Officer Mosher S. Burnham (abt 1840-1881)
LANSINGBURGH—A WOMAN FOUND WALKING THE STREET WITH HER THROAT CUT […]
A young woman apparently about twenty-two years of age was seen by some men working in the garden at Justice Lansing’s residence walking on Mohawk street, and acting in a singular manner, about 5 o’clock yesterday afternoon. A shawl covered her head, and one of the men removed it and found her throat cut in a terrible manner. She had a large knife in her hand, and had evidently inflicted the wound upon herself. Word was sent to the station house, and officers Burnham and Gillespy went up and removed her to the station. She would answer no questions for some time, and refused to give her name. Afterwards she stated that she belonged at Marshall’s Infirmary. She was accordingly carried thither, and it was found that she had escaped from the institution. The wound in her neck was ghastly, but will not prove fatal.
Troy Weekly Times. September 20, 1873: 1 col 6.
—After fighting Pat Powderly, on the avenue, Sunday, McMurray and his friend Meighan went into a house where resided a man named Ellis. They went to bed, notwithstanding the objections offered by the proprietor of the house. Word was sent to the station house, and Officers Longstaff and Burnham escorted the bruise to the lock-up. Monday morning Justice Hearman fined McMurray $10 or thirty-five days, and Meighan $12 or thirty days. They both went to jail.
Lansingburgh Courier. March 17, 1876: 3 col 4.
—John McMann came up from Troy Tuesday with $40 about his clothes, which some sharpers tried to get away from him. Officer Burnham took him in charge, and when he became sober he was released.
“Village Notes.” Lansingburgh Courier. September 22, 1876: 3 col 1.
—The cat, over whose rescue Frank Brayton received so severe a fall on Wednesday of last week, was taken from the tree at the corner of Hoosic and John streets Monday by Officer Mosher Burnham.
“Village Notes.” Lansingburgh Courier. January 16, 1880: 3 col 1.
Shortly after 12 o’clock Wednesday morning the attention of Officer Burnham was attracted by smoke and flames issuing from the stove in Millard’s furniture store. With the assistance of Captain King an entrance was effected and the two succeeded in subduing the fire with buckets of water. An investigation developed the fact that the person having the care of the stove had, upon going home in the evening, filled the cylinder with something like a peck-and-a-half of old beans which had been left in the store by a former occupant. When the beans after several hours came in contact with the red-hot coals, an explosion ensued driving the isinglass from the stove doors and the flames burst forth in every direction. But for the timely discovery by Officer Burnham the fire would speedily have attained such headway in the combustible material with which it was surrounded that the destruction of the building and contents would have been inevitable.
Lansingburgh Gazette. March 6, 1880: 3 col 2.
The beautiful English grey hound, Maud II, contributed to the New York Herald Irish relief fund by Mr. Thomas H. Salmon, of this village, was purchased by Eaglehardt, the oarsman, for the sum of $30. It was one of the conditions of Mr. Salmon in making the donation, that the pet should be sold to some party who would furnish her a good home, and the conditions were faithfully carried out.
Officer Burnham is now about to emulate the generous action of Mr. Salmon by donating for the same purpose, his fine thoroughbred Gordon Setter, Kaiser William. This magnificent dog was sired by Captain King’s imported Sir Charles, who, a few months since took first prize at one of the largest bench-shows ever held in America; his mother is Frank Flowers’ fine bred Irish setter from Dublin, Catharine Agnes, than which no purer blooded animal is known. That Officer Burnham’s generosity will result in a very handsome sum for the famishing of the Emerald Isle, there can be no doubt.
Lansingburgh Gazette. April 10, 1880: 3 col 2.
—Cornelious Lucy was arrested Saturday on a warrant of Daniel Herrington charging him with stealing flowers. Both are South Trojans. On promising to replace the buds and blossoms Lucy was discharged, only to be re-arrested by officer Burnham and turned over to Capt. Wood of West Troy to answer a charge of burglary.
Lansingburgh Courier. June 10, 1881: 5 col 3.
Our citizens were horrified last Sunday morning upon learning that Police Officer Mosher Burnham, one of the faithful and honest officers of our police force, was found in John street [Fourth Avenue] alley, between Canal and Jay streets [120th and 119th Streets], lying on his back with a pistol shot through his breast, the devilish work of an unknown assassin.
Officer Longstaff, in searching near the spot, came upon a pair of congress gaiters slightly worn, and an old fashioned single-barreled pistol, bearing evidence of long disuse. The shoes bore evidence of having been worn through wet grass, and the right had a small piece cut from the heel just above the counter, showing that the wearer must have had a sore foot.
Wrapped in a cloth and two pieces of paper, officer Longstaff found a kit of burglars’ tools about 75 feet north of where his comrade had been found dead. The implements consisted of a three-fourth-inch cold chisel, a carpenter’s brace, a five-eighths inch stone-cutter’s chisel for bead cutting, a prick punch of three-eighth-inch iron, a half-inch common drill, and a fourth-inch twist drill. The stone-cutter’s chisel had the name “C Weldman” stamped on its side. One of the pieces of paper in which these tools were wrapped was such as retail merchants commonly use for wrapping paper, and bore in print the legend “J Simcox & Sons fine furnishing goods, 144 South Pearl street, Albany, N Y.” Outside of this was a sample sheet of the Family Store Paper, bearing date “New York, Sept 26, 1881.”
