Canvas Crime paints a picture of Red Hook
A small blurb in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 1852 paints an image of scrappy Red Hook.
A man named Hayes, who keeps a junk store in Red Hook Point, was taken before Justice King this morning, on a charge preferred against him by David W. Sweet, of stealing $150 of canvases from the brig Edinburg lying at Atlantic Dock. Hayes avers that he bought it from a mate of the vessel. Committed for examination.
Setting aside if Hayes was guilty, Red Hook has long been home to many junk dealers who dealt in unwanted and leftover materials. Often an honest business, they sometimes strayed into legal grey areas or worse. Some junk dealers had boats and visited ships in the harbor, like the brig EDINBURG, to buy and sell. (A brig is a sailing vessel with two square-rigged masts.) It is possible that canvass, common to the tall masted ships of the 1850s, was sold to Hayes by someone who was not authorized to do so. Whether he ended up in the brig (jail) is not known.