Thursday, September 4, 2014

52 Ancestors: #31 Henry Strauss, jr. (1862 - 1881) Part 1

Climbing My Family Tree: Headline: "DEALING A DEADLY BLOW" Syracuse Standard
The Syracuse Standard, June 14, 1881
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This is my latest post for the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” challenge initiated by Amy Johnson Crow of the No Story Too Small blog. For more information about the challenge and links to the other blogs participating in the challenge, please click on the badge in the right margin.

[Due to technical difficulties I do not understand, it has taken me 4 solid hours to post this article. If it doesn't post this time I am giving up and going to bed. I am beyond tense!]

Last week I week I wrote about Henry’s mother, my 2nd great-grand aunt, Generosa(later Rosa) Henn Strauss, who was declared insane within a few years of Henry’s death, and entered New York’s asylum system.

Henry was Rosa and Henry Strauss’ first born child, and my 1st cousin 3 times removed.  He was born on June 11, 1862 and died as a result of a street fight he instigated. In the article on his mother I promised that this week I would do two posts – part 1 & 2 - of transcriptions of the article reporting the fight and of the article reporting on the inquest.  In actuality, I’m going to throw in two other small articles to complete the coverage of the matter, one with each post.

In reading and transcribing these articles, I find the differences in writing styles between today’s journalism and 19th century journalism to be very interesting. I also found a significant difference in tone between the two main articles -- I wonder if they had the same author? (No byline is indicated on either piece.)

Today, in the papers I read, when a paper reports on an incident, it is careful to sound balanced and detached (unless the article is identified as an opinion piece), and the reporter is careful to indicate his sources, or to indicate if he is using an anonymous source.  The article below is not detached and the author does not indicate where he got his information, and I'd really like to know how he knew what happened in the Strauss home.Additionally,reporters today explain corrections when they must be made in a subsequent article or squib. This was evidently not common practice in the late 19th Century, as there are some significant differences between the two articles, with no explanation. We’ll start off with the articles about the fight, Henry’s death, and the subsequent arrest of the boy who struck Henry. Strauss, jr.
Climbing My Family Tree:  Strauss-McClure fight The Syracuse Standard, June 14, 1881
"Dealing A Deadly Blow"
(Strauss-McClure fight )
The Syracuse Standard, June 14,1881
Click to mak bigger

The Syracuse Standard, Tuesday Morning, June 14, 1881:



Joseph McClure, Attacked by a Crowd of Tormentors, Inflicts upon the Leader a Wound which Occasions Paralysis—Death the Probable Result of the Injury

In Geddes lives an impoverished family named McClure, among whom is a son Joseph, aged about 19 or 20 years. The boy is not of sound mind and has lived at home with his parents from infancy. The needs of the household have compelled father, mother, and children to unite in endeavoring to keep the dread wolf from the door. Joseph, the half-witted boy, earns now and then a few pennies by doing odd jobs for anybody who will employ him. He is honest, quiet, and inoffensive, and has frequently been dispatched on errands by people who know him and his wants. When not thus engaged, it is the boy’s habit to trundle a 4-wheeled cart along the railroad tracks and public thoroughfares, where he gathers up bits of coal and wood to be used at home for fuel. In this way he adds his mite to the support of the family of which he is a member. His unfortunate condition has for many years made him the butt among other boys, of equal age and better mental capacity, who have poked fun at him at every opportunity. While he mopes along with his cart, they often taunt him about his occupation, his shabby clothes, and his disease of mind. Last Saturday McClure picked up sufficient coal to fill his small wagon and was on his way home in the evening. He was met in Geddes by a party of boys who at once undertook to plague annoy and abuse him. Although somewhat incensed, the poor lad bore their torments without a reply. Among the aggressors who thus abused McClure was a young man named Henry Strauss who resides with his parents at No. 344 West Fayette Street. Strauss and a companion went so far as to tip over the small wagonload of coal which McClure had spent several hours in collecting and was drawing to his home. McClure’s wrath was aroused to the highest pitch by this treatment, and picking up a stick, which was near to hand, he struck Strauss a hard blow on the left side of the head. Strauss fell to the walk in an insensible condition. He was carried home and put to bed. Blood was issuing from his left ear and his face was livid. As he was being placed on the bed, he recovered his senses long enough to moan:

“Oh, I feel as if I was dying.”

Almost immediately, he became unconscious again. He lay very quiet, but as he breathed with accustomed regularity, his parents concluded that he was sleeping. No mark on the head seemed to indicate that he was seriously hurt. It was thought that the blood on the ear came from some small wound that had been inflicted by the stick. The family thought Strauss would wake all right in the morning, and did not deem the injury sufficient to need the attention of a doctor, consequently none was summoned.

All Sunday the injured lad lay in the same unconscious state. About 6 o’clock at night Dr. Van Duyn was summoned. When the Doctor saw the patient he was at once convinced the injury was very serious. He contrived to partly restore the sleeper, but could not wholly bring him to. The medical examination disclosed the fact that the sufferer’s right side was completely paralyzed, and the left side partially. It was also evident that the skull was probably fractured near the base of the brain. The parents were still of the opinion that there was no danger of a serious result. During Sunday night and the whole of yesterday there was no change for the better in Strauss’ condition. When the Doctor called last night he found the boy much worse and expressed his opinion that death must ensue. No effort served to resuscitate the sleeper. So low was his condition that when the doctor left his bedside last night it was feared that he would not live until morning. The father and mother of the dying boy could hardly realize the fact that the lad’s end was so near, and as they stood silent and tearful by the bedside the sight was very sad.

Henry Strauss is about 19 years of age and is very smart and a good workman. He has found employment in several different places but was too unsteady to remain long with one employer. After working for a few weeks he would unexpectedly leave the shop. What money he had saved he would spend in getting intoxicated. He was inclined to be somewhat dissipated. His father, who is steady and industrious, is well-liked by all who know him, and works hard to get sufficient money to support a large family. Mrs. Strauss is also spoken of as a very estimable woman who does her share towards providing for the necessities of the family.

A warrant was issued yesterday for McClure’s arrest, but at a late hour last night he had not been apprehended.”

[The Syracuse Standard, Tuesday Morning, June 14, 1881 (found at Syracuse NY Daily Standard 1881 Grayscale – 0536.pdf)]


And the second article for today:

The Syracuse Standard, Wednesday Morning, June 15, 1881


Henry Strauss Dies from the effects of David McClure’s Blow

Henry Strauss died at 2 o’clock yesterday morning at the home of his parents, No. 344 West Fayette Street. Death was caused by the blow on the head which David McClure, an imbecile whom he had been tormenting, dealt him with a heavy stick of wood late last Saturday afternoon. When Officer Quigley awoke early yesterday morning he read the full account of the affair published in THE STANDARD and learned that a warrant had been issued for the arrest of the aggressor. The officer thereupon went to a barn where McClure was in the habit of sleeping and arrested him. Subsequently McClure was arraigned, charged on oath of Henry B. Strauss, father of the dead boy, with murder. The prisoner pleaded guilty to the charge and bail was fixed at $1000. In default of the required bond McClure was sent to the penitentiary to await the action of the grand jury.”
[The Syracuse Standard, Wednesday Morning, June 15, 1881 (found at Syracuse NY Daily Standard 1881 Grayscale – 0540.pdf)]

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