The Fatal Result Of An Eastern District Tenement Row: 1887


Coroner Lindsay held an inquest last evening in the case of the ante natal death of the male child of Mrs. Elizabeth Pendergast, which ensued after the mother had been beaten and kicked, on the 3rd inst., by Frank White, also a tenant in the three story tenement house, 160 Huron street, Greenpoint.

The first witness examined was the attending physician, Dr. Hamilton Williams, of 130 Huron street, who testified that he was called to attend Mrs. Pendergast July 12, and the child was born dead in consequence of external violence, the precise nature of which he was ignorant of. It might have been a kick, a fall on the floor or against the edge of a table.

Mrs. Catharine Dawson, who lives on the second floor of 160 Huron street, testified: I was in my own rooms on the morning of Sunday, July 3, between 11 and 12 o'clock; heard a noise on the first floor and thought that it was made by one of my children; then heard a noise on the second floor and on opening the door I saw Mrs. Pendergast standing with her back tot he wall and Mr. White standing opposite to her; he had hold of her by the neck with one hand and with the other he was striking her in the face; Mrs. Pendergast had hold of him by the collar and she struck him in the face; I got hold of White and I shoved him to the end of the hall and said "It is a shame to strike a woman in her condition;" I shoved him up two steps of stairs, but his hat fell off and he came back to pick it up and so got down again into the hallway; there he again caught hold of Mrs. Pendergast and the two again pulled one another till they were in the middle of the hall; I got between here again and caught White by the arm; White then put out his foot before Mrs. Pendergast and she fell on her mouth and nose; I screamed to the Italian children who live downstairs to bring up their father; then the Italian lady came up and Mrs. Pendergast had got on her feet again and White gave her a kick on the right side; the fight continued and the Italian woman caught hold of Mrs. Pendergast and I caught hold of White; he then put his hand in Mrs. Pendergast's mouth and dragged her mouth toward him; I caught his arm to get his hand out; then my little girl came running upstairs and I said: "Mary, run for an officer;" and she went; meantime White gave Mrs. Pendergast another kick, this time on the left side; an officer came up and made White go to his own rooms; I then left them.

Coroner__Was White drunk?
Witness__He had been drinking.

Giusepe Tormial, of 160 Huron street, corroborated all that portion of Mrs. Dawson's testimony as to what took place after the appearance of the latter on the scene. White, she said, was slightly intoxicated.

Mary F. Dawson, aged 14 years, testified that when she went upstairs she saw White with his hand in Mrs. Pendergast's mouth and that she tried to get it out: that she then went for a police officer and that the officer delayed and her mother had to come down and hurry him up.

Frank White, the accused, a man apparently about 60 years old, with vinous complexion, short nose, bushy dark eyebrows, curled underlip, prominent chin and cunning expression, testified on his own behalf: I was in the house that forenoon, and had had a glass or two of beer; had been out for a walk and had been talking with a policeman. When I was going into my rooms, Mrs. Pendergast made a grab for me; she tore my vest off my shoulder, then she hollered and made a great noise. I neither took hold of her nor kicked her; I got into my room and a policeman came; afterward the policeman came again, and when I opened the door to make an explanation he said: You were told to go into your room and stay there, and since you won't stay there I'll take you where you will stay. Then he arrested me and next morning I was fined for intoxication.

The jurors rendered as their verdict that death was caused "by violence and assault on Elizabeth Pendergast committed by Frank White on the 3d day of July, 1887.

White, having been admitted to bail in the sum of $2,500 by Coroner Lindsay, will have to appear before the Grand Jury on charge of manslaughter in the second degree.

Website: The History
Article Name: The Fatal Result Of An Eastern District Tenement Row: 1887
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


The Brooklyn Daily Eagle July 23, 1887
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