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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 2, page 142, July 24, 1851

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Identifier: DX09993115

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 2, page 142, July 24, 1851

Description: Discusses visiting the Tombs prison with policeman Dunsier.

Transcription:

24. Thursday. With Dunciere the policeman, (and my next room neighbor) to New York, and the Tombs, where by influence of his star and another policeman we gained entry. Divers police and legal myrmidons, men with turn-key faces about, and visitors to those within about the wicket. On off a small open plot of ground, (on the morrow to witness the death-struggle of two men they in health and strength — condemned murderers,) and ascending a dirty stone staircase, emerged on three galleries, from which, in the thickness of the wall were continuous cells, with small ponderous iron doors; inside stone benches and a barred window, wider than high. From each balcony you could command a view from floor to room. Many occupants were lolling, sitting striding about, ill-looking gaol-bird visages had they, crime having marked their visages as belonging to the great subterranean structure of society, who wage continual war with it. Here was a burly, scowling varlet, with forehead villanous low, rising and preparing to shave, then a thin wiry, dark haired youth with restless bad eye and reckless look. Ill clad — foul looking crew were they. Ascending to the summit of the prison we had a good view of the whole, originally the place on which it stands was a pestiferous swamp Acknowledged our policemans civility by treating him to imbibition, then parted, and I, with Dunciere to Brooklyn. A rough, sailor fellow, [words crossed out], curses a great deal and says he shall get $700 per year as policeman. To the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where we first saw a vessel in course of building, a man-of-war, under a large shed, surrounded by scaffoldings, plunkings, ropes, crosses & the like. Men busy, everywhere, the noise of hammers echoing ceaselessly — a fine night. Then, in a boat, in company with divers tall young fellows affixed in loose blue shirts and pouts to match, we were propelled some hundred yards a twain by means of two fellows who repeatedly pushed us on by a rope which stretched from the shore to the side of the vessel which was our destination.

Rights: NoC-US

Place:

Dates: 1851-07-24

Type(s): Diary
Page

Maker/Creator: Gunn, Thomas Butler, 1826-1903

Subjects: Diaries
Police
Prisoners
Prisons
Payment
Transportation
Boats and boating

Permalink:
http://collections.mohistory.org/resource/186198

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