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  • Writer's pictureLinda A Cowdrick

Lagreen, the Stonebreaker

On July 8, 1892 a Buffalo headline about a murder makes the East Hampton Star news. Fred Lagreen, an actor at the Maron's Theatre on Canal Street in Buffalo quarreled with Chicago sailor Eli Severson over actress Mabel Leighton. Eli sad he was engaged to Mabel and Lagreen said he was going to marry her, so they fought. Fred dealt Eli two fatal blows to his head and Eli died ten minutes later. Fred tried fleeing by escaping to the Central depot where he bought a ticket to Toledo, however he was arrested before the train left.

Canal Street was known as the infected district for its common licentious behavior, especially among the visiting sailors. At one time there were more than 75 houses of prostitution and 108 saloons. Families who lived on this street in 1893 were often living and sleeping in single rooms smaller than 10 feet by 10 feet. It would not be surprising if Fred was among the many children of the area who lived in a tenement and played in an area of complete filth.

Frederick Lagreen (a/k/a Fred) was known as Stonebreaker because he would break rocks with his bare fists. In 1887, Fred attempted to kill a woman on Canal Street. He definitely had a streak of poor behavior!

On January 1893, Fred was convicted of assault and sentenced for more than 4 years at the Erie Penitentiary. Fred eventually died 1903 in Buffalo.

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