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Red Hook, Brooklyn - Imlay between Verona and Williams (now Pioneer Street)

Wire Works

A "wire" works was on Imlay Street in Red Hook Brooklyn from at least 1864.

The works went under several names over the years.

The first company, The Brooklyn Wire Mills, makers of iron wire was founded by Jehoiada Eagleton. The company had another mill in Manhattan. The Eagleton Manufacturing Company was established in 1849 and incorporated in 1864. Eagleton Manufacturing was reorganized in 1868 when "the primary investor George Pullman took his money out. This could have been directly connected to illness and Mr Eagleton's subsequent demise in 1870." At his point Joseph Lloyd Haigh became involved in the business. 1 The mill was up for auction in 1868. 1.(Don Sayenga, December 2016)

Joseph Lloyd Haigh, an assignor of Eagleton Manufacturing Springs, received a patent in 1872. In 1877 he had offices in Manhattan and a factory in Brooklyn and was under contract to provide wire for the Brooklyn Bridge. The company at that time was known as the Brooklyn Wire Mills. J. Lloyd Haigh defrauded the bridge. He was arraigned for forgery, pleaded guilty, and sent to Sing Sing Prison in 1880.

In 1882 the New York Wire and Wire rope company issued an annual report. In 1884 the buildings that had housed the wire company were for sale. By 1887 wire was being made on Imlay street by the Imlay Wire company.

Maps of Red Hook available through the New York Public Library digital Collection show:

  • An 1880 map indicates a wooden building labeled "Wire Works"on the west side of Imlay extending from the corner of William almost to Verona.

  • An 1886 map includes "Eggleston Spring company" on the east side of Imlay mid block.

  • Nothing listed at that location on a 1898-99 map.

  • Unnamed "Store House"listed in a 1904 map.

  • Nothing listed at that location on a 1907 map.

See New York Wire for sections of the maps in question.


  • In September 1892 a huge fire at The Occidental Oil company located at 137 to 145 Imlay totally destroyed the 2 story brick factory located there. The building was "well stocked" with cotton seed oil and "manufactured oil". The fire threatened the houses on Van Brunt but they were saved through the efforts of the fire department.

  • The Eggleston Spring Co was located on Imlay street near Verona on the 1886 map. A 1888 Brooklyn Eagle articles lists it along with several other "steel businesses" in Brooklyn. I cannot find anything else on "Eggleston" Spring Co.

    I believe the correct name was Eagleton.

Jehoiada Joseph Eagleton (c1820-1870) and the Eagleton Wire Company (AKA Brooklyn Wire Mill)

The Eagleton Wire Company (and several aliases) was founded by Jehoiada Joseph Eagleton.

Jehoiada Joseph Eagleton was born in England circa 1820. The date of his immigration to the US is not known. He married Sarah N Smith in 1853 in the USA. He died in 1870 in Bayshore, New York. He was the son of John Eagleton born in 1785 in Conventry, Warwick England; an Independent minister who was ordained in 1809. John Eagleton served in Coventry, Birmingham and Huddersfield. He died at Huddersfield in August 1832, age 47. Jehoiada siblings were: Hephzibak Eagleton 14 Dec 1807 - St Michael, Coventry, Warwickshire, England, Jeshurren William Eagleton 23 Feb 1809 - St Michael, Coventry, Warwickshire, England Jabez Eagleton 5 Mar 1811 - St Michael, Coventry, Warwickshire, England Beulah Kozia Eagleton 11 Jul 1815 - The Holy Trinity, Coventry, Warwickshire, England, John Ebenezer Eagleton 9 May 1817 - The Holy Trinity, Coventry, Warwickshire, England, and Julia Betheda circa 1826

(A history of American manufactures from 1608 to 1860 ..., Volume 3 By John Leander Bishop, Edwin Troxell Freedley, Edward Young, 1868 and others)
The Eagleton Manufacturing Company are the largest manufacturers of Iron and Cast Steel Wire, for all uses, in the State of New York. The Company have two mills employed in the manufacture, the principal one, known as the "Eagle Wire Mills," being located on Twenty-second Street, between First and Second Avenues, and the "Brooklyn Wire Mills," in South Brooklyn. The former covers the greater part of six city lots, containing fifteen thousand square feet, and is five stories in height. In the numerous rooms there are nearly two hundred wire blocks, principally employed in drawing Steel Wire of all sizes, including about forty machines for drawing very Fine Wire, some as fine as No. 36. The machinery is propelled by an engine of two hundred and fifty horse power, through the agency of an immense belt three feet in width. In the boiler room there are six boilers of large size. The annealing ovens have a capacity for annealing seventy-two thousand pounds of steel a day. This is converted principally into Crinoline Wire, of which great quantities are made; and this is one of the few establishments in the United States where may be witnessed all the operations incidental to converting a rough bar of steel into a finished Hoop Skirt.

In close proximity to the Wire Mills are the " Eagle Skirt Works," owned by this company, where about two hundred dozen Skirts are finished weekly. The scene presented in the rooms where fifteen hundred Braiding Machines are employed in covering the Wire, and a half dozen Jacquard Looms are busy in weaving the Tape, is one of unusual interest and animation. Each Skirt in the process of manufacture passes through eighteen or twenty hands before it is ready for market.

In the mill in South Brooklyn, Iron Wire is principally made. The building is of brick, one hundred and eighty-six feet long by one hundred and ten wide, and the machinery is of sufficient capacity to turn out seven tons of Wire daily. Telegraphic Wire, galvanized and plain, is made here, but the leading item of production is Spring Wire, which is manufactured into Sofa and Furniture Springs in the upper rooms of the Company's Warehouse, 81 John street, New York.

The Eagleton Manufacturing Company was incorporated in 1864, but its President, J. J. Eagleton, has been engaged in the Wire manufacture since 1849. This enterprising Company employs from six hundred to seven hundred hands. The present officers are, J. J. Eagleton, President; E. G. Angell, Treasurer; and R. A. Peck, General Superintendent.

(Italics mine MLB.)