Theories regarding the melancholy and tragic affair were rife, but the finding of the shoes and tools lead Capt King to believe that parties who committed the foul murder had started to rob some house or place of business, and had been detected by the officer. This was soon found to be true, for John Mullen, an old man keeping a saloon and grocery on the southeast corner of Canal and John streets [120th Street and Fourth Avenue], reported at the station house at 6 o’clock that his house [726 Fourth Avenue] had been entered during the night and $10 in money, a silver watch, some cigars and three cans of salmon were missing. Capt. King found on visiting Mullen’s place, that the window of the store on Canal street had been pried up and an entrance effected. The money was taken from a drawer behind the bar, and the watch secured from Mullen’s vest, which hung on a chair in the room where he and his wife were sleeping. In entering the sleeping room the man probably removed the shoes in question, and officer Burnham, whose beat terminates at Canal street, no doubt arrived at the point just as the burglars were leaving by the window which they had entered. That the officer gave chase is also apparent. He met his sad fate in the faithful discharge of his duty.
The entire community sympathize with the bereaved widow and relatives, and mourn the loss of a faithful police officer.
by Drs. Lamb, Davis and Magee, failed to find the bullet.
The funeral, last Wednesday P.M., was one of the largest that has occurred in this village for very many years, and all seemed to be deeply sensible of the terrible tragedy which ended in the faithful officer’s death. The village trustees, police force, and the Fake hook and ladder company and fire department turned out, wearing mourning badges. Rev. Mr. Nickerson, the worthy rector of Trinity church, read the beautiful burial service of the Episcopal church and the remains were placed in the receiving vault at Oakwood.
—The Officer was laid out in full uniform.
—Officer Burnham had a life insurance of $1,500.
—President McQuide has offered a reward of $500 for the arrest and conviction of the murderer.
—Officer Burnham had been in the service with great credit to himself and honor to the force, for eight years.
—The casket in which the dead officer was placed, was an elegant one, furnished by the undertaker, H. J. Mason.
—Seth Morrison, jr., and young O’Hara, who were arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the murder of Burnham, were examined before Justice Hawkins and discharged.
—The elaborate details in the Troy dailies, of the murder and circumstantial evidence, which our citizens and GAZETTE readers have no doubt read, renders it superlative for minute details in this issue.
Lansingburgh State Gazette. October 22, 1881: 5 col 2.
By trustee Munn, that the president of the village of Lansingburgh be directed to offer a reward of $500 for the apprehension and conviction of the person or persons who killed officer Mosher Burnham, on the 23d day of October, 1881. Carried, 5 yeas.
Lansingburgh State Gazette. October 22, 1881: 5 col 4.
Captain King’s art gallery at the station house has recently received very important additions to its works of art. Among these are very superior portraits from the studio of Towne, the artist, of late Police Commissioner George B. Filley, late Patrolman Mosher Burnham, and Police Commissioner Caswell. A peculiarity of the latter portrait, while it is a perfect fac simile of the subject, is its striking clerical appearance, by reason of which it is often taken to be the likeness of one our most eminent divines.
Lansingburgh Courier. July 15, 1882: 2 col 2.
—Seth Morrison, who was arrested for stealing a horse, carriage and lap-robe from David A. Banker last March, was sentenced to five years imprisonment in the Albany penitentiary last Saturday. He endeavored to revenge himself upon one O’Hara—who had testified against him—by accusing the latter of being the murderer of Officer Mosher Burnham. The district attorney stated that it was now positively known who committed the deed, and that O’Hara was in no way connected with it.
Lansingburgh State Gazette. December 2, 1882: 3 col 1.
Thomas Miskell Caught at Last—He is Charged with Killing a Lansingburgh Policeman Eight Years ago.
Thomas Miskell, a burglar for whom the detectives have been looking for eight years, is locked up at Police Headquarters at last. He is charged with having had a hand in the murder of Policeman Burnham in Lansingburgh, N. Y., in 1881. Miskell was one of the gang who were surprised by the policeman while they were forcing a safe in that town. In the fight that ensued Burnham was shot dead. Nothing was known of the murder until the next morning, when the burglars were many miles away. […]
New York Evening Post. January 27, 1890: 10 cols 3-4.
—Miscall and McDonald, who are charged with the murder of officer Mosher Burnham, in this village, several years ago, will be tried at the next term of court, which convenese at the court house in Troy on the 19th day of May. D. Cady Herrick, of Albany, and James H. Ryan, of Troy, will appear as counsel for the prisoner.
“Local News and Seasonable Jottings.” Lansingburgh Courier. May 8, 1890: 3 col 2.
At the time officer Mosher Burnham was murdered in this village, on the night of October 23, 1881, two rewards were offered for the arrest and conviction of the murderer. The rewards were offered by the village and State, and were for $500 each. Thos. Miskell was arrested in new York on the 26th of January, 1890, and was tried in this county and sentenced to six years and nine months in Dannemora. Three claimants appeared for the reward, namely, ex-Chief of Police Longstaff, of this village, Chief Detective Markham, of Troy, and a New York detective named Clendenning. The State board of claims after duly considering the case awarded Clendenning $250, Markham $120 and Longstaff $100. The board of village trustees decided that Detective Markham was entitled to the reward offered by the village, and the $500 was accordingly paid over to him. Detective Clendenning of New York, thinks he is entitled to a share of the reward offered by the village and it is understood to be his intention to bring suit against the village for the amount.
Lansingburgh Courier. April 20, 1893: 3 col 3.