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   In 1885 New York State was still  one big forest espeacialy in central and upstate New York. When the outlaws of that time period came to realize this they started to go there from where ever they came from to hide untill the heat was off. You could go for three to six months with out ever seeing another soul. Some historians say that John Wesely Hardin was headed for Oswego County when the Texas Rangers caught up with him in Georgia.In 1885 the County Sheriffs of New State finally convinced the State Legislature that they needed help. But the robber barons of that time period Andrew Carnige,John D. Rockefeller, JP Morgan,and Cornielius Vanderbilt did not want a State Police Force because they could go anywhere to enforce the law and look over there shoulders as to what they where doing that wasn't legal. So they decided to create an elite force of men to handle the most desperate of these outlaws. Someone in the State Legtislature had a cousin that was a retired Texas Ranger, He wrote his cousin and asked him to come to New York and create a force of thirty two men based on the original Texas Rangers of which he did. If you know any thing about Texas history you know that the original Rangers didn't take to many outlaws alive.   To this very day the State of New York denies these men ever exsisted. They have been a State secret for over a hundred years now. How I know is because my Great Grandfather Leonard Burdette Parish was one of these men and I was raised on stories about him and some of the cases he was involved in. Back in the late 1950's the state went on a big drive to try and wipe out everything they could find on these men. In my senior year at North Syracuse Central High Scool the New York State history teacher Mrs. Mills on the first day of class gave us a fifteen minute talk on these men because she beleaved that history should be written and tought the way it happened. She would have been fired on the spot if she had been caught.      Back in June 2008 I went to my first class reunion and found out that Mrs Mills was fired for teaching students about the Vigilantes Sanctioned By The State Of New York 1885 - 1917. How can a state have the nerve and gall to urinate on The First Amenment Of The Constitution Of The United States Of America and desecrate the memory of the One Point Three Million Men who willing laid their lives on the alter of there nation in defense of this right. Mrs Mills is not the only person to be persecuted for knowing and talking about these Vigilantes. My father and myself have been persecuted for not being afraid to talk about these men. A distant cousin of ours who was Cicero Town Historian was also persecuted. How many others that I don't know about that were persecuted as well is probably quite high.                                                     





  • New York State
  • 1885 to 1917

New York State Vigilantes 1885 to 1917

    This episode of The New York State Vigilantes was first told to me by my father who got it from the horses mouth his grandfather Leonard Burdette Parish. Mrs Mills my history teacher in my senior year at North Syracuse Central High School was the second an last to tell me about a hyjacked train.                                                   

     In the late 1890's and early 1900's the Black Hand thought it was a lot of fun to hyjack passenger trains and hold them for ransome. At that time the Vanderbilt family owned the railroads. Not long after Teddy Roosevelt became governor of New York State the Black Hand hyjacked another passenger train. When Governor Roosevelt got word of this criminal act he got highly upset about it. Governor Roosevelt was a law an order man at any cost for he himself had been a sheriff at one time in his life. As I understand it he got all thirty two of these vigilantes togather and told them in no uncertian terms that this was not going to happen on his station and that he wanted them to handle it so that it would never happen agian. I don't know who got the idea but some one came up with the Idea of running the train down a flooded coal mine that still had the old tracks comeing up out of the old mine.

     After hyjacking a train the Black Hand would run the train all over central and up state New York untill Cornielus Vanderbilt paid off. The vigilantes got the tracks comeing up out of the old flooded coal mine connected to the main line that wasn't to far from the coal mine. Vanderbilt got with his people and with the help of the switchman they guided that train right to and down that flooded coal mine passengers and all. The only ones to escape were the engineers. They had sharpshooters on high ground to pick off anyone that might escape. Vanderbilt and the other robber barons pooled there money and paid off the realitives off the passengers very handsomely with the stipulation that they keep there mouth shut for ever and it's still that way today. That was the very last time the Black Hand ever hyjacked another train. I've seen that train twice once in 1955 and 1960 It's probably still there.



  • New York State
  • 1900

Contributor: HondoKid
Created: February 14, 2008 · Modified: December 12, 2013

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