Another Note from New York Foundling

Quick backstory: The New-York Historical Society has a collection of records from the New York Foundling Hospital. Among the collection are five scrapbook of notes from parents and others about children who were left at the Hospital. I posted previously about copying some that I wanted to research.

This is one I plan to research. Margaret Sheridan was murdered by her husband Thomas on February 16, 1870. Margaret and her husband hadn’t lived together for years, and the issue was the baby mentioned in this note, who was called William Sheridan.

Sheridan said the baby couldn’t possibly be his, and that the real father was Michael Power, which was likely true. She and Power had been living together. Thomas Sheridan didn’t want their eleven-year-old daughter Mary raised with this baby and demanded that she send it out to nurse. Margaret did not comply and so he came over one night and shot her to death.

Sheridan was originally given the death sentence, and was scheduled to hang on August 19, but the governor commuted his sentence to life and he was sent to Sing Sing. The jury had also recommended mercy, so it seems everyone was on the murderer’s side!

My plan was to try to find out what happened to the baby. Did Michael Power come and get his son? But now that I know a little more I also wonder what happened to eleven-year-old Mary. Her mother was dead and her father was in Sing Sing. Where did she go?

Note left at New York Foundling

Maybe this will be the year I get a tree!

I had to stop getting trees due to the cats, they just destroy them and all the ornaments, and “oh my god, what if one of them swallows a pine needle and it gets stuck in his throat??” There is no peace in a house with a Christmas tree and a cat. But, but Christmas trees!! Pretty!

If I was going to get a tree, this is where I’d go, to Jane Street and Billy Romp and co.

Christmas Tress, West Village, New York City

Where are all the Blackwell’s Island photographs?

You’d think there would be tons. There was a lot of interest in the place, if only for the lurid stories about the Lunatic Asylum. But I’ve found so few photographs of the institutions on Blackwell’s Island (now called Roosevelt Island). I’ve checked all the usual places, but I suspect there’s a treasure trove somewhere, in the attic of a descendent of one of the Commissioners of the Department of Public Charities and Correction, or of one doctors who worked there.

If anyone knows of a source, I’d love to hear about it!

This is the Lunatic Asylum. The only piece of it left is the part of the building called the Octagon, and it’s part of a luxury apartment building.

Blackwell's Island Lunatic Asylum