No. 458
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
January 27, 2020

Slid Down the Firemen’s Pole.

How a plucky New Brunswick, N. J., girl won a wager from one of her doubting companions.
April 30, 2018
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As regular readers of my blog (all three of you) may have noticed, I have, without really intending to, built a subcategory of stories of people who are found strangely, inexplicably dead. All these cases are puzzling, but there are few that top the end of an otherwise completely normal man named Zigmund Adamski. In fact, some will tell you his death was positively otherworldly. Zigmund
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Strange Company - 1/27/2020

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(Click image to enlarge) new quote attributed to bad man "Soapy" Smith Discovered in an edition of the Alaska Mining Record, April 5, 1899. ______________________ The sensational press of the east are now engaging in some real pipe dreams of their own, and allow a column or two of Canadian and American fights on the Atlin and Porcupine border to creep into their paper. One
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 1/16/2020

Never heard of “Raisin Street” in Greenwich Village? If you lived in the nascent city of New York in the early years of the 19th century, you might have traversed it. The rise and demise of this little street has a curious backstory. “Raisin Street” was a corruption of “Reason Street,” the name given to […]
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Ephemeral New York - 1/27/2020
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
The Rogers family were early settlers in Blue Lick Springs, Kentucky, having fought a bloody battle with Indians to secure their homestead. They never lost their frontier zeal for violence as a tool for solving problems, even for family disputes which, apparently, were frequent and quite intense. In the 1880s, Willis Rogers had eight children, five boys and three girls. In the heat of an
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Murder By Gaslight - 1/25/2020

Blood accumulates upon us. Verily, it does seem that the reins of justice have been loosely thrown to the devil, and that we are all driving at breakneck speed in the same direction. -Nashville Banner (via) On this date in 1866, four youths employed as teamsters in the Army corrals of Union-occupied Nashville were hanged […]
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Executed Today - 1/26/2020
[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
The Queen of The May. | Great Base Ball Match.

Slid Down the Firemen’s Pole.

She Slid down the Pole

How a plucky New Brunswick, N. J., girl won a wager from one of her doubting companions. [more]

The other evening a party of New Brunswick, N.J., society belles who move in the highest circles called at the police station and asked a policeman to be shown through the engine house of Liberty Hose Company, next door, an explain to them the apparatus. The request was unusual, but the officer assented.

The girls expressed their admiration at everything they saw, fed bon bons to the horses and seemed particularly to admire the perfection of the fire alarm system.

“Oh, what is this police for? Said one of them.

He explained that the firemen slid down the pole form the dormitory.

“How lovely! Can you do it?” was the next question.

The policeman was not sure of his ability, but he would not acknowledge it, and successfully made the effort.

“Now, Laura, it’s your turn,” said on of the girls, and before the astonished officer could interfere, she had encircled the pole and disappeared through the hole in the floor.

She struck the rubber mat below with a bump but recovered herself quickly, and dared her companions to follow.

When all met on the floor below the girls told the policeman that the girl had won a new had and a box of candy by sliding down the pole as the result of a bet between her and her companions.

The apparent eagerness to inspect the apparatus was merely a ruse.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, October 3, 1896.