Tag Archives: The Lava Beds

Hudson Then…Again -The Gang that Terrorized Downtown Jersey City in the Late 1800s

The Lava Beds/ Featherstone Gang of the late 1800s and Downtown Jersey City

By Maureen Wlodarczyk

Super Bowl Sunday did not disappoint this year as Big Blue did Jersey proud. For Gang Green fans, there’s always next year. Speaking of gangs, I want to tell you the story of a very different gang of men, the criminal kind, that roamed the streets of Jersey City in the 1800s.

James Featherstone

While New York had its infamous gangs like those depicted in the memorable film, Gangs of New York, its neighbor was no different.  In the 19th century, Jersey City was home to many gangs who claimed specific streets and neighborhoods as their turf. These hoodlums instilled fear in residents and business owners, committing robbery, burglary, assault, extortion and even murder. Those they victimized were afraid to testify against them, making it difficult for law enforcement to arrest and incarcerate them. One of the worst of these Jersey City gangs was the Lava Beds, also known as the Featherstone gang, which operated in what was then the Sixth Ward, a poor immigrant neighborhood. Continue reading Hudson Then…Again -The Gang that Terrorized Downtown Jersey City in the Late 1800s

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