Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Cedarhurst Soldiers' Memorial

Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day–a common misunderstanding, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Memorial Day (the fourth Monday in May) honors American service members who died in service to their country or as a result of injuries incurred during battle, while Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans–living or dead–but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.   -- History Channel web site
The ceremonies held at Andrew Parise Park on Veteran's Day 2015  evoked the memory another ceremony at the park (then Cedarhurst Park) in November of 1923. Then, the newly formed Lawrence-Cedarhurst American Legion Post 339 erected a memorial to nine local veterans of World War I who had died in service.  They found themselves at the center of controversy  the local Ku Klux Klan attempted to lay a wreath at the Thanksgiving dedication ceremony.

New York Times, Nov. 30, 1923, p. 1
As the attached articles recount, the ceremony was about to begin when three members of the Klan - who did not wear their traditional robes or hoods on this occasion -- brought a wreath to the ceremony and desired to place it on the memorial.  The family of Lawrence Wood, one of the deceased servicemen,   wanted the Klansmen to place their wreath. The Legionnaires opposed them and the situation deteriorated, with fist fights breaking out.  The agitated crowd of about 1500 was eventually calmed by the efforts of  Col. Wickersham, the Legion post commander and by Rabbi Isaac Landman's impassioned speech in which he stated that the men that they honored that day did not die so "that America should be torn by racial hatred and religious conflict."  New York Times, 11/30/1923, p. 3).   The situation did not resolve itself until the police came and the Klan members retreated.

In researching this story, this author found that, as the participants feared, the ceremony overshadowed the reason for the memorial -- the nine young men who made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country. It seems appropriate, almost one hundred years later, to offer the names and stories of the men honored on the granite monument in Parise Park. 

SGT. Harry P. Bruhn lived at "Fair Oaks" on Pacific Avenue in Cedarhurst
Born on April 6, 1895, the son of a Danish immigrant carpenter, Sgt. Bruhn was a machine gunner with the 7th New York Infantry.  He died September 24, 1918 of wounds received in action and is buried at Saint Mihiel American Cemetery and Memorial in France. (Obituary: The Sun, October 18, 1918, p. 12.)

CPL. John R. Lantry , Jr. lived on Washington Avenue in Cedarhurst.
He was born July 30, 1891, and when he went into the Army he was 5'6" of a medium build with blue eyes and black hair.  John Lantry was single and worked with his father as a mason before he went into the Army.  He served in the 305th Infantry, Company M and died of lobar pneumonia on December 30, 1917 at Camp Upton, before ever seeing combat. He is buried in St. Mary's Star of the Sea Cemetery in Lawrence.
2nd LT. John Edward Mitchell lived on Pearsall Avenue in Cedarhurst.
He was born October 6, 1895 and on his draft registration, he is described as tall and slender with blue eyes and light hair.  Before the war he was single and worked as a clerk for Hard and Rand in New York City.  He served in the 23rd Infantry, Company F and died of disease on his birthday in 1918 at the age of 23.  Lt. Mitchell is buried in Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial in France.

1st LT. Gordon L. Rand was born on September 3, 1892, the youngest of six children. 
He graduated from Yale University in 1912 and went into business with his father's coffee-importing firm, Hard and Rand.  He enlisted in the Army in 1915 and served with the Cavalry on the Mexican Border in 1916.  When his unit was recalled in 1917, Rand enlisted in the American Ambulance Corps.    He was wounded the chest and side from artillery fire and was discharged because of his wounds.  He was awarded the Croix de Guerre by the French government for penetrating a zone of fire to deliver medical supplies to men who desperately needed them.  Although he was himself wounded, he completed the task and helped evacuate the men before seeking treatment.  When he recovered, he enlisted in the Aviation Section of the Air Service Signal Corps, a precursor of the U.S. Air Force.   Lt. Rand died from wounds received in action on February 5, 1918.  There is a headstone memorial at Trinity-St. John's Church in Hewlett, but Lt. Rand is buried at the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial.  An  article in the Buffalo Evening Courier chronicles an event witnessed by Rand while he was in his plane and his efforts to create a memorial for the French soldiers lost in that skirmish.


