No. 437
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
August 22, 2019

Hospital Horrors.

March 20, 2012
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(Thanks to English Presbyterian poet Robert Wild for the guest post in verse, celebrating the martyrdom of his coreligionist Christopher Love. Love died for seditious correspondence with the exiled Stuart then-pretender Charles II. Days after Love lost his head, Charles very nearly did likewise when he lost the decisive Battle of Worcester to Oliver Cromwell […]
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Executed Today - 8/22/2019

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By Jo Anne Giovino with photography and research by Barbara Morrissey and Kristin Pepe *(All rights reserved, August 2019) Although …

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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 7/31/2019

Via Newspapers.com In which we meet Mr. H. Wilson, Juror From Hell. The "London Standard," January 3, 1838:  Benjamin Dickenson was indicted, charged with having committed an assault on an officer of the County Court. As soon as the jury had been sworn to try the defendant, Mr. H. Wilson, one of the jury, addressing the Court, said, " I should like to know, Mr. Chairman, how I am to be
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Strange Company - 8/21/2019
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
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 3/25/2019
(sic) Mary Catherine Anderson—Katie to her friends—was in good spirits when she went out the evening of Monday, February 7, 1887. 16-year-old Katie Anderson was a domestic servant living at the home of her employer, Stat Colkitt on his farm in Mount Holly, New Jersey. She said she was just going out for a walk, but Katie was not seen again until Tuesday morning when a neighboring farmer found
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Murder By Gaslight - 8/17/2019

The neighborhood surrounding St. Mark’s Church on Second Avenue and 10th Street owes its charm to the descendants of the Stuyvesant family. These were the great-great grandsons and granddaughters of Petrus Stuyvesant, the director-general of New Netherland from 1647-1664. In the late 1700s and early 1800s, these Stuyvesants lived in stately houses on land that […]
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Ephemeral New York - 8/19/2019
[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
Allan Pinkerton. | Being Initiated.

Hospital Horrors.

Rats eat toes

September 1880 - A helpless Woman while staying in a hospital, has her toes eaten off by rats; Alameda County, Cal.[more]

August Johnson, the husband of Margaret Johnson who died in Alameda County Hospital, has made the following damaging statement of the treatment of his wife while in that institution:

“After I received a telegram stating that my wife was dead, I went out there with some others to see about it, and took her two children with me. She was paralyzed in her legs and arms, and could not help herself. The nurses have been discharged out there, and there was no one to attend to her. One of the patients told a lady who was there to take off her stockings. I found all her tows eaten off. The patients said the rats ate them off before she died. The doctor was three. He asked if I wanted her buried. I said ‘Yes.’ He replied, ‘I will bury her now while you can see it.’ He then sent some men to bury her. The put her in an express wagon and we followed in our buggies. When we got to the burying ground there was no grave dug and this was between 3 and 4 o’clock in the afternoon. They laid the coffin down on the ground and went back to the hospital after a pick and shovel. We could not wait for them to come back and dig the grave, as I had a tired team and it was so far, and I had to be back at a certain time.

“I do not know whether they buried her or not. I asked for her clothing, but cone not get it. No one seemed to know what had become of it."

Marshall Glynn makes a similar statement, saying that he went to County Hospital with Mr. Johnson, and saw the body of Mrs. Johnson, the toes were eaten off by rats. The blood had run down her foot into the heels of her stockings.

A patient named Annie, a paralyzed woman, and another patient named Mrs. Evens said that the rats ate at her feet before she died. She could not help herself. They heard her wild cries for help, but could not get to her, and those that could move paid no attention. She was lying in a hallway off from the rest. They saw rats jumping on and off her bed. I was out there before on Sunday, September 12. At that time there were no nurses, and she had no attention except what she could get from the other patients. The patients told me there were women around there who stole the clothes form the dead people.


Reprinted from The National Police Gazette, October 23, 1880