No. 427
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
June 17, 2019

Robbing a Corpse.

Mrs. Day is accused of stealing a ring from the finger of dead Sophie Ahrens as she lay in her coffi
February 27, 2017
...
...

The Crete patriot Ioannis Vlachos — better known as Daskalogiannis — lost his skin to the Turks on this date in 1771. Statue of the D-man at Anopolis, Crete. (cc) image by AWI. A wealthy shipping magnate, Daskalogiannis led the Cretan arm of the nationalist Orlov Revolt, which also featured on the Peloponnese. This affair […]
More...
Executed Today - 6/17/2019

`
Dressing Miss Lizzie, which is a paper doll book featuring Lizzie’s garments described in newspapers of 1892 -1893 is now …

Continue reading

More...
Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 5/30/2019

Not our Mabel, but I'm sure she'd approve. Medieval women are often stereotyped as rather dull creatures: lacking power or influence, constrained by their narrow position in life. Pious, gentle, helpless pawns of their male-dominated world. Utterly harmless. And then we turn to Mabel, Dame d'Alencon, de Seez, and de Belleme, Countess of Shrewsbury and Lady of Arundel. Most of what we
More...
Strange Company - 6/17/2019
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
Two children playing near their house in Greenwich, New York, the morning of Saturday, October 20, 1889, found a woman’s hat and jacket lying on a log and reported them to a group of men who were working on a road nearby. Reuben Stewart, Superintendent of Streets who was also President of the Village, thought the circumstances were suspicious and went down to take a look for himself. It was a
More...
Murder By Gaslight - 6/15/2019

I’m not sure which Brooklyn beach this is—Brighton? Coney Island? Wherever we are, it’s clear that this tight circle of ladies in their summer frocks and elaborate hats appears to be enjoying the seashore. So is the next group, a coed clique with two men wearing what look like dark hats and suits! [Bettman-Corbis, 1900]
More...
Ephemeral New York - 6/16/2019
[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
The Craze of the Day. | He Was Coffined Alive.

Robbing a Corpse.

Robbing a Corpse

Mrs. Day is accused of stealing a ring from the finger of dead Sophie Ahrens as she lay in her coffin. [more]

Capt. Copeland, who was Acting Inspector at Police Headquarters, New York the other day, told reporters this story: Miss Sophie Ahrens, a young, pretty girl, died a fortnight ago, at her home, and a host of friends visited the house to condole with the family. Among those who gazed at the coffin the day before the funeral was a woman name Mrs. Day whose husband is well known in the Ninth Ward. After she had kissed the face of the corpse she wiped tears from her eyes, and then leaned over the body again.

After Mrs. Day had left the room weeping, Miss Ahrens’ friends who clustered about the coffin found that a garnet ring which the girl wore on one of the fingers of her left hand had been removed. The ring was a present from a dear friend, and she had asked that it should be buried with her. Detective Valieant , of the Charles street station, was told of the robbery after the funeral. He suspected Mrs. Day and went to her house. “I’m the undertaker,” he said, “and I believe you have the ring. I am responsible for it and I want you to give me the ring.”

Mrs. Day denied the charge, but when he insisted that she had the ring, and told her he could prove it, she broke own and told him she had sold the ring in McAleer’s pawnshop on Eighth Street. She gave the detective the ticket and he recovered the ring, and it was placed on the girl’s finger before the coffin lid was closed the next day. No arrest was made.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, October 8, 1887.