1st LT Philip Newbold Rhinelander was in Harvard University's Class of 1918 when the war broke out.  Born in 1895, he came from a patrician family and was educated at preparatory schools in Newport, RI and California.  Philip Rhinelander left Harvard to join the American Field Service in July 1916 and in 1917 enlisted as an aviator.  Attached to the 20th Day Bombing Squadron.  Lt. Rhinelander was shot down during aerial combat over France, falling to his death on September 26, 1918 at Murville, over the German lines.  He is buried at Murville, Meurthe-et-Moselle in France.  There is an extensive and personal tribute to Philip Rhinelander at


Because James Laurence Scanlan had red hair,  his nickname was "Red".
Born August 10, 1892, his enlistment application of September 1918 lists his hair color, blue eyes, medium build and his mother's name and his address: Cedarhurst Avenue in Cedarhurst.  At the time of enlistment he was working for the Remington Arms Company in Hoboken, NJ.  This information omitted the fact that was already a war hero.  He had joined the French Foreign Legion in 1914.  A battle-related leg injury in 1915 ended his infantry career and left him with one leg shorter than the other.   After a lengthy recovery, he registered for the Lafayette Escadrille  (an all-American  squadron fighting the Germans during the time before America officially entered the war).   "Red" Scanlan had a colorful career in the Lafayette Escadrille, resulting in several dramatic crashes, before he retired in 1917.  The movies Flyboys (2006) and The Lafayette Escadrille (1958) portray some of the exploits of these American heroes.  Although Scanlan later registered for the draft in the U.S., his war wounds continued to plague him and he died at St. Joseph's Hospital in Far Rockaway on November 25, 1921 at the age of 28. (Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 11/29/1921, p. 26.) He is buried in St. Mary's Star of the Sea Cemetery in Lawrence.

PFC. John J. Sullivan was from Cedarhurst. 
He served in Company C of the 106th Infantry.  He died of wounds November 17, 1918.

PVT. Ralph B. Watts  served with Company B of the 102nd Infantry.  He enlisted at Hartford, Connecticut in 1916 and during the summer of that year, served on the Mexican border.  Deployed to France, he died April 1, 1918 and  is buried at Saint Mihiel American Cemetery and Memorial in France. (The Daily Long Island Farmer, April 12, 1918, p. 1)

Apprentice Seaman (US Navy) Lawrence Lockharte Wood was born in January 1896 and lived at the corner of Oak and Center Streets in Cedarhurst. He enlisted in the Navy in 1916 and died of pneumonia while at the Naval Training School at Newport, RI on, June 6, 1917.    Lawrence Wood was the first young man from the Rockaways to die in service in World War I (South Side Observer, March 1,1918, p. 1)

In addition to the nine men listed on the memorial, the
World War I Roll of Honor: Nassau County, New York  June 1, 1922

also lists the following servicemen from the Branch communities who were lost in World

War I, the war to end all wars:

  • Artuse, Bruno        Mott St., Inwood, L. I. N. Y.        Pvt., Co. I., 28th Inf.        Died of wounds, November 13, 1918   
  • Batta, Alfred M.        Henry St. Lawrence, N. Y.        Pvt., 1st cl., Co. I., 308th Inf.        Killed in action, October 6, 1918   
  • Carmen, Timothy E.        Woodmere, N. Y.        Sgt., Co. G., 306th Inf.        Died of wounds, September 3, 1918   
  • De Mott, Thomas S.        West Broadway, Woodmere, N. Y.        Pvt., 1st cl., Btry. C., 311th F. A.        Died of broncho pneumonia, February 28, 1919   
  • De Ponso, Lidovico        Lawrence Ave., Lawrence, N. Y.        Pvt., Btry., F. 301st F. A.        Died of broncho pneumonia, October 14, 1918   
  • Desimore, Generino        Henry St., Inwood, N. Y.        Pvt., Co. B., 305th Inf.        Died of wounds, September 27, 1918   
  • Dramis, Theodore        Henry St., Lawrence, N. Y.        Pvt., 1st cl., Co. M., 113th Inf.        Died of wounds, October 11, 1918   
  • Harigel, John        Lawrence, L. I., N. Y.        Pvt., Co. C., 83rd, Inf.        Died of influenza, October 14, 1918   
  • Hirsch, Ike        Lawrence, N. Y.        Pvt., Co. F., 325th Inf.        Died of pneumonia, October 9, 1918   
  • Kalley, Nelson        Jeannette Ave., Inwood, L. I., N. Y.        Pvt., 1st cl., Co. C. 106th Inf.        Killed in action, September 27, 1918   
  • McGinn, Frank J.        52 Red Wood Ave., Inwood, L. I., N. Y.        Pvt., Hdqrs. Co. 57th Arty.        Killed in action, October 31, 1918
  • Monaghan, Edward        Ocean Ave., Lawrence, N. Y.        Pvt., 1st cl., Co. M., 113th Inf.        Killed in action, October 10, 1918   
  • Sullivan, John        Central Ave., Lawrence, N. Y.        Pvt., Co. M. Ord. Dept., U. S. A.        Died of broncho pneumonia, October 19, 1918  (not the same as John J. Sullivan from Cedarhurst)
Listed in Haulsee, et al.  Soldiers of the Great War In Three Volumes (Soldiers Record Publishing Association, 1920)
  • Hicks, Charles Reeves, Jr.     Cedarhurst          Died of Disease       Sgt.  [born November 21, 1890]

