No. 464
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
March 31, 2020

Shooting at the Elevated.

May 7, 2013
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Theodore Dreiser‘s classic novel An American Tragedy was inspired by an infamous 1906 murder whose author, Chester Gillette, was electrocuted at Auburn Prison on this date in 1908. It was a crime tailor-made for the burgeoning mass media, popular and pretty 20-year-old Grace Brown gone to work at the Cortland, N.Y. Gillette Skirt Factory where […]
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Executed Today - 3/30/2020

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When New York’s first cholera epidemic hit in 1832 and killed 3,515 people (out of a population of 250,000), the poor took the blame. “Many city officials implicated the residents of the poorest neighborhoods for contracting cholera, blaming their weak character, instead of viewing the epidemic as a public health problem,” stated Anne Garner, in […]
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Ephemeral New York - 3/29/2020

Felix B. Mulgrew 7/30/1854 - 5/30/1915 Karen Hendricks collection (Click image to enlarge) ELIX B. MULGREW friend or victim of Soapy Smith's? Karen Hendricks is the great-great-granddaughter of Felix B. Mulgrew. Mulgrew was a newspaper man, entrepreneur, Klondiker, and had some running correspondence with his friend, Jefferson Randolph "Soapy" Smith. Through Karen we learn
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 3/30/2020
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
Elizabeth Ragan As Arthur Ragan lay dying of a stomach ailment, in Piqua, Ohio, on April 3, 1855, his wife, Elizabeth took the physician aside and told him she believed her husband had poisoned himself. She said she thought the cream of tartar he had been taking for his stomach was actually arsenic. Mr. Ragan died that day, and a post-mortem examination proved his wife correct, he had
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Murder By Gaslight - 3/28/2020

Accounts of haunted dwellings tend to be pretty bog-standard stuff. Spectral figures drifting over the lawn, mysterious rappings at night. Murder victims unable to find peace, or villains with guilty consciences that won’t allow them to rest. To be honest, when you’ve read enough of them, real-life ghost stories can get pretty dull. For that reason, when you come across one that combines
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Strange Company - 3/30/2020
[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
Baseball Animals. | Philanthropist or “Moral Leper?”

Shooting at the Elevated.

Shooting at the Elevated

A party of New York girls enjoy a little after-dinner pistol practice at the trains that rush by windows of their hotel. [more]

Popping at the Elevated.

How a Certain Reckless Party of Fast Young Men and Women Added to the Dangers of Travel.

The luxuries of metropolitan life are many and novel, but we think the rag has been taken off the bush completely by late developments of the methods of enjoyment that have become popular among a certain class of reckless young bloods and the equally reckless young women who are assisting them in running through their fortunes. The dear creatures have been in the habit, when full of wine after the little suppers given in a certain famous off color hostelry on the line of one of the elevated railroads, to get up shooting matches, the mark being the elevated trains as thy fly by the second-story windows of the hotel. This practice became so common a few weeks ago that the entire detective force was set to work to ferret out the marksmen. One of these companies of female sharpshooters was caught by the officers but the male friends of the women proved to be related to some high officials and they were let go with a reprimand, and the mystery of the shooting at the trains has never been revealed to the indignant public until now, when the Police Gazette takes the ditty on itself in its usually bold form of description and illustration.


Reprinted from The National Police Gazette, Deember 23, 1882.