Above: Scene at East 92nd Street, East of Canarsie Lane. Circa 1922
Fred Fetterman was an aviation pioneer. He refueled airplanes during historic missions by Women's Champion endurance fliers: Frances Marsalis and Helen Richey in 1934. He worked for Socony and the Outdoor Cosmetics Company; flying aircraft with advertising. In July of 1933 Fetterman was part of a team that helped rescue round-the-world flier: Jimmie Mattern, from Siberia. Mattern had been lost for 16 days. Fetterman built his airplanes in the large yard of 1372 East 92nd street in Canarsie. He was also a member of the Canarsie Board of Trade. Fetterman died at Floyd Bennett Field in Mill Basin, Brooklyn. He was flying an airplane and the craft began to nosedive. Fetterman jumped from the airplane and his parachute failed to deploy. He fell to his death. Ironically after he jumped, his aircraft self-corrected itself and glided itself to a safe landing with no damage. If Fetterman had stayed inside he would have lived. He died on March 3rd, 1939 at the age of 36.
James Haviland was the first Canarsie Fire Fighter to die in the line of duty. Haviland was born in Brooklyn on January 28th, 1848. He became a fireman in 1876, working at Engine 17 at DeKalb and Engine 22 at Quincy Street. In 1905 Haviland was preparing to fight a fire, ran towards the pole to slide down. He tripped, fell through the hole and fractured his skull at the lower level.
Charles Matthews was the second Canarsie Police officer who died in the line of duty. He died on December 12th, 1904 from internal injuries after his patrol wagon overturned on the corner of Ave. L and Rockaway Parkway after colliding with a shore bound trolley. Matthews had five daughters and two sons and lived in Canarsie. Matthews was one of the original 18 officers that were sworn in when Lewis K. Worth was appointed as captain in 1896. Charles Matthews actually died 2 weeks after the first Canarsie Police officer died at the same accident. The first officer to die was James Devens on November 20th, 1904.
Dewitt C. Littlejohn was a public servant his entire life. If you looked up his history online, his connection to Canarsie would not be found. You would find his position as Mayor of Oswego County and his long career in the N.Y. Assembly from 1853-1871 and 1884. He was a brigadier general in the Union Army. He had interests in Railroading as he organized and served as president of the New York and Oswego Midland Railroad, (NY&OM), in 1868. This route traversed much of New York State on its way to New York City. He also established a steamboat service connecting Long Island to his new railroad. During this time he also had built a relationship with the residents of Canarsie. In 1867 he established and accessed the land to build the Canarsie Railroad. He also, in 1867, built the Canarsie Pavilion hotel near the pier. He placed Thomas Stewart in charge of the first class hotel. Littlejohn died on October 27, 1892.
Louis Crome was a community Pharmacist/Druggist. He built a large home and attached building around 1895. In 1906, he had a postal substation,(#80), placed in his pharmacy for community convenience. Crome was part of the committee that set up funding to build the Civil war monument in Canarsie Cemetery. He operated at East 92nd Street and Flatlands Avenue until 1921. He died on February 5th, 1941.
John Denton was a columnist who lived his entire life in Canarsie. Born in 1900, he was known for the recollection of his memories and writing about them in the local newspaper. He managed the short lived American theatre and was part of a family of the last clam/oyster diggers of Jamaica bay before that industry was terminated in 1921. He passed away in 1985.
Mrs. Edith Wilson was born in 1903 in Canarsie and lived her entire life there. Mrs. Wilson lived a quiet life in Canarsie, as Judge Wilson's only daughter. While she did participate in civic functions without praise, she in fact was the person responsible for acquiring and accumulating the Canarsie artifact collection. The quiet acquirement of the collection allowed for many individuals to obtain information about the community that may have never been known. In August of 1987, Edith Wilson participated in the preservation and confirmation of the Canarsie "Indian" Cemetery with Ben Dubose for the Landmarks Preservation Commission. She died in 1999 at 99 years old.