Roadhouse Characters

Thomas S. Brady





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McGrath Genealogy  |  Upperchurch Connections  |       Old Mattydale          |  What's New  |  Contact

















Thomas S. Brady

Revised: October 15, 2014


Thomas Brady said he was born in Oswego in 1859. [1894-06-23]


The First St. James Hotel

"Thomas S. Brady formally opened his new hotel, the St. James, at 213 and 215 South Franklin street, last night. An elegant collation was served and good music was in attendance. The place has been thoroughly refitted and furnished, and Mr. Brady proposes to and is in a first class manner. His many friends turned out en masse last night to wish him all possible success in his new venture." [1889-08-07]  Thomas S. Brady had a liquor license for his hotel at 215 South Franklin St. [1890-05-27]


Introducing Minnie Dear Drinkwine

Minnie Drinkwine and her husband, Lewis, the barber in the Hotel Candee building, were having marital difficulties that were leading them to a divorce. "It is said that Mrs. Drinkwine is considerably younger than her husband and that this fact has given rise to a great deal of jealousy on his part." [1889-11-04] During this time Mrs. Drinkwine had taken up employment at the St. James Hotel on South Franklin Street, in the employ of Thomas Brady. The aspect of the story that brought this normally private matter to the pages of the newspaper was the involvement of the famous fighter, John L. Sullivan. Mr. Drinkwines's lawyer claimed to have evidence that "Mrs. Drinkwine went to Mollie Young's road house at Centreville with John L. Sullivan during the pugilist's visit here, and that they were accompanied by another woman and a well-known saloon keeper.  He understands that, the woman admits making the trip to Centreville, but denies that anything improper occurred. The fact was known during Sullivan's stay here that he spent something more than a day and a night at the St. James Hotel, where the woman is employed. Mr. Rogers (Mr. Drinkwine's lawyer) was uncertain as to whether he would make the famous pugilist a co-respondent in the complaint." [1889-11-07]


Fire At The St. James Hotel

“Thomas S. Brady, proprietor of the St. James Hotel on South Franklin street, which was damaged by smoke and water in the recent conflagrations, yesterday effected a satisfactory settlement with the insurance company. Mr. Brady intends refitting and refurbishing his hotel throughout and making the St. James more popular than ever.”



Brady Buys Kelley's Roadhouse 

Alfretta Kelley sold the roadhouse property to Thomas S. Brady for $11,000. This was subject to a mortgage of $4000 held by the Skaneateles Savings Bank. [1891-09-10] He held a Grand opening of the Central New York Hotel, Thursday, September 24, 1891. When Brady moved to the old Kelley Roadhouse he took Minnie Drinkwine with him and although they never married, she became his common law wife. In the 1892 census Brady gave his age as 26 (b. 1866). His wife Minnie was 24.


Brady was the subject of five sealed indictments handed down by the Grand Jury. There was one charge of keeping a disorderly house, two charges of violating the Excise laws and two charges of selling liquor without a license. Brady initially pleaded guilty and then changed his plea to guilty. He received a fine of $500 and was sentenced to one year in the penitentiary, however, the jail time was suspended as long as he maintained good behavior.


Financial Trouble 

In March 1898 it became necessary for Brady to sell the Central New York Hotel to satisfy his creditors. Lizzie Gannon bought the roadhouse for $7,000 and subject to two mortgages. [1899-02-25] Lizzie and Tom Brady practically traded places. She left the saloon that she was running at 1632 North Salina and went to "Rose Lawn." Brady left "Rose Lawn" and went to 1628 North Salina. His new place was called the St. James Hotel, just like his old place on South Franklin St. When Brady left South Franklin street and went to the Kelley roadhouse he was accompanied by Minnie Drinkwine, his common law wife. Minnie was still with him at the north side reincarnation of his old St. James Hotel.


Problems at The Second St. James Hotel 

Upon leaving the Central New York Hotel, on the Cicero Plank Road, there might have been some financial baggage following Brady. When he and Minnie went into business at 1628 North Salina Street, everything had been put in Minnie's name. This would turn out to be wise in the short term but disastrous in the long run - the long run being only two years. One day in February 1900, Minnie left Tom Brady, it was part of a plan, but Brady never saw it coming. She had gone to pay a bill one morning and never returned. When she hadn't retuned by the following day, Brady set out to retrace her steps and found that she had never gone to the furniture store and never paid the bill. Her trail led to a Butternut Street saloon where Brady learned that Minnie had just left a short time before he had arrived, with the saloon proprietor, on a carriage ride to Brewerton.


