No. 451
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
December 05, 2019

Eloped on a Spotted Steer.

How a loving West Virginia couple escaped from an obdurate father and were married.
January 30, 2017
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On this date in 1805, Cusco‘s Plaza Mayor hosted the hangings of two colonial Peruvian creoles who had aspired to revive the Incan resistance to Spain. The devastating Tupac Amaru rebellion lay just 25 years in the background here, but these men were not themselves indigenes. They were, however, New World-born, and thus heirs to […]
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Executed Today - 12/5/2019

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

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

via Newspapers.com Talking trees are nearly as welcome on my blog as talking cats. From the "Louisville Courier-Journal," September 23, 1904: Out on the farm of Will Albert, near Heath this county, the people of that section are yet wrought up over the "talking tree" that has been there for some time, says the Paducah News-Democrat. Enormous crowds continue to congregate there almost
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Strange Company - 12/4/2019
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
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 3/25/2019
Joseph Snyder murdering Jacob Geogle and wife - Judge Lynch metes out death to the scoundrel in a summary manner Portraits: 1. Joseph Snyder - 2. Alice Geogle, whom Snyder attempted to rape. In 1880, Jacob and Annie Geogle lived with their three children in the town of Santee’s Mills near Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Jacob worked in an iron ore mine and to supplement his meager income, the
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Murder By Gaslight - 11/30/2019

Phantom buildings abound in New York, especially in the contemporary city, with so many structures that were once neighborhood fixtures getting the heave ho in an era of rampant renovation and reconstruction. This ghost walkup on East 52nd Street and Third Avenue was probably a 19th century tenement home to several families—perhaps all sharing one […]
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Ephemeral New York - 12/2/2019
[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 […]
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Early American Crime - 2/7/2019
Freaks of Fashion. | Thrown from a Balcony.

Eloped on a Spotted Steer.

Eloped on a spotted steer

How a loving West Virginia couple escaped from an obdurate father and were married. [more]

On last Thursday morning a young couple appeared in Welch, McDowell County, W. Va. They were Miss Carrie Coats, a pretty, peachy-cheeked country damsel of 17, and Sandy Johnson, a tall, stalwart, good-looking mountaineer, of 22 years. They had travelled all night from the bride’s home on Ground Hog Cree, in order to elude the obdurate father of the girl. The girl was riding on the back of a dignified spotted steer, and sandy was walking by her side. The unusual sight soon drew a crowd of people, and as everybody loves a lover, half a dozen hurried off after a magistrate or a preacher. Unluckily for the lovers, no official could be found who would marry them on account of the girl’s age. When the couple learned of this they broke down and cried, the girl sobbing as if nearly heartbroken.

The tears of the pretty young girl brought about a determination on the part of the spectators to see them through in some way, and one suggested that thy take the train, then nearly due, for Bristol, Tenn. Where they would find no difficulty in getting married. The proposition changed the tears of the bride into smiles of joy and Sandy’s less apparent grief into open-mouthed delight for a moment, until he thought about a license. Someone in the crowed, however, anticipated the young man, and proposed that the crowd pay all expenses, and in less time than ti takes to write it pocketbooks were out and enough money was contributed to carry the couple through, with a souvenir left over for the bride.

The spotted steer was stalled in front of a pile of oats and corn to ruminate in peace and plenty until the return of the couple and the procession headed for the platform. Neither of the couple had ever seen a train before, and when it pulled in they got on the platform between the engine and the baggage care. Their sponsors soon remedied this mistake and had them conducted into a ladies’ car, where the conductor was expressly charged to see them safely through. The last seen of Carrie and Sandy as the train was wheeling out of sight, they were folded in each other’s arms laughing and straining their eyes as they looked out of the window.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, October 14, 1893