Reminiscences of New York by an Octogenarian (1816 - 1860)
Jackson stamp

By Charles H. Haswell

Active in NY's civic life a half-century, Haswell's meticulous notes were published in 1896, the same year Correction emerged as a separate agency. A century later Jackson Era devotee Hal Morris posted them on his Tales of the Early Republic web site, from where these passages have been excerpted with permission.
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List of Excerpted Chapters from Reminiscences of New York by an Octogenarian

The logo for this NYCHS excerpts presentation is the combination of the Jacksonian Era gentleman and lady whose images appeared in Chapter III of the original Haswell book, along with fashion descriptions, given here in part:

The full dress of gentlemen was dark dress coat with rolling collar running down low in front, short­waisted white waistcoat, frilled bosom to shirt, knee­breeches with gold buckles, black silk stockings and pumps; watchchain and seal displayed pendent from a fob in the breeches.

The walking dress of ladies . . . was essentially alike to the illustration here given, with the variation of Leghorn bonnets or flats . . . Long ribbons were tied in a bow, hanging down from the waist behind, near the ground; and on the forehead many wore at the sides false hair, fashioned alike to short drapery and termed frizettes, and all wore high and broad tortoise­shell combs.

Each excerpted chapter runs about a quarter to a third of the orinial text. All penal law-related references have been included in the excerpted chapters. A few of those references are mentioned with their respective chapter titles below. But the excerpted chapters also include many other interesting items helpful in providing a relevant context. A list of chapters not yet excerpted appears below the excerpted chapter list. Those entries link to the originals on Hal Morris web site. --- NYCHS webmaster
I: 1816 - Jacob Radcliffe, Mayor
Bellevue prisoners clean canal . . . State Prison in Greenwich . . . City Prison on Broadway . . . Jail at City Hall.
II: 1816 (continued) - Jacob Radcliffe, Mayor
Blackwells Island in private hands . . . Watchmen, as police were called then, had a basement room in City Hall . . . The courts also were at City Hall.

III: 1816 (continued) - Jacob Radcliffe, Mayor
The law of imprisonment for debt was in force at this time . . . Certain prisoner were allowed freedom outside of the jail but within fixed limits.

IV: 1817-8 - J. Radcliff, Cadwallader Colden, Mayors
How Ludlow street and the jail later built on it got the name . . . Almhouse commissioners set up soup house near Five Ponts area.

V: 1819-20 - Cadwallader D. Colden, Mayor
Convicted arsonist hanged in Potter's Field, now Washington Square Park. Three dozen executiions earn an elm the title Hanging Tree.
VI: 1821-2 - C. D. Colden; Stephen Allen, Mayors
Bloomingdale Asylum evolves from NY Lunatic Asylum . . . A tread­mill operates at Bellevue penitentiary by order of the Common Council.

VII: 1823-4 - Stephen Allen, Wm Paulding, Mayors
Potter's Field is relocated from Washington Square to site later occupied by Bryant Park and Reservoir and still later the NY Public Library . . . Convicted in murder-robbery, a condemned man is executed at 13th Ave. and 2nd Ave. junction.

VIII: 1825 - William Paulding and Phillip Hone, Mayors
The House of Refuge for the custody of juvenile delinquents is opened in the renovated United States Arsenal at the later site for Madison Square Park . . . The New York Dispensary occupies a site at the corner of Centre and White Streets, later the location of the Tombs prison/jail.

IX: 1826 - Philip Hone, William Paulding, Mayors
Bank and insurance company failures send some financial leaders to the Penitentiary. . . The state prison is purchased . . . Construction of the Almshouse at Bellevue is completed.

X: 1827 - William Paulding, Mayor
Trinity Church maintains a memorial to thousands of American patriots who died in British prison ships in New York harbor during the War for Independence.

XI: 1827 - William Paulding, Mayor
Washington Square opens, part had been occupied as Potter's Field . . . Aldermen recommend erection of an additional court . . . DA Hugh Maxwell challenged to a duel.

Links to Chapters Not Yet Excerpted from
Reminiscences of New York by an Octogenarian

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