No. 531
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
July 26, 2021

He Liked Little Boys.

How a Georgia alligator attempted to make a meal of Captain Johnson’s son.
March 20, 2017
...
...

32 Coxwell Road was not, even by the standards of council houses in 1950s Birmingham, England, anything special to look at.  But for the family of 31-year-old ex-paratrooper Frank Pell, it was a palace compared to their previous lodgings--a house so dilapidated it was officially condemned.  The three-bedroom home was newly decorated, on a quiet road close to all necessary services.  And the rent
More...
Strange Company - 7/26/2021

`
Youth With Executioner by Nuremberg native Albrecht Dürer … although it’s dated to 1493, which was during a period of several years when Dürer worked abroad. November 13 [1617]. Burnt alive here a miller of Manberna, who however was lately engaged as a carrier of wine, because he and his brother, with the help of […]
More...
Executed Today - 11/13/2020

When painters depict the East River, it’s usually from the Manhattan side: a steel bridge, choppy waters, and a Brooklyn or Queens waterfront either thick with factories or quaint and almost rural. But when Richard Hayley Lever decided to paint the river in 1936, he did it from Astoria. What he captured in “Queensboro Bridge […]
More...
Ephemeral New York - 7/26/2021
[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
When Horatio Sherman took sick after returning home from a week-long drunken spree, he said it was just one of his “old spells.” His wife Lydia agreed, and dosed him with brandy as usual. But Horatio’s doctor, who had treated his alcohol induced “spells” before, was suspicious this time. Horatio died two days later, and the doctor ordered a post-mortem examination which revealed the cause of
More...
Murder By Gaslight - 7/24/2021

Harrison Ave.Leadville, ColoradoJuly 21, 1880Luke and Wheeler photographers(Click image to enlarge)  S THAT SOAPY'S PARTNER IN CRIME? Those who have read Alias Soapy Smith: The Life and Death of a Scoundrel, you may recall seeing the photograph (#6A) below, in the first photograph section of the book.  Soapy Smith and his partner in crimeHarrison Ave.Leadville, ColoradoJuly 21, 1880Luke and
More...
Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 7/21/2021
A Needed Addition to the Park Police of Every City. | Courtship from a Tree.

He Liked Little Boys.

He liked little boys

How a Georgia alligator attempted to make a meal of Captain Johnson’s son. [more]

While Capt. R. B. Johnson, of Clinch county, Georgia. was helping a party of 23 or 30 men haul for trout in a millpond, the other day. his little son, Joseph. had a most thrilling experience, Master Joseph carried a bag, or corn sack, in which to deposit the fish when caught. When loaded with as many as he could carry he would take them out and make a deposit and return for more. In making one of these trips, while wading through water about three feet deep some distance from the fishermen, a monster alligator, said to be of unusual size, rose suddenly right at the boy and seized him by the thigh. A desperate struggle ensued—the boy battled for his life and the alligator for his prey. It so happened that the bag, which hung by the boy's aide, was caught In the alligator's mouth with the thigh, and It proved a sort of shield—lessening greatly the incisions made by the brute's teeth, and thus, perhaps, preventing a shock to his nervous system which might have made him succumb without the struggle which saved him his life. By an effort the boy tore his bleeding flesh from the alligator's Jaws. The monster grimly held to the sack a moment with the delusion, perhaps, that he still had his prey, affording the boy an opportunity to escape.

He had hardly extricated himself from the jaws of death before the fishermen, alarmed by the struggle, were at hand, and another battle ensued. Thirty men, armed with gigs, poles, pocket knives and such other instruments of war as were at hand, charged upon the monster. Being In three feet of water, the 'gator bad considerable advantage, but those men had their blood up and were not to be outdone. They poled and punched and harpooned him until the brute was almost outdone, when one of the party made bold to seize him by the tail. This was a signal for a general assault. In less time than it would take to tell it, a number of the more daring had him by the tail and legs. There were too many of them for the 'gator to slap around with his tall, a peculiar mode of n 'gator warfare, and he had to give up the fight. A harpoon was plunged into his mouth and then it was safe to approach him with pocket knives. Soon his head was severed from his body, and the victorious party marched out of the pond with the monster's head on a pole.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, December 15, 1883.