No. 462
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
February 24, 2020

A Bloody Ruction.

Bayonets and Knives—A Sister’s Influence and Prevention of Murder.
June 12, 2015
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Ramendra Narayan Roy, in the days when no one questioned that he was alive. One of the most famous court cases of the 19th century revolved around Arthur Orton’s years-long campaign to prove that he was, in fact, Sir Roger Tichborne, a wealthy young man who had disappeared in a presumed shipwreck many years before. As strange (and protracted) as the whole Tichborne matter was, it was
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Strange Company - 2/24/2020

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"Denver's Oldest Bar" matchbook cover outside cover - A (Click image to enlarge) new addition to my collection A matchbook cover from "Denver’s Oldest Bar" is a new acquisition to my private Soapy Smith collection. Though it is a "modern" item from the 1960s-70s, it has a direct link to Soapy Smith. "Denver’s Oldest Bar" was once controlled by Soapy, under the name, "Tivoli Club,
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 2/7/2020

Fifty-nine years ago in February 1961, thousands of avid fans trudged through 20 inches of snow to Carnegie Hall to see comedian Lenny Bruce—in a show that was recorded and released in a three-record set, The Carnegie Hall Concert. This famous show, “was the moment that an obscure yet rapidly rising young comedian named Lenny […]
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Ephemeral New York - 2/23/2020
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
Nellie C. Bailey. William Dodson led a drive of 2300 head of sheep from Kansas through Indian Territory to their new home in Texas in October 1883. A mile behind them the owner of the new ranch, a widower named Clement Bothemly, and his sister Bertha traveled in a wagon outfitted with bedrooms. Pulled by two yoke of oxen, the wagon was so large that observers compared it to a railroad car.
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Murder By Gaslight - 2/22/2020

Second-century Christian bishop and martyr St. Polycarp of Smyrna has his feast day on February 23. Be sure to shout supplications loudly, as he’s the patron for earaches. Reputedