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Ali In America ; 1889-1891

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  • Ali In America ; 1889-1891

    I'm hoping that this project will provide the most comprehensive overview of Ali's time in the New York area, the period beginning in 1889 and ending with his conviction in 1891.

    First, the passenger list with his name on the very bottom and the ship he arrived on.

    Document located by Nina Brown

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  • #2
    His Known Addresses

    Ali lived at 174 Worth Street in Manhattan at one point. On the map, it's the red dot showing the distance ( 4/10ths of a mile) from the East River Hotel)

    Excerpt from the New York Herald, May 10, 1891.

    I mentioned this before, but Ali will be shown to have had a Jekyll & Hyde persona.....Jekyll among his Arab friends in Brooklyn...and Hyde while in Manhattan

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    • #3
      His Brooklyn Connection

      East River Echo Number 16 covers Ali's friends in Brooklyn...the Jenalli family.

      One of the Big Lies in this case is that Ali could not speak French. This claim is found in the Echo

      I found an article published in 1902 ( April) covering Ali's departure aboard the La Bretagne ( shown here) in which the reporter saw and heard Ali conversing in French with French speaking passengers.

      Ali's Room ( Either on Worth Street, Manhattan or as I believe, Columbia Avenue in South Brooklyn) -NY Herald May 10, 1891

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      • #4
        The Arrests

        This part of the project will probably require me to move the order of arrests into proper chronological order later on.

        Before you read the following, it might be worthwhile to consider that Ali was not part of any gang : he had no family members
        in the United States ; he had no 'cousins' in this country : none of the Arabs he
        associated with went to jail with him : even after spending thirty days in jail, not once but twice, he still broke laws and
        would have continued to break laws despite having financial opportunities his own country couldn't provide....which is why he
        unfortunately stained these shores by coming here in 1889 from Brazil. In fairness to him, perhaps something occurred
        during his service to the French Army that affected his moral compass...we don't know. Looking at his resume of
        jail stints, whores, boozing, and begging, it would have been better for him to have never come here.

        This scan comes from the New York Herald from April 28th, 1891.
        It is a clear example of the press proving the public misleading information.
        It is possible that the alias 'Michael Francois' is yet another in the list used by Ali
        Ali's arrest sheet extended back into 1890....and possibly earlier.

        This is the real story......the Coroner Inquest testimony of Officer Eugene Meyer.

        Meyer arrested Ali back on September 25, 1890....not January 24, 1891.
        There is a good reason that people at the East River Hotel denied knowing about the arrest. It didn't happen there.
        The coroner report mentions a larceny case ( also mentioned in the NY Herald scan above). This may refer to the George Frank
        incident in which Ali was charged with theft....but it may refer to another case. Brooklyn was not part of New York City in 1891. It was
        a separate city until January 1,1898. The case referred to below was supposed to have taken place in Manhattan.

        Coroner Inquest May 13-May 14, 1891
        Testimony of Off. Eugene Meyer

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        • #5

          Interested parties ought to have heard by now that Ali was arrested for vagrancy in Queens ( a separate borough of New York City) on March 14th
          and released on April 13th ( One report, according to Wolf Vanderlinden, has it at April 11th) after doing a 30 day stint. March 14-April 13th is exactly
          30 days. It was from this arrest that three convicts in the Queens County Jail...which is NOW situated in Jamaica, a section of Queens, & who had
          served time with Ali appeared both at the Coroner Inquest & Trial to testify that they had seen a knife in Ali's possession which was similar to the knife said to have
          been found in the Hotel and used on Carrie Brown.

          Here's where things get a little tricky.

          Ali was said to have been arrested in Jamaica, NY. This, as Vanderlinden wrote back in 2004, was for a reason that had eluded Ali. It was also
          said to have resulted in Ali going to jail for thirty days in Jamaica, Long Island....pages 10 and 11, Ripper Notes 19, July 2004.....and obviously within trial
          transcriptions. I referenced Wolf's piece because more folks may have it at hand for perusing.

          At one time, Jamaica was considered to be in Long Island, which touches Queens. Today in 2022, as I mentioned earlier, Jamaica is considered part of Queens, but the
          town was also the first village in Long Island...which in 2022 is Nassau County. There may have been a jail in Jamaica, Long Island at the time. I'm working on this.

