Sunday, August 28, 2016

Train Depot Robbery-Carrie’s Letters

I am very fortunate to have over 100 letters that my Great-Grandmother Carrie Terry Warner wrote from 1880-1910 mainly about rural life in Baiting Hollow and nearby Riverhead, N.Y.  I have enjoyed reading her letters and researching about events and people she has talked about in the letters.  I grew up a few miles from where my grandfather, Olin F. Warner, Sr. was born and grew up.  In one of Carrie’s letters she talks about a robbery at the train depot in Riverhead.  I am always amazed at how close her account is compared to the local newspaper account especially in a time of person to person communication and not even a telephone.
Riverhead Train Depot
Carrie’s account:
September 1893-“It seems Saturday night someone broke into the depot at Riverhead, ate watermelon, apparently had a good time, and being unable to open the safe took it on one of the hand trucks up north in the swamp and with an ax tried to break it open, but failed after all to get inside of it.  These two men were arrested on suspicion.  The wagon was not much injured, broke the shafts all to pieces and took out one stud staff.  In my opinion the shafts are no loss for they were too short and I was always afraid something would happen with them.”
Newpaper account-The Long Island Traveler reporting on October 6, 1893:
Stole the Safe
     At some hour between 12 and 5 Sunday morning burglars broke into the station of the Long Island Railroad Company at Riverhead and carried off the safe containing about $200 in cash and express matter valued at $300.  The safe was about three feet high and nineteen inches wide.
     The burglars broke a pane of glass and turning an ordinary window fastening, raised the sash and stepped in.  On gaining entrance they removed the locks from the doors and brought in several watermelons.  These were eaten and the seeds and the rinds  thrown about the waiting room.  After completing their repast a baggage truck was secured.  Placing the safe upon this the burglars started east, going nearly a mile, then turned north, going towards the swamps.  Reaching the swamps they dumped the safe in to a ditch and made an attempt to open it.  From the appearance of the door the men used an ordinary axe.  The handle and combination lock were broken off and the door battered from the effects of the blows.  The men gave up the job, and after covering the safe with brush left it without getting its contents.
     Early Sunday morning a party passing the station noticed the broken window and the open door and notified the agent, Otis G. Pike.  Prints of bare feet were discovered around the building, also the trail of the truck.  Deputy Sheriff Robert Nugent started in Pursuit.  He found the safe shortly before noon.
I was able to find the newspaper account online at Suffolk Historical Newspapers.
You can check out some of the following additional posts about Carrie’s Letters:
If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,


  1. You are so lucky to have those letters. I have letters of my great great grandfather as well

  2. Oops I see i told you about those letters already. I'm repeating myself. Started another blog as well to follow the journey of a great grandfather in 1884. This is getting good, but it does take time. I need more hours in the day. Grant

    I like the way you link to your sources. so people can go to them. Newspapers can be so important. My newer blog is:

    Regards, Grant

  3. Thank-you Grant. I was hoping that showing my sources would help others. Looking forward to your blog.