Known in the New York journals as "the Literary Policeman," George S. McWatters was a New York City police officer who occasionally visited Pfaff's and there earned the respect of the bar's bohemian patrons (McWatters xix). A.L. Rawson writes, "McWatters was a genial and kind-hearted policeman, and fond of children. When Ada [Clare]'s boy came he named him 'the Prince,' and the title was at once accepted by the coterie. . . . The coterie [at Pfaff's] helped to get him appointed on the 'force,' where he served until retired for long and faithful service" (107).
Born in County Cork and raised primarily in Limerick, Ireland, Fitz-James O'Brien moved to New York City in 1852. Descending from an Anglo-Irish landholding family, O'Brien received his inheritance (estimated at £8000) at about the age of 21. Between 1849 and 1851, it is believed that O'Brien edited a failed literary magazine called The Parlour Magazine of the Literature of All Nations and squandered his inheritance (Wolle 21). Leaving England almost penniless, O'Brien immigrated to America and made the U.S.