This Week in Rockland: Newspaper Excerpts: Flashback Friday: Week of July 16

2021-07-16 TWIR Image-Orange Riot
2021-07-16 TWIR Image-War Memorial

July 15, 1871 – 150 YEARS AGO
Rockland County Journal

[Image (top): The Orange riot of 1871, as depicted in Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. The view is at 25th Street looking south down Eighth Avenue.]
     We have no heart to go into the details which caused the sickening tragedy in New York on Wednesday last; it is enough to know that over one hundred human beings have been killed and wounded because a cowardly Mayor was afraid to do his duty. Ignorant and prejudiced Irish Ribbonmen attacked the Orangemen last year, on the 12th of July, and lives were lost. This year, when the latter association expressed their intention of parading, the threats against them by their hereditary enemies were renewed, and the authorities of the city importuned to prohibit the procession. Mayor [A. Oakley] Hall, devoid of all manliness and courage, and willing to gratify the mob, issued an order in accordance with their wishes, after he had expressly promised to afford the Orangemen all the protection in his power. The entire press of the city, with the exception of one or two papers, denounced the prohibition as an outrage, and so indignant were the people, that Governor [John T.] Hoffman revoked the Mayor’s order and promised the Orangemen that if they wished to parade, they should have all the protection they required. A portion of them exercised the right of free American citizens with result as detailed in another column.
     Mayor Hall and the authorities of New York are more dead than the deadliest bullets of their ruffian friends could have made them, and their names are a stench in the nostrils of the people.

July 16, 1921 – 100 YEARS AGO
Rockland News

[Image (bottom): Tappan World War I marker. Photo by Bill Coughlin. Courtesy Historical Marker Database.]
     The body of H. Leroy, Kline, 23 years old, who was killed in France, has arrived at the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Kline, at Tappan. Funeral services will be held Sunday at 2:30 p.m. from the Dutch Reformed Church, Tappan. Interment will be made at Tappan with full military honors by Charles R. and Raymond O. Blauvelt Post American Legion of Nyack.
     Kline left Nyack on April 6, 1918, for Camp Dix and after five weeks in camp was sent overseas with the Headquarters, Department, 309th Infantry, Seventy-eighth Division. On September 17, 1918, while alongside the guns taking on four hour rest at 12 o’clock at night, he was killed by bombs from a German airplane raid while he was asleep.

July 14, 1971 – 50 YEARS AGO
Rockland Independent/Leader

     If a passing motorist had thought something was strange about men loading a cannon into a truck at midnight on busy Route 9W . . . 
     Or if a Haverstraw policeman had been able to get help lifting the cannon from the highway where it had been left in the northbound lane . . .
     Or if the New York State Department of Transportation had a little overtime money left in its budget . . . 
     There would have been fewer red faces among the villages police force and one more piece of ordinance [sic] protecting the Hudson Valley from the threat of British invasion.
     But circumstances were just right for enterprising thieves who made off with a quarter-ton artillery piece.
     And historians are afraid that the priceless relic of the War of Independence may now be awaiting the blast furnace. 

     The missing cannon caper started on Thursday night, when Haverstraw village patrolman Dominic Pezzementi noticed the gun on Route 9W. Realizing the rusty cannon posed a threat to motorists who might miss it as they returned Route 9W’s sharp curve, he managed to push it to the side of the road.
     But Pezzementi found the cannon far too heavy to lift, so he had police headquarters call the State Department of Highways to come and take it away. But Pezzementi says department officials refused to help out, stating that they had already used up their overtime this month.
     Haverstraw police, of course, had no equipment to remove the gun which has been said to weigh 500–1200 pounds. So patrolman Walter Key Jr. kept an eye on it through the dawn’s early light, until he went off duty about 4:30 a.m.
     And it was somewhere between then and 10:30 a.m. that the thieves made their return trip to Haverstraw to steal the cannon again. Says Pezzementi, “Whoever took it planned to come back and pick it up later.”
     The cannon was last seen at 11:30 a.m., July 9, in Fort Montgomery, near Bear Mountain, on a flatbed truck. Bear Mountain police, not realizing then the cannon had been stolen, failed to report it until later that day.
     Now, a statewide alarm has been issued by village police. Pezzementi said it must have taken several men and a lot of planning to pull off the theft along the busy highway, without being noticed.
     Before being stolen the cannon reportedly pointed to a spot along the Hudson River where Benedict Arnold first met Major Andre to plot a treason against the new nation.
     Haverstraw police were unmistakably upset over the caper. Pezzementi feared police would be blamed for the theft since [the cannon] had been left unattended on the side of the road. “But,” as he reminded, “you can’t stand out there and watch the thing for 24 hours.”
     “What gets me,” he added, “was that nobody saw them take it.”


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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