A High Speed Chase ~ 19th Century Style

May 26th, 2009 by Elaine Clements

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About a quarter mile outside Elm Square on Essex Street milkman John May was assaulted while delivering milk for Milo H. Gould  at 5:30  p.m. Saturday

Milo H. Gould owned the farm at 102 Gould Road.

Milo H. Gould owned the farm at 102 Gould Road.

April 30, 1899.  May was accompanied by his younger brother Gordon.  Gordon stayed on the milk wagon while John delivered milk to a customer.  While John was away from the milk wagon, four men in a horse-drawn “carry all” pulled up and one asked Gordon for a drink of milk.  Once he had finished his drink, however, the man refused to pay.  John then returned to the milk wagon and demanded payment, which was again refused.

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John “immediately tackled the stranger” who was then joined by his three companions.  “All were noticeably the worse for liquor” reported the Andover Townsman.  John, finding himself in a four-to-one fight, called to his brother to get out his revolver, but one of his assailants reached the gun first.  Four shots were fired into the ground near John May’s feet, one “barely grazing his boot.”  The four assailants then climbed back into their wagon and sped away.

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Andover policer officer Warren Moar

Andover police officer Warren Moar started the chase

At this point a high speed chase – 19th century style – ensued.  Gordon May ran back to Elm Square and notified police officers Warren Moar, Jaquith, Mears, and Frye.  Moar and Jaquith followed the assailants in a wagon, but lost them at an intersection.  Andover resident Ralph Trow picked up the “toughs” as they headed north toward Lawrence and followed them on bicycle until he lost them detouring to notify a police officer.

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Ralph Trow followed the assailants on bicycle

Ralph Trow followed the assailants on bicycle

John May suffered a black eye and bruises, was “badly used up in the encounter,” and required medical attention.  One on-looker said “that May left his mark on more than one of his assailants and was not willing to give in to them.”

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The four assailants were arrested over the next few days as local police

officers used descriptions, provided by the Mays and onlookers, to locate the men.  One man, Daniel Lucy, who at first gave a false name, was arrested walking on the railroad track heading to Boston. The  four accused men pleaded guilty, but insisted that the three men were merely going to their friend’s aid.  Lucy maintained he emptied the revolver’s bullets into the ground to prevent the gun from being used.  After their trial, the four men were sentenced to 60 days in jail.

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It is unfortunate that the Society does not have a photograph of our story’s hero, John May, in its collection.    The Townsman described John May as “a well known man of this place.”  If any May family members have a photograph of John May that they would like to share with the Historical Society, we would be delighted to copy the photograph for our collection.

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2 Responses to “A High Speed Chase ~ 19th Century Style”

  1. It is really great to see this information come to fruition and into the light of day through this site. It is everything promised and expected. Good work Andover Historical staff and volunteers.

  2. I grew up in a suburb of Rochester, NY (Irondequoit) and on the way to church on Sunday morning, we would pass a horse drawn milk wagon, usually standing still with a large round iron weight on the ground to keep the horse from walking away. We were just far enough from our own dairy that milk was delivered by truck. THis scene was gone by 1950.

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