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The Boss

By David Dayton McKean
This Web version, edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2003

Larger boys, unless they went to work selling papers or working at fourteen cents an hour in one of the factories, became attached to one of the neighborhood gangs, which had such colorful names as the 'Lava-Bedders' or the `Red Tigers.' According to an historian of the police department, two of Frank Hague's brothers were members of the Red Tigers:

In 1884 a gang of young hoodlums banded together in the northern portion of the Second Precinct, and styled themselves For a long time it was not safe for people to pass through that the Red Tiger gang. They committed all kinds of crime. part of the city in the night-tine. Highway robbery was of frequent occurrence; women had been assaulted, and saloons were cleaned out almost every night. Police protection was entirely inadequate for the emergency. Special arrangements were made by bringing men from other precincts that would put a stop to crime while they remained; but, as the police were needed for the protection of life and property in other parts of the city, they could not remain on duty there. The hoodlums very quickly learned of their withdrawal. The second precinct was commanded at this time by a captain who was too ill to be of use to the service. This fact, added to the small patrol force in the precinct, was responsible for the disgraceful condition of affairs in that part of the city. Captain C. P. Smith was assigned to command this precinct in 1887, and was given a few more men. He assumed the offensive against this mob of Red Tigers, and after a few months had them all in jail and the mob broken up. Amongst the worst of this mob were William Thomas, William Konoski alias Billy Dutch, John Hague alias Big Pete, Michael Tully alias Sap, John Tully alias Munk, Thomas Turley, John Lane, John Gallagher alias Red, John Sullivan alias Tiger, and Hugh Hague. A proper detail now patrols that part of the city. The Red Tigers are entirely broken up, and the streets are safe to travel at all hours of the day and night. (E. Costello, History of the Police Department of Jersey City (1891), p. 220. This volume, now very rare, was published for the Police Relief Association. Its four hundred and twenty-eight pages contain many items interesting to the student nineteenth-century urban society.)


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