Additional Information:

Incident at Cedarhurst Park, November 29, 1923

Veterans' Day and Those Who Served

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Goats - not Ghosts! -- Franklin Butler Lord's Meadow Edge Farm

In the early morning of October 11, 1907, Rev. John J. Fouse ,  was awakened in his parsonage, across the street from the Lawrence Methodist Episcopal Church, by a noise that seemed to come from the Church.  As he watched, a white figure appeared in the doorway and Rev. Fouse crossed the street to investigate.  What he found was not paranormal.

He discovered that the church's new addition was occupied by a flock of forty angora goats, which had wandered in an open door and settled in for the night.  All but one were asleep.  This story appeared in newspapers as far away as the Cincinnati Times and the Daily Arizona Silver Belt.

The goats had escaped from Franklin Lord's Meadow Edge Farm, where they had been purchased to eat weeds on the lawns and meadows. 

Meadow Edge Farm was part of the Lord Family's extensive holdings in The Branch.  Their property extended from West Broadway (the railroad tracks) all the way to the Hungry Harbor Road.  When the property was purchased, around 1880, The Branch area was part of Queens County, and encompassed the watershed later known as Lord's Woods.

Before Franklin Lord's death in 1908, the farm, raised rare Berkshire pigs, White Leghorn chickens, Guernsey, Jersey, Ayrshire and Holstein dairy cows and, of course, the angora goats.  It  was located on West Broadway, a 337-acre site of meadowlands and forests.  During its years of milk production, which ended with the closing of the dairy farm in 1912 (Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 5, 1912, p. 14),  it was a consistent winner at the New York State Fair in Syracuse, and at the National Dairy Show in Chicago for excellence in milk and cream. In 1924, the last twenty of the family cows were offered for sale (Daily Review, January 25, 1924). The chickens, which were also award-winning layers, remained well into the 1920s.   In 1926, Lord's sons (S.D., Edward and George) sold the land  to a  real estate syndicate for $2 million.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 5, 1912, p. 14.

Franklin B. Lord, c1900
 (photo courtesy Library of Congress)

Daniel Lord, c1850
 (photo courtesy Library of Congress)
Franklin Butler Lord (1850-1908) came from a family of distinguished attorneys.  His grandfather, Daniel Lord  , had a national reputation as " a remarkable lawyer."  His maternal grandfather, Benjamin F. Butler, was Attorney General of the United States under Presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren.    Franklin Lord was a member of the law firm of Lord, Day and Lord, founded by his grandfather and his father, Daniel de Forest Lord (1846-1899). According to an article in The New York Times  (2/14/1926, p. RE2.), the property was purchased originally by Daniel Lord  for less than $300 an acre, or a total of about $110,000.  It had been in the Lord family for three generations and had been largely undeveloped since its purchase.  By May 1926, advertisements for a public auction of Lord Estate lots were appearing in The Times and other newspapers. 

