No. 479
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
July 14, 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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Patrick Eugene Joseph Prendergast, a madman who assassinated the mayor of Chicago, was hanged on this date in 1894. Prendergast seems to have been a mentally unbalanced character from his early childhood; one might speculatively attribute it to a youthful head injury, or the very early death of his father, or the strains of an […]
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Executed Today - 7/13/2020

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Soapy Smith in July 4th paradeSkagway, Alaska 1898Broadway and Fourth Ave.Note Soapy is on the left of center, behind Joe Brooks.Behind him is Brooks' Pack TrainWhere is the Skaguay Military Company?Where is the Fitzhugh Lee wagon?Courtesy ofKlondike Gold Rush National Historical Park (Click image to enlarge) ow Soapy Smith conned his way to be Grand Marshal of the 4th of July With
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 7/10/2020

Rhynwick Williams In March 1788, a London woman named Maria Smythe was standing on a friend's doorstep when a stranger suddenly accosted her, muttered some unrecorded but evidently horribly vile comments, stabbed her with a knife, and fled, leaving her slightly wounded. Although she had no way of knowing it at the time, she was the first victim of a bizarre crime spree that would not be
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Strange Company - 7/13/2020
It was a perfect weekend to journey out to Tyngsborough to get a glimpse of what was left of the …

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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 6/13/2020
On the morning of March 19, 1875, Charles K. Landis entered the office of the Vineland Independent and demanded to see the paper’s editor and publisher, Uri Carruth. When Carruth entered the room, Landis approached him, waving a newspaper clipping. “Mr. Carruth, did you write that?” Landis shouted. “I did, and I will do it again,” said Carruth. “Will you promise not to attack my wife
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Murder By Gaslight - 7/11/2020

In 1976, the 92 acres of landfill that would one day become Battery Park City was in place and ready. Unfortunately New York City—which hoped this new development would help revitalize the lower West Side of Manhattan—was too broke to get construction started until 1980, according to bpcparks.org. So until the early 1980s, an actual […]
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Ephemeral New York - 7/13/2020
[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.