Saturday, January 27, 2018

Williamsburg Stabbing Affray.

The night ended in a melee at Henry Shear’s lager-beer saloon in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn on January 6, 1868, and Henry Shear himself was fatally stabbed. There were two versions of how this tragedy occurred. It was first reported that Otto Schade had come into the saloon for beer but had no money. Shear, being an amiable young man, told Schade he was welcome to all the beer he wanted and could pay later. Schade took full advantage of this offer and “while in a hilarious state” decided to show the other patrons some card tricks. Not everyone enjoyed the show, and someone knocked the cards from Schade’s hands. Schade took umbrage at this, a fight ensued and Schade was roughly handled. Henry Shear intervened and tried to make peace, but Schade had drawn has jackknife and was swinging wildly. Unable to distinguish friend from foe he plunged the knife into Shear’s left breast. As soon as he could, Schade left the saloon, unaware of what he had done.

Shear was taken to a nearby drugstore and a surgeon was called to treat him, but the wound was too severe to repair. Henry Shear lingered for a few hours and expired sometime after 3:00 a.m. Officers proceeded to Otto Schade’s house and found him in bed with the bloody knife sitting on the bedstead. Shocked to hear what he had done, Schade said it had been in self-defense.

Other patrons of Henry Shear’s saloon told a different story. Otto Schade had not been invited to drink on credit that night and the brawl broke out when Shear asked him to settle his bar tab and Schade refused. As Shear attempted to forcibly evict him from the saloon, Schade deliberately stabbed him in the chest and ran.

At the inquest that followed, the coroner’s jury believed the second story and Otto Schade was indicted for murder. Schade was tried the following March by the Kings County Court of Oyer and Terminer. He pled not guilty, claiming self-defense, but the jury found him guilty of manslaughter in the third-degree. He was sentenced to three years and six months at Sing Sing prison.

“Brooklyn,” World, March 24, 1868.
“Carnival of Crime,” Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, January 25, 1868.
“The Court of Oyer and Terminer,” World, January 25, 1868.
“Fatal Stabbing Affray in Williamsburg,” World, January 6, 1868.
“Miscellaneous,” New York Herald, March 25, 1868.
“Murder of a Saloon-Keeper in Williamsburgh,” New York Tribune, January 6, 1868.
“The Murder of Henry Shear,” New York Herald, January 8, 1868.
“Williamsburg,” World, January 7, 1868.


VigilAnnie says:
February 13, 2018 at 2:08 AM

Drink all you want and pay later...he didn't even try with that lie

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