Roach Guards

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Roach Guards
Five Points - George Catlin - 1827.jpg
George Catlin painting of the Five Points, Manhattan, New York City in 1827 the slum territory of the "Roach Guards" and the other Irish criminal gangs
Founded byTed Roach
Founding location Five Points Manhattan, New York City
Years active1820s-1860s
TerritoryFive Points, Manhattan, New York City
EthnicityIrish and Irish American
Membership (est.)?
Criminal activities street fighting, knife fighting, assault, murder, robbery
Allies Dead Rabbits, Tammany Hall
Rivals Bowery Boys, Atlantic Guards

The Roach Guards were an Irish criminal gang in Five Points neighborhood of New York City the early 19th century. The gang was originally formed to protect New York liquor merchants in Five Points and soon began committing robbery and murder. The Roach Guards took their name from their founder and leader Ted Roach.

The Roach Guards began fighting with rivals the Bowery Boys. Some former Roach Guard members were called the Dead Rabbits by the media. The internal feud was especially violent as they fought over the Five Points area. Despite constant fighting, they managed to hold their own in the "slugger battles" against the more organized and disciplined "Bowery Boys". The Roach Guards, however, began to decline during the 1850s, disappearing entirely by the end of the American Civil War in 1865. [1]


  1. ^ Tyler Anbinder, Five Points: the 19th-century New York City neighborhood that invented tap dance, stole elections, and became the world's most notorious slum (2001) pp 285-86.


  • Asbury, Herbert. The Gangs of New York. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1928. ISBN  1-56025-275-8
  • Sifakis, Carl. The Encyclopedia of American Crime. New York: Facts on File Inc., 2001. ISBN  0-8160-4040-0