No. 445
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
October 23, 2019

Defying the Guards.

Downed by Kindness After defying a host of armed keepers, James Driscoll, in the Trenton, N. J. Sta
January 12, 2015
...
...

On this date in 1943, French abortionist Désiré Pioge was guillotined in Paris by the family-values Vichy regime. Very much overshadowed by the like fate shared by Marie-Louise Giraud a few weeks before, Pioge doesn’t even boast his own French Wikipedia entry — just a passing mention on Giraud’s. (Many other Giraud posts aver that […]
More...
Executed Today - 10/22/2019

`
Lizzie’s Old School Chum, Augusta Poole (Mrs. Cyrus Tripp) Shelley M. Dziedzic, October 2019 (all rights reserved) During the hot …

Continue reading

More...
Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 10/19/2019

Via historic-uk.com It is, of course, common knowledge that one of the precipitating factors of World War I was the murder of Franz Ferdinand and his wife. However, it is largely forgotten that another cold-blooded assassination very nearly sparked an armed conflict between America and Great Britain. This week, let us remember the Great Dead Pig War of 1859. The main stage for our
More...
Strange Company - 10/21/2019
Jeff and Joe Soapy Smith buries Joe Simmons The Illustrated Police News April 9, 1892 (Click image to enlarge) oe Simmons was a tall, slender gambler known to many as “Gambler Joe” Simmons, a member of the Soap Gang who managed Soapy Smith's Tivoli Club in Denver, 1890, and Soapy's Orleans Club in Creede, 1892. According to William Devere’s poem "Two Little Busted Shoes," Simmons
More...
Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 3/25/2019
In October 1893, 64-year-old Patrick Finney of New Bedford, Pennsylvania, was visiting his old friend and drinking buddy James Campbell in Hazelton, Ohio.  Campbell had been a saloonkeeper in Pittsburgh before retiring and moving with his wife to Hazelton, a suburb of Youngstown.  As was their custom, Finney and the Campbells were drinking heavily the night of October 9. James Campbell had a
More...
Murder By Gaslight - 10/19/2019

George Grosz made a name for himself drawing and painting caricatures of life in his native Germany during the postwar Weimar era. But this Expressionist painter who helped lead the Dada movement left Germany in 1932 and relocated to New York City, turning his cynical eye on his adopted home city. “New York Harbor,” from […]
More...
Ephemeral New York - 10/20/2019
[Editor’s note: Guest writer, Peter Dickson, lives in West Sussex, England and has been working with microfilm copies of The Duncan Campbell Papers from the State Library of NSW, Sydney, Australia. The following are some of his analyses of what he has discovered from reading these papers. Dickson has contributed many transcriptions to the Jamaica Family […]
More...
Early American Crime - 2/7/2019
Song of the Great Blizzard. | Cheating the Liquor Laws.

Defying the Guards.

Downed by kindness

Downed by Kindness.
After defying a host of armed keepers, James Driscoll, in the Trenton, N. J. State prison succumbs to a gentle word. [more]

One convict causes a great commotion in the Trenton (N. J.) State Prison, Tuesday week last. On the afternoon of that day the prison alarm signal was rung for the first time in many years, and deputy keepers and guards came. They found all the prisoners at work except James Driscoll, a powerful convict, who had been sent from Passaic for two years for burglary. He stood in one corner near the elevator, armed with a heavy chisel and a long needle. In from of him stood tow deputy keepers covering him with their heavy revolvers.

The other prisoner were removed from the shop and then the head keeper stepped up to Driscoll, around whom a dozen keepers were clustered with drawn revolvers. “Driscoll,” he said, “if you don’t lay those things down in five minutes we will shoot.”

“Shoot and be d—d. I will have one life anyway.” Replied Driscoll, doggedly. The keeper held his watch in his hand and told off the minutes as they passed.

“One—two—three—four—“ “Don’t shoot!” interposed Prison Inspector Cartwright, who was an eye-witness of the scene, and whose word is law in the prison. “Give him time to consider.”

Arguments were used in vain. Driscoll refusing to lay aside his weapons. Inspector Cartwright finally realized the extreme measures would have to be resorted to and started to leave the room, but as he closed the door he changed his mind and returned with the determination to prevent bloodshed.

“Hold on! Wait a moment,” he said, as he advanced toward Driscoll, despite the efforts of the keepers to restrain him. “Now, look here, young man,” said the inspector, he stood within five feet of the prisoner, “you are throwing your life away. Do you know me?”

“No, I don’t know you, and I don’t want to know you,” answered Driscoll, as he brandished his weapons.

“I am one of the inspectors and it is my duty to protect you. That is what I am here for. My name is Cartwright. “

If your name is Cartwright you have got a good name in this prison. If you will send these hounds away from here I will go anywhere with you.” Said Driscoll, taking both weapons in his left hand, and allowing the Inspector to take him by the right. After nearly every official had left the room, Driscoll laid down the weapons and waited quietly with the Inspector to the rotunda. Driscoll was then handcuffed and placed in the dungeon on bread and water. The immediate cause of Driscoll’s revolt was an order of Deputy Keeper Ashley for him to stop singing, which he refused to obey.

Driscoll has the reputation of being very unruly. He has served a term on Blackwell’s Island for burglary, and also ten years in Sing Sing for the same crime and shooting a policeman in New York.


Reprinted from The National Police Gazette, October 9, 1886.