          So....the question is : Did Ali get arrested twice....once for the Queens County vagrancy charge and the other perhaps for something else or vagrancy again ? This solid would be citizen faked an injury by wearing a splint on his arm and was exposed as a petty beggar.

          Ali claimed at the trial when his attorneys acquiesced to his desire to testify for himself that he had been arrested four times...ostensibly since his arrival to America.

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          • #6

            Earlier on this thread, the NY Herald reporter...who, by the way, WAS Pulitzer Prize winner Charles Edward Russell, according to 'The Pen Is Mightier'....a biography of Russell....and who wrote four articles on the Case in 1891......brought up data which matches the testimony of Off. Eugene Meyer which was undoubtedly the Brooklyn larceny case, where Ali was arrested and charged for stealing $ 182 dollars ( $5, 846 dollars in 2022 ) worth of goods from George Frank. Ali skated away on this one. He was not sentenced and Frank may have simply let the matter drop.

            This, of course is the George Frank whose name Ali would use when arrested in the Queens County vagrancy case and that the State of New York titled his trial.

            He had several aliases....George Frank, Frank Sherlicka, and possibly Michael Francois.
            Ordinary people don't usually have aliases. Criminals do.
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            • #7
              To recap :

              We've got him for the September 1890 assault on Lopez
              We've got him for at least one, possibly two, arrests in Queens
              We've got him for the George Frank larceny charge.
              Ali had said he was arrested four times not including the Brown Murder.
              Could the January 24 article in Post 4 and ridiculously labeled 'No Criminal Record' possibly refer to another incident somewhere ?

              I wonder why he was in Queens and who he knew there.
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              • #8
                In addition to these incidents there were other altercations and with women....... one with a Mrs. Finnegan of 80 James Street
                and an altercation at 49 Oliver Street with Mamie Harrington. Both women ran houses used by
                prostitutes and both women had to wield baseball bats to remove Ali from their premises. Keep in
                mind that these are just the known incidents. While it is possible Ali had gotten into trouble with the
                law prior to September of 1890, to date there's no document or report available to verify another incident.
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                • #9
                  MRS HARRINGTON & MRS. FINNEGAN or 'Batter Up !'

                  These two articles are as good as any to give researchers an idea of Ali's dealings with women in the area.

                  New York Herald
                  April 27, 1891

                  New York Evening World
                  April 30, 1891

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                  • #10
                    Errors in the previous post due to the amazingly bad reportage ( The NY Herald may be the worst, IMHO....the one the Pulitzer Prize winner Charles Edward Russell reported for. This is one of his four articles on the case). I won't list every one of them as I wanted to focus on one or two of them which might create confusion to interested parties.

                    Ali had no relatives in the US. The use of 'cousin' is not in relation to any family member of Ali. It may be a term of endearment used in relation to the ethnic background of Ali and this mysterious other man. This Frenchy #2...the cousin...the one with blue most assuredly not Jenalli or Bozieb, two Brooklynites. It may be John Allen from the notorious Double Alley, situated on the edge of the Five Points neighborhood....who was described as violent and being of a Middle Eastern background ( refer to East River Echo Number 102...I've attached a PDF below). John Allen , no doubt an alias, is referred to as being an Algerian in the article.

                    'Dublin Mary' was Mary Briscoe, who Ali described at the trial as being his lover & mistress ( through an interpreter). She blushed and the gallery guffawed. In one article in the NY Evening World both Lopez and Briscoe are referred to as 'Dublin Mary' the same column.

                    Harrington waved the baseball at Ali not the other fellow.
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                    • #11
                      In the future, I'll put together a post-July 1891 cache of material on Ali.

                      * Sentenced July 10th, 1891 to Sing Sing Prison
                      * Three 19th century pardon campaigns : 1894, 1897, 1900 - One in the 20th ( 1901). All failed.
                      * Close call while in the State Asylum For The Criminally Insane ( Matteawan, January1896 ) Fire in the institution.
                      * Nearly killed a 16 year old horse thief, William Greef or Green while in Matteawan (January 12, 1898)
                      * Met John L. Sullivan, champion pugilist in Matteawan
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