No. 423
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
April 23, 2019

Abducted by a Woman.

March 31, 2014
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Hanged April 23, 1845 for poisoning her brother Charles Dimond — and commonly suspected to have offed several other family members by means of arsenic — the “Shapwick Murderess” Sarah Freeman insisted her innocence to her very last breath. “I am as innocent as a lamb,” she said to the hangman William Calcraft as he […]
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ExecutedToday.com - 4/23/2019

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The Savoy bookstore in Westerly, R.I. was cram-packed with Borden case enthusiasts this evening as author Cara Robertson held forth …

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Lizzie Borden : Warps & Wefts - 3/26/2019
"Roses are red, Violets are blue, And my cat is, too." Cats and weird little stories from the past.  What could be more Strange Company than that?  For this reason, I'm delighted to temporarily pass the blog's steering wheel over to Peggy Gavan, whose upcoming book, "The Cat Men of Gotham: Tales of Feline Friendships in Old New York" (Rutgers University Press, May 3, 2019,) is now available
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Strange Company - 4/22/2019

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
Rosa Buckstahlen and Ida Bjornstad, servants in the Chicago mansion of Amos J. Snell, were awakened at 2:00 the morning of February 8, 1888, by the sound of a gunshot from the floor below. They heard someone shout “Get out! Get out of here!” followed by more gunshots, then silence. Thinking that all was well—or more likely, too frightened to do anything else—the girls went back to sleep.
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Murder by Gaslight - 4/20/2019
I count six transportation options Brooklynites had in 1915, according to this rich and detailed postcard of Flatbush Avenue. There’s the elevated train, of course, as well as a streetcar, automobile, bicycle, horse and wagon, and of course, getting around on foot, as most of the crowd seems to be doing—when they’re not mugging for […]
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Ephemeral New York - 4/21/2019
[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
Dr. Scott's Electric Corset. | What it is Coming to in Chicago.

Abducted by a Woman.

Abducted by a Woman

Harry Sommerville, of Lexington, Ky., is snatched from his bed by the mistress he had repudiated in order to marry another girl. [more]


A special from Lexington, Ky., Oct. 6, says: Several weeks ago Harry Sommerville, formerly one of Lexington’s most gifted and promising young artists, married Mrs. Belle Payton, widow of a Cincinnati saloon keeper. The match was not suitable to the lady’s relatives, with whom she has been living, and who had Sommerville in their employ, and the new voyagers on the matrimonial sea were driven away. They went to board with another relative of Mrs. Sommerville, but here their troubles multiplied. A few nights ago the wife of Alonzo Barnett, a conductor on the Cincinnati Southern Railroad, drove to Sommerville’s boarding house, and, going to his bedroom, where he and his wife were in bed, she commanded and forced him to get up, dress and go with her. Since then Mrs. Sommerville has never seen her husband, and she has fallen sick with fever, and is now at St. Joseph’s Hospital. It seems that Sommerville had been intimate with the Barnett woman before his marriage, and that as soon as she heard of it she went for him. All parties are well known here.


Reprinted from the National Police Gazette, October 29, 1887