1841 English Census: Hudderfield, Yorkshire England - Boulah Kizia Eagleton 25 John Ebenezer Eagleton 20, muscian, Jehorida Joseph Eagleton 20 Julia Bethesda Eagleton 15

Immigration: ?

1853 Marriage: J. J. Eagleton married Sarah Nicoll Smith - 06.16.1853. Sarah Smith was born in Islip, Long Island circa 1833


  1. Ida born circa 1857 - died 1872 age 15 years - In 1870 she was at a boarding school in Morristown, New Jersey.

  2. Carrie - EAGLETON. In this City, on Tuesday morning, Feb. 4, of scarlet fever, CARRIE, daughter of J.J. and Sarah N. Eagleton, aged 11 months and 22 days. February 5, 1862

  3. Charles circa 1858 died 1862

  4. Edward circa 1860 - with his mother in 1870

1857 Naturalization: Jehoiada Joseph Eagleton Birth Place: England Court District: New York Date of Action: 8 Jun 1857

1857: Jeholada J Eagleton wire 84 John Street, home 52 E25th New York, New York, City Directory, 1857

1859: Rylands Superior "R B" Iron wire, Bridge wire, spring wire, tinned wire and galvanized telegraph wire Steel for sale J. J. Eagleton, No 84 John Street New York (Ad in New York Daily Tribune


"Wednesday July 27 at 101/2 o'clock Handsome Furuiture, Carriages. Harness, etc, at Riverdale, Westchester Co. per Hudson R. Rail Road, 14 miles from Clumbers atreet. At the residence of J J. Eagleton, Esq , all the household furuiture aud other property on said premises, comprising handsome parlor, dining-room, library, and bed room furniture, 6 octavo rosewood piano and stool, Herring's patent plate sale etc. Also, kitchen and dairy articles, with which the sale will commence. Also, a close carriage handsomely finished, and but little worn, two double-seat wagons, two single seat, do one trotting do, double and single harness, &c. The above sale will be positive, the owner leaving for Europe. Catalogues on the morning of sale. For direction sto house enquire of the Station-Master."
1859: Jehoiada Joseph Eagleton, of New York, in the United States of America, but now residing at Birmingham, in the County of Warwick, Manufacturer and Merchant, for an invention for "An improvement or improvements in annealing furnaces." (Chronological and Descriptive Index of Patents Applied for and Patents ... By Great Britain. Patent Office)

1860 Return to USA: 1st class cabin Mr. J J Eagleton 14 Sep 1860 Age: 40 Nationality: American Place of Origin: United States of America Port of Departure: Liverpool, England and Queenstown, Ireland Destination: United States of America Port of Arrival: New York, New York Ship Name: Asia - Also listed: Mrs. S.. N., Ida Eagleton age 4, Charles age 2, and a servant.

1866: In a letter to the Internal Revenue D. C. Whitmann of Eagleton Manufacturing co., New York, stated:

"Rolled or tempered wire is one of the materials used in the manufacture of hoop skirts. This wire, before it can be so used, is finished or fitted for the purpose, by being covered. The tax on such covered wire imposed by the present law, is six per cent ad walorem. This tax is to be assessed and paid on all wire thus fitted for use, whether made, covered, and sold, or made, covered, and consumed, or used by the party manufacturing it in the production of the skirts. If a party rolls or tempers the wire, and sells it before covering, he is liable to pay a duty of six per cent. on the sale value of such wire. If the purchaser covers this wire, the latter is liable to a tax of five per cent on the increased value whether he sells the covered wire, or uses or consumes it in the manufacture of skirts."

The Internal Revenue Record and Customs Journal, Volumes 3-4


"One of the largest manufactories of its class in the country, the Eagleton Wire Works, of New York, employing over one thousand men, of which Mr. Pullman is the principal owner, together with his interests in car manufactories, employing about the same number of men, afford illustrations of the manner in which his capital is employed." (Biographical sketches of the leading men of Chicago, 1868)

Note: Pullman died in October 1897 (Biography of George Mortimer Pullman, the developer of the Pullman railroad car.)

He also engaged extensively in other enterprises, including the Metropolitan Elevated railroad in New York city, of which he was president; the Eagleton Wire Works of New York, of which he was principal owner, and various car manufactories.

1868: FOR SALE at auction Brooklyn Wire Mill Imlay street Brooklyn -
"two story substantial brick factory known as the Brooklyn Wire Mill situated on the east side of Imlay st. Commencing 25 feet north of William st and being within one back of the Atlantic Basin. Size 156x110 and building covers entire lot. Possession immediately" New York Times 12 Feb, 1868

1870: J.J. Eagleton of Eagleton Manufacturing co. died in February 1870.
New York Times Feb 20, 1870 - DIED - JEHOIADA J. EAGLETON, Bay Bay Shore, late of this City. Notice of funeral will be published hereafter."

1870 Census: Eagleton, S age 40, Edward age 10 New York Ward 22 District 15 (2nd Enum), New York, New York

1872 Death: EAGLETON. At Babylon, L. L. on Monday. August 19, IDA S. EAGLETON, only daughter of Sarah N. and the late J. J. Eagleton, aged 15 years, 10 months and 24 days. Buried Greenwood.

1879: 10 Mar 1879 - Mrs. S Eagleton, age 51 lady, born U. States, With Mr. W Eagleton age 21, gentleman, born England, US citizen, Liverpool, England and Queenstown, Ireland to New York, New York Ship Name: Berlin

1880: In 1880 West Bradley & Company obtained a judgement agains the Eagleton Manufacturing Company of Imlay Street between William and Verona. The case went before the Untied States Supreme Court in 1884 and the property was sold by the United States Marshall to satisfy the judgement. Before the sale the Eagleton Company had transferred the property to New York Wire and Rope Company. In April 1888 a suit was brought to recover the property.

Listed on Imlay street 1 through 6 Eagleton Mfg. and Eagleton Wire, Real Estate Record and Builders Guide, August 10, 1872.