English and Spanish-style homes designed to sell for less than $12,000 were constructed in 1928.  They were designed to contain six rooms and bath, a built-in standing shower, an extra lavatory and garage. (NYT, 1/17/1928, p.51.)  The seller was listed as the Woodmere-Cedarhurst Corporation. Louis Minsky (1862-1934), the father of the burlesque producing brothers, was the president of the Lord Estate Corporation at the time of his death in 1934 (NYT, 1/17/1934, p. 17).  In 1938, "the Seymour property... known as Sosiego" , twenty acres on Broadway in Lawrence, was purchased by Henry Greenberg and Louis Goldschmidt through Joseph Jackson, a broker, of Lawrence (NYT  7/31/1938, p. 34).  Sosiego was the name of the mansion and gardens built by Daniel D. Lord V, Franklin's brother, and later owned by his daughter Frances Seymour.  (Spinzia, p. 225)  It was located at 20 Westover Place, Lawrence.   The house currently on that site was built in 1921, according to Nassau County tax records.
Blogger S. Berliner shares his thoughts on the Lord's Woods and Robert Arbib's book of the same name.  Arbib, who grew up in the Five Towns of the 1930s and 40s, wrote an evocative account of his formative years exploring the woods, and the process of development that reduced the woods to a small sliver of trees behind the LIPA/National Grid building on Mill Road.

Further reading:
 (may require HW-library card login)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

German Spies in Cedarhurst; U-Boats off Long Island

     The sinking of the R.M.S. Lusitania by a German U-boat on May 7, 1915 and the loss of 1,198 lives (among them 128 Americans) was instrumental in the United States declaring war on Germany, but the process was very gradual.   President Woodrow Wilson had, since the outbreak of hostilities in Europe during the summer of 1914, tried to maintain the United States' neutrality.  Although American banks provided financial assistance to its European allies, overt military intervention was not popular.   During the years before the U.S. entered the war in 1917, there was a German consulate in New York, an embassy in Washington, D.C.  and the summer embassy in Newport, R.I. --  long the playground of Vanderbilts and Astors.  Newport was also the home of the U.S. Naval War College (est. 1884) and a major U.S. Navy installation since the 1790s.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 23, 1915
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 23, 1915
   In 1912 the German communications giant Telefunken funded the construction of a wireless station in Sayville, on Long Island's South Shore (about 50 miles from New York City).  Situated on 100 acres adjoining the Long Island Railroad.  Its two towers, 393 and 100 feet high, were powerful enough to send messages 3,200 miles to the German wireless station at Nauen, near Berlin. 1.  In his article "When Wireless Was Young,"  Wilson L. Glover remembered:
"the overwhelming whine-and-drone [of the Telefunken tower] quite often utterly precluded decent reception of more distant stations.  Anyway, its messages were always in code and so unintelligible that they proved deadly dull reading.  The big German station was a clearing house for a vast network of spies then operating in the United States." 2
     From the start, the station was observed by the Navy Department and the Department of Commerce and Labor.  But the technology was so new that laws had not yet been written to regulate its use. 3Civilian "Ham" radio enthusiasts were asked by the government to  monitor and record the transmissions, which were then decoded by Secret Service agents.  The obituary for Charles Apgar, one of those radio operators 4  recounted how the Secret Service broke the German code and discovered that they were directing the activites of submarines. along the Atlantic coast. Although unsubstantiated, there was a rumor that Apgar's recordings provided the message "Get Lucy," which resulted in the sinking of the Lusitania.
Buffalo Evening News, June 14, 1915, p. 6.
     In the summer of 1915, the German Embassy quietly rented an "unpretentious house on the north side of Central Avenue, two blocks from the railroad station" in Cedarhurst, as its summer residence.  It was described in the Daily Star,  as "a weather-beaten, two story gable-roofed structure, with a large corner lot and a hedge running around the front and western side."  5 About 100 feet from the Embassy was a booth which was continuously manned by Embassy personnel for the transmission and reception of wireless messages to and from the Sayville tower, and ultimately, Berlin.  The ambassador, Count Johann Heinrich von Bernstorff, was rarely at the summer embassy and preferred to return to New York City at the end of the day if he came to Cedarhurst.   As relations with Germany declined, members of the Cedarhurst Country Club rescinded their offer of membership to the embassy staff,  preferring to offer them the services of the club as guests rather than members.  Prince Hartfeld von Trachenberg relaxed by playing croquet on the lawn lawn of the Embassy. 6

 Brooklyn Daily Eagle,  April 24, 1915, p. 1

By 1916, the increasing u-boat activity in the North Atlantic shipping lanes in defiance of international law increased anti-German sentiment in the U.S.  In October of 1916, the submarine U-53 threatened and attacked British and neutral merchant ships off the Nantucket Lightship, within 100 miles of Newport, R.I.  

