|Newspaper Clipping||The following newspaper article appeared in NY Times on August 6, 1865: |
FRATRICIDE IN EAST BROADWAY; The Family Seek to Conceal Their Knowledge of the Crime. Coroner Wildey Adroitly Brings the Truth to Light. RUM, AS USUAL, AT THE BOTTOM. THE MURDERER CONSIGNED TO THE TOMBS.
Published: August 6, 1865
We are again called upon to record another tragedy on the East Side. As ever, gin was the author of the crime, but not as usual, the murderer and the murdered are brothers, and the homicide was committed in their own bedchamber, in presence of a third person, and under their mother's roof. The family of TRISTRAM, consisting of Mrs. REBECCA TRISTRAM, the mother, a woman of not unpleasant appearance, and of about 50 years of age; JOHN TRISTRAM, a wire-weaver, of about 30; Mrs. CATHARINE TRISTRAM, a rather handsome woman of about 25, wife of JOHN; RICHARD TRISTRAM, also a wire-weaver, aged 22; THOMAS TRISTRAM, likewise a wire-weaver, aged 31 years, and SAMUEL TRISTRAM, a youth, of about 13 years, son of a deceased daughter of Mrs. TRISTRAM, occupied the second floor of No. 34 East Broadway. They appear to have lived in harmony, and were respected by their neighbors, who knew the sons as thriving mechanics that had joined in supporting their mother and nephew in the best of the few modern dwellings which are left in the southern-most blocks of East Broadway. They are quiet people who have generally attended strictly to their own business.
But on Friday evening the sons THOMAS and JOHN went to a liquor saloon in Division-street, and there drowned their intellects in the fearful beverages which are peddled over so many counters between the Battery and Harlem, and at length they quarreled, fought, and separated in anger. Both brothers reached home at a seasonable hour -- one, however, so thoroughly intoxicated that it was deemed prudent to bundle him off to bed without delay. The other, it appears, remained up awhile, drank his beer at home, and then retired.
RICHARD, however, holding open-air walking to be the best antidote for drunkenness, again went abroad, and on his return, at about midnight, visited a lager-bier saloon under his domicil, to imbibe his night-cap, triumphantly exhibited a fine silver-plated Colt army revolver, which the family had purchased as a present for a brother in California. This magnificent present for the absent brother, we dare say, RICHARD TRISTRAM now wishes in the bottom of the sea; for it drew from the German landlord the remark that it was too heavy for ordinary use, and that he would prefer a lighter weapon; and to this remark RICHARD replied that he had a smaller pistol, and in proof drew a small pistol, which is now a vital witness against him.
RICHARD TRISTRAM went straightway from the German's saloon to his bedchamber, wherein in brother THOMAS and nephew, SAMUEL, lay, and there took up the quarrel, threatening the brother's life, as will appear in the following testimony, which was taken before Coroner WILDEY, yesterday, at the Seventh Ward Police-station:
Frederick Eickhoff, of No. 36 East Broadway, sworn -I keep a lager-bier saloon on the first floor of the building Nos. 34 and 36 East Broadway; I closed about one o'clock this morning; I had been about one hour abed when I heard a voice saying: "Say, Tommy, get up, you son of a b_____, you told my brother that you wanted to kill him:" the mother said; "No, he did not;" the mother then told Samuel to go out for a policeman; the same voice repeated: "Get up; I'll shoot you; I'll have your blood;" a voice said: "No, I won't;" about five minutes after this I again heard the voice repeating this language; the mother's voice again saying that life had not been threatened; I heard and recognized Richard's voice previous to the shooting; early in the evening I saw Richard with the pistol here shown in his hands, in my saloon, at about midnight.
The testimony of Mr. Eickhoff was given without reserve, and impressed the jury and spectators, as did that of Samuel Tristram, a small nephew of one of the brothers, who, having been sworn, said: I live with my grandmother; I was out playing in the street until about nine o'clock; my uncle Thomas, the deceased, slept in the back kitchen with me; the report of a pistol awoke me; my uncle Richard asked me where there was a doctor; nobody but uncle Richard and Thomas were with me, and uncle Thomas lay dead with his feet toward the door; uncle Richard and myself went for a doctor; we stepped over the body of uncle Thomas; Dr. Harrison, of No. 46 East Broadway, uncle Richard and myself went back to the house together; the doctor, on seeing uncle Thomas, said that he was dead; I do not know who shot uncle Thomas.
