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Nicholas Saul
Born 1833
Died January 28, 1853 (19-20)
New York, New York
Conviction(s) Murder
Penalty Death by hanging
Status Deceased

William Saul (1833 – January 28, 1853) was a prominent nineteenth century criminal and one of the early leaders of the Daybreak Boys, a New York City street gang.

One of the founding members of the Daybreak Boys, Saul led many of the gang’s early raids, many of which were before sunrise, later earning their nickname, on the Hudson River and East River waterfront. At its height during 1851 to 1853, the gang earned an estimated $200,000 under Saul's leadership.

The gang began operating as river pirates during this time. Saul's violent raids would often see the crew murdered and the ship scuttled after stealing its cargo. However on a raid with gang members Nicholas Howlett and Bill Johnson on August 25, 1852 against the William Watson, the gang became engaged in a gunfight with crew members, eventually alerting local detectives. A police pursuit of over 20 officers chased the men from the East River to Pete Williams' Slaughter House Inn where they were forced to surrender to police after a three hour siege. Saul and Howlett were later convicted of the murder of ship watchmen Charles Baxter and sentenced to be executed. On the day of their execution a crowd of over 200 gangsters and politicians, including William Poole and Tom Hyer, paid their respects shaking hands with the men as they were brought up to the gallows. They were hanged in the Tombs Courtyard on January 28, 1853.

See also

Further reading

  • Asbury, Herbert. The Gangs of New York. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1928. ISBN 1-56025-275-8
  • Sifakis, Carl. The Encyclopedia of American Crime. New York: Facts on File Inc., 2001. ISBN 0-8160-4040-0



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