   During the years preceding the Great War, approximately 100,000 German reservists resided in North and South America.  Although there were plenty of active duty enlisted men in Germany, there was a shortage of officers, and a plan was developed to send as many reserve officers as possible home to Germany.  As early as 1914, agents of the German Embassy bought passports from longshoremen and sailors -- Swedes, Norwegians, Swiss and eventually, even Americans were willing to sell their passports for $25 to $100.  It was easy to substitute a photograph and stamp for the originals and soon a brisk business was underway.  The leader of this network was found to be Franz von Papen, a military attaché with the Embassy in Washington, D.C., but Ambassador von Bernstorff certainly had knowledge of the scheme.  Von Bernstorff, preferring to be involved in the Washington and New York social scenes, was definitely involved in a the appropriation of funds collected  for humanitarian purposes by German-Americans and using the money for pro-German propaganda.
     When it was made public that Germany had invited Mexico to enter the war as Germany's ally against the U.S. 7 and offered  German assistance in  recovering Mexico's former holdings in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, even Wilson re-evaluated his position and severed relations with Germany in February 1917.  On April 6, 1917, the United States entered the Great War.

 In addition to the passport plot, the possible targeting of the Lusitania, the misappropriation of the relief funds, the damage done by the German spy network included the destruction of the Vanceboro (Maine) bridge (1915) which linked the U.S. and Canada, the Black Tom ammunition depot in New York Harbor (1916), and plots to bomb Ontario's Welland Canal and to attach "rudder bombs" to the propellers of ships leaving U.S. Pacific ports. Authorities foiled plots in Seattle, San Francisco and Hoboken.  On July 19, 1918, Coast Guard patrols at Fire Island sighted a submarine off  Bay Shore.  Shortly after that, the U.S. cruiser San Diego, was sunk 10 miles off Fire Island.  It was never officially determined whether the cruiser was sunk by a torpedo or by land mines laid by the submarine.  The ship sank in fifteen minutes, resulting in the loss of three lives, although almost all of the crew escaped in lifeboats. Within a month ( August 13) the Norwegian freighter Sommerstad was also sunk of Fire Island, the victim of a German torpedo.

Throughout 1917 and 1918, German agents and propagandists were apprehended throughout the New York area, sent to detention camps on Ellis Island and then to prison.8  The diplomats had either already left or were forced out.  Von Bernstorff returned to Germany with his American wife. 
"Bernstorff served in the Reichstag from 1921 to 1928. A fervent supporter of international cooperation, he was the cofounder and president of the German Association for the League of Nations, president of the World Federation of Associations of the League of Nations, and a member of the German delegation to the League of Nations.  Bernstorff co-chaired the German Pro-Palestinian Committee that supported the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine and during 1926-1931, he chaired the German delegation to the Preparatory World Disarmament Conference.  Explicitly mentioned by Adolf Hitler as one of those men bearing "guilt and responsibility for the collapse of Germany, Bernstorff fled Germany in 1933 after the Nazis came to power.  He died in exile in Geneva, Switzerland on October 6, 1939."9

Franz von Papen was expelled from the U.S. in 1916 and, after serving in the army and entering German politics, he became its Chancellor in 1932 and Vice-Chancellor under Adolf Hitler in 1933-34. The Nazis soon marginalized the more moderate von Papen and his allies.  He left the government after the Night of the Long Knives.  Von Papen died in West Germany in 1969 at the age of 89.

Links (*access may require HWPL library card)

1 St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 10, 1912, p. 1.   

2 Long Island Forum , vol. 20 (1957), p. 2+.
3 The New York Tribune, August 10, 1912, p. 3. 4 The New York Times, August 19, 1950, p. 12. 
5 "German Embassy moves to L.I," Daily Star, June 10, 1915, p. 2.

6 "Prince enjoys "Jitney Golf," The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 26, 1915, p. 1.
7 The "Zimmerman Telegram" was intercepted by British intelligence in 1917.  
8 "36 German agents off to Oglethorpe," The New York Times, January 20, 1918, p. 4.

9 Tucker, Spencer C. (ed.) Count von Bernstorff in World War I: the Definitive Encyclopedia and Document collection. ABC-CLIO, 2014, p. 248.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Weaving the Story Mary Kavanagh, Postmaster of Lawrence

Mary Kavanagh, who lived at the turn of the 20th century in Lawrence, New York,  is a mystery waiting to be uncovered.