1885: May 1, Eagleton, after a short illness Sarah beloved wife of the late J J Eagleton

1885: Probate of Sarah N Eagleton in trust to her son, Edward in his minority, until his majority at age 25 (There is more but no other heirs.)

EAGLETON, JEHOIDA J., 1870-02-22,13311,160 (died Bay Shore, New York)
EAGLETON, CARRIE,1862-04-26, 13311,160+ (not listed NYCDI)
EAGLETON, CHARLIE J. 1862-04-26 13311 160+ (Not listed NYCDI)
EAGLETON, IDA 1872-08-21 13311 160+ (Not listed NYCDI)
EAGLETON, MARY EMMA PHILLIPS 1926-01-13 12231 160+ (Not listed NYCDI) (born circa 1844 per 1900 census)
EAGLETON, SARAH N. 1885-05-01 13311 160+ (age 52 NYCDI)
EAGLETON, THOMAS 1910-10-12 12231 160+ (Not liste NYCDI)

Note: Thomas Proud Eagleton and his wife Mary Emma Phillips had a son, Wells Phillips Eagleton born in Brooklyn on 18 September 1865. (Scannell's New Jersey First Citizens: Biographies and Portraits of ..., Volume 1)

Douglass College Rutgers University Scholarship - Mary E.P. Eagleton - Established in memory of Mary Emma Phillips Eagleton; based on financial need.

1880 Census: Brooklyn, Franklyn Ave., Thos. "Egleton" 40, ---- factory, born England, Mary E. Egleton 30 Wells Egleton 13 Mary A. Phillips 72, father in law, Walls Phillips 78, mother in law, Helen G. Phillips 35, sister in law and a servant.

1900: Newark New Jersey, Well P Eagleton 34, head, physician, eye and ear, Mary E Eagleton 55, mother, 1 child 1 living, Helen L Phillips 58, aunt, two servants

Question: Why are Thomas and Mary Emma buried with Jehoiada and Sarah?

Jehoiada (je-hoi'-a-da) meaning "Jehovah knows" is a name from the old testament. Jehoiada was an important priest during the reigns of Ahaziah, Athaliah, and Joash. He married a daughter of king Ahaziah. Jehoiada lived to be 130 years old. J. J. Eagleton's parents must have been bible readers.

J. J. Eagleton

Joseph Lloyd Haigh (aka J. Lloyd) (c 1835-??)

In September 2016 Don Sayenga wrote and asked me if I knew the Red Hook address of J. L. Haight, a wire manufacturer with and office at 81 John Street New York City and a wire business in Red Hook. I had not previously come across records for Mr. Haigh in Red Hook. So I thank Don for making me aware of another Red Hook business man.

1863 Civil War Enlistment: Joseph L Haigh, Brooklyn, New York, Enlisted 18 Jun 1863, Rank at enlistment: 1st Lieutenant, State Served: New York, Service Record: Commissioned an officer in Company E, New York 23rd Infantry Regiment on 18 Jun 1863. Mustered out on 22 Jul 1863 at Brooklyn, NY. Sources: New York: Report of the Adjutant-General

1864: Marriage J Lloyd Haigh 14 Apr 1864 to Eliza V Haley

1865: Brooklyn, Brown stone, value $7,000 Dudley Haley 48, fish dealer, Rebecca Haley 42, Eliza V Haigh 21, Joseph L Haigh 30, son in law, hardware merchant, Albert Haley 19, Isabella McIntyre 26, Louisa Petershen 40, Ellen O'Connell 22 Eliza V Haigh 0, child

1867: June 4, Lost small black and tan dog, Grove street Mott Haven, $5 reward, for return to Mott Haven of John Street NYC J. L Haigh

1870: Eagleton Manufacturing Co manufacturers of Iron and Cast Steel Wire, 81 John Street, New York J. Lloyd Haigh, Secretary Abram S Hewitt, President

1870: Morrisania, Westchester, New York Joe L High 35, importer of wire --, $15,000 $10,000 Eliza B High 26 Eliza B High 5 Cassie H High 2, Dudley Haley 52, fish merchant, $10,000, $12,000, born Conn., Rebecca F Haley 48, born New Jersey, Catharine Head 20, servant born Ireland

1872: Scientific American Volumes 26-27

MANUFACTURING FURNITURE SPRINGS. - Joseph Lloyd Haigh, of New York city, assignor to Eagleton Manufacturing Company, of same place

This improvement pertains to that portion of the manufacture of springs, for furniture, mattresses, etc., which relates to the compressing or condensation of the spring after it is coiled; and the improvement consists in effecting the required compression of the spring after it has been tempered, whereby a stronger and better article is produced. The inventor says; "In carrying out my invention, I employ the usual sizes and qualities of material; and I coil the wire of which the spring is to be composed upon a block, in the usual manner. After removing the coil from the block, it is then ina very long or open condition; and the common method is to subject the spring to powerful compression in a press, so as to condense the coils and give the spring the proper set. After this compression, the springs are tempered and finished, and are then ready for use. My improvement differs from the ordinary method in --- that, after have coiled the spring on the block in the usual manner, I then temper the spring in the ordinary way, and after the tempering submit the spring to the compressing operation by the usual means, thus giving it the proper set; after which I finish and dress the spring in the ordinary manner. The result of my improvement which, as before stated, consists in giving it the set or compression after it is tempered instead of before tempering is to increase the stiffness and strength of the spring. I find by actual experimentation as between springs made of precisely the same size of wire coiled,compressed, tempered, and treated alike in all respects, except is regard to the compression after tempering as described that the springs that are set or compressed subsequent to the tempering are at least fifteen per cent stronger and better than those made in the ordinary manner."

1875: Haigh, Joseph Lloyd manufacturer & importer of iron and steel rods, iron wire, telegraph wire, cast steel wire, copperas, iron & steel furniture springs, fence wire & fence staples; warehouse 81 John st, h 146 n Macombe av, Goulding's New York City Directory

According to an article in 1877 J. Lloyd Haigh assumed control of the Eagleton Wire works in 1875.

