sadie "The goat" Farrell – The Queen of the Boardwalk

Volume 3 – Mobsters – Farrell, Sadie “The Goat” – Queen of the Boardwalk

She wasn’t as vicious with her claws as Hellcat Maggie from Dead Rabbits. Not as big and strong as an Amazon riverside gorilla named Gallus Mag. But Sadie “The Goat” Farrell made more money than both women combined when she was “Queen of the New York Shore.”

Sadie Farrell was born and raised in the slums of the Fourth Ward near the East River. As a child, she hung out with scammers and street thieves. Slender of build, but mean and vicious, she Sadie used to work the streets around the docks alongside a male partner, providing the muscular support she needed. When a white man would come out drunk from one of the local dives, Sadie would start running and then slam the top of her head into the victim’s stomach.

This was a dangerous maneuver, as sometimes the person doing the headbutting does more damage to themselves than to their intended victim. But Sadie was a pro, and she made sure only the top of her head made contact with the victim’s stomach, and not sensitive areas like the nose and forehead. The headbutt stopped the victim dead in her tracks, and as soon as she directed her attention to Sadie, her male partner used a slingshot to hurl a rock at the side of the victim’s head. If that didn’t work, a bat or sap always did the trick. Sadie and her partner would then take everything of value from the unconscious mark, including his shirt, pants, and shoes. This was a small-time job for Sadie, but she still enhanced her reputation on the East Side docks.

One day, Sadie made the mistake of having too many belts at the Hole-in-the-Wall bar on Dover Street, just two blocks from the East River. The bouncer at the Hole-in-the-Wall was a six-foot female creature from England named Gallus Mag. Mag patrolled the bar with a small bat strapped to his wrist, which she didn’t hesitate to use on unruly patrons. If after a few blows to the head, the drunk was still energetic, Mag would wrap him in a headlock, then bite off one of his ears, before throwing him out the front door. His ear would then go into a pitcher of alcohol, which Mag proudly displayed behind the bar. The spike-filled jars behind the bar were called “The Gallus Mag Trophy Case.”

Sadie being Irish and Mag being from England was an accident waiting to happen. It’s not sure who started the name calling first, but it’s a good bet it was Sadie, and it wasn’t a smart move. Mag, who was twice Sadie’s size, hit Sadie over the head a few times with her bat, but Sadie was still lashing out at Mag with a vengeance.

Another thing that is not smart to do.

Mag wrapped her massive arms around Sadie’s head, and in an instant, one of Sadie’s ears was detached from the side of her head. Mag deposited Sadie on her butt in Dover Street, then placed Sadie’s ear in a pitcher filled with alcohol and proudly displayed behind the bar. Mag even wrote on the mug, “Sadie the Goat’s Ear.”

Disgraced and dispirited, Sadie took her show on the road, ending up on the West Side docks, on the other side of Manhattan from her old favorite haunts. One day, while she was wandering around trying to figure out how to make sheet music, Sadie witnessed members of the Charlton Street Gang unsuccessfully trying to board a small sloop anchored in the middle of the North River (now called the Hudson River). The Charlton Street gang was so inept and disorganized that the ship’s crew had no problem overpowering and beating them up in the process. Sadie thought that with expert guidance from her, the gang would do much better than before if she were the boss. So Sadie helped the gang members lick their wounds, and then convinced them with her brains and brawn that they could make a very successful team.

A few days later, with Sadie leading the gang, they were able to hijack a much larger sloop, and with the “Jolly Roger” (skull and crossbones) flying from the masthead, Captain Sadie led the gang up and down the North and Harlem rivers, to Poughkeepsie and beyond. They raided small towns; robbing the country houses of the poor and the mansion by the river of the rich. Because ocean liners and major transport ships were so well protected, Sadie and his crew concentrated on raiding smaller merchant ships upriver.

Sadie was so into her “River Pirate” routine that she began reading voraciously about pirate history and lore. After discovering that pirates had once kidnapped Julius Caesar, she ordered her crew to go on a kidnapping spree. In the spirit of old pirate lore, some true, some made up, Sadie even forced several members of her own gang to walk the plank if they didn’t do exactly what she demanded.

For several months, Sadie and her team were very successful in their efforts. They stashed their loot in various caches, until they could dispose of it for cash, through the various fences along the North and East rivers. One of these billboards was Marm Mandelbaum, which through her Clinton Street store, was said to be the largest billboard on the entire East Coast of the United States.

But all good things must come to an end.

After the Sadie and Charlton Street Gang murdered several homeowners, residents of the northern Hudson Valley banded together and formed a resistance force. Country folk ambushed the Charlton Street Gang as he was coming ashore, and police patrolling New York Harbor prevented them from looting the small merchant ships on the North River. Soon, so many gang members were killed that Sadie was forced to give up her hacking habits. What was left of the Charlton Street Gang returned to the West Side docks and soon disbanded completely.

Sadie decided to return to her old haunts in the Fourth District, where she was now hailed as the “Queen of the Coast.” With the money she had earned from her hacking days, Sadie opened her own gin mill.

Shortly after Sadie’s return to the East Side docks, the Hole-in-the-Wall bar was the scene of seven murders in just two months. As a result, the New York City police closed the Hole-in-the-Wall bar for good. But before the last call in Hole-in-the-Wall, Sadie visited Gallus Mag. The two girls made up and Mag was so nice that she went behind the bar, retrieved Sadie’s pickled ear, and returned it to her rightful owner.

Sadie wore her severed ear in a locket around her neck for the rest of her life.

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