Alfred Bellot, in his History of the Rockaways (1917), devotes one line to
"the late Mrs. William J. Kavanagh, a resident of Lawrence for many years,and a well-known Indian scholar and literary woman..."
Map of Lawrence, 1891
The only facts related here are 1) Mrs. Kavanagh's husband's name was William J. and 2) she died sometime before 1917.

It was my goal to reconstruct Mrs. Kavanagh's life from readily available Internet sources and subscription databases through the H-WPL database page.    Combined, these individual facts will show that she was a wife and mother, an author, educator and, in an era when women rarely had professions outside the home, she was a notary and Postmaster.

William J.Kavanagh and his wife, Mary lived in the Town of Hempstead (then a part of Queens County)  in the 1880 U.S. Census and the 1892 New York State Census with their four children: 
  • William L. born 1866 (died 1892)
  • Victor Frank, born 1868  (died 1901)
  • Edmund Arthur, born 1873 (died 1935)
  • Mary Gabriella,  born 1876 (died after 1917)
William was born in New York in 1840.  Mary, born in 1834,  emigrated from her native Ireland in 1842.  Working backwards, it was then possible to verify them in the 1870 Census with the two older boys, as resident of New York City.

There are several William Kavanaghs listed as New York Civil War veterans in various databases.  One lived to collect a pension; the beneficiary was his wife Mary.  This William Kavanagh served with several cavalry units, spent some time as a Quartermaster Sergeant and a Regimental Sergeant Major,  and ended the war as a commissioned First Lieutenant.  He lived to collect a pension, of which Mary was the  beneficiary.  This Quartermaster experience may have prepared him for his profession as "leather dealer." (as "our" William is listed in the 1880 U.S. Census).
Articles from local newspapers of the era provided some insight into the lives of the Kavanaghs, who had a home with a beautiful garden in Far Rockaway (South Side Observer, July 7, 1882).  During a crime wave in 1882, the home was the site of an attempted burglary (SSO, October 19, 1882).  That same year, Mrs. Kavanagh purchased the property of Jacob L. Wood in Lawrence (probably located on West Broadway) in the hope of making it "a handsome and very desirable country home." (SSO, April 27, 1882)
Cedarhurst Post Office block, c.1910
In 1883 (SSO, November 17, 1883) Mrs. Kavanagh is credited with "organizing a first class private academy for a limited number of pupils" in Far Rockaway.  The Kavanagh sons established themselves as real estate and insurance brokers in the Branch communities.   William J. was appointed Postmaster of Lawrence in March of 1886.
Unfortunately, the Kavanagh's good fortunes were not to last.   Mention is made of Mrs. Kavanagh in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle of July 13, 1889 as "a lady of fine literary tastes" who, at the time, was suffering from nervous prostration.   In June 1892, the oldest son, William L., died of consumption at the age of 26.  Unable to recover from the loss of his son, William J. fell into a deep melancholy and took his own life the following year.  The elder remaining son, Victor, died of consumption in 1901.
Late 19th Century Postmistresses (Cushing. The Story of our Post Office) 

The appointment of a Postmaster was a political appointment.  Although he only served for one term, Major Kavanagh, a Democrat,  was a respected veteran cited for his integrity and was endorsed for a second term by both parties.  With the election of Grover Cleveland, the widowed Mary Kavanagh was appointed Postmaster of Lawrence in 1893 and again in 1897.

She advertised "two fine homes, fully furnished; all improvements, with stables and five acres of ground, located on main road. in the New York Herald of March 1, 1896 and moved to smaller quarters  on Maple Avenue in Cedarhurst with her daughter, Gabriella.  Mary Kavanagh died in Lawrence on March 26, 1917;  her funeral was held at St. Joachim's Church (Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 27, 1917, p. 8).(blog updated 5/14/2015)

At the present time, I have not definitively verified a maiden name for Mary Kavanagh, although she is regularly listed as Mary A.S. Kavanagh and she appears as "Mary Ann Stevens O'Reilly Kavanagh" in transcriptions of  birth records of two of her children.  I also have not verified why she was considered an "Indian scholar" by Bellot, though The History of Queens County, New York (Munsell, 1882) refers to her article on another historical subject.   Hopefully, more research will shed more light on this interesting woman and her accomplishments.

Further information: