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Buffalo Commercial Advertiser of July 5, 1892:

Death Dealing Blow
An Independence Day Murder

Frederick Lorgreen Kills Elias Severson in

Moran's Saloon on Canal Street, by a

Blow from His Bare Fist
- A Woman was the Cause

The Fourth was not without its tragedy. It occurred in Paddy Moran's place 89 Canal street between 4 and 5 o'clock yesterday morning. Elias Severson of 112 West Indiana Street, Chicago, second mate of the boat F.L. Danforth, now laying at dock was killed.

Frederick Lorgreen was charged with the crime, and is now confined at police headquarters. A blow from Lorgreen's bare fist caused a hemorrhage in Severson's head that is supposed to have resulted in almost instant death. A woman was the cause of the trouble. She is a concert hall singer employed by Moran, and goes by the name of Lizzie Lake, and is the widow of Dan Lake,the comedian. She is now either the wife or paramour of Lorgreen and live with him at 173 Myrtle Avenue.

Yesterday morning was unusually gay on Canal street, and the denizens of that section of the city could scarcely wait until midnight passed, so that they could begin the wild scene of merriment that constitutes the event of the year. Men and women danced and sang with uncertain steps and less certain tunes, to the music of tin-toned pianos and squeaky fiddles. Beer was guzzled without stint and bad cigars consumed as the orgy went on.

When morning began to dawn, a temporary calm came over the scene of revel. The beer imbibed began to bear fruits of intoxication, and languid stupidity and sulky sulleness, took the place of that hilarity which had characterized the earlier portion of the night.

Things were about at the condition described as the first rays of the morning sun paled the gas jets in Moran's saloon. Severson, who was a Norwegian, had been about the place some time. He asked the woman Lizzie to drink with him.

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173 Myrtle Ave in Buffalo
Frederick Lorgreen's House at 173 Myrtle Avenus in Buffalo as it appeared in 1993. Photo: Paul Redding

She did so. Then it is charged that he said some things to her that she resented. Her hand descended on the Norwegian's face with a stinging slap. Quickly the man's anger was up, and giving her a push he threw her to the floor.

Some one rushed to where Fred Lorgreen was and told him what had happened.

In an instant he confronted Severson and in another, his sledge-hammer fist had felled the man to the floor. More blows followed. One, two, three at least; and when Fred Lorgreen arose from the prostrate form beneath him, Elias Severson was past human aid.

Then followed a little flutter among the revelers, and when it subsided the man with the heavy fists was gone. His victim lay dead, but what of that. It was the Glorious Forth, and the residents of Canal street could not go in mourning because one reveler had been called to the world of shadows. So the beer went round, the dance continued, the fiddles squeaked and the piano's thumped.

The police came in and Corner Tucker was notified. The corner had the dead man taken away from the noisy babel and the boisterous crowd, and placed on a slab in the damp chilly morgue.

Capt. Reagan and his specials, Sullivan and Flynn, started out to hunt for the man whose monstrous muscles had made him a murderer. Questions concerning him elicited from the reluctant witnesses of the tragedy the information that he was a professional athlete. A man who could break paving stones with a blow from his bare fist, and split heavy chains by the expansion of his muscles. He had been engaged as a strong-man most of his life, giving exhibitions of his power, before dime museums and concert hall audiences. Some times he would work a little at his trade, that of a boilermaker, then again, become waiter in a cheap restaurant, and at others act as a sort of a "bouncer" around low saloons.

The police soon caught Lorgreen at his home on Myrtle av.

This article and many others like it are featured in the book by Michael N. Vogel, Ed Patton, and Paul Redding titled: America's Crossroads, Buffalo's Canal Street/ Dante Place the Making of a City. New York: Western New York Heritage Institute, Canisius College, 1993 which paints an exceptionally vivid picture of Buffalo's old waterfront district...

Reprinted with permission Western New York Heritage Press, Inc.

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