Monday, August 18, 2008


New York, 1895

A Boy Tries to Destroy Part of the Long Island Railway.

Lucien Haurdberg, 15 years old, employed as a wiper in Lalance & Grosjean's agateware factory in Woodhaven, was held without bail by Justice Hendrickson Wednesday morning on a charge of setting fire to the Long Island railroad trestle at Woodhaven Junction. The fire was discovered in the trestle just before midnight Tuesday by Night Watchman Charles Daggatt.

The last train for the night had crossed when Daggatt saw smoke ascending from the trestle. He and several others clambered out over the string pieces to the blaze and extinguished it. At first it was supposed that the fire originated from a hot coal dropped by a locomotive, but Daggatt eventually discovered what appeared to be a bundle of greasy rags partly burned. They proved to be the remnants of two small pairs of trousers, soaked with oil and grease. Detective Sarvis arrested young Haurdberg, who lives near the trestle with his parents.

To the detective and Justice Hendrickson the boy acknowledged that the trousers were his. Tuesday night, he said, his mother told him to take them out and burn them as they were no longer fit to wear. He thought it would be great fun to get the firemen out, so, with the trousers under his arm and a handful of matches in his pocket, he climbed up the earth embankment. He clambered out on the heavy wooden stringpieces, and, placing the trousers in a convenient corner formed by the beams, he struck a match and set fire to them. Then he hastily retraced his steps. Upon reaching the ground he became a little frightened and ran home and went to bed. Soon he heard the village fire alarm and then he knew his blaze had been discovered.

But for Watchman Daggatt's timely discovery the trestle would probably have been destroyed or the timbers charred and weakened sufficiently to wreck the first train that crossed in the morning.

—The Long Island Farmer, Jamaica, NY, June 21, 1895, p. 1.

No comments: