No. 495
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
October 30, 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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 “The Witches’ Cove,” Follower of Jan Mandijn This week’s Link Dump is sponsored by representatives of Halloween Cats United!A murderer leaves an enigmatic message behind her.How Henry VIII micromanaged Anne Boleyn's execution.That time AC/DC went hunting for the Loch Ness Monster.  Using fireworks.  And, yes, adult beverages played a major role in our story.Murder tips from Burke and Hare.The
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Strange Company - 10/30/2020

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A CHAMPIONSan Francisco ChronicleOctober 12, 1898(Click image to enlarge)     ASCOMB IS A CHAMPION    Guess Bascomb Smith wasn't all bad. The texts of the newspaper appear below.  Miss Hall finds a champion. Brother of  “ Soapy” Smith claims her as his wife.There is another side to the pathetic story told to the police by Minnie Hall, the Vaudeville actress to jump into the bay from Howard
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 9/25/2020

On this date in 1790, Samuel Hadlock hanged for a drunken murder committed on Mount Desert Island off the coast of Maine. This fantastic story was thoroughly excavated in 1998 by some enthusiasts at the Mount Desert Island Historical Society; their resulting study, “Hadlock Executed This Day” can be perused in pdf form. His journey […]
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Executed Today - 10/28/2020
Colorization can sometimes add another whole dimension to vintage black and white photos. We’ve done this one of the crime …

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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 8/31/2020
 Dr. Henry Meyer, his wife Maria, and their associate Ludwig Brant devised an elaborate plan to defraud insurance companies. Maria and Brant held a mock wedding then took out several insurance policies on his life with Maria as beneficiary. The plan was to then obtain a cadaver, declare it was the body of Ludwig Brant, and collect the insurance. Unbeknownst to Brant, Dr. Meyer and Maria decided
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Murder By Gaslight - 10/24/2020

New York City has no shortage of reportedly haunted houses—from the East Fourth Street home of 19th century merchant Seabury Tredwell and his large family to the Morris-Jumel mansion in Washington Heights, where a rich widow born in the 1770s lived out her days. But when it comes to haunted houses that truly look spooky, […]
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Ephemeral New York - 10/26/2020
[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.