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Andrew J. Carrigan, a son of Patrick C. Carrigan ("The Irish Lord") and brother-in-law of Mary McLaughlin, was a motorman for the Auburn & Syracuse Electric Railroad. He seems to have had more than his share of unusual experiences, including one that ended tragically for a young Skaneateles boy, just five months before Carrigan would lose a teenaged son in an automobile accident.

Here are stories I found on events that landed Carrigan on the pages of Central New York newspapers. On the first occasion, it was fortunate neither Carrigan nor his passengers was wounded — or worse.

Marcellus Weekly Observer, January 26, 1912
Fired Shot at Car
The crew of the trolley car which arrived in this village at 9 o’clock Sunday evening had some trouble when an intoxicated hunter who had imbibed of Salt City liquor too freely boarded the big green car in the city and desired to be put off at one of the streets near the outskirts.

The big cars do not let off passengers until the city line is reached, and Mr. Hunter was let go. On his way out the front door he informed Motorman Andrew J. Carrigan, formerly of Skaneateles Falls, that he was everything but a gentleman and made just one pass with his fist at the motorman.

Carrigan then gave a couple of sample wallops that landed the belligerent on the ground and the car was started. Mr. Hunter then fired his shotgun at the car, but fortunately the shot struck below the windows or fatalities might have resulted. The trolley company is investigating.

The next story backs into its report of one of the hazards encountered by a motorman by first telling us the name of the conductor, who was out of harm's way. Interestingly, the car was Number 60 on the Auburn & Syracuse Electric Road, the same car in the photograph (above) I found online. This was mere coincidence. I have no idea whether the motorman pictured in the front doorway of the car is Andrew J. Carrigan, though, I suppose, he could be.

Skaneateles Free Press, March 19, 1912
Car No. 60, Conductor Daniel Baron, the last one in from Syracuse last night on the Auburn & Syracuse Electric Road, was held up by an incident at the Voorhees farm.

The front of the car was damaged and Motorman Andrew Carrigan was cut about the face by broken glass as a result of a broken trolley wire.

As the car topped the hill by the Voorhees farm, something gave way overhead and the big trolley wire snarled up with a crash which shattered the heavy plate glass of the middle window of the front vestibule. Pieces of the flying glass struck Motorman Carrigan in the face as to draw blood, but he was not disabled.

The car was stopped as quickly as possible, the wire was hauled up and the car was floated past the break, thereafter, making speed so that it arrived but ten minutes late.

Young boys often hitched rides on wagons and ran alongside trolleys, risking injury or worse. What follows is about a boy who found himself caught in the middle of the street, between trolley tracks, and at the last second made a tragic decision.

Auburn Citizen, January 9, 1915
Struck and instantly killed at 2:55 o'clock yesterday afternoon by a westbound Auburn & Syracuse Electric car, Master John Henry Decker, the seven-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Decker of Skaneateles, was carried on the fender of the swiftly moving interurban for 300 feet until his little body was so disfigured that identification was hard to establish.

The tragedy happened on East Genesee Street in the village. The car which killed the lad was in charge of Motorman Andrew Carrigan and Conductor J. R. Saulpaugh of Auburn, both of whom are held entirely blameless for the accident.

The victim of the tragedy, together with two comrades, Jack Teal, aged seven, and Donald Sheppard, aged six, was returning from school to his home on Genesee Street when the accident occurred.

All three youngsters, who are first graders in the Skaneateles School, walked down State Street to Genesee, when the Decker boy saw a carriage going east and rushed ahead of the others to catch a ride.

As the lad ran across the street to "hop" the vehicle, the driver, John Masters, swung his whip in warning to keep off. An eastbound trolley passed while the child was nearing the carriage.

Immediately there appeared over the steep hill in Genesee Street, another car, going west, which stopped at Onondaga Avenue to discharge passengers.

Just as the car resumed motion, the boy, not 300 feet away, started to cross the street. Mrs. Masters, who was with her husband in the carriage, shouted to the child that a car was approaching, and he broke into a run.

