Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Welcome to EverythingCroton, a collection of all things Croton--our history, our homes, our issues, our businesses, our schools--in short EVERYTHING CROTON Croton. 

Sisters Joyce Finnerty (the late village historian) and Elise Sasso had a deep abiding love of Croton's history. Their articles on the village have truly stood the test of time.Back by popular demand, here's part one of THE MYSTERY OF THE LARKIN PLACE SKELETON, 2008, by ELISE SASSO 

“Through the years I had often heard the story of an Indian being discovered in our yard, so I asked my mother to tell me her recollections. She related the following story to me.” Joyce Finnerty, Village Historian. 

The Discovery: “It was an early spring morning, March 21, 1935, to be exact. When my mother, Catherine Ottaviano was going to plant some flowers in her small front yard garden. While digging, the neighbor’s little dog came over and started digging along side her. While digging they unearthed what appeared to be the top of a ball, but upon closer observation she discovered it was the top of a skull. She went across the street to get her neighbor Mrs. Spink and then went in to call the police.” 

“Patrolman Robert Zippo came and started to uncover the skeleton, Chief Dobbs was called and thinking it was a crime scene he called Dr. Amos Squires, the Medical Examiner from Ossining. After seeing the skeleton he called the head of Indian Affairs from New York City."

“The skeleton was found in a fetal position on its right side. The skull was cracked across the top of the head and showed scalping scars, (according to Leslie Vern Case). The site was high and well drained and the skeleton was resting on limestone, which probably helped preserve it”. My mother also told me” that the skeleton lay in an open grave for almost a week before it was removed and it frightened her to have to go outside in the dark.” Where the skeleton is today is unknown: 

The Theory: Amateur archeologist Leslie Verne Case was notified about the find and pictures of the skeleton were made. Mr. Case developed his theory from the bones, which showed they were from a male who in life appeared to have been six feet tall. The right tibia showed an apparent fracture, which would have caused a limp. The teeth were well intact and grinding surfaces indicated that he was more than fifty years old. The general condition of the bones would indicate that he lived about three hundred years ago. In 1935 Mr. Case wrote an article in the Westchester Historian explaining his theory. A lame Indian was a rarity and the more so if he were a chief. History records only one such Indian in Westchester County whose characteristic limp is associated with his name. He was known to the English as, “Limping Will”, of Mamaroneck, a chief, who lived in 1644 at Dobbs Ferry. His name “Will” has shown up on many of the Indian land sale documents. Is this just a coincidence?

8/11 UPDATE: Read Part Two here: