No. 462
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
February 24, 2020

Rip Roaring Fun.

How the merchants and cowboys of Butte City, Montana run the local concert hall after their own fashion.
April 2, 2019
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Ramendra Narayan Roy, in the days when no one questioned that he was alive. One of the most famous court cases of the 19th century revolved around Arthur Orton’s years-long campaign to prove that he was, in fact, Sir Roger Tichborne, a wealthy young man who had disappeared in a presumed shipwreck many years before. As strange (and protracted) as the whole Tichborne matter was, it was
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Strange Company - 2/24/2020

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"Denver's Oldest Bar" matchbook cover outside cover - A (Click image to enlarge) new addition to my collection A matchbook cover from "Denver’s Oldest Bar" is a new acquisition to my private Soapy Smith collection. Though it is a "modern" item from the 1960s-70s, it has a direct link to Soapy Smith. "Denver’s Oldest Bar" was once controlled by Soapy, under the name, "Tivoli Club,
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 2/7/2020

Fifty-nine years ago in February 1961, thousands of avid fans trudged through 20 inches of snow to Carnegie Hall to see comedian Lenny Bruce—in a show that was recorded and released in a three-record set, The Carnegie Hall Concert. This famous show, “was the moment that an obscure yet rapidly rising young comedian named Lenny […]
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Ephemeral New York - 2/23/2020
Beginning on January 1st, W&W will begin featuring fascinating short clippings from the Fall River papers and other newspapers from …

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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 12/29/2019
Nellie C. Bailey. William Dodson led a drive of 2300 head of sheep from Kansas through Indian Territory to their new home in Texas in October 1883. A mile behind them the owner of the new ranch, a widower named Clement Bothemly, and his sister Bertha traveled in a wagon outfitted with bedrooms. Pulled by two yoke of oxen, the wagon was so large that observers compared it to a railroad car.
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Murder By Gaslight - 2/22/2020

Second-century Christian bishop and martyr St. Polycarp of Smyrna has his feast day on February 23. Be sure to shout supplications loudly, as he’s the patron for earaches. Reputedly inducted into the mysteries by the Apostle John himself in the late first century, Polycarp was a consequential clergyman in the early church and a living […]
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Executed Today - 2/23/2020
[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
"He Loves Me; He Loves Me Not." | "Daredevil" Steve Brodie

Rip Roaring Fun.

How the merchants and cowboys of Butte City, Montana run the local concert hall after their own fashion.

The Butte concert saloons are usually underground. The saloon is square, with a row of private boxes all around the top. The orchestra b occupied by cowboys and miners, who guzzle beer at twenty-five cents per glass with flabby barmaids The boxes are occupied by bank presidents, merchants and wealthy citizens, who sit behind lace curtains and drink Missouri cider champagne at $5 a bottle with girls in gauze dresses or tights. The gambling tables and broken-voiced singers make a pandemonium of the place. The weird electric lights make the room look like Hades, Illuminated. At 11 o'clock the singing is now and then disturbed by pistol shots from the cowboys, who shoot down into the ground unless they have a special dislike to the singer; then the ball whisps through the curtain. Sometimes the cowboys chaff the merchants behind the curtains in the boxes and make them order whiskey for the orchestra. Everybody calls everybody else by his first name, and there is perfect democracy throughout the saloon. There is no concealment of wickedness, but each on does all he can to make the concert hall the wickedest place in the wickedest city in the world. The next morning everything is forgotten, and the merchants are in their stores, the miners in their mines and the pistolled cowboy punching his cattle ten miles away.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, June 19, 1886.