The lad then evidently became confused and stopped between the east and westbound tracks. Motorman Carrigan saw the little figure, but thinking the boy was waiting for the car to pass, continued at low speed. When but three rods distant, the motorman saw the boy suddenly dart ahead. Right into the fender the lad seemed to hurl himself. Before the car could be stopped, it had traveled 300 feet with the mangled little form dragging along the track.

Coroner Crane was immediately summoned, and upon investigation found death due to carelessness on the part of young Decker. The train crew was entirely exonerated, and the coroner decided an inquest was unnecessary.

The tragedy was witness by several persons. William Cleveland, driving a wagon on the north side of Genesee Street, perceived the lad standing between the tracks, but believed the child was waiting for the car.

The next intimation Cleveland had that he had witnessed a terrible tragedy was when he saw the lad's cap roll from beneath the tracks of the interurban. Cleveland declared the motorman did all in his power to bring the car to an immediate stop.

The two companions of the Decker boy also viewed the horrible death of their playmate. Standing on the sidewalk, they watched little John run to the middle of the road and stop stock still in the center.

"John was standing between the tracks when one car passed eastward, waiting for the car which was going in the other direction, and which had just stopped at the corner," said one companion, Jack Teal, son of Mr. and Mrs. John E. Teal. "The car had nearly reached him when he started to run toward the sidewalk where we were standing. He was struck, and that is the last I saw of him."

The third of the trio, Donald Sheppard, corroborated the story of his friend. According to Master Sheppard, school is usually dismissed at 3 o'clock, but since the classes are shortened on Fridays, yesterday the pupils left the building at 2:45. The boy stated the Decker youth had been in the habit of running toward cars and waving his hands.

Others who were near the scene of the accident asserted that Motorman Carrigan ran with extreme care through that section of the village, owing to the steep hill and the number of children returning home from school. The accident happened between Onondaga Avenue and Leitch Street.

Besides his parents, Master John is survived by a brother, Carlton, and a sister, Elizabeth. His father is head of the pulp department at the Solvay Process Company.

The initial report of the next incident, one of the last Carrigan would have as a motorman before he left the Auburn-Syracuse Electric Railway in 1925, appeared to have the makings of a mystery thriller — the star witness in an upcoming trial is found at 5:20 a.m., sprawled on a city street, her head resting on the trolley tracks. Only the quick reaction of the motorman prevented the trolley car from running over the young woman.

But things weren't quite what they seemed, though for one day, at least, the city of Auburn may have been buzzing.

Auburn Citizen, December 30, 1924
Leaving her home yesterday afternoon accompanied by a friend to attend a theater performance and promising her mother she would be back by 5 o’clock, Mrs. Ruth Cameron, 20, pretty young Auburnian living at 9 Pine Street, was picked up unconscious this morning at 5:20 o’clock on Dill Street.

Her body was lying across the trolley tracks in front of The Citizen office. This afternoon the girl had regained consciousness and was given a thorough grilling by authorities. According to medical advice, the girl was suffering from drugs.

Mystery veils the whole incident. Her activities yesterday afternoon and last evening are not known outside of official circles. District Attorney Benn Kenyon admitted this afternoon the woman had been on a party with another girl and two fellows. The party started in Auburn and is rumored to have been continued out of town.

Police and officials of the district attorney’s office are close-mouthed regarding details of the incident. Patrick J. Delehant of Auburn was questioned by Mr. Kenyon this morning, but the district attorney gave out nothing that would indicate Delehant was connected with this morning’s incident. Delehant is reported to have been talking with Mrs. Cameron yesterday afternoon when she was supposed to have been in the theater.

Mrs. Cameron is well acquainted with Mr. Delehant. She was on a party with him and two other persons several weeks ago. Delehant was arrested on a serious charge following revelations of the party and Mrs. Cameron was one of the prosecuting attorney’s main witnesses.

“There is a woman lying dead on the car tracks in front of The Citizen office on Dill Street,” came a voice over the telephone at police headquarters this morning at 5:20 o’clock. And the police were on the job in jig time.

