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

Surf Swimming at Hawaii, Sandwich Islands.

Faahee, or surf-swimming, is a favorite pastime with the natives of the Sandwich Islands.
April 21, 2015
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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
Said She Would and Did. | Society Women Turn Burglars.

Surf Swimming at Hawaii, Sandwich Islands.

Surf Swimming

Surf Swimming at Hawaii, Sandwich Islands. [more]

Faahee, or surf-swimming, is a favorite pastime with the natives of the Sandwich Islands. According to Ellis, a recent writer, “Individuals of all ranks and ages, and both sexes, follow this sport with great avidity. They usually select the openings in the reefs or entrances of some of the hays, where the long, heavy billows rolled in unbroken majesty upon the reef or the shore. They used a small board, which they called papa faahee—swam from the beach to a considerable distance, sometimes nearly a mile—watched the swell of the wave, and when it reached them, they mounted on its summit, and amid the foam and spray rode on the crest of the wave to the shore; sometimes they halted among the coral rocks, over which the waves broke in splendid confusion. When they approached the shore, they slid off the board, which they grasped in the hand, and either fell behind the wave or plunged toward the deep and allowed it to pass over their heads.

“Sometimes they were thrown with violence upon beach, or among the rocks on the edges of the reef. So much at home, however, do they feel in the water, that it is seldom any accident occurs.

“I have often seen among the border of the reef, forming the boundary line to the harbor of Fare in Huahine, from 50 to 100 persons, of all ages, sporting like so many porpoises in the surf that has been rolling with foam and violence toward the land; sometimes mounted on top of the wave, and almost enveloped in spray, at other times plunging beneath the mass of water that has swept like mountains over them, cheering and animating each other ;and by the noise and shouting they made, rendering the roar of the sea and the dashing of the surf comparatively imperceptible.”

 


Reprinted from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, April 7, 1866.