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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cane, Bowie Knife and Revolver Featured in NYC Dust-Up

One could be forgiven for thinking all bowie knife fights occurred in the South and West, but in fact New York City had its fair share. The following report is from the Los Angeles Times, May 15, 1885
Revolver and Bowie Knife
In the Hands of Two Desperate Men--They Do Some Damage.

New York, May 14. About 8:30 tonight an altercation occurred between Larry O'Brien, a well-known broker and politician, and George Truman, a sporting character, belonging to Chicago. The former was probably fatally stabbed, and the latter was shot twice. The affray was the outcome of a quarrel to-night. O'Brien met Truman on the corner of Broadway and Twenty-seventh streets and accused him of attempted blackmail. The remark enraged Truman, who gave utterance to some strong language. His remarks so exasperated O'Brien that he lifted his cane and struck the other man a heavy blow on the head. Without warning Truman drew a murderous-looking bowie-knife and plunged it into his opponent's abdomen, inflicting a gash eight inches long. A policeman immediately arrested Truman, and while in the custody of the officer a pistol shot was heard and a bullet from O'Brien's revolver lodged in the prisoner's back. He broke away from the officer and a second bullet from the same source lodged in Truman's left shoulder. Both men were taken to the Twenty-Ninth Precinct Police Station, and thence removed to the New York hospital. The excitement in the locality was intense. The cause of the quarrel is said to be an attempt on the part of Truman to blackmail a Wall street friend of O'Brien's. The friend is supposed to be Mr. Kelly of the firm of Kelly & Bliss, bookmakers. A charge of felonious assault was made against both men at the station house. The knife used has a blade a foot long and an inch and a quarter wide. O'Brien declined to take an anesthetic while his wound was being sewed up, and both men indulged in recriminations while their wounds were being dressed in the same ward in the hospital. To-night both men were resting quietly, but the result of the injuries is likely to be fatal in each case.
 The weapons appeared to grow as the story moved West. The New York Times described the knife as having a seven-inch blade, about an inch wide. The revolver was described as "an ornamented lady's pistol of light caliber."

Also, though the article states "the result of the injuries is likely to be fatal in each case," both men made a full recovery from their injuries and declined to press charges.

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