1874/75: J. Lloyd Haigh was a bit of a scoundrel. In 1874/1875 J. Lloyd Haigh, John Street iron merchant, married with two children committed bigamy by marrying Jennie Hughes, a popular comedian and singer at the Metropolitan Theatre. Miss Hughes was "very plump, rather pretty" and sang "quite well". Haigh pursued Miss Hughes by buying all of the boxes on the nights of her shows, distributing 100s of tickets, sending his carriage to take her to the theatre and back, showering her with jewelry and flowers, throwing bouquets on the stage. Mr. Haigh bought Miss Hughes a house "up town" and furnished in elegantly. Miss Hughes left the stage. The first Mrs. Haigh, who reportedly lived in Mott Haven, knew nothing of the arrangement. Soon trouble arose and Haigh and Jennie had an argument. Haigh kicked Jennie out of the house and sued to recover his property. Jennie went back to the stage and billed herself and Mrs. J. Lloyd High, nee Miss Jeannie Hughes. The fight escalated with Jennie having Haigh arrested for libel. The both sought charges of bigamy. Haigh denied being legally married to Jennie. The story was carried in a lot of papers.

1875: Census, Buffalo frame house, Margaret A Locke, age 51, born Maine, Lyda B Haigh, age 10, born Queens Co., New York, Cassie H Haigh age 7, born Queens co New York, Sarah Chattuch, age 14, musician, Abbie H Locke age 26 born Maine, no occupation, Chas L Locke, age 31 born Maine, clerk express office.

Note: Abby Locke married James Bennett Stone in Buffalo in 1881. James Bennett Stone (born 1844 Boston died 1921 Berkeley, Ca.) was a wire rope manufacturer and had been a consultant to J. Lloyd Haigh.

1876: John Ward age 23 of 279 Van Brunt in the 3rd district of the 12 Ward was arrested for illegally registering to vote. It was alleged that he had immigrated in April 1875 but had naturalization papers were dated September 1875. He was employed at the "Empire Wire Works" at the corner of Williams and Imlay streets.

1877: J. L Haigh was the first paid subscriber to put the telephone to practical use when he ran a line between his office in Manhattan and his Factory in South Brooklyn. The telephone wire was strung over the half finished Brooklyn Bridge.

The Brooklyn wire Mills owned by J. Lloyd Haigh had a contract for providing wire for the main cables of the Brooklyn Bridge. Five miles of wire used in the first circuit were manufactured by this company. The works, situated at the corner of Imlay and William streets, were the only wire works in either Brooklyn or Manhattan. A one quarter of a million dollar investment of permanent capital was made to prepare the works with the necessary equipment. Running day and night the works employed about 300 full time men and boys.

In February 1877 the erection of a frame building on the West side of Imlay Street 150 feet south of Verona was approved by the Brooklyn Department of Fire and Buildings with the condition the building be taken down immediately "upon completion of the said Company's contract with the Trustees of the New York and Brooklyn bridge company."

1877: J. Lloyd Haigh applied for a patent for straightening (tempering) and coating wire.


WIRE MAKING. Its Relation to the Building of the Bridge. The Successful Bidders for the Contract

The Brooklyn Wire Mills and How They are Operated

The Process of Manufacturing Steel and Iron Wire

The Wire for the Bridge.

The Brooklyn Wire Mills, of which Mr. J. Lloyd Haigh is tbe proprietor, were described in tbe early part of last year by THE UNION as one of the most important of Brooklyn's industries. They now become of especial interest on account of tbe award of the contract for making the wire for the main cables of tbe Bridge to Mr. Haigh. A visit was made to tbe mills by a UNION reporter today. They are situated at tbe corner of Imlay and William streets, in the Twelfth Ward. Tbe operation of these mills, which derive additional interest in that they are the only works of the kind in either Brooklyn or New York, or their vicinity, involves an investment of a permanent capital, amounting to about one-quarter of a million dollars, and gives constant employment to about three hundred men and boys. The mills are kept almost perpetually at work, day and night, and they annually produce thousands of tons of every description of steel and iron wire, and also of spiral springs for furniture and other purposes, while their products are daily shipped hence to all parts of tne country. They were formerly owned and operated by Messrs. Mulford & Biddle and their associates, but between ten and eleven years ago they were purchased by tbe Eagleton Manufacturing Co., which succeeded the old firm of Eagleton & Co., which was established over a quarter of a century ago in New York. After the purchase, the Eagleton Manufacturing Company abandoned its works which were on Twenty-second street, New York, and transferred the machinery to the Brooklyn Wire Mills, which had been enlarged for the purpose.

The business of the two mills having been thus consolidated and successfully prosecuted for a who had been for twelve years tbe largest stockholder in the Eagleton Manufacturing Company, and who now, as its successor, controls the entire business.


The Brooklyn Wire Mills with their buildings and yards occupy fourteen city lots on the east side of Imlay street, and six lots on the west side, making a total of twenty city lots, comprising an area of fifty thousand square feet. The main building or wire mill is a two-story brick structure fronting one hundred and fifty feet on Imlay street, and having a depth of one hundred and ten feet, with one side on William street. Its machinery is driven by a handsome Corliss engine of one hundred and fifty horse power. A high, one-story wooden building covering an area of one hundred by one hundred and fifty feet on tbe opposite side of Imlay street, is used for storage purposes, for stabling the horses used in transporting raw and manufactured material to and from the mills, and for making copperas from the refuse iron and acid from the mills. Adjoining the wire mills, on tbe northern side, is a row of comfortable brick houses occupied by some of the workmen and their families, and adjoining these, also on tbe north, is the spring factory, a substantial two story brick building, which covers an area of ninety by one hundred feet.

The article continues with a description of the process of making wire and testing of the wire. The company was making wire cables for the Brooklyn Bridge. The material used for making the wires consisted of ros, and coils of cast steel, Bessemer steel and charcoal iron. Large warehouses were required to store the raw material and the finished wire. The article continues with a description of the process of making wire and testing of the wire.

1878: New York Times 16 Feb - J. L. Haigh, a Brooklyn wire manufacturer, had a contract for furnishing wire for the cables for the East River Bridge (the Brooklyn Bridge). He invited four or five dignitaries then visiting New York to walk across the half finished bridge and inspect his wire works where the wire way played out to make the cables.

1878: A letter from W. A. Roebling about the fraud committed by J. L Haigh.

Hon. Henry C. Murphy,

Brest. Board of Trustees N. Y. and Brooklyn Bridge:

Dear Sir - I desire to draw your immediate attention to the frauds practiced by J. Lloyd Haigh, the contractor for the Cable Wire.

From the known reputation of this man, I deemed it necessary from the first to test every ring of wire made by him, and to exercise the proper precautions to fulfill the requirements of the specifications.

As attempts to bribe the Inspectors are usually the first method made use of in such cases, they were easily met when they came.

The next maneuver was as follows: The inspection takes place at Mr. Haigh's works. It was found that when any accepted wire was allowed to remain there over night, it was clandestinely removed and rejected wire put in its place, which, of course, went off to the Bridge. This was ascertained by privately marking the wire. This trick was persisted in even after it had been brought to Mr. Haigh's notice, and it could only be stopped by an order that no more wire should be inspected than could be carried away on that day.

Our suspicions, however, still continued. It was noticed that the pile of rejected wire instead of increasing, as it should from the constant rejections, was all the time growing smaller, and that it evidently went somewhere, most likely to the Bridge; the only solution of the matter being that the accepted wire was changed in its transit from South Brooklyn to the Bridge yard.

A watch was therefore set on the morning of the 5th of July, and the trick was at once discovered. The wagonload of wire as it left the Inspector's room, with his certificate, in place of being driven off to the Bridge, was driven to another building, where it was rapidly unloaded and replaced with a load of the rejected wire, which then went to the Bridge with the same certificate of inspection.

When these eighty rings reached the Bridge they were immediately tested, and only five out of the eighty were up to the standard of the specifications, whereas in the original load every ring had passed, thus clinching the proof that a change had been made. Two days later they were caught again in the presence of four witnesses unloading the good wire and filling up with the rejected wire, which was carefully being weighed on scales, so as to make the weight of the wagon-load exactly tally with the load of good wire for which it was being substituted.

The good wire taken from the wagon was then transferred back to the Inspector; he, supposing it to be new wire, again tested it and gave his certificate to go with it to the Bridge, only to have it go through the same routine.

The distressing point of this affair is, that all the rejected wire which has come to the Bridge, has been worked into the cables, and cannot be removed.

It is impossible to tell how long Mr. Haigh has been practicing this deception.

We know that it has been going on for two months, and the probability is that it extends as far back as last January. In that month the quality of the wire suddenly deteriorated so much that the rejections rapidly rose to 20, 30 and even 50 per cent., and the improvement since then has been only of a partial nature.

The quantity of wire rejected amounts, according to the Inspector's books, to nearer 500 than 300 tons, and this is the amount which may be in the cables. How to ascertain the total quantity is a difficult task, unless brought out by a judicial examination. An engineer who has not been educated as a spy or detective is no match for a rascal.

For the present I have ordered a man on horseback to accompany each load, and I have instructed Col. Paine to withhold his signature to Mr. Haigh's monthly estimates and thereby stop Mr. Haigh from receiving anymore money until the extent of this fraud has been investigated.

The Trustees owe it to themselves, and to the work they have in charge, to see that this matter is thoroughly shown up, because it is the first instance of deliberate fraud which has come to my notice during the nine years that I have been the Engineer of this work and covering an expenditure of nearly $8,000,000.

Very respectfully, yours,

W. A. ROEBLING. Report of the Committee Appointed by the Board of Trustees

1879: Scheduel 3 Manufacturers, Brooklyn 12 months from January 1, 1879 to May 3, 1880. J. Lloyd Haigh, wire rope shop, captial $2000,000, mnumber of hands employed, 190, number above age 16, 180 children and youths, 10,number of hours 10/9 average day wage, $2.60/$1.75, value of material, supplies and fuel, $180,000, value of jobbing, $340,000


1879: Mr. J. L. Haigh had a contract with Anderson & Co in Pittsburgh for 1,600 tons of cast steel rod. Mr. Haigh had a contract for about 300 miles of cast steel rope for the New York Steam Cable Towing company who proposed "to adopt the Belgian system of towing on the Erie Canal." (Pittsburgh Daily Post 3 June 1879


"In the New York General Sessions, August 6, J. Lloyd Haigh, the well-known wire-rope manufacturer and the contractor for the wire for the East River Bridge, who, by means of false acceptances caused the suspension of the Grocers' Bank, was arraigned for forgery in the third degree. Through counsel he pleaded guilty, stating that he had done all in his power to make reparation for the injury committed and implored a light sentence. Judge Gildersleeve severely reprimanded the prisoner and sentenced him to hard labor in the State Prison for four years. The specific charge to which Haigh pleaded guilty was the forgery of a draft dated December 15, 1879, payable to and signed by himself and accepted by Messrs. Barney & Ferris, of Sandusky, Ohio." Engineering News-record, Volume 7
1880: City Directory: HAIGH, J LLOYD, wire rope, 81 John NY, & Imlay c William, home Mott Haven NY.



The gay and festive Mr. J. Lloyd Haigh is in high feather. There is, it appears, a flaw in the disingenuous attempts to prosecute him, almost as serious as the flaws in the wire that he sought to supply to the Brooklyn Bridge. The Banks on which he has been experimenting in various kinds of handwriting are not anxious to take any steps to punish the poor fellow. They pity him so much! Yes, so very much that they do not wish to see him tried; for he might be sent to jail and these banks might be investigated and might have to show their hands, and that wouldn't do at all. They must not prosecute rather let Mr. J. Lloyd Haigh wander forth unscathed, and continue to carry on his interesting chirographical practices.

We wonder if it has ever occured to anybody that other bank failures will soon be in order. We think we could name them.


