The New York Times/The Pugilist's Encounter

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The Pugilist's Encounter
March 09, 1855, page 1

Death of William Poole

Post-Mortem Examination

Coroner's Investigation

Bill Poole, who has of late been somewhat notorious, and was wounded with a pistol shot in an affray which occurred at Stanwix Hall on Saturday night, February 25, died yesterday morning from his severe injuries. He breathed his last about 5 o'clock, at his residence, No. 164 Christopher-street, near the North River. A post-mortem examination was held during the day, conducted by Dr. Finnell. An investigation of the facts connected with the late affray, which was the occasion of his death, was begun at noon by Coroner Hilton, at the residence of the deceased. One witness was sworn and partially examined; but the case was adjourned over to today at the Coroner's Office in Chambers-street, in consequence of the want of accommodations for the jury at Poole's house. Arrangements are made to have a full hearing, and to dispose of the matter as expeditiously as possible. William Poole was born in the year 1821, in Sussex County, New Jersey; and consequently at the time of his death was 34 years of age. About twenty-three years of his life were, for the most part, spent in the City of New-York. His occupation was that of a butcher, and his place of business was in Washington Market. His father was also a butcher, many years before him, having his stand in the same place; and he is said to have enjoyed the confidence and esteem of the community. Bill Poole learned the trade with a Mr. William Berriman, who is not now living. During the period of his apprenticeship, he was known as a young man of great activity of body and sternness of will. He attended to his business with marked zeal, taking pride in the character of a butcher. But his disposition was not of the most peaceable and forbearing kind, and he found himself in frequent quarrels, both with strangers and those whom he well knew. The butcher-boys called him a "hard customer," and many of them dreaded, while some envied his pugilistic powers. In course of time he went into business for himself in Washington Market. His stand there soon became well known, and he received much patronage. But whether as an apprentice in a butcher-stall, or the proprietor of one, he was a fighter, ready for action on all occasions when he fancied he had been insulted; and while his manners, when he was not aroused, were generally marked with much politeness, his spirit was haughty and over-bearing. He was slow to give an insult, being restrained by a feeling of dignified self-respect, which was characteristic of him; but he was quick and fierce to resent an affront. He could not brook an insolent remark from one who thought himself as strong as he. He never was engaged in any formal "prize fight," but he was known as a habitual "rough-and-tumbler." On this account he never, until recently, obtained any great notoriety in the newspaper accounts of "battles in the ring." His conflict with John Morrissey, at the foot of Amos-street, which happened not long ago, brought his name before the public in connection with a brutal and shocking affray; and ever since he has been one of the most notorious pugilists in town. His great reputation among circles of shoulder-hitters, occasioned by that occurrence, was thought to be sufficient to warrant him in opening a drinking saloon, where he expected to receive their liberal patronage. Accordingly, he lately became proprietor of the Bank Exchange, on the corner of Broadway and Howard-street. That saloon was closed yesterday, on account of his death. Bill Poole was a man of uncommonly fine physical appearance. By many he was thought to be decidedly handsome. His chest was broadly developed; he had an easy and commanding carriage, and he was expert in all his movements. The features of his face were very regular and carved; his hair was dark, and he wore a large moustache. His residence in Christopher-street is one of a neat row of small brick houses, respectable outside and comfortable within. The parlors are neatly carpeted, and the walls hung with various paintings and large prints. He leaves a wife and one child. The latter is a boy, about nine years of age, named Charles. A portrait of this lad, taken several years ago, is among the ornaments of the front parlor. Mrs. Poole and her child, we believe, are not left without means of support, though we have not been able to learn the exact amount of property of the deceased. She is greatly distressed by her husband's death - yesterday morning was almost raving. The event so worked upon her mind that she needs to be attended by a physician. Bill Poole, during most of his illness, since the night of the affray, was able to talk to his family and the various friends who visited him; and about half and hour before his death he engaged in conversation with them. In fact, he was strong enough to set up in bed, propped and supported by pillows. Only a few minutes before expiring he remarked, with great distinctness of voice, "I think I am a goner. If I die, I die a true American; and what grieves me most is, thinking that I've been murdered by a set of Irish - by Morrissey in particular." He gave directions to have his body opened by physicians after death. He was also particular how he should appear in his coffin. He expressed a wish to be attired in a suit of black clothes, with patent leather boots, and have a white collar folded down over his coat. His funeral is appointed to take place on Sunday next, and his remains will be deposited in Greenwood Cemetery. It is understood that "Pargene" is inclined to turn State's evidence, and Baker is not yet arrested. Coroner's Investigation - Coroner Hilton began his investigation yesterday at 12 o'clock. The following persons were duly sworn in as jurors:

