The Name - The Legend - The Man
Texts and images from John Law memorabilia entrusted to the NY Correction History Society by his daughter, Dr. Suzanne Law Hawes.

Page 2 of 7 pages (so far).

by Suzanne Law Hawes
(Part I)

Born to newly arrived Irish immigrants on February 13, 1905, John Brenden Law was came home to live at 319 West 47th Street with his parents,
Old Baptismal in St. Malachy's.
Left is an image of the old baptismal (pre-renovation) in St. Malachy's. The church was founded three years before John Brenden Law's christening there. After NYC's leading theatres moved into the parish around 1920, the church -- on W49th St. between Broadway and 8th Ave. -- became known as "The Actors' Chapel."

By the way, Bishop Malachy died circa 1148 in the Cisterian abbey at Clairvaux, France, now site of a French maximum-security prison. He became Ireland's first formally cannonized saint in 1190. Click the baptismal image for more about St. Malacky's on whose web site the original of the above image can be found.

Charles and Jeannie (McAlonan) Law and his aunt and uncle John Law and his wife.

He was baptized at St. Malachy's on W 49th on the 19th of the same month with his aunt and uncle as sponsors.

His father Charles had filed for naturalization papers on May 15, 1899 on his first trip to the United States.

In 1902, he returned to Ballymackaldrick, Dunloy, Antrim and there married, bringing his bride back to the United States on the SS Columbia in 1904.

Charles Law and Jennie McAlonan were married on 27th April 1904 in Dunloy, Union of Ballymoney in District Darrow, she a dressmaker and he a bricklayer. she the daughter of Archy McAlonan and he the son of John Law of Ballymackaldrick. Both fathers were farmers.

The Laws subsequently moved to Yonkers with their growing family in the house that Charles and his brother John built together. Charles, a bricklayer and John, a carpenter first built John's house in New Jersey and then the two brothers built the Yonkers home.

Ballymacaldrack's ancinet stones.
At right is a cropped image of the Court Tomb, a prehistoric monument, found in Ballymacaldrack, situated 1.2 km SSE of Dunloy in County Antrim, near where John Brenden Law's parents were wed.

Click the image for the full uncropped version from the Gazetteer of Irish Prehistoric Monuments web site and for another image of Ballymacaldrack's ancient stone formation.

Evidence of their craft is clearly seen today with fancy exterior brickwork and detailed woodwork inside.

Charles also bought several lots upon which he built one story stores to provide income for his growing family.

During his early years, John Brenden attended local schools with his four brothers and sister. At Yonkers High School, he began to distinguish himself and appeared in the newspaper sport pages, playing football for YHS.

He stayed at the high school for two years before the then exclusive Hamilton Institute on West 86th Street recruited him. In an announcement of his graduation from Hamilton, the column reads:

John Law, an athlete from boyhood on . . . .
On the left is one of three John Law memorabilia images, entrusted to NYCHS by his daughter, Dr. Suzanne Law Hawes, showing him into athletics from his boyhood days and adolescence.

In this one, young John Law wears -- besides his big wide grin -- a long, heavy woolen jacket and perhaps even heavier catcher's mit.

Click the image to access a larger version of that photo plus two others -- one with him in football uniform and the other with him in baseball uniform, the teams' identities uncertain.

…at Hamilton he was an outstanding figure in local scholastic athletic circles. He played basketball, baseball and football and excelled in each sport. He played a guard position in the championship high school 11 of 1921 and was the unanimous choice for the first all-country team in both seasons.

Upon his entry into Hamilton his ability gained him immediate prominence on the teams there and his personal popularity won to him so many friends that he was chosen captain in the three major sports. The Hamilton football team was undefeated last Fall, due in large part to Law's fine playing, and the basketball and baseball teams of the Institute were bout as successful.

For the interest of baseball people who want cold and mathematically certain figure, let it be said that Law caught flawless ball for Hamilton in the season just closed and hit well over .500 several off his drives being of the home run variety, and coming when that type of hit meant most. He played fullback on the football team.

Postcard views of S/S Columbia.
Left are reduced versions of postcard images of the S/S Columbia, the ship that took newlyweds Charles and Jeannie Law to New York in 1904. For the larger versions of the ship postcard images, from the Norway Heritage: Hands Across the Sea web site, click on either ship image above left.

At his school's commencement exercises on Monday, Law will be awarded a medal as the most versatile athlete and high honor student at Hamilton.

Law is perhaps best known in Yonkers as the captain of the undefeated Knights of Columbus gridiron squad here last Fall. Starting with a handful of men, all of whom had some previous football experience, but who had never played together before, Law helped to whip into shape and eleven that startled football followers here and in New York.

The end of the 1924 season found the Knights eleven not only undefeated but unscored upon with the exception of a single field goal which came in the last game of the year. Law played brilliant ball for the LaRabida team and with William Schmults formed the strongest pair of running backs in metropolitan pigskin circles.

Law laying brick.
At right is a detail from a John Law memorabilia photo showing him laying brick with his father (not seen in this detail).

Sometimes John worked laying brick on a job with his father, Charles, who was a bricklayer by trade.

Click the image for the full uncropped version showing both father and son.

It was with keen regret that the other members of the big blue squad learned that Law would not be with them next Fall. It is understood that several colleges have been considered by Law as places which he will follow the pursuits of high learning…

Mr. Law who has been a reserve catcher on the Knights of Columbus baseball team since the inception of this current season, has turned in his uniform to the local management, as his European trip has precluded all possibility of further activity with the local nine.

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John B. Law was a member of the State Commission of Correction at the time of his death in 1962. To learn more about the SCOC, click its logo left to access its web site.

The image selections and captions on this web page are by the NYCHS webmaster.