of the nature of his profession, Ford is not given to idle chatter. Quite simply, he was born in Suffern, the son of Mr. and Mrs. James L. Ford, who are themselves natives of that community.
       He graduated from Suffern High School in 1941 and from Fordham University in 1950. The 20-year F.B.I. veteran has served at Knoxville, Tenn., and Cleveland, Oh. Ford was transferred to the F.B.I.'s New York City field office in 1953 and came to the Suffern branch in 1958. Five years later, in 1963, Ford became the senior resident agent in Rockland (and Orange) Counties. A member of the Sacred Heart parish, he lives in Suffern with his wife, Suzanne and their four children whose ages are nine, five, four and two.

This Week in Rockland (#FBF Flashback Friday) is prepared by Clare Sheridan on behalf of the Historical Society of Rockland County. To learn about the HSRC's mission, upcoming events or programs, visit or call (845) 634-9629.


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