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Definition of Riot, Mob and Crowd

Understanding Causes and Consequences of Riots
The Negro Riot of 1712

The New York Conspiracy-1741

The Riot of 1764 and The Stamp Act Riot-1765

The Liberty Pole Struggle and Riot 1766-1776

The Doctor's Riot 1788

The Whorehouse Riots of 1793

The New York Stonecutters Riot Against Prison Labor and The Election Riot of 1834

Abolition Riots 1834-1836

The Bread Riot of 1837 and The South Ferry Riot of 1846

A Serious Riot in Williamsburg City 1853 and A Riot in Brooklyn City 1853

The Firemen's Riot 1853 and The Angel Gabriel Riot 1854

The Irish and Know Nothing's Riot 1854

The Riot After Bill Poole's Funeral 1855

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Carl David Anderson, American Physicist born in NYC for his discovery (1932) of the Positron he shared with V.F. Hess the 1936 Nobel prize in Physics.



The Firemen's Riot 1853 and The Angel Gabriel Riot 1854

TERRIBLE RIOT AMONG THE FIREMEN, Pistols Fired. Paving-Stones Used, & etc. On Wednesday night, near 10 o'clock, a terrible riot took place among a portion of the Fire Department of our City. 

1 It appears that not long since Engine Company No. 44 made an attack upon the members of Engine Company No. 18, took their apparatus away from them, and inflicted severe injury upon several of the men. In retaliation Engine Company No. 18 raised a strong force, and having armed themselves with fire arms, stones, clubs, brick-bats, and other weapons, they quietly proceeded to the head-quarters of "Forty-four," and commenced an attack on the building with a shower of paving-stones, at the time the members of the later company were in the engine-house.

As they made an effort to make their escape into the street, shot after shot was fired at them with pistols, but as far as we could learn, no one received any wounds by these shots. The Police of the Eleventh Ward were soon at the scene of riot, and with the assistance of a force from the Thirteenth District, the rioters were dispersed, and some of the leaders were taken into custody. The parties arrested were taken before Justice Welsh, at the Essex Market Police Court, where they gave the names of Bernard Karman, Dennis Holland, John Heffman, and Philip Teal. Fortunately no person lost his life in this affray.

In the following communication to the Mayor, from Captain Squires of the Eleventh Ward Police, will be found suggestions worthy of the City authorities immediate notice:

To Hon. Jacob A. Westervelt:

Sir: It becomes my duty this morning to bring to your notice the conduct of Fire Companies Nos. 18 and 44, and to invoke such decisive action as the importance of the case demands. I know nothing of the particulars of the feud between the two companies, but that their conduct is disgraceful to the Fire Department and the City, and the present state of things dangerous to the public peace, is very certain. A few sights ago, Company No. 44, or a portion of them, attacked NO. 18, near the corner of Houston street and Avenue C. pelted them with stones, brickbats and other missiles, and then took their engine, dragged it to the foot of Third street, with the supposed intent of throwing it off the dock, but getting fast among the timbers, they broke off the tongue, and then abandoned it. 

Last night, about 8 o'clock, while returning from the alarm of fire, Engine Company No. 44 was observed to put their machine in the house in good order the entire reserved force under my command following in close proximity, to quell any disturbance that might arise. Supposing all was right in that quarter, I then repaired with my men to Pitt-street, where Engine Company No. 18 was expected to pass, for the purpose of protecting them on their return to their head-quarters, near the head of Avenue C. Instead of this, however they left their usual route, and went down Columbia street to Houston-street, passing the Engine-house of No. 44. When opposite the house, a volley of stones were showered at the house and fire-arms were repeatedly discharged at the members of Forty-four. 

The force who were stationed in Avenue C heard the firing, and hastened to the spot, but most of the assailants had fled, and sought refuge in their engine-house, to the number of more than 200. The excitement is now intense and both parties are armed with deadly weapons, and fully prepared for a conflict whenever an alarm of fire is given. Unless there is prompt interposition on the part of the City authorities there is no foreseeing the fearful consequences. A sacrifice of human life is morally certain and as in most cases, the innocent will be as likely to suffer as the guilty. That No. 18 should be immediately disbanded, is my decided opinion, and if both engines were taken until an investigation could be had, it would probably be the better way. Something at all events should be done without delay. Lieutenant Sharp, with a platoon of men from the Thirteenth-Ward were promptly on hand, and rendered efficient service.

2 The Angel Gabriel Riot 1854

Many will recall the scenes of the Angel Gabriel riot. Street preaching had become quite common in Brooklyn, and had been the cause of considerable discussions. It was announced that on Sunday, June 4, 1854, a Methodist street preacher would hold open air services, at six o'clock P.M., on the corner of Smith and Atlantic streets. Mayor Lambert and his aids
attended the services, which passed quietly.

During their continuance, however two thousand persons, accompanied by the police, crossed the Catharine Ferry to attend the services on the corner of Main and Front streets. The procession was loudly hissed from the sidewalk by a large number of Irishmen. At the junction of Main and Fulton streets, stones and missiles were thrown down from the windows and roofs of the houses, injuring many persons. 

The fight became general. Stones, pistols, clubs and sling shots were freely used, and the scenes that followed will never be forgotten. Women ran from the houses armed with brooms and sticks. Men lay bleeding in the street. When a portion of the Fourteenth Regiment, with Colonel Jesse C. Smith, arrived, it aided the police in making a number of arrests.

Sixty persons were locked up. Of the casualties published the next day, there were: one boy killed, name unknown; one man, on Fulton avenue, thigh broken: one man, three fingers cut off: a man named Whaley; skull broken; a boy of James street, cheek taken off: a man of 11 Pearl street, ball in the leg; Chief of Police, confusion in the head; Officers Frost, Curran and others, severe injuries; James McGrath, knee pan broken; and many others.

The military on duty were the City Grenadiers, Captain Burnett the National Guard, Lieutenant Mallory; the Franklin Guard, Captain Baldwin; the Steuben Guard, Captain Shepper. Though of short duration the Angel Gabriel riot for real ferocity probably exceeded any other of the riots of Brooklyn.


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