But the rambling, incoherent, and utterly ill-advised chatter of the following named witness was regarded by the jury as manifestly false; and after the witness had battled the skill of the coroner in questioning, he set her aside. We give only the gist of the woman's remarks, as follows:
Mrs. Rebecca Tristram, of No. 34 East Broadway, sworn -- I am mother of John, Richard, and Thomas Tristram; we occupy a second floor; John and his wife Catharine slept in the bedroom adjoining the front room: Thomas Tristram, the deceased, slept in the kitchen last night; John Tristram came home tipsy at about eleven o'clock; his face was disfigured, and I understood that he had been in a row in a liquor saloon; I sent for lager-bier; Thomas was in bed in the kitchen; I gave him beer, but do not know whether he was drunk or sober: I went to bed shortly after eleven o'clock when all but Richard were in bed; I had been abed I do not know how long when the noise as of the falling of a candle awoke me; I rose, lighted a candle, and the first that I saw was Thomas lying dead; I ran into Kate's room and told her that Thomas was dead; Kate came out of her room end returned to wake John; the small pistol here shown (the one with which the murder was committed) belonged to Thomas; Richard and Thomas were always friends.
We publish the following testimony without comment:
Mrs. Emily Seaman, of No. 34 East Broadway, sworn -- At about three o'clock this morning I heard a noise in the room adjoining my apartments, as of persons wrestling; I rose and looked through a side window into the prisoners' room, which was then lighted; I heard the voice of one of the prisoners, saying, "I will have your blood;" the light was next extinguished, and immediately I heard the report of a pistol; I then saw two gentlemen go down stairs, and supposed that they had gone to summon a physician; when they returned a police officer accompanied them. Mrs. Tristram, the mother of the deceased, appeared in the entry when the policeman came into the house, and I inquired what had occurred, but she made no reply.
Catharine Tristram, wife of John Tristram, sworn. -- I live with my mother-in-law, brother-in-law, and little Samuel; I was out last evening and reached home between ten and eleven o'clock; when Thomas came home he said he had been in a row; I put my husband to bed and went for beer; we gave Thomas a drink; I do not know at what time Richard came home; early in the evening I saw the pistol here shown in his possession; I heard the pistol shot at about 3 o'clock, and about three minutes thereafter my mother-in-law came to my room and told me that Thomas was dying.
Dr. Wooster Beach, Jr., sworn -- I made a post-mortem examination on the body of deceased, and found a pistol-shot wound of the left breast; on opening the body it was discovered that the ball had passed through the lungs, and severed several large blood-vessels; it passed through the body and lodged in the spinal column; death must have been instantaneous.
After further testimony, none of which, however, established any new facts, the case was given to the jury, consisting of Messrs. S.W. Baldwin, Samuel Martin, Daniel Ferris, Bernard McCloskey, Bernard Helles, George J. Walker, Louis Mohakes, William Sohrader and C. Dobler, and three minutes thereafter they returned the following verdict:
"We find that THOMAS TRISTRAM came to his death by a pistol-shot wound at the hand of RICHARD TRISTRAM, on the 5th day of August, 1865, at No. 34 East Broadway."
RICHARD TRISTRAM was now called and interrogated; but he declined to make other reply than that he did not kill his brother, and thereupon Coroner WILDEY delivered him to an officer, to be confined in the Tombs, and JOHN TRISTRAM, SAMUEL TRISTRAM, Mrs. REBECCA TRISTRAM and Mrs. CATHARINE TRISTRAM were required to find bail in $1,000, respectively.
The Tristram family emigrated from Ireland many years ago, and their fortunes appear to have been varied, as one of the sons served in the war upon Mexico, and another, the deceased, was a private in the late great and honored volunteer army of the United States.
The Coroner, the jury and the press are indebted to Capt. WILLIAM JAMESON, of the Metropolitan Police, for courtesies extended.
The Tristram family are said to be well-to-do in the world, being largely engaged in the wire-working business at No. 354 Pearl-street, near Franklin-square. The accused, RICHARD, was in California, and came home in January, with JOHN and his wife. The police found on the premises a silver-plated revolver and gold-plated revolver, of large size, which the prisoner was about to send to California, as a present to another brother. A large navy pistol was also found. The pistol with which the fatal shot was fired is a pocket-revolver, of medium size, with six-inch barrel, break-body pattern. It is now in the possession of the Coroner.