Gangs of New York and the Fourth Ward

While doing research on my family tree, I came across a branch that lived in the Fourth Ward of New York City from 1840-1875. They owned a boarding house at 22-24 Oak Street and worked on the docks as ship carpenters and riggers.  As I learned about this family through the census, vital records and directories, I soon came to realize that they were living in the time and area that was the premise for the Gangs of New York Movie.

4th Ward. Plate 12: Map bounded by Catharine Street, Oak Street, Roosevelt Street, Catham Street, Catham Square, Division St; Including Oliver Street, James Street, East Broadway, Henry Street, Madison Street] Item/Page/Plate : 12. Source : Atlases of New York city. / Maps of the city of New York. Location : Stephen A. Schwarzman Building / The Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division

4th Ward. Plate 12: Map bounded by Catharine Street, Oak Street, Roosevelt Street, Catham Street, Catham Square, Division St.  Source Atlases of New York city. / Maps of the city of New York,  Location : Stephen A. Schwarzman Building / Map Division

The Fourth District, comprising the Fourth Ward, is bounded by Chatham, Catharine, and South Street, Peck Slip, Ferry, and Spruce Streets.   The Perry and Ferris Families must have had an incredibly hard life , working hard to survive the crime, disease and hard work of life.

New York City Directory 1855

perry 1855 census

NY Census 1855

Death record of Alonozo Albert Ferris, 1875

Death record of Alonozo Albert Ferris, 1875

A Report of the Council of Hygiene and Public Health of the Citizens’ Association of New York upon the Sanitary Condition of the City, second edition  (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1866)  shows that in 1866, there were 3 deaths from small pox at 22 Oak Street and at 24 Oak Street there were 2 cases of typhoid.

Alice Perry (my ancestor) died in 1860 at 22 Oak Street of a bowel disease but I would hazard a guess it may have been typhoid.

SCAN0026

Alice Perry Death Register , 1860

Page 2 of Death register

Page 2 of Death register

4 comments

      1. I agree! I am always looking for good historical fiction novels that relate to people in my tree. They bring a more human level to my research. After reading more scholarly items I still feel a little bit of a disconnect sometimes. It’s hard to find quality historical fiction that can do this though. My favorite so far has been ‘How Green Was My Valley’.

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