   * H. N. Wild, No. 458 Broome-street
   * George T. Trask, No. 134 Sixth-avenue
   * James S. Bell, No. 43 Greenwich-street
   * John W. Moulton, No. 516 Spring-street
   * George Bath, No. 84 Roosevelt-street
   * James M. Byrne, No. 193 West Forty-fourth
   * James S. Sturges, No. 5 Bowery
   * Arch. H. Campbell, No. 221 West Thirtieth-street
   * E. Welch, No. 49 Franklin-street
   * Wm. B. Drake, No. 209 West Forty-third

Cyrus Shay, the first witness called in the case, being duly sworn, testified as follows: I reside at No. 51 Troy-street; I was acquainted with the deceased, and have been for the last four or five yeaers; I have known of him for even fifteen years; during the last four or five months I have been his company almost continually; he had a difficulty two or three months ago in his saloon, corner of Howard-street and Broadway, with a young man named Maurice Lannegan; this man came in drunk with the intention to fight Poole, and was whipped, but that affair had nothing to do with causing his death; Lannegan is an acquaintance of a man who is called "Pargene;" I have seen this "Pargene" described as having the name of Patrick McLaughlin; Lannegan is acquainted also with Baker; "Pargene" is a runner; Baker was a police officer, detailed on duty relative to emigrants; Maurice Lannegan is also a runner; I do not know that I have ever seen them together; Poole told me about six weeks or two months ago, that while he was in company with a man named Thomas Williams, "Pargene" met him by the Astor House, in Vesey-street, and insulted him; Poole said to him "Go along about your business - you ain't worth taking any notice of," the words which "Pargene" used were, "You are a pretty son of a bitchri;" Poole laughed at him, and tapping him by the side of the nose, said, "I'm too sweet for you;" Poole then passed on; a short time before this I understood that "Pargene" came into Mr. Poole's house, corner of Howard and Broadway, after 12 o'clock at night, and called for a whisky skin; the boy called Dick made it and handed it to him; he picked up the tumbler, and without drinking a drop, threw the whole in the boy's face; "Pargene" then went out; the boy asked Mr. Williams, who was present at the time, who that man was; he was told "Pargene;" Poole, a day or two after, went with the boy to get out a warrant from Judge Welch, for "Pargene's" arrest on this charge; it was a common thing for persons to come into the saloon and talk about "Pargene," insulting Poole before his barkeepers while he was away, saying that "Pargene" coudd whip him, and that though it was an American house, Irishmen had as good a right to come as any; when he heard of it Poole would say that he never wanted any one to come in that "didn't eat meat on Friday;" I don't think, however, he had any difficulty there with "Pargene," about three months ago a man named Nelson came in and talked to Mr. Poole about "Pargene," desiring to draw him out; Poole told him if he didn't stop and behave himself he would put him out of doors; I have heard "Pargene" himself speak of Poole, saying that "he would take the black muzzled son of a b...h some day or other;" from this and other remarks of a threatening character, I thought he intended to kill him; this occurred between seven and eight months ago, in Church-street, at a public house called the "Senate;" Poole was not present at the time; it was not long after the difficulty between Morrissey and Poole at the foot of Amos-street, he addressed himself to several persons present whose names I do not know; on the Saturday night of the shooting affair, (Feb. 25,) I was in Poole's saloon, I heard that he and Morrissey had had some harsh words together at Stanwix Hall, in Broadway; Oliver Leon told me this; Officer John Rue was in the house at the same time; he asked me what was the matter; I did not give him any satisfaction; I then went up alone to Stanwix Hall, in Broadway, opposite Metropolitan Hotel; I entered and went close up to Mr. Poole; it was between 9 and 10 o'clock in the evening; Poole was standing behind the drinking counter, near the end of it; Morrissey, at the same time was walking about the bar-room, using insulting language to Poole, and Poole was talking back to him; I don't recollect the words that passed between them; but the language of both was threatening; about thirty persons were present; the only ones I knew were Martin Fairchilds, James Irwin, John Hyler, Samuel Suydam, Capt. Lorenzo Lewis, John E. Dean, Lorenzo Deagle, Thomas Williams, Cornelius Campbell, William Janeway, and several others. At this stage of the proceedings the case was adjourned over to this morning, at 10 o'clock, at the Coroner's office in Chambers-street.

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