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The First Killing in Ramsey?

Filed in Miscellaneous by on November 17, 2011 7 Comments • views: 2977

In a town that counts its violent crimes in the single digits per decade, any killing is going to cause a sensation and Ramsey’s had a few over its couple of hundred year history. But what was the first? We’re left to wonder: an argument between Dutch settlers or Native Americans perhaps, a violence perpetrated during or after the Revolutionary War? The earliest recorded story of what would appear to be a crime of man slaughter comes from the mid 1800’s.

A man named William Slack had an approximately 40 year history in Ramsey over two periods (he left for Haverstraw NY a while), first as a cabinet maker when he arrived in 1849. During that time he was also the primary undertaker for the area, but it was his job as constable that introduced him to the “notorious character” Ben Moore.

Fowler's Hotel, Ramsey NJ

Slack, described as a “slight young man, not particularly skilled in ruffianism” was tasked with arresting Moore, a local bully who had stabbed a man (who later died of the injuries) in Fowler’s Hotel.

Slack was successful in arresting Moore, although it was described as a “Herculean task”, and brought him to the county jail in Hackensack. Moore received a ten year sentence, served at the State Prison in Trenton, for his crime.

Source: History of Bergen County, New Jersey, 1630-1923; by Frances Augusta Johnson Westervelt; New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1923, 1229 pgs.

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About the Author ()

Daniel Kennedy is a local history buff and a board member of the Ramsey Historical Association.

Comments (7)

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  1. Christine S says:

    How is this about the murder? I read it three times, thinking there was a second page actually talking about the incident. It is about the random guy who arrested the guy who allegedly did the murder. Can you either change the headline to “Wimpy Guy Captures Thug” or change the content and say more?

  2. RamseyNJHistory says:

    I…umm….are you kidding? Are you really criticizing a history article written by someone in their spare time?

  3. Linda says:

    Was wondering if you could tell me, where the Fowler Hotel was located?? Looks like the house that stood next to the Ramsey Post Office, which was just recently demolished and a new structure is on the property.

  4. RamseyNJHistory says:

    It was next to the train crossing.

  5. Lydia says:

    Thank you for sharing this fascinating project. The Swiss Chalet looks familiar, but I can’t place it. I don’t remember a traffic circle on Route 17. Was it at the intersection of Lake Street where the Tower of Pizza was on the northwest corner and farm stand on the southwest corner ?.

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