George Curtis Hoey

Born: About 1852 in Unknown

Died: 1907 in Brooklyn, NY

Father: John Hoey
Mother: Josephine Shaw

Submitted by: Arthur Hoey

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1839: Mother Josephine Shaw (b June 1824 in Liverpool, England) marries William H. Russell.

1843: Brother William Hoey born to William H. Russell and Josephine Shaw in Rhode Island.

1847: Brother John Shaw Hoey born to William H. Russell and Josephine Shaw.

Father John Hoey marries Josephine Shaw and adopts her two sons, William and John.

About 1852: Born in unknown location to John Hoey and Josephine Shaw.

About 1853: Sister Josephine Hoey born.

1865 or 1866: Brother Frederick Chamberlain Hoey born in New York, NY.

1860 Federal Census: 616 Fifth Avenue, New York Ward 16 District 3, New York Co., New York
John Hoey, 40, b Ireland, expressman
Josephine Hoey, 33, b England
William Hoey, 18, b New York, clerk
John Hoey, 15, b New York
George Hoey, 8, b New York
Josephine Hoey, 6, b New York
Margaret Bryarty, 25, b Ireland, servant
Mary Morris, 27, b Ireland, servant
Agnes Lawler, 32, b Ireland, servant

About 1866: Brother William Hoey marries Madeline Chamberlain.

1870 Federal Census: 616 Fifth Avenue, New York Ward 19 District 22 (2nd Enum), New York Co., New York
John Hoey, 43, b Ireland
Josephine Hoey, 40, b England
John Hoey, 24, b New York
George Hoey, 13, b New York
Josephine Hoey, 17, b New York
Fred Hoey, 6 [sic], b New York
Kate Rutledge, 40, b Ireland, cook
Kate Kirwin, 23, b Ireland, DS (domestic servant?)
Thomas Curry, 28, b England, waiter
Margaret Reilly, 28, b Ireland, DS

Works include:
"A Child of the State"-adapted by George Hoey from the french melodrama "Les Orphelines de la Charité", c 1880. George Hoey played the part of Gros-Rene, Delancey's friend.
"Two Hearts: A Romantic Melodrama", published Philadelphia, 1880
"Oh! What a Night!" -farcical play, about 1885; played Buck's Opera House in Lansing, Michigan on 1 Oct 1886 with comedian Gus Williams.
"American Grit" -four act play, about 1887: A play based on George Manville Fenn's novel, "The Vicar's People,"and first performed at New York in May 1887, with Henry T. Chanfrau in the leading part.
"Asleep at the Switch"-poetry
"Down in the Mine"
"The 165th New York Volunteers"-written by George Hoey, and read by James F. Ferguson, on Decoration day, May 30th, 1890, at Tottenville, Staten island." 5 p. Poetry.
"The Camp of the Dead" -poem written by George Hoey, and read by Mr. A. C. Foster in a tribute to General George Washington McLean. Record of poem found in the "Annual Record of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachussets,"published 1893.
"A Midnight Folly"-a play in six acts
"A Tale of Corsica" (Originally named "A Priest's Vow")-original play, written by George Hoey, starring George Hoey [Toraldi], opened 5 Nov 1894 at Niblo's Garden, closed 12 Nov 1894. "A Priest's Vow," play written by George Hoey was first presented in Buffalo, New York c 1882
"The Pace That Kills"-original play, melodrama, written by George Hoey, Opened 2 April 1895 at Haverly's 14th Street Theatre.
"The Law of the Land"-original play, written by George Hoey, Opened 7 April 1896 at the American Theatre, New York. Setting in the pre-Civil War south.
"The Lost Collar Button, a comedy in one act" with George Cameron. Published in 1924 by S. French, Ltd.
"Mary Leigh", a poem by George Hoey, printed in New York for the author in 1874. American Poetry, 1871-1900 from the Holdings of the Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays at Brown University. Collation: 12 p. ; 21 cm. Reel: 421 Position: 6
"Keep it Dark"-Three act musical comedy c 1890, played at the Lyceum Theatre in Chicago the week of 9 March 1890 with W.T. Bryant and J.J. Quinlan.
"Coney Island Down Der Bay: A Long Way After 'Bingen'", poem in english written with german accent published in Gus Williams Fireside Recitations, 1881
"Meg, the Ragamuffin," paly written by George. Hoey, originally acted by Carrie Swain at Alcazar Theatre, San Francisco, c 1886.
"A Cork Man," play written by George Hoey, c 1894
"The Son of Napoleon," play written by George Hoey c 1902
"Rizpah," play written by George Hoey and first performed in Kingston, New York
"Summer Boarders," play written by George Hoey and first performed in Kingston, New York
"The Girl I Love," play written by George Hoey and first performed in Kingston, New York
"Partners In Crime," play written by George Hoey and first performed in Kingston, New York
"Don't Tell My Wife," play written by George Hoey

Asleep at the Switch
By George Hoey.

The first thing that I remember was Carlo tugging away,
With the sleeve of my coat fast in his teeth, pulling, as much as to say:
"Come, master, awake, attend to the switch, lives now depend upon you.
Think of the souls in the coming train, and the graves you are sending them to.
Think of the mother and the babe at her breast, think of the father and son,
Think of the lover and the loved one too, think of them doomed every one
To fall (as it were by your very hand) into yon fathomless ditch,
Murdered by one who should guard them from harm, who now lies asleep at the switch."

I sprang up amazed—scarce knew where I stood, sleep had o'ermastered me so;
I could hear the wind hollowly howling, and the deep river dashing below,
I could hear the forest leaves rustling, as the trees by the tempest were fanned,
But what was that noise in the distance? That, I could not understand.
I heard it at first indistinctly, like the rolling of some muffled drum,
Then nearer and nearer it came to me, till it made my very ears hum;
What is this light that surrounds me and seems to set fire to my brain?
What whistle's that, yelling so shrill? Ah! I know now; it's the train.

We often stand facing some danger, and seem to take root to the place;
So I stood—with this demon before me, its heated breath scorching my face;
Its headlight made day of the darkness, and glared like the eyes of some witch,—
The train was almost upon me before I remembered the switch.
I sprang to it, seizing it wildly, the train dashing fast down the track;
The switch resisted my efforts, some devil seemed holding it back;
On, on came the fiery-eyed monster, and shot by my face like a flash;
I swooned to the earth the next moment, and knew nothing after the crash.

How long I lay there unconscious 'twas impossible for me to tell;
My stupor was almost a heaven, my waking almost a hell,—
For then I heard the piteous moaning and shrieking of husbands and wives,
And I thought of the day we all shrink from, when I must account for their lives;
Mothers rushed by me like maniacs, their eyes glaring madly and wild;
Fathers, losing their courage, gave way to their grief like a child;
Children searching for parents, I noticed, as by me they sped,
And lips, that could form naught but "Mamma," were calling for one perhaps dead.

My mind was made up in a moment, the river should hide me away,
When, under the still burning rafters I suddenly noticed there lay
A little white hand; she who owned it was doubtless an object of love
To one whom her loss would drive frantic, though she guarded him now from above;
I tenderly lifted the rafters and quietly laid them one side;
How little she thought of her journey when she left for this dark, fatal ride!
I lifted the last log from off her, and while searching for some spark of life,
Turned her little face up in the starlight, and recognized—Maggie, my wife!

O Lord! my scourge is a hard one, at a blow thou hast shattered my pride;
My life will be one endless nightmare, with Maggie away from my side.
How often I'd sat down and pictured the scenes in our long, happy life;
How I'd strive through all my lifetime, to build up a home for my wife;
How people would envy us always in our cozy and neat little nest;
How I should do all the labor, and Maggie should all the day rest;
How one of God's blessings might cheer us, how some day I perhaps should be rich:—
But all of my dreams had been shattered, while I lay there asleep at the switch!

I fancied I stood on my trial, the jury and judge I could see;
And every eye in the court room was steadily fixed upon me;
And fingers were pointed in scorn, till I felt my face blushing blood-red,
And the next thing I heard were the words, "Hanged by the neck until dead."
Then I felt myself pulled once again, and my hand caught tight hold of a dress,
And I heard, "What's the matter, dear Jim? You've had a bad nightmare, I guess!"
And there stood Maggie, my wife, with never a scar from the ditch,
I'd been taking a nap in my bed, and had not been "asleep at the switch."


Poem found in "Gus Williams' Fireside Recitations," DeWitt Publishers, New York, 1881
CONEY ISLAND DOWN DER BAY: A Long Way After "Bingen"
By George Hoey; Recited by Gus Williams

A soldier ov der Deutsch Brigade was so drunk he dumble down;
He vos in a lager beer saloon yust underneath the ground,
Und he vos eatin' pread und cheese at a most rediculous rate,
Und efery drink he got dat night vos put down on der shlate;
But a policeman shtood peside him, and gave him such a rub,
Und said it was der same old drunk, und belted him mit his glub;
Und den he kicked him mit his hand, but all dot he could say,
Vos, "I come from Coney, Coney Island down der Bay.

"Tell my vife she needn't vait for me, I vont be home tonight,
I vos sit me mit a man vot's sick, vot yesterday vos tight;
For my vather vos a sucker, und he'd go to his old trunk
Und get his old plack pottle out, und den he'd get blind drunk.
But ven he died und left us, on account ov his ill-heath,
I let dem dake yust vot dey vould, out ov my vather's vealth--
But I kept dot old plack pottle, and I've got it to dis day--
Und it's empty now, at Coney Island, Coney Island down der Bay.

"Tell my brothers and combanions, ven der early boat comes down,
Und prings der New York papers to dot fairest Coney Town,
Yust to look among der items, vere everything is fame;
Und heading der Bolice Rebort, he's sure to found my name.
Tell him not to gry about it, but mit joy der news to hail,
Und iv he's going der gome to town, be sure to pring my bail;
But dell him, ov you please, sir, dot der last vords as I say,
Vos, I gome vrom Coney Island, Coney Island down der Bay.

"Say dot in der Toombs around me, vos an awful lot ov beats,
Vot vos going to der 'Island,'--I guess dot means dere gountry seats--
Und some vos dere vor murder, und was going to feel der cords,
Und a lot a vancy vellers, on account ov many frauds;
Und some vos young und suddenly vos brought to Centre shtreet,
Und chucked into der little cell, vot didn't got ten feet;
But some vos dere vor getting drunk, und der fine dey gouldn't pay--
Und one had gome vrom Coney, Coney Island down der Bay.

"Der's another, not a brother, but a yolly vriend ov mine,
Ve used to shtart oud efery night und fighd it on dis line;
Und sometimes he'd get drunkest, und as drough der shtreets ve'd roam.
Ve'd shtop at Neddy Gilmore's, und den see each odder home.
Dell him dot I'm hunkee-doree, but I vish dot he vos here,
Und ve'd shtart oud do-morrow night, drinking lager bier;
But tell him, ov you please, sir, der last vords dot I say,
Vos, just to vait vor me at Coney, Coney Island down der Bay."

De soldier ov der Deutsch Brigade was got him putty tight,
Und der landlord said he wanted to know" if he vos going to shtay all night;
He was a yolly bummer, a beat he vos de dinks,
He never liked a customer vot shtood him up for drinks."
Der policeman took him py der neck, and set him on his veet,
Und den he kicked him mit his glub, und sent him in der shtreet;
But he vell into der gutter, und lasd vord vot he say,
Vos, "Take me home to Coney, Coney Island down der Bay."


10 May 1876: Opened at Red Bank reading his poetry.

7 September 1876: George marries Mary "Mamie" Bevins (niece of accomplished actor Barney Williams). Mamie Bevins was the daughter of James Bevins and "unknown" Pray. "Unknown" Pray had two other sisters, Maria Kathleen Pray who married Barnett Flaherty, known on the stage as Barney Williams, and Malvina Pray (1831-1906) who married William Jermyn "Billy" Florence (1831-1891).

7 September 1876: At St Stephen's Church, Sept 7th, George Hoey, son of John Hoey, manager of Adams Express company, NY to Miss Mary Bevins of same City. Congratulations will be received at the Windsor Hotel, New York.

About 1876: George's sister, Josephine Hoey, marries Charles Russell Hone.

About 1876: Joined Dion Boucicault's traveling theater company debuting as "Robert Folliott" in "The Shaughraun" written by Boucicault.

About 1877: Became a member of the stock company of the Chestnut Theatre managed by Gemmill and Scott in Philadelphia.

1876: George and  Mamie have a son, George Hoey Jr.

1880 Federal Census-Broadway Central Hotel, New York, NY (673 Broadway at 3rd Street):
George Hoey, head, 37, born NY, actor
Mrs. George Hoey, wife, 35, born NY
George Hoey, son, 4, born NY
Note: Broadway Central Hotel, 673 Broadway, NYC erected in 1868; collapsed due to neglect in 1973 killing four people.

1882 Marcellus, NY Weekly Observer
George Hoey, an actor in "My Jack" Company, and son of ex-president Hoey of Adams Express Company, was arrested Friday in Albany by a Troy detective for swindling the American House in Troy out of a small amount of money.

Spring 1883: First attributed to having mental illness.

