From the April 8, 1893, issue of Rider & Driver:

Charley, on the Bridge

Charles H. Francis, better known as “Charley,” the policeman, at Macomb’s Dam Bridge, has stood guard over the safety of the driving public at that point for more than twenty years, hardly missing a day. He was born in what is now called North New York — Port Morris — and will be fifty years old next June. While tall and rather slender his is not at all delicate. Few men can take a frightened horse by the head with more firmness. His manner, with just the right word which he drops into the timid driver’s ear, has often proved reassuring and a lesson to the recipients for the rest of his life. The many travelers over that famous old bridge can remember Charley’s well-known figure, as he has been ever at his post, in sunshine and in storm. Charley knows all the drivers, great and small. He knows no favorites.

A driver on the road tells of seeing Charley make the late Commodore Vanderbilt keep his place at the bridge entrance. Someone, driving in company, said to the Commodore: “Don’t you think Charley is pretty strict?” “No,” said the Commodore, “he’s just right. Best man they ever had here.”

A few years ago a pair were running away, up Eighth Avenue. The driver had strength enough to steer them, but could not stop them. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. Charley was near the west end of the bridge and as ever on the alert. He saw the pair coming and saw that they were likely to hit a carriage about to enter upon the bridge. He rushed at the carriage driver and said: “Runaway!” in a loud voice, motioning for him to turn into Johnny Barry’s shed. Then he ran the other way as fast as a deer, turning all the teams to the right side of the bridge. They just managed to give room enough to let the runaway pass. Charley reached the east end about as soon as the runaways, and commanded the pale-faced driver and paler companion to turn up the hill to the left. The driver did so and before half-way to the top he stopped his horses. It was the work of a moment to set the bridge drivers all going in order again. The runaways had been hitched too near the wagon, so that when an effort was made to stop them their heels would strike the wheels and so frightened them that they ran faster.

Charley is the right man in the right place.

Charley, the policeman, on the bridge (from Rider & Driver, April 8, 1893)