Throwing off his coat and white shirt, he stood in his red flannel
undershirt, as brawny a young bruiser as the most enthusiastic admirer of muscle could desire to see. Poole had a powerful physique and carried himself the more gracefully of the two. Each stood over six feet and weighed close to two hundred pounds.
The fight began with some light sparring, Poole holding himself principally on the defensive as his opponent circled about for a chance to close. For about five minutes this child's play of the giants lasted. Then Morrissey made a rush. But Poole was too quick for him. As "Old Smoke" made his lunge "Bill the Butcher" ducked with remarkable agility and seized him
by the ankles. In a flash Poole threw his opponent clean over his head and as "Old Smoke" went sprawling he had only time to roll over to his back when Bill pounced on him like a tiger. Then followed terrible minutes of fighting.
Clutching each other in grips of steel they butted and pounded their heads and bodies together, tearing at each other's face with their teeth and gouging for the eyes with talon-like fingers. It was sickening to watch, for in no time they were frightfully punished. There was a long gash in Poole's cheeks where the flesh had been torn by his opponent's teeth. The blood was streaming from Morrissey's both eyes.
They never changed positions while the struggle went on, for the minute they were down the crowd closed in on them and the surging bodies of the combatants pressed against the feet and legs of the surrounding onlookers. The wonder is that the two on the ground were saved from being trampled to death. Not a hand was raised to interfere with or favor either contestant during the two or three minutes this inhuman struggle lasted. But Morrissey was underneath and was doomed to defeat. And soon his voice was heard, hoarse, breathless and suffocating with blood. "I'm satisfied," he gasped. "I'm done."
A cheer went from the crowd and the shout rang out and repeated till it swelled into a roar that carried through the streets half a mile away: "Poole's won! Poole's won!
That was the end of the great fight between John Morrissey and Bill Poole, but not of the day's excitement, nor of many more days of turbulence. A number of outsiders had drifted by to see the battle. They had reason to wish they had stayed away before the pugnaciously inclined Poole minions were through celebrating. An attack was started on Morrissey as he started to depart from the scene of his defeat and but for a few brave friends and the aid of some fair-minded ones among the enemy he would have been carried off bodily to Lord knows what fate. He finally got safely away to the Bella Union saloon on Leonard Street, of which he was part owner.
Within less than an hour after the crowds had cleared from the Amos Street dock "Smut" Ackerman, in trying to illustrate how his friend Poole had thrown Morrissey, slipped and suffered a fatal fracture of his skull in the fall. As the dying man was being taken in a cart to the New York Hospital, then at the corner of Broadway and Anthony Street, they drove by the Bella Union saloon.
The street was jammed with friends of Morrissey all hot with rage against any one who had concern with the man who had worsted their champion, and soon the cart and dying man were hemmed in by this threatening crowd. Directly opposite the Morrissey saloon was the Fifth Precinct station-house. As the infuriated Morrissey men closed in on their prey the door of the station-house opened and the knights of the club made a sally. Beating back the mob they escorted the cart to the hospital. That same afternoon Ackerman died in the arms that had beaten Morrissey into submission.
Ackerman was not even in his grave before the two factions were fighting again. The Bowery Boys and the Short Boys, who supported Morrissey, had it in for Allen for the part he had played in Poole's victory. "Paugene" McLaughlin soon after ran into Allen and challenged him to a fight on the New York Hospital grounds. At that time, though the gates to the hospital
park were pad-locked, there were many who had keys that filleted
the lock and it was a common practice to fight out differences there.
"Paugene," however, was so "spoiling for a fight" that he smashed Allen in the jaw on the way and there was scrimmaging all over the street. "Paugene" had enough for the time being, but Harry O'Donnell, who had fired a pistol at Allen during the scrimmage, was challenged to battle on the Harrison Street wharf on the
following night. The gangs rowed down to the wharf, for this was in the era before street-cars roamed this district. O'Donnell, though he boasted some reputation as a professional pugilist, was well handled by Allen and wound up by being thrown into the water. The evening was topped off with a general fight in which knives, slung-shots and brass knuckles were brought into play. This succession of defeats had the Morrissey men thoroughly aroused and greedy for revenge.
A few nights later Allen and two friends were trapped in Brady's Hall, at Bayard Street and the Bowery, which was close to the headquarters of the Bowery Boys, which was at No. 40. In the desperate fight for life of the Poole trio two policemen, Rogers and Sullivan, were so terribly beaten that the latter died soon after. Allen was taken away insensible to the Star
Hotel, Frankfort and Williams Streets; his eyes had been gouged from their sockets and hung out on his cheeks. A skillful operation restored them to place; he lay in bed several weeks stone blind.
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