The Oldest Man In New York
I am more of a believer in the accuracy of books, but I’ll admit it- bibliophile that I am, even books are wrong sometimes. Actually, more than sometimes. How often, I’ve wondered, does a mistake appear in a book, that book becomes the “authority” or “reference” material for other books and the mistake becomes gospel?
When something strikes me as unusual, amazing or inconsistent with what I know, I try and check the facts by going to the original or earliest source material. This is just my natural curiosity. This includes lots of history that is inconsequential in the greater scheme of things. But when I get fascinated and have to know more, I’ll take the time to look into it.
In an earlier post we noted we would return to the book, “The Secrets of the Great City: A Work Descriptive of the Virtues and the Vices, the Mysteries, Miseries and Crimes of New York City” by Edward Winslow Martin (pseud. James D. McCabe) published by Jones, Brothers & Co. 1868.
One short chapter entitled The Oldest Man in New York aroused my investigative instincts, two samples from that chapter are reproduced below (the full three page text can be found here)
Strangers visiting the Church of the Ascension, in New York, cannot fail to notice the presence of an old gentleman, who occupies an arm-chair immediately in front of the chancel, in the middle aisle, and who gives the responses to the service in a very loud and distinct manner. This is, perhaps, the oldest man of the entire million of New York City inhabitants. It is Captain Lahrbush, formerly Continue reading