3 October 1883: Father, John Hoey , takes out an advertisement in the New York Times requesting the public not to cash any drafts or checks made or indorsed by George Hoey due to his unfit mental condition.

28 December 1885: Gus Williams stars in the play "Oh! What a Night" written by George Hoey, at the Grand Opera House, New York, NY.

11 January 1887: Indicted of Forgery, New York, Jan 11-George Hoey, son of John Hoey, of the Adams Express Company, was yesterday indicted by the grand jury of Monmouth county, N.J., on a charge of forging his father's name to a draft of about $125.

1888-1891: George's father John Hoey was the 4th chairman of Adams Express Co.

14 November 1892: George's father, John Hoey , dies of Bright's (kidney) disease at the Delmonico Apartments in New York, NY.

31 March 1895: NY Times
"The Pace that Kills," an English melodrama, which has been in course of preparation for some time, will have it's first production in America at the Fourteenth Street Theatre to-morrow night. The play is in four acts, and tells the story of life in the English fields and paddocks. The scenes are laid in England, partly at Tranlow-Friars and partly in London. The first act shows a view of the grange at Tranlow-Friars and partly in London. The near Albert Gate, Hyde Park; the third the stables of Herrick Grange, and the fourth and last Aintree, near Liverpool, where the National Steeplechase is run. The cast, which has been specially selected, includes Amelia Bingham, Annie Barclay, Gertrude Perry, George Hoey, Edward J. Heron, Lloyd Melville, Allen Desmond, Harry Rogers, and Edgard Forrest.

11 March 1896: Brother John Shaw Hoey dies at Long Branch, NJ of the grip and neuralgia of heart.

July 1896: George's mother Josephine (nee Shaw) Hoey dies of cancer at the Hollywood estate in Long Branch, New Jersey.

December 1900: Corse Payton Stock Company presents George Hoey's Merry Comedy "Don't Tell My Wife" at Payton's Theater on Lee Avenue, Brooklyn, New York.

1 November 1901: Corse Payton Comedy Company celebrates George Hoey's 25th Anniversary on the stage. George Hoey was an actor and stage manager for Corse Payton's Comedy Company in Brooklyn, New York.
From Brooklyn Eagle:
George Hoey, the veteran actor, celebrated the half century mark of his age Wednesday night at a dinner given by George Beach at South Ninth street and Driggs avenue. The occasion was also the twenty-fifth anniversary of Mr. Hoey's appearance on the stage. In connection with the latter event he was made the recipient of a number of handsome presents in silver. In this respect he was remembered by Corse Payton, proprietor of the Lee Avenue Theater. Mr. Hoey is the stage director of that playhouse. Among those present at the dinner were Corse Payton, Etta Reed, Mr. and Mrs. Barton Williams, W. A. Mortimer, Kirk Brown, Charles Barringer, Johnnie Hoey, Marguerite Fields, Grace Fox, Dr. Valentine, surgeon of the Long Island Railroad, and others.

February 1902: Brother William Hoey commits suicide in New Rochelle, NY.

September 1905: The Billboard
Stage Director and Comedian George C. Hoey, of the Poll’s Own Stock Co.. Waterbury. Conn., became the recipient of a very handsome present last week, the occasion being the closing of the stock company for the season. At the close of the performance a representative of the stage hands of the Jacques Opera House, in a very clever and Mandatory speech, presented to Mr. Hoey a handsome gold watch, on the dial of which was inscribed the following: “Presented to the grand old man of the Jacques Opera House by the stage hands." Mr. Hoey was completely taken by surprise, but recovered in time to thank the boys very heartily.

18 August 1907: George Curtis Hoey dies in Brooklyn, NY.

19 August 1907: Brother Frederick C. Hoey marries actress Elsie Louise Ferguson. Living in West End, NJ

New York Times Obituary-19 August 1907:
George Hoey, One of the Old Timers, Passes Away in Brooklyn
  George Hoey, a veteran actor, died in Kings County Hospital, Brooklyn, yesterday after a short illness. Mr. Hoey was taken ill several years ago, and was sent to the sanitarium by the Actors' Society.
  Becoming tired of the life there and having a hankering for old Broadway, he returned to this city a few days ago. On Thursday he made a visit to friends in Brooklyn, and was taken suddenly ill. He was carried to Kings County Hospital.
  Hoey was well known to the old timers. His mother was at one time a member of the old Wallack's Theatre stock company. He had played with Booth, Barrett, Jefferson, and other famous players.

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Updated on Wednesday, 22 April 2015

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