Look up Deedy in Websters Dictionary and you will see the following definition - \Deed"y\, a. Industrious; active. [R.] --Cowper. But to me Deedy is simply my last name and not a very common one at that. My Father always said "find yourself in a strange city? Open a phone book, find a Deedy and give them a call - chances are they are a relative." So, for all the Deedy's out there hello and welcome.

Patrick Crowley's Interesting Career

Once again I have been spending hours looking through the historic Boston Globe archives searching for any mention of various family members. This time I decided to look into another person in the Sullivan branch of the family tree - Patrick Leo Crowley, husband to Margaret Sullivan (Maurice Sullivan BPD eldest daughter). Patrick and Margaret never had any children of their own, but the couple was very involved with their many nieces and nephews. Both had passed away by the time I was born, but I grew up hearing stories about them and when I reach into my recipe box I pull out cards made by Margaret who was famous in the family for her cooking.

But it is Patrick L. Crowley I am focusing on in this post and what I have uncovered about his very interesting career. The December 30, 1911 Boston Globe article: Commissioner O'Meara Promotes Reservemen reports that Patrick scores the highest grade on a policeman's test. A new tool introduced by the commissioner to help identify those men who deserve promotion. Prior to the test, police appointments and promotions depended more on who you knew and were related to than how well of a job you did. This portion of the article was most interesting for me:
Crowley secured a percentage of 97.5 and at rollcall tomorrow night his pay will jump from $2 per day to $1,000 a year, or $19.17 a week. Crowley was appointed to the department Feb 27, 1911, and for several months before his shift to East Dedham st was on duty at Division 12, City Point.

From April 30, 1906, until Feb 26 of the present year he was a member of the Fire Department, serving at Ladder 11, Brighton and Ladder 21, Saratoga st, East Boston. Prior to that he was a well-known athlete, being the manager and playing center on the East Boston A.A. Basketball team which a few years ago was defeating all comers. He is a brother of James J. Crowley, the High School athletic instructor, and John J. Crowley, formerly a fireman, and potato race champion.
So Patrick L. Crowley was first a fireman then a patrolman. Family lore has it Margaret Sullivan first met Patrick while he was working as a fireman at the Saratoga street firehouse. I wonder if Margaret's father, Srgt. Maurice Sullivan, had anything to do with interesting Patrick in switching careers.


Edge of Darkness Prop Sale

Today was the first of a two day movie prop sale. The movie, The Edge of Darkness, has recently finished filming in Boston. My parents decided to visit the prop sale this morning since my great-grandfather, Maurice Sullivan, will be making an appearance in the movie (we hope).

I have posted on my blog here a few times about Maurice. I even included a photo of him in this post: Srgt Maurice Sullivan catches his man. The photo in that post caught the eye of a Hollywood set dresser. I was contacted to see if we would be willing to let the photo be used in the movie as part of the set background. My Mom agreed, and now, some 75 years after his death, my great-grandfather will finally be in the movies!

But back to today's sale. There is Mom, Sue Deedy, in front of the door near the loading docks. The sale took place in Chelsea in an old furniture warehouse. My Dad was the photographer on today's expedition. I could not attend since I was working.

They quickly found the enlarged and framed photo of Maurice Sullivan. The shaking hands photo should be seen in a police station hallway (I believe) in the movie. I will have to look closely for it once the picture is released sometime in 2009.

You can click on any image to see larger. The shaking hands photo was priced at $134.00. Mom did not buy it, but she really wanted to! Instead, she purchased some other small items. The prop sale mostly had household goods items. Lots of lamps, books, kitchen ware, furniture - that kind of thing. Stuff you could find at any yard sale.

Well, maybe not any yard sale. Dad made sure to take a photo of the toilet that is for sale (since Mel Gibson is starring in this movie, perhaps someone wants Mel's throne?)

Dad was also amazed to see kitchen appliances for sale - appliances that looked like they are from different eras.

Now we will have to wait until the movie is released and hits the theaters. Everyone be on the lookout for that shaking hands picture!

Update: Looks like the movie is expected to be in theaters June 2009 - at least that is what one of the set people staffing the sale told my Mom when she went BACK today!


Srgt. Sullivan and the Black Hand

It appears my great-grandfather, Srgt. Maurice Sullivan, had a number of run-ins with an Italian organized crime group called the Black Hand.

During the early 1900's, residents of the "Little Italies" of many eastern industrialized urban areas had to contend with a crude form of protection racket known as "La Mano Nera" or "the Black Hand." Those members of the local community who were better off financially might receive an anonymous note demanding that a sum of money be paid to the writer. If payment was not forthcoming, victims were typically warned that they could expect to have their businesses bombed or the safety of their family members jeopardized. Customarily, the extortion demand was signed with a crude drawing of a black hand. While the receiver of the letter (as well as other members of the community) were led to believe that the Black Hand was a large and powerful organization, it is more likely that the extortion was the work of individuals or a small group of offenders who used their victims' fear of secret societies (and often their fear of the police) to coerce payment.

This Boston Globe July 28, 1922 article describes a Black Hand trial that Srgt. Sullivan testified in. A local North End family was receiving blackmail letters and it appears my great-grandfather was trying to help outwit the gang members. Unfortunately, his fake money ruse did not work, and a murder did occur.
Sergt Maurice Sullivan of Station 1 said that on Dec 28 he and Tessarrero were at Unity st with Scarpone, his wife and his brother, Alphonso Scarpone, who lived with them. After reading a letter, Sergt. Sullivan cut up some newspapers in the shape of currency, made them into a bundle and gave them to Alphonso Scarpone. About 7:10 o'clock he went to the Charter st playground and remained until 8:35. Shortly before 8 o'clock Alphonso Scarpone passed him. Fifteen minutes later a man came up the steps leading into Charter st, looked around and went in the same direction as Scarpone. Scarpone only partly followed his instructions, Sergt Sullivan said.

Sergt Sullivan said that at 10:30 pm on the same day he went to the steps leading into the North End playground. There he saw a bush with a piece of red cloth tied to it and footprints in the snow about it.
Gene Kelly starred in a 1950 movie called The Black Hand about a group in New York City. Sometime I will have to watch it.

It appears my great-grandfather ran into some very dangerous characters while patroling his beat in the North End.





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