“Jack the Peeper” caused alarm in different parts of the city during the winter of 1894, spying on women in their homes and insulting them in the street. He was never caught. Every few years thereafter, another Jack the Peeper would be reported, among them a demented person seen running through people’s backyards in 1895; a rough-looking man who escaped by mingling with a group of Swedes who had been calling on a servant girl in the vicinity in 1896; a female Jack the Peeper in 1905; a figure wearing a police officer’s badge in 1912; and a prominent citizen, whose identity was protected by the press, in 1921.
The term was abandoned in the thirties. “Peeper” would suffice from then on.
There were four reports of peepers in 1945, all in the Croton district and the south side, and two arrests: Richard Watkins, the brother of Robert Watkins; and Lee Render, of whom there is no record other than his photograph.Sources: (12 Dec 1894, “Was Suspicious”; 24 April 1895, “Jack The Peeper”; 25 March 1896, “Jack The Peeper Again”; 12 June 1901, “Jack The Peeper”; 5 April 1905, “Jack The Peeper Busy On East Side; 17 Nov 1905, “Sixth Ward Maiden Jack The Peeper”; 3 Dec 1912, “Police Are After ‘Jack The Peeper’”; 28 Dec 1912, “Jack The Peeper Caught By Resident”; 1 May 1917, “Ralph Rotoli Is Sent To Workhouse”; 23 June 1920; “’Jack The Peeper’ At Work Again” 22 Dec 1920, “Jack The Peeper On Eastside Now”; 22 Dec 1920; “Jack The Peeper Caught”; 5 Dec 1921, “Jack The Peeper Is Reported Here”; 31 Dec 1921, “What Is The Idea Of Keeping Name Secret?”; 3 Jan 1922, “Jack The Peeper Is Put To Flight”; 23 March 1931, “’Peeper At Work On The East Side”; 24 Feb 1945, “Alert Officer Nabs Peeper, Chief Reports”; 26 April 1945, “Peeper Active”; 8 May 1945, “Fires At Peeper In Croton Section”.)
Howard Brown was a field gun ammunition handler in the battle for the Gothic line in 1944 and the advance into north Italy in 1945, campaigns that saw the deaths of more than one hundred and ten thousand soldiers. The war was over before he was twenty. By the time he was twenty-one, he was back in New Castle, with a job in the Lingerlight dairy, a wife and a baby daughter, whose birth moved him to compose a poem entitled, “My Thanks”, which was printed in the personals column of the New Castle News in November, 1947.“Our Father, who are in heaven above,
I want to thank you for your endowing love,
Of giving me a daughter, whom I love from,
The bottom of my heart.
Thru your wondrous grace and my devotion,
We shall never drift apart. “Each night I prayed to you for a daughter fair,
With skin so smooth, and soft silken hair,
A turned up nose and eyes of blue.
It all seems so hard to believe to be true. “Thank you God for sending this little angel,
Each time she smiles she shows,
A cute little dimple.
With two chubby little arms to hold me tight.
Oh dear God you know what is right.”
There is no further record of Howard’s life other than his arrest for driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor in 1949.Sources: New Castle News (2 Jun 1944, “In US Armed Service”; 7 Oct 1944, “Five Local Men Serve With 168th”; 7 Nov 1944, “In US Armed Service”; 29 Jul 1946, “Dorothy Sanis and Howard Brown Wed”; 22 Sep 1947, “Births”; 22 Nov 1947, “From Me To You”).