#75 George Lockwood

George Lockwood (Abt. 1843-????), aka George Livingston, Cully, John McDonald — Burglar

From Byrnes’s text:

DESCRIPTION. Forty-four years old in 1886. Born in New York. Medium build. Married. Plumber. Height, 5 feet 7 inches. Weight, 153 pounds. Reddish brown hair, brown eyes, sandy complexion; generally wears a sandy mustache. Has pistol-shot wound on his arm.

RECORD. George Lockwood, or “Cully,” the alias he is best known by, is a professional safe-burglar, and a son of respectable parents who reside in New York City. His father, a boss plumber, learned Cully his trade. When but a boy he became entangled with a gang of thieves who frequented Mrs. Brunker’s basement, on the corner of Wooster and Houston Streets, New York City, and was arrested for robbing a pawnbroker in Amity Street, and again in the Eighth Ward, in November, 1873, for having a set of burglars’ tools in his possession, one hundred and eight pieces in all. Later on he was arrested on suspicion of robbing the premises of Brougham & McGee, gold pen and pencil manufacturers, Nos. 79 and 81 William Street. He was also arrested for attempting to assassinate Charles Brockway (14), the forger, in West Houston Street. Lockwood, as Brockway was passing by, jumped out of the hallway of his wife’s (Mrs. Brunker’s) residence, and shot Brockway in the back Brockway turned and shot him through the arm. He was not prosecuted, as Brockway refused to make a complaint.
He was arrested in New York City in January, 1871, in company of Pete Burns, alias McLaughlin, for an attempt at burglary and carrying burglars’ tools. Judgment was suspended in this case. He was arrested again in January, 1874, with Pete Burns, in a thieves’ resort that had been raided by the police. They were both arraigned on the old suspended indictment on January 14, 1874, and Burns pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years and six months in State prison. Lockwood was remanded until January 21, when he also pleaded guilty to burglary in the third degree, and was sentenced to two years and six months in State prison at Sing Sing, under the name of George Jackson. He was arrested in the Eighth Ward, New York City, on December 1, 1878, on suspicion of a burglary, but was discharged. Next he was arrested in New York City on January 8, 1880, with Charley Woods, alias Fowler, on suspicion of robbing Station F, New York Post-office, but was discharged by Justice Bixby for lack of evidence. Arrested again in New York City on January 1, 1880, and tried in the Court of Special Sessions, on June 15, 1880, for assaulting a man named James Casey, of New Jersey, whom he mistook for an officer who had arrested him some time before for burglary. He succeeded in keeping Casey out of court on the day of his trial, and the court, being in ignorance of his character, discharged him.

He was afterwards arrested in New York City with Jim Elliott, the prize-fighter (now dead), on June 24, 1880, secreted in the cellar of Cornelius Clark’s saloon, at No. 86 Henry Street. They had bored through the floor with the view of robbing a safe containing about $500 in money, and some jewelry that was in the store. A full set of burglars’ tools was found with them. In this case they pleaded guilty, and were sentenced to two years each in State prison, on June 30, 1880, by Judge Cowing. Lockwood was arrested again in New York City on October 14, 1884, in company of Frank Russell, alias Little Frank, another sneak and burglar, for the larceny of three watches from the store of Conrad Baumgarth, No. 16 Sixth Avenue, in July, 1884. “Cully” was committed for trial in $1,000 bail, by Judge Patterson, but discharged in the Court of General Sessions, by Judge Cowing, on November 7, 1884. He was arrested again in Albany, N. Y., in company of Andrew McAllier, for attempt at burglary. They were sentenced to eighteen months in the Albany Penitentiary, on June 26, 1885, by John C. Nott, County Judge, and his sentence will expire on September 25, 1886. Lockwood ten years ago was considered a very skillful and nervy burglar. It is claimed that he is a first-class mechanic and manufactured all his tools. He and Johnny Coady generally use the wood screw for forcing in an outside door. A hole is bored with an auger in the jamb of the door, exactly behind the nosing of the lock, after which a wood screw is inserted into the hole, and with the aid of a good bit- stock or brace, the nosing of the lock is easily and quietly forced off. Of late he has become somewhat dissipated, and is not rated now as a first-class criminal. His picture is a good one, taken in November, 1877.

While Chief Byrnes entry for George Lockwood is one of his most extensive, parts of it are muddled by citing events out of order, name errors, and a few omissions. When it comes to determining Lockwood’s family history, the references to his wealthy, respectable plumber father seem to lead nowhere. New York City directories offer no instances of plumbers named Lockwood (or Livingston, Lockwood’s favored alias). The best evidence of his identity was a tattoo on his body, reading “Lockwood.”


Lockwood’s first brush with the law came years earlier than Byrnes indicates: In September, 1865 he was sentenced (as George Lockwood) to Sing Sing for a term of two years and six months for burglary. He was released and soon caught again, reentering Sing Sing as “John McDonald” in April, 1868; unfortunately, the Sing Sing registers for that period do not exist, but this term is referred to in a later Sing Sing entry.

As Byrnes indicates, Lockwood was arrested in January, 1871 for an attempted burglary. His partner was William Burns (not Pete Burns). As Byrnes relates, Lockwood frequented Bunker’s (sometimes spelled as Brunker’s) at the corner of Wooster and Houston Streets–a notorious criminal hangout. Lockwood gave up on one girlfriend, Maggie Lockwood, who was said to be his wife–in favor of the widowed Mrs.  Minnie Bunker. The cause of his attack outside the Bunker saloon on forger Charles O. Brockway (Vanderpool) is not known.


Lockwood was suspected of stealing from the premises of Starr’s pawnbrokers in early 1873, but no case could be made against him. George was caught with a valise full of an impressive collection of burglar’s tools in mid-November, 1873; judgement was suspended in that case, but a week later, Lockwood was accused of the burglary of Brougham & McKee, gold pen dealers, on William Street. Evidence was lacking, so he was prosecuted on the charge of having burglar’s tools. He was sentenced to two and a half years at Sing Sing under the name George Livingston.

In February, 1876–just a month after his release from Sing Sing, he was caught again carrying burglar’s tools; and again in July of 1877. In both instances he claimed he had reformed, and was discharged. In 1880, Lockwood and a partner, Jimmy Elliott (a former heavyweight boxing champion) was caught breaking in to a saloon. Consequently, Lockwood wound up in Sing Sing again.

Lockwood’s final jail term began in 1885 in Albany. Lockwood had been ranging around the country with several partners, conducting burglaries in Montreal, Cleveland, and Luray, Virginia.

After his release in 1886, George and Minnie migrated west, and apparently escaped further trouble with the law.






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