This point on the Hudson River in Manhattan was originally Amos Dock; the location of the famous fight between the Champion of America, John “Old Smoke” Morrissey and William “Bill the Butcher” Poole on July 26th, 1854. The fight was not a title fight, but a “rough and tumble” set to - a grudge match. The Lancaster Ledger newspaper reported that after some sparring took place, Poole threw Morrissey to the ground and leaped on top of him "pounding, gouging, bucking and biting.” Morrissey conceded the fight.
Poole was the leader of the “Bowery Boys” gang and an enforcer for the Nativist Know-Nothing Party. Morrissey was an Irish-born street tough and gangster associated with Tammany Hall and the Democratic Party.
In February of the following year, Morrissey ordered the shooting of Poole in Stanwix Hall saloon on Broadway. Poole’s dying words were “Goodbye boys, I die a true American.” Morrissey was acquitted after three hung juries. He went on to become a Congressman in the US House of Representatives and a member of the State Senate of New York. He built Saratoga Racetrack and died a wealthy man in 1878, aged 47 years old.
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