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North Salem: 101 Years Ago Today

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. - The Aug. 16, 1910 issue of The New York Times reported that a man, described in the article as “an Italian,” knocked at the door of the Purdy Homestead and asked to see Mr. Purdy,  defined by the paper as “a wealthy farmer.”

Miss Lillian Purdy, 19, explained that her father was not at home and the man went away. Some time later the young woman went out to the peach orchard, where she was “set upon and assaulted” by the stranger.

Elias Purdy later found his daughter, bound and gagged, on the ground in the orchard. Notified by Purdy, the Watershed Police set a bloodhound, “owned by Floyd White,” on the trail of the alleged assailant. The man was chased in the woods and arrested.

There is no report on the outcome of the case.

The Watershed Police were employed by the New York City Board of Water Supply to oversee the thousands of migrant families living in labor camps throughout the lower Catskill area. They were mainly African-Americans and Italian immigrants, employed to construct the dams for the New York City Watershed. Concrete for the dams was provided by Winston & Co. of Katonah.

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