1880: Grocers Bank Failure - New York Times article

"Failures. The Grocers' Bank of New York City, which has been for some time embarrassed, suspended on January 2. It has $300,000 capital and about $ 700,000 circulation, and has gone into the hands of a receiver, Mr. Stephen V. White. The bank had been discounting largely for a New York wire manufacturer, named J. Lloyd Haigh, who failed a day or two previously with $300,000 liabilities, and this forced the bank to suspend. It was subsequently made known that a large amount of forged paper had been set afloat by Haigh, who had been in good standing." (The Bankers Magazine, Volume 34)
1880: 146th street W of Harlem RR, Joseph L. Haigh 45, wire manufacturer, Eliza V. Haigh 36 Eliza V. Haigh 15 Cassie H. Haigh 12 John L. Haigh 7 Robert D. Haigh 6 Emily Haigh 5 Albert W. Haigh 2

1880: J . Loyd Haigh Westchester, New York, USA Sing Sing Prison, Ossining, NY, Conviction or Sentence Place: New York, New York, USA Conviction or Sentence Date: 6 Aug 1880 Received Date: 1880 Volume: 6, crime - forgery - sentence 4 years

J. Lloyd Haight - received form New york, sentenced 8-6-1880 for 4 years and 0 moonths for forgery, Bron New York age 45, occupation merchant, light complexion, blue eyes, light brown hair, 5 ft 7 and a half inches weight 175, can read and write, habits, temp*, tobacco no, bald, high forehead, full face, good features, small scar on left cheek, no scars or marks on body or limbs.protestant married, residence when arrested 150th st New york,

*Did not drink - or did not drink much

Death of Elizabeth Haigh 1881: Genealogical and Biographical Record of New London County, Connecticut states that Eliza, the wife of Joseph Lloyd Haigh, died at age 36. They had five surviving children.

New York Times January 8, 1881
1881: Brooklyn Eagle - Mrs. Eliza Haigh, wife of J. Lloyd Haigh, Mott Haven, the contractor who furnished mush of the wire for the Brooklyn Bridge and who was sentenced to Sing sing for forgery age 37.

1882: New York World


In 1878 of the capital stock of $8,684.--0, up to that time paid in. Abram S. Hewitt is mentioned as one of these slock holders. The Executive Committee during this year was S. L. Hu-ted, J. S. S. Stranahan, Abram S. Hewitt, H. W. Slocum, and Henry C Murphy. In the construction account of December 9. 1878, is found the following entry: "Cooper Hewitt A Company, railroad from, $756.09." This iron was purchased from a firm of which one of the trustees and a member of the Executive Committee, was a member. Under the head of steel cable and wire cable it was fourd that of the large sum of $805,010.79 paid for this article J. Lloyd Haigh was paid the sum of $614,036.03. wnich left the firm of J. A. Roebling with only $190,080.75. In 1865 there was a firm of steel-wire manufactures in this city, with works at Williamsburg and Mott Haven, by the name of Eagleton & Co. composed of J. J. Eagleton and E. S. Angell. In their employ as a "manager" and general business factotum was J. Lloyd Halgh. In the fall of 1865, a stock company was formed from the above firm, called the Eagleton Manufacturing Company, of which J. Lloyd Haigh was still the manager, and was also interested to tbe amount of about $12,000. The President of this company was J. J. Eagleton and the Vice-President was E. S. Angell. These in 1870 sold out to George M. Pullman, the proprietor ot the Pullman palace car. Now, at that time the firm of Cooper, Hewitt A Co. purchased of Pullman all of the slock, except Haigh's thirteen shares, and with their acquisition started on under the same name, Haigh was retained as manager. Upon a list of the financial ratings made by a commercial agency of that time was yesterday found the following: "Eagleton Manutacturlng Company, controlling interest owned by Cooper, Hewitt A Co., of New York City. This firm to managed by J. Lloyd Haigh, but Cooper, Hewitt A Co. are personally and as a firm responsible for all contracts be may make as the manager."

During 1878 Abram S. Hewitt, of the flrm of Cooper, Hewitt A Co., was still a trustee and member of the Executive Committee of the bridge, which passes upon all of the contracts awarded to bidders. It was also there found that in 1875 Cooper, Hewitt Co., or the Eagleton Company, sold out to J. Lloyd Haigh who was an accepted contractor, for $614,038.08 worth of wire such as the Eagleton Company had manufactured. The price paid on the transfer of the old interest by Haigh was $100,000, and it was secured to Cooper, Hewitt & Co., or the Eagleton Comnany, by a nominal mortgage of $100,000, until assets were collected, when the mortgage stool really for $42.000. The mortgage was to run three years, covering 1875, 1876 and 1877.

1883: An article about Sing Sing included the following:
"J. Lloyd Haigh, the wire merchant forger, paid $500 to get into the chaplain's office and would have advanced a similar sum to the doctor for a transfer to the hospital had not the first bribery been discovered." (This story was carried across the country.) One article says that Haigh worked in the shoe shop.

Gov. Cleveland refused to pardon J. Lloyd Haigh.

1888: Joseph L Haigh home, E 146th Mott av, New York, New York, USA, Occupation: Furniture, 1286 B'way, New York, New York, City Directory, 1888

1893: New York Times


A gray-bearded man, of medium stature, stepped to the bar of the Harlem Police Court yesterday morning when the name of Joseph Lloyd Haigh was called to answer the charge of stealing an eight-cent loaf of bread from Joseph H. Weisner, a grocer at 561 Columbus Avenue."

Haigh, age 53, who gave his address as 101 9th street, occupation broker, with a wife and 24 year old son, contended that he had come to the store to buy bread. Since the store was not open he helped himself to some bread left by the baker. He stated that he intended to have it charged to his bill. He was arrested and held on $300 bail.

Fifteen years before Joseph Lloyd Haigh was "a wealthy wire contractor" with an office at 81 John Street. He won the bid for wire work on the Brooklyn Bridge "but the work was not entirely satisfactory."

"In the first week of 1880 the Grocers' National Banck of this city suspended, and its trouble was traced to forgeries by Haigh, which aggregated about $125,000. On Jan 6, 1880 he was arrested. He gave $20,000 bail, and in August following, was brought into court with six indictments against him."

He pleaded guilty to the charges of forgery and was sentenced to 4 years of haard labor at Sing Sing.

The story was carried across the country.

New York Wire & Rope Company - Imlay Street

1882: A fire of unknonw origin occurred about half past five in the morning at the New York Wire and Rope factory at 133-145 Imlay street. $50 damage. (Brooklyn Union, April 15th)

1883: January 9 - The New York Times reported that the Trustees of the Brooklyn Bridge were unhappy with the test results on the ropes manufactured by the New York Wire and Rope Company. They approved a 30 day extension to meet the contract. If the company failed to meet the deadline that contract would be awarded to the next lowest bidder.

1883: 17, August - A fire broke out about 10 o'clock in the evening in the two story frame building at the rear of 153 Imlay street in a building used to make copperas*. The flames spread to the three story brick building in front - used by the New York Wire and Rope Company as a pattern shop. The rear building suffered damage of $200 and the front building sufferd damage of $1,000. Lost of stock and machinery amounted to $1,300. The cause of the fire was unknown.

*green ferrous sulfate heptahydrate aka green vitriol Iron(II) sulfate


REAL ESTATE FOR SALE - Valuable South Brooklyn real estate to close up company's accounts, one parcel 175 feet on Imlay street and 110 feet on William street, with one and two story brick buildings; one two-story dwelling adjoining, 11x35x90; one two story brick factory on Imlay street. 100x90 one lot on Van Brnnt street, 25x90. For particulars and price, which will be low, apply at office NEW YORK WIRE AND WIRE ROPE CO., 21 Astor House, N. Y. (Brooklyn Union)

1887: 20 April - Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

While working in the Imlay Wire Works on Imlay street, Brooklyn, yesterday, Michael Keenan fell into a vat of boiling water. Some fellow workmen fished him out and tried to resuscitate him , but he died in a few minutes. Keenan was 29 years old ad leaves a widow and two children."

Death Certificate: Michael Keenan age 29, April 18, 1887 Kings #4661

New York Wire and Wire Rope company

New York Wire and Rope company had property at the corner of Imlay and Williams (later Pioneer) in 1888.

New York Wire and Wire Rope company issued an annual report in 1882.

In their annual report of 1883 New York Wire and Wire Rope stated that the had debts of $101,002.16 of which $72,597 "is secured by mortgage upon real property owned by the company in the City of New York.

In 1884 New York Wire and Wire Rope Company had offices at 21 Aster, New York.

In April 1888 a suit was brought to;

"recover certain lands on Imlay street, between William and Verona street in the Twelfth Ward. The property formerly belonged to the Eagleton Manufacturing Company. In 1880 the West Bradley & Carey Manufacturing Company obtained a judgement against the Eagleton Company which was approved by the United States Supreme Court in 1884 and the lands in question were sold by the United States Marshall to satisfy judgement. Before the sale by the United States Marshall by the Eagleton Company co, Company conveyed the lands to the New York Wire and Wire Rope Company."
In May 1888 foreclosure proceedings were started by the City of New York (who held the mortgage) against "the New York Wire and Wire Rope company" on the property at William, Imlay, and Van Brunt, South Brooklyn". (BE)

1891: N. Y. Kings County Caleb B Knevals plaintiff against the New York Wire and Rope company, Edward W. Knevals Receiver of the New York Wire and Robe company, The Eagleton manufacturing and others including the National Bank of New York, defendants.- "In pursuance and by virtue of a judgement of foreclosure" and sale dated November 14, 1890. To be sold a public auction by the sheriff on 24 April 1891. Legal description of the property and its boundaries listed. "Being the same premises conveyed by Catherine E Burns and James, her husband, to the Eagleton Manufacturing Company by deed of March 5, 1873. Another parcel also with legal description of its boundaries conveyed to Eveline M. Bunting, widow to the Eagleton Manufacturing company by deed dated February 28, 1872.

The New York State Reporter: Containing All the Current Decisions of the ... By New York (State). Courts 1888: In 1872 Evelina Bunting assigned a $4,000 mortgage to the Eagleton Manufacturing co. That company held the mortgage for a little over 11 years. In March 1883 the mortgage was sold to the New York Wire and Wire Rope Company.

More on New York Wire

Eagleton Wire works

1860: The Eagleton Guards a musket company was composed of employees of the Eagleton Wire Mills of New York.


"One of the largest manufactories of its class in the country, the Eagleton Wire Works, of New York, employing over one thousand men, of which Mr. Pullman is the principal owner. Biographical Sketches of the Leading Men of Chicago
Mr. Pullman has been largely identified with the Metropolitan Railway and the Eagleton Wire Works in New York city. Hidden Treasures: Or, Why Some Succeed While Others Fail By Harry A. Lewis
1887: SWINDLER LAWTON - Walter E. Lawton was born in England. He immigrated to USA circa 1850, aged about 25 years. He lived in Boston for a number of years and the moved to New York where circa 1860 he became treasurer of the Eagleton Wire Manufacturing company. He apparently cooked the books at a number of companies and made off with close to a million dollars. Lawton Brothers 31 - 33 Broadway were dealers in phosphates. A firm employee said there were no "brothers" - only Mr. Lawton who lived in Spuyten Duyvil. He was said to be a widow with no children.

1908: Iron Age, Volume 82

EAGLETON HANSON, secretary of the Trenton Iron Company, Trenton, N. J., died August 27, 1908, aged 66 years. He was born in Bradford, Yorkshire, England, and in 1863 came to the United States, working for several years in the Eagleton Wire Works, New York, owned by his uncle. He served in the Union Navy as paymaster's clerk in the Civil War, and in 1865 went back to the wire works. In 1870 he entered the employ of the Trenton Iron Company and later became its secretary.

Eagleton Manufacturing

1871: Patent granted December 19th, 1871, to the Eagleton Manufacturing Company, assignee of Sarah N. Eagleton, administratrix of J. Joseph Eagleton, for the "improvement in japanned furniture springs" was declared invalid in 1882. (Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit Court of ..., Volume 18 By Samuel Blatchford)

Brooklyn Wire Mill

1868: For Auction: Imlay street Brooklyn, Brooklyn Wire Mill

"The substantial 2 - story brick factory, known as the "Brooklyn Wire Mill," situated on the east side of Imlay st commencing 25 feet north of William st. and within one block of the Atlantic Basin; size ---x110 and building covering entire lot, possession immediate"

1877: Brooklyn Union - February 6,

"The Brooklyn Wire Mill Company have received the contract for manufacturing the wire for the Bridge, and for the purpose of manufacturing the same it is necessary to construct a building 200 feet long, 90 feet wide, and 16 feet high; as the building will be useless for the purpose of their company upon the completion of their contract, they make application to erect it of wood, which is a violation of the law. By the provisions of the Building law and with which your honorable body are familiar, you are authorised, in certain case (to wit: when the publie safety is not endangered, and the Commissioners of this department so certify) to suspend the previsions thereof. If the consent of the authorities in this city is refused, the company could undoubtedly get permission to erect it in Jersey City, and the labor would be done by residents of that city to the detriment of our own workmen, large numbers of whom will find employment if the building is erected here.

The ground upon which it is proposed to construct the building is of such a nature as to require a building of brick to be erected upon piles; this not only delays the work but adds largely to the expense. The company agrees to remove the building upon tbe completion of the contract. For these reasons we are prompted to certify that the public safety will not be endangered by the erection of the building and to recommend that your honorable body suspend the provisions of that portion of the building law which prevents the construction of this building. We respectfully submit herewith a resolution the adoption of which will meet the requirements of the law. (Letter from President Massey of the Department of Fire and Safety.)

1877: Permission was granted February 8, 1877 to allow the Brooklyn Wire Mill to build a temporary wooden structure pending a written agreement between the Brooklyn Wire Mill Company and the Commissioners of Fire and Building that the building would immediately be taken down upon the completion of the contract with the Bridge commission.

1914: July 23,

The remains of Anton Fisher were laid at rest this afternoon at 2 o'clock in Lutheran Cemetery. Fischer passed away Tuesday, aged 70 years. He was born In Germany and had lived in this country 50 years. He was employed in the Brooklyn Wire Mill and was a member of the Greenpolnt Turn Vereln. He leaves three sons and three daughters and lived at 1856 Woodbine street, Ridgewood Heights.


Occidental Oil Company

In 1892 a huge fire all but destroyed the 2 story brick "factory" at 137 to 145 Imlay between Verona and Williams which housed the Occidental Oil company. The fire consumed everything except a small portion of the engine room. The building was said to be owned by Abram S. Hewitt, an ex-mayor of New York City.

Cotton seed and caster oils were manufactured in the building. At the time of the fire the building contained a large quantity of cotton seed oil and "manufactured" oil "which made excellent fuel for the flames". Robert B. Brown was the president and manager of the oil company. Estimated stock loss was $25,000 which was covered by insurance. The night watchman discovered the fire and put in the call to the fire department.

The fire threatened the houses on Van Brunt and a nearby grain elevator. The framework of some of the brick tenements was scorched and contents of the houses were damaged by smoke and water.

No real effort was made to save the factory. The push was to contain the fire and not let it spread. The cause of the fire was not ascertained. Assumed to be spontaneous combustion. Spontaneous combustion is an issue with oil seeds and oil seed products which need to be stored in a low moisture environment. Mold fungi may play a part. In addition, rags soaked in linseed oil or cotton seed oil are a very dangerous fire hazard as they are susceptible to spontaneous combustion.

The fire was widely covered in the press all over the country.

An employee of the company was Engineer Michael McKeown.

1893: May - For Sale 60 horse power boiler, engine and stack in first class order. Apply 137 Imlay st Brooklyn near Atlantic Docks, Occidental Oil company

1893: The Occidental Oil company of Brooklyn and N.Y., N.Y. received a patent for the use of cotton seed oil for "culinary purposes and for food".

Robert B Brown (1835-1940)

Robert B Brown was a Civil War officer in the Mass 2nd Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He was the owner of the Robert B Brown Oil company of St. Luis, Mo. and the Occidental Oil Company of New York. Both companies specialized in the manufacture of castor (from the casto plant) and linseed (flaxseed) oils. Robert B Brown was also a partner and president of the Mitchell-Allen Soap Co. and had investments in mining operations in Columbia, South America.

Robert B Brown of Massachusetts, Occupation: Lawyer, Age at Enlistment: 21, Enlistment Date: 25 May 1861, Rank at enlistment: 2nd Lieutenant, State Served: Massachusetts, Survived the War?: Yes, Service Record: Promoted to Full 1st Lieutenant on 28 Nov 1861. Commissioned an officer in Company C, Massachusetts 2nd Infantry Regiment on 25 May 1861. Promoted to Full Captain on 23 Oct 1862.Mustered out on 15 Apr 1865.

In 1880 Robert B Brown 40 year old oil merchant was living in St. Louis, Mo. with his wife, Ruth age 42 and children, Mary 12, Anna 7, Ruth 4, Gregory 1. They had two live in servants.

1915: Robert B Brown St. Louis, Mo. Pure Old Process Linseed Meal

More on 137 Imlay

In 1930 137 Imlay was listed in a court case involving A. Angelina Salomone and Title company with a mortgage of $2,250 as a two story improved loft building about 83 feet deep on a 25x90 plot.

In 1952 Riverbank Wine Co. Inc was listed at 137 Imlay.

If you have any suggestions, corrections, information, copies of documents, or photos that you would like to share with this page, please contact me at maggie@maggieblanck.com

New York Wire - with maps
Liquor Stores Red Hood mid to late 1800s
Red Hood Industry mid to late 1800s
Life in Red Hood mid to late 1800s

© Maggie Land Blanck - Page created January 2013 - Updated January 2021