"
 
HOME | FAMILY TREES | RECOLLECTIONS | SPOTLIGHT ON SOLVAY | ETC. | NAME DROPPING
 
Index
Central New York
Exasperating landlords
The McCarthy brothers of Solvay waged long and frustrating legal battles with the village and the city of Syracuse over condemned properties.
Boys will be boys
The year was only 10 days and an hour old when one of the 1933's strangest stories unfolded. Smack dab in the middle was a Solvay native and a member of one of the village's most prominent families.
A Menace named Dennis
Patrick, one of the aforementioned McCarthy brothers, had big dreams for his children, including son Dennis, who, after a tough start, made his American dream came true.
Romance went from bad to worse
Solvay native Fernando "Freddie" Tagliaferri and his Detroit, Michigan, sweetheart, Elizabeth Martin, had a tumultuous relationship which came to an end that was both tragic and ironic.
Tragic blunder
One of the little-known World War 2 disasters was the sinking of a troop ship in the English Channel. Among the 800 victims was Pvt. Vincent Paci from Solvay.
Martha's her name, bowling's her game
In 1929 a 9-year-old Solvay girl amazed grown-ups with her ability to knock down pins.
High School Prank Leads to Death
An annual Auburn High School night of fun and games came to a tragic end in 1915 when the mayor's son crashed his father's car into a tree and killed a friend.
It could have been much worse
It's a miracle only one Marcellus student was killed at the Kirkville train crossing.
Tragedy at Putnam's Crossing
Two lives were lost as the result of a spectacular, but perhaps inevitable train-car collision in Jordan, NY, in 1917.
 
All in the family
Tony Kane's last voyage
He could have been a character in "Boardwalk Empire"; Tony Kane was headed for an early death.
Christmas tragedy
In December, 1929, seven teenagers crammed into a car to buy holiday decorations in Skaneateles for their school. Minutes later tragedy struck.
God Struck Out
In 1913, Mickey Major and 17 others were arrested. Their crime? Playing baseball on Sunday.
 
Welcome to Central New York
 
Spotlight on Solvay
 
Outside interests
Before Trump, there was W.E.D. Stokes
Millionaire William Earl Dodge Stokes Sr. had two trophy wives, two ugly divorces, and hundreds of lawsuits. He also built what at the time was considered the fanciest hotel in New York City.

The American Princess and her pampered little boy
When multi-millionaire William Bateman Leeds died in 1908, he could not have imagined what kind of lives his money would buy for his widow and their son, William B. Leeds Jr.

The Wacky Wizard of Zion City
Wilbur Glenn Voliva was an evangelist who for several years ruled an Illinois town with the power of a dictator. He also was convinced the world was flat.
On Safari in Missouri
A man named Denver M. Wright bought two rather docile lions and set the loose on an island as the prey in a ridiculous "safari" he organized in Missouri in 1933.
Those marrying Mdivani brothers
They passed themselves off as princes, and had little trouble marrying and fleecing rich American women. Along the way, one of the Mdivani brothers married heiress Barbara Hutton.

The tragedy of Mary McElroy
Among United States kidnappings, one stands out as unbelievably bizarre. The ultrasensitive victim was returned, ostensibly unharmed, but ultimately she was destroyed by her empathy for her abductors.

Peggy McMath was merely dazed and confused
Fortunately, another kidnap victim, ten-year-old Peggy McMath, was relatively unaffected by her experience at the hands of an inept abductor who briefly had police running in circles.
If only he'd never gone to Albany
He was a Prohbition-era hitman, but Leonard Scarnici's downfall began when he was falsely accused of a bank robbery near Albany, NY. By the time the comedy or errors ended, several gangsters were behind bars.
They could have pleaded temporary stupidity
The kidnapping of John J. O'Connell Jr. may be a perfect example of how not to commit the kind of crime that was all too common in the early 1930s.

What is it about jewel thieves?
Jewel thieves and cat burglars often receive special treatment in the media. Arthur Barry recognized this phenemenon and convinced several reporters he was a master thief, when the reputation probably should have belonged to the leader of the gang, James Francis Monahan, better known as "Boston Billy." (Part of Barry's story includes an escape from Auburn prison that includes a detour through Solvay.)

Wall Street finally exhausted him
Jesse Livermore knew how to make a fortune in a hurry, but there came a time — after a series of up and downs  — that he couldn't take play the game any longer.
Empress of the Galopagos
Eloise Wehrborn de Wagner-Bousquet left Europe in 1932 and settled on an island in the Galapagos, where she tried to set herself up as an empress.Her "reign" was brief, and what happened to her remains a bit of a mystery to this day.
No wonder this lady sang the blues
Libby Holman had a promising career as a singer and actress when she married a flying tobacco heir who'd just turned twenty. After he died under mysterious circumstances (inspiring the movie, "Written on the Wind"), Ms. Holman's life became a long, often tragic melodrama
"The Smiling Widow" dazzled jurors
Jessie Costello's appeal isn't apparent in photographs, but the 31-year-old woman accused of poisoning her husband wrapped an all-male jury around her finger during a much-ballyhooed Massachusetts trial in 1933, but the state made sure she would not cash in on the not-guilty verdict.
This case got weirder and weirder
To describe Edward Albert Ridley as eccentric is a vast understatement, so it was fitting that the circumstances surrounding his murder — starting with the crime scene — were among the strangest in New York City history.
"Sphinx Murder" remains unsolved
It didn't happen in Los Angeles' Chinatown, but in Pasadena, the beautiful home city of the Rose Parade, but there was something about the 1933 murder of Dr. Leonard Siever and its cast of characters that suggested a case for Los Angeles private detective J. J. "Jake" Gittes.
 
HOME CONTACT