No. 479
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
July 08, 2020

Defying the Guards.

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

Via Newspapers.com Who doesn’t love a good Demon Cat story? The “Harrisburg Telegraph,” July 30, 1902: Lancaster, July 30. Mrs. Augustus Stiffel, wife of an ironworker, says she is bewitched and lays the blame for her condition on a big black cat. According to her story, the cat, which is as large as a good-sized dog, with eyes like balls of fire, visits her house nearly every night, and
More...
Strange Company - 7/8/2020

`
(Click image to enlarge) HE SHOOTING OF HARRY "SHOTGUN" SMITH. Denver's unsolved murder: Number #10 On June 23, 1893, Harry "Shotgun" Smith (no relation) went on a drinking binge and made the deadly mistake of visiting the Tivoli Club and provoking a fight with Bascomb Smith, the younger brother of bad man "Soapy" Smith. Bascomb walked away unscathed. Harry Smith was not
More...
Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 6/23/2020

On this date in 1986, Malaysia hanged Australian nationals Brian Chambers and Kevin Barlow for trafficking heroin. The two men were nabbed together at the Penang island airport with 179 grams of heroin in their packs. While Chambers was an experienced drug courier, Barlow was a rookie; reportedly, his visible nervousness in the airport gave […]
More...
Executed Today - 7/7/2020
It was a perfect weekend to journey out to Tyngsborough to get a glimpse of what was left of the …

Continue reading

More...
Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 6/13/2020
Mamie Kelly Fourteen-year-old Mamie Kelly of San Francisco, had a crush on the boy next door, nineteen-year-old Aleck Goldenson. Though Aleck was the kind of boy who appeals to teenaged girls—an artist and a bit of a hoodlum—her family had no use for him at all. In spite of this, Mamie took every opportunity be near him. Aleck first enjoyed her attention, then tolerated it, then actively
More...
Murder By Gaslight - 7/4/2020

New York once had lots of neighborhood doughnut places, and this stamp-size shop on Avenue U in Sheepshead Bay keeps the tradition alive. Also known as Shaikh’s Place, Donut Shoppe still has the original sign installed by the shop’s first owner decades ago. The shop has diversified over the years, adding to the menu tacos, […]
More...
Ephemeral New York - 7/6/2020
[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.