Returning to the St. James Hotel, Brady realized that Minnie had taken all their money and arriving at the hotel he was met by a group of their suppliers and tradesmen who were waiting to be paid. Since there was no way to pay them he was forced to close down the hotel. In a few days Brady realized there would be no reopening of the hotel and he began to remove his property from the premises. It was then that he was informed that it wasn't his property since everything had been put in Minnie's name. "It is said that 'Min' intended to resume business at the old stand with her new found love and leave Tom out in the cold." Brady vowed to fight his former partner. "It is said the Butternut street saloon keeper has deserted a wife and several children for the more attractive 'Min'." [1900-02-15]


Tom and Min Split 

In the 1900 census Thomas Brady was living at a boarding house at 316 Wolf St in the 1st Ward of Syracuse.  He gave his age as 34, born Aug. 1865, and his occupation as “Hotel keeper.” His wife was not living with him.


The Death of Thomas Brady 

In mid-July the paper reported that Tom Brady was "near death's door." An attorney was sent to Star Lake, in the Adirondacks, to seek a deposition from Brady for a divorce case. Brady was suffering from consumption. [1900-07-14]. Thomas Brady died near the end of July 1900. His funeral was out of the home of Mrs. Minnie Drinkwine, Brady’s former common law wife and former business partner, at 4 New Butternut St. He was buried in the First Ward cemetery on August 2, 1900. [1900-08-03]


Minnie's Life After Tom

The January 18, 1897 listing of liquor licenses granted contained the name of George Flach [Flech], who had an establishment on New Butternut St. in the town of Salina. This is the man that Minnie Drinkwine was living with in 1910 (1514 Butternut Street) and in 1919, at the time of her death [1919-09-26]. This is also probably the unnamed bartender that she deserted Tom Brady for back in February 1900.



[1889-08-07] - "Opening the St. James," The Syracuse Courier, Syracuse, NY, Wednesday, August 7, 1889.

[1889-11-04] - "Sullivan Of Boston," The Evening Herald, Syracuse, NY, Monday, November 4, 1889.

[1889-11-07] - "Sullivan Of Boston - Has He Knocked Out Barber Drinkwine of Syracuse," The Syracuse Weekly Express, Syracuse, NY, Thursday, November 7, 1889.

[1890-05-27] – List of Liquor Licenses, Syracuse Daily Courier, Syracuse, NY, Tuesday, May 27, 1890

[1891-03-10] – “Smoke Clears Away – Adjusting the Losses of the Recent Conflagrations,” The Syracuse Courier, Syracuse, NY, Thursday, March 19, 1891.

[1891-09-10] - "Real Estate Transactions," The Syracuse Daily Journal, Syracuse, NY, Thursday, September 10, 1891.

[1891-09-21] - "Grand Opening on the Plank Road," The Sunday Courier, Syracuse, NY, Monday, September 21, 1891.

[1894-06-23] “Sentences Moved,” The Evening Herald, Syracuse, NY, June 23, 1894.

[1899-02-25] - "Old Road House Burned," The Syracuse Evening Herald, Syracuse, NY, Saturday, February 25, 1899.

[1900-02-15] - "Min And Tom - First Ward Hotel Keeper Has His Troubles," The Evening Telegram, Syracuse, NY, Thursday, February 15, 1900. Minnie's first husband was a barber, not a First Ward saloon keeper, as stated in the article.

[1900-07-14] - "Brady Is Dying, His Evidence is Wanted in the Mills Divorce Case," The Evening Telegram, Syracuse, NY, Saturday, July 14, 1900.

[1900-08-03] - "Funeral of Thos. Brady," The Evening Telegram, Syracuse, NY, Friday, August 3, 1900.

[1919-09-26] - Minnie Drinkwine Fleck Obit. The Syracuse Journal, Syracuse, NY, Friday, September 26, 1919.