However, the woman was not dead, but her imperceptible pulse and cold, inert body led Motorman Andrew J. Carrigan and Conductor James Keefe of a Syracuse trolley car that came near running over the body in the early morning gloom, to believe the woman was lifeless.
Carrigan and Keefe piloted the Auburn & Syracuse interurban trolley that leaves the State Street depot at 5:30 o’clock. They had just taken the big car from the barns and were pulling into the Dill Street switch when Carrigan noticed the motionless body of a woman lying across the tracks. Her head was resting on one of the rails.

Carrigan stopped the car, called to Conductor Keefe, and both men lifted the prostrate form from the tracks and carried it to the sidewalk.
Policeman Antone, patrolling the beat, was summoned, and the woman was taken to the men’s quarters of the trolley station and placed on a pool table. She apparently had no pulse, nor did her ashen face betray any signs of life. All thought she was dead until a slight flutter of her heart was noted. Dr. John W. Copeland was summoned, and the woman was removed to the Auburn City Hospital.

She remained in a torpor for several hours at the hospital. When she finally recovered consciousness, she was questioned by authorities. The case has all the aspects of a mystery because the woman refused to answer satisfactorily the questions put to her by assistant district attorney James J. Hosmer.

Mrs. Ruth Cameron is a star witness against Patrick Delehant, who is being held for the grand jury, charged with endangering the morals of a child. It is charged that several weeks ago, Delahant, with a young daughter of Clarence Vreeland of Union Springs, in company with Mrs. Cameron and an Auburn taxi-cab owner, visited a road house in Skaneateles Junction, and that, following the evening’s party, upon return to Auburn, Delehant put the young girl up for the night at an Auburn hotel, but did not stay at the place with her.

In the hearings that preceded Delehant’s arrest, the testimony of Mrs. Cameron played an important role, authorities say. She would be a useful weapon the prosecution would use when the case came up for trial before the grand jury.

But Mrs. Cameron did not appear willing to speak. She was evasive, according to authorities, and spoke in generalities. When questioned as to what she was doing on the streets at such an early hour, she replied she was just walking around the town because she feared going home.

Young Mrs. Cameron, after spinning several tales for a week or two, finally told police a story they could believe. She had gone out Monday evening, not afternoon, accompanied by a friend and intending to attend a vaudeville show. The theater was crowded, and the young women decided to go elsewhere. They were picked up by a young man they didn't know, and Mrs. Cameron's companion soon decided to leave. Mrs. Cameron and the young man wound up having several drinks and spending the night together. She left the young man in the wee small hours and wandered about in the cold before she collapsed on the tracks.

A relative later told police the woman had done something similar a few years earlier in Buffalo. However, she was indicted on a charge of adultery, and the married Patrick Delehant, mentioned in the story above, was arrested on a similar charge, based on a complaint by Mrs. Cameron's mother, and he pleaded guilty and received a three-months' jail sentence.

Efforts were made to locate Ruth Cameron's husband in Detroit, where she lived before returning to Auburn in 1924, but the story faded from the press before the young woman's situation was resolved.

As for Andrew J. Carrigan, he remained in Auburn after he left the electric railway company, and died in 1959.

Auburn Citizen-Advertiser, December 26, 1959
Andrew J. Carrigan, 88, of 132 Franklin Street, died yesterday in a local nursing home.

A native of Hart Lot, Mr. Carrigan and his father operated the Patrick C. Carrigan lime kiln firm in Skaneateles Falls until 1896. Buildings at Auburn Theological Seminary were erected from material supplied by the firm.

Mr. Carrigan moved to Auburn in 1905 and was associated with the Auburn-Syracuse Electric Railway until 1925. His wife, Mrs. Ellen Ganley Carrigan, died in 1950.

A class of 1885 graduate of Monroe Institute, a preparatory school in Elbridge, he was a member of the last class to be graduated from the institution.

Mr. Carrigan was a communicant of St. Alphonsus Church and a member of the Holy Name Society of the church.

Surviving are two sons, John P. Carrigan, founder and president of the accountant firm of Carrigan, Bolger, Landry & Scott, Syracuse, and Harold J. Carrigan of Auburn, two grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Burial in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Skaneateles.

 
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