Skip to comments.Robert and William Ross - Defenders of the Constitution
Posted on 11/05/2002 8:48:07 AM PST by johniegrad
Troy, N.Y., March 6 - Never has Troy witnessed a more exciting municipal election than that which took place today. There had been scenes of disorder at many of the polling places, but the outrageous disregard for law reached its height at noon, when one Republican was murdered and another was seriously wounded. Tonight the streets are crowded with excited throngs and the undercurrent of indignation caused by the governor's refusal to sign the Troy inspectors' bill has given way to a tidal wave of denunciation, it being claimed that had the inspectors' bill become a law, repeating would not have been attempted.
Robert and William Ross were the victims. They were among the citizens who gathered at the polls in the Third district of the 13th ward to see that the election law was not violated. The voting had been spirited at this district, but not until the appearance of a gang of repeaters was there a ripple of excitement. A man who had no right to cast a vote then presented himself at the polls and demanded ballots. The Republicans who challenged him were ejected, and the applicant was afterwards pushed into the street by other Republicans.
Then bullets flew through the air and four men were struck. Prominent among the fighters were Bat Shea, John McGough and Jerry Cleary, and all drew pistols and so did others in the crowd. Bystanders say that Robert Ross was knocked down with a club and while he was lying face down the assassin sent a bullet into his brain. Another who fell was William Ross, the murdered man's brother. He was shot in the neck and his condition is critical. Bat Shea was slightly wounded. A fourth man who was shot, it is reported, is John McGough.
John H. Boland, a prominent and respected citizen, was arrested late this afternoon charged with being implicated. Justice Furman refused to take bail and Boland was remanded to jail. Before surrendering himself to the police Boland made the following statement to the United Press reporter: "Impressed with the duty of every citizen to do his all toward securing an honest vote and a fair count and wishing to see the law upheld, I was at the polling place in my district all morning. During the morning word came that the most flagrant outrage was being enacted in the First and Second districts of the ward. Repeaters were said to be operating in these districts almost without molestation, and when the Democratic heelers began to arrive the respectable element was on the alert to prevent fraud.
"At noon Shea, John McGough, Jerry Cleary and one or two others whom I do not know went into the polling place with a repeater and a watcher followed them into the polling place and made a protest against the fellow voting. McGough, Shea and the other followed the crowd back. McGough drew a revolver and ordered the crowd to stand back. Shea and Cleary did the same, and all began firing. Robert Ross was struck under the ear. He never uttered a word. He was picked up and carried into a residence near by, but expired before medical aid could be procured. William Ross seeing that his brother had been prostrated by a bullet rushed to his rescue. Before he could reach his brother's side he too was shot in the head from behind and fell to the ground. John Ross, another brother, rushed to the scene and what followed was as heart-rending a sight as I ever saw. John Ross was holding his dying brother's head and moaned, 'Look at my dying brother's life blood,' as the vital strength of Robert Ross oozed from the wound in the head dying his brother's hands and the ground a bright crimson."
The trouble originated and the fight was precipitated by John McGough, who is a Democratic heeler.
The Rosses took an active part in the recent movement in the 13th ward for pure elections. There were five candidates for mayor in the contest between Mayor Whelan (Ind.Dem.), whom the Republicans endorsed, and Franie J. Molloy, the choice of the regular Democracy, and the adherents of United States Senator Murphy.
Bat Shea Robert Ross' Murderer In several of the wards during the day the struggle between the Molloy and Whelan men was extremely bitter. A row was started in one of the districts of the Eighth Ward, when Mayor Whelan appeared and made an appeal for order. His appearance alone averted a serious fight. In the Ninth ward a repeater was severely beaten and two others were arrested.
It is said that the man who murdered Robert Ross was Bat Shea. This information comes from an eye witness who stood within a few feet of Shea when he fired the fatal shot. Robert Ross in the melee had stumbled and fallen prostrate. It is said Shea walked up to Ross and held his revolver within a few inches of Ross' head and fired while the victim's face was on the ground. Shea was arrested this evening on a charge of murder. His injuries are slight. Excitement was not diminished tonight. It is rumored that a mass meeting will be held tomorrow evening when public sentiment will find expression concerning the election outrage today.
Incomplete returns indicate the election of Molloy the regular Democratic nominee by a majority of 1,200. The board of aldermen will remain under Democratic control
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