No. 452
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
December 11, 2019

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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(Thanks to Robert Elder of Last Words of the Executed — the blog, and the book — for the guest post. This post originally appeared on the Last Words blog. Fans of this here site are highly likely to enjoy following Elder’s own pithy, almanac-style collection of last words on the scaffold. -ed.) “You see […]
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Executed Today - 12/9/2019

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Lizzie’s Old School Chum, Augusta Poole (Mrs. Cyrus Tripp) Shelley M. Dziedzic, October 2019 (all rights reserved) During the hot …

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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 10/19/2019

The following is the tale of how one seemingly completely ordinary young Englishman earned an unenviable place in the legal books--and, more importantly to our modern generation--his own Wikipedia entry. Christopher Slaughterford was born in Westbury, Surrey, sometime in 1684. His father was a miller. He spent his early life apprenticing at a farm in Goldaming, after which he served other
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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
William J. Elder, aged 61, was addicted to drink and when under its influence was violent and uncontrollable. His wife tolerated his abuse as long as she could then packed up and moved out of their farm in Hammonton, New Jersey, leaving behind her two sons, Robert and Mathew. In 1887, 19-year-old Robert Elder moved out of his father’s house as well. 12-Year old Mathew Elder was still
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Murder By Gaslight - 12/7/2019

It’s the blue hour in “Rainy Day, New York,” a 1940 painting by Leon Dolice—a Vienna-born artist who came to Manhattan in the 1920s. The sun has sunk below the horizon, and sidewalks and buildings are cast in a blueish glow, illuminated by streetlamps, car headlights, and the reflection of rain-slicked streets. I’m not sure […]
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Ephemeral New York - 12/9/2019
[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
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.