Birth: 18 Nov 1859 to Egbert Brush and Elizabeth Wheeler
Occupation: Livery, sheriff, post master
Marriage: Ada Blydenburgh
Death: Ada Theodara Brush
Birth 31 Aug 1859
Smithtown, Suffolk County,
Death 3 Nov 1911
Smithtown, Suffolk County,
Cemetery: Smithtown Cemetery,
Father: John Washington Blydenburgh,
Mother: Ann Eliza Blydenburgh,
Children: Howard M. Brush
- Howard circa 1884
In July 1897 Howard Brush, age 13, slipped and fell while using a lawn mower
and cut off one of his toes. He was mowing barefooted.
Howard married and had a son, Howard/Melville circa 1883
Howard was the Smithtown postmaster in 1928.
Melville E. Brush,
Marriage Date: 12 Jun 1915,
Marriage Place: Woodbury, New York,
Spouse: Beatrice L. Wheeler,
Certificate Number: 21601
1860: Smithtown Branch,
Egbert Brush 27, wheelwright,
Elizabeth R Brush 27,
Mary G Brush 6,
Charlotte A Brush 4,
Melvill E Brush 6/12,
Sarah T Wheeler 14, servant
Egbert Brush 47, farmer,
Elizabeth Brush 47,
Gussie T. Brush 23,
Melville E. Brush 20, laborer
(Near Alanson Hallock and family.)
1887: Melville Brush was seriously kicked by one of his horses while he was trying to harness it.
1891: Melville E. Brush was a Deputy Sheriff. His term ended on December 31.
1896: In July Gus De Barro, a Smithtown barber, hired a horse and buggy
from Brush's livery stable on a Sunday afternoon and drove
it to Jamaica where he endangered lives by driving it on the sidewalk in a drunken and
disorderly fashion. A telephone message was sent to Smithtown.
Gus was held in the Jamaica town hall until Mr. Brush arrived to
identify his rig. Gus was take back to Smithtown to appear in court.
1896: August - Melville Brush and a party of friends
drove to Bay Shore and then took a boat of Fire Island where they caught 35 flounders.
1896: September - Melville E. Brush was elected
a delegate from the First Smithtown District.
1897: June - John Moran hire a horse and buggy from Melville Brush to drive a friend to Stony Brook.
Night came and Moran had not returned. Melville made inquiries.
The next afternoon the horse and buggy were found tied to a tree.
Neighbors said the horse had stood there all day and night. A warrant was
issued for Moran's arrest on charges of criminal cruelty to an animal.
Conststable Runge, of Stony Brook, found Moran "the worse for liquor". Moran was
arrested, tried and sentenced to three months in Riverhead Jail.
1897: July - Melville and an employee, Sam Bunce,
were unloading hay at the top of the barn (about 25 feet up) when
the ladder they were standing on was pulled over as a team of horses
attached to the hay wagon started to run away. Both men fell.
Melville, a heavy set man, suffered bruses to his left shoulder and arm.
Sam fell on his face and suffered several loosened teeth and some cuts and bruses.
- Capt. Egbert Brush, Melville E. Brush, family and friends- about 60 popele- went to the beach "on the Sound shore"
and supped on baked clams, corn, sweet potatoes, etc.
1897: October 23, Appointed US Postmaster Smithtown
1898: April - M. E. Brush started a stage route from
the train depot to
various parts of the "village or town".
Melvill Brush 40, livery stable,
Ada T Brush 39, 1 child 1 living,
Howard M Brush 17, driver at stable,
Edgbert Brush 67, landlord
1900: - May 7 - Two men who robbed the Aquebogue Post Office and the Islip Railroad Depot
were captured in Smithtown after a lively chase in which guns were drawn and shots were fired.
As the two men, Henry Degler and Frank Ryan, were coming out of a saloon they
were recognized from a wanted circular. The men started to run but were chased by
Deputy Sheriff Brush, Office Everett Hand, Howard Brush and some others.
Hand guns and shotguns were employed. Ryan was chased for about two and a half miles
after swimming across a river. He was finally run down by a large mob.
As the robbers ran they were emptying their pockets of paper money and about 400 pennies.
When they were searched some bank notes and $5 gold piece were found. It totaled about $27.
During the robbery the men had gotten about fourteen $5 gold pieces and 1,100 pennies.
They had broken into the Islip Post Office and blown up the safe at night.
The force of the explosion had shattered all the windows.
Brush and Hand received a reward from the Post Office authorities.
1900: September - Riverhead -
Frank Ryan was charged with burglary, assault and attempt to break jail.
Henry Degler was charged with burglary and assault.
The assault charges stemmed from shotting at Deputy Sheriff Brush. They pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Henry Degler served 6 years in Sing Sing and was arrested in 1914 for burglary
of a Post Office in Morris County, NJ.
December 4 - Degler and Ryan pleaded guilty to burglary in the third degree and
blowing open the Islip depot.
Degler got three years in Sing Sing. Ryan got four years and 7 months in Sing Sing.
Henry Joseph Degler, age 26, born Newark, NJ, was sent to Sing Sing in
Ossining, NY on 13 December 1900 - received from Suffolk co jail arrested by Constable Brush.
Frank Ryan, alias John Trainer, known as Chicago Jack, born
Portland, maine, age 42,
was sent to Sing sing in Ossining, NY on Dec 13, 1900.
Arresting officer Deputy Sheriff Brush.
1901: March - Captain
Egbert Brush born in Smithtown in 1833, father
of Melville Brush Smithtown Post Master, died suddenly at his home.
1901: May - M. E. Brush had the sidewalk in front of his house graded and blue-stoned.
Shade trees were also planted.
1902: October -
C. W. Darling was driving a horse and light buggy across the railroad tracks when he was hit
by a westbound train. Driver and carriage were pushed fifty feet.
Mr. Darling had just left M. E. Brush's yard and turned west towards the tracks when the accident occurred.
The wagon was demolished, the horse was unhurt and Mr. Darling suffered minor injuries.
Melville, his wife, Mrs. E. H. Downer and Mrs. William
Spurge visited California for a few weeks. While on a coaching trip through the mountains,
they had an accident and Mr. Brush was thrown from the vehicle and broke his ankle.
"March 31, 1904 [LAT]: "Ada Brush and Melville E. Brush have
begun a suit against the Santa Catalina Island Company and C. E.
Bryant, William Banning, et al., together forming the Santa Catalina
Island Stage Company, to recover $299.99 as damages. The action has begun
in Justice Pierce's court, and it is alleged in the
complaint that on February 23 Mrs. Brush joined a coaching party,
and paid $1 for the trip from Avalon and return. During the trip
the coach was accidentally thrown over, and it is alleged that the plaintiff was injured."
1908: July 26, Albany - Realty Associates of Smithtown - capital $30,000 - incorporated - directors, T. L. Smith, M. e.
Brush and Ada T. Brush.
1910: Melville E. Brush hosted a large clam bake called "The town clambake" at Short Beach.
1911: February - Mr. and Mrs. M. E. Brush celebrated their 31st wedding anniversary at their home on main street.
1911 April 7 - After a very hot political battle Melville E. Brush was re-elected Town Superintendent of Highways.
His name was presented to the Republican Party Convention to ask for his nomination for Sheriff.
1911: November - Ada T. Brush, wife of Melville Brush, passed away after an illness of three days. She was 51.
A fever sore on her lip caused the skin to break and
blood poisoning developed.
Sheriff Melville E. Brush became the Suffolk Count Sheriff
on January 1,1912.
1913: April -
Sheriff Melville E. Brush was removed as Sheriff on April 28
by the governor on charges of inefficiency and allowing
prisoners too much freedom especially in the case of a prisoner named
Esther Harris who escaped from the jail the day before she was to go to trail.
Brush was accused of entertaining Esther Harris and the turnkey, Harry J Newton, at dinner on
Thanksgiving 1912. In addition he "furnished" Esther Harris with "various foods different from the food furnished to the
other prisoners confined in the Riverhead jail". And he allowed Harry J Newton to receive personal
belongings and jewelry to be taken to a pawn shop for the benefit of Esther Harris.
escaped from the jail on December 8 1912. There were a wide variety of stories on just how she managed her escape.
The story of the escape was in the local and national papers for several years. She had been accused of grand larceny for stealing valuable jewelry.
A month after the escape a grand jury probe was started into the reasons.
More than forty witnesses were called. The jury concluded that there
was no willful or criminal misconduct on the part of the Sheriff but
her escape was due to incompetency and inefficiency on the part of the Sheriff.
"ESTHER HARRIS, alias E. F. Wells., alias Miss Lewis, alias Thurber, alias Mrs. Dorothy Gardner Armory. Member banks throughout the country are warned to be on the lookout for this forger and swindler.
Esther Harris escaped from the Riverhead Jail. Suffolk County, N. Y., December 8, 1912. She has also used aliases of Margaret Pollock Sherwood and Mary F. Kenyon. She is wanted in Los Angeles,
California, Cincinnati, Ohio, and East Boston, Mass., for forgery.
She is described as follows: Age, 46 years; height, 5 feet 8 inches; weight, 145 pounds;
complexion, dark; hair, dark, mixed with gray; has large nose and gold filling in upper jaw;
mannish dresser." (American Bankers Association Journal: (1913-1914), Volume 6)
Melville Brush was also accused of taking
several prisoners for long car rides in his private automobile
and failing to keep prisoners properly separated, permitting detained witnesses to mingle with prisoners sentenced and serving time.
Melville Brush - 1913
1914: March 21 - Melville E. Brush of Riverhead was renovating his home in
Smithtown Branch preparing to rent it.
March 1914 ad in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:
FOR SALE OR TO RENT - Furnished 15 room house and barn; all improvements;
five acres of land; high ground; on main street; Smithtown L.I. M. E. Brush, Riverhead, L. I.
1914: May - Melville Brush gave a card party at his beautiful home on Main
street, Smithtown Branch. A number of guests from Riverhead attended.
Mr. Brush returned ot Riverhead with his guests after the party.
1915: Melville E. Brush married Beatrice Wheeler on June 12.
(Beatrice was 23 and Melville was 55.)
1920: Main Street, Smithtown,
Melville E Brush 60, occupation, none,
Beatrice Brush 28, wife,
Howard Brush 36, son, widowed, reamer ship yard,
Melville Brush 12, grandson,
Elizabeth Wheeler 67, mother in law,
Ruth E Brown 23, boarder, teacher public school,
Margaret Howard 25, boarder, teacher public school,
Katherine Haller 22, boarder,teacher public school,
Death: Dec 20, 1924 - former sheriff of Suffolk county, was buried on December 18 -
age 65 son of Captain Egbert Brush and Elizabeth Wheeler - first wife Ada Blydenburgh -
second wife, Beatrice Wheeler - son Howard.
He died suddenly and was found dead in his bed by his wife on December 15. He was a Smithtown Town Assessor at the time of his death.
Melville E Brush
Birth 18 Nov 1859,
Death 15 Dec 1924
Cemetery: Smithtown Cemetery,
1930: Beatrice Brush age 37 and Elizabeth Wheeler, mother, age 79 Maple ave. Smithtown
Suffolk County, New York,
Death 5 Jun 1981
Smithtown, Suffolk County,
Cemetery: Smithtown Cemetery
Smithtown, Suffolk County, New York