No. 465
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
March 31, 2020

Frail Minnie Gitto.

How a pretty Oyster Bay, Long Island, lassie sinned with a choir-singer and set all the island gossi
May 9, 2016
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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
Demi-Monde Excursion. | May-Day.

Frail Minnie Gitto.

Frail Minnie Gitto

How a pretty Oyster Bay, Long Island, lassie sinned with a choir-singer and set all the island gossiping. [more]

Miss Minnie Gitto resides within the classic precincts of Oyster Bay, located on Long Island Sound. Miss Minnie was a village belle, aged eighteen, and a member of the village Sunday school. Thomas S. Cheshire sang in the choir and was something of a musician. The two loved clandestinely, with the usual result. Minnie, of course, wanted Tommy to marry her. Tommy kicked. Minnie’s parents insisted. Tommy was called to the house. He agreed to marry Minnie, it is said, if she would swear, on the Big Book, that she has never been intimate with others. She approached the family Bible, hesitated and swooned. Tommy was arrested. He was yanked to court. A charge of being an accessory to malpractice was made against him. Two male members of the choir testified that they had been intimate with Minnie. While the trial was in progress Minnie gave birth to a bouncing girl in the ante-room. Tableau.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, October 19, 1889.