Montclair History at Home Explores 19th Century Crime That Rocked Montclair

The Banker, The Busybody and The Irish Coachman. Credit: Montclair Public Library Local History Collection


In the summer of 1879, residents of the sleepy suburb of Montclair were shocked to learn of a deadly altercation on Orange Road, when John Armstrong, an Irish immigrant coachman, was fatally shot by his employer Joseph Blair. Was John Armstrong a violent and drunken “desperado” or “a poor Irish boy” killed by his arrogant and bullying “parvenu employer.” What did it mean to be Irish in Montclair in the latter half of the nineteenth century? Why was Blair acquitted of the murder? Join Montclair History at Home on Thursday, August 19 at noon and again at 7 p.m. to find out! Former Trustee Mary Catherine Moran shares this home-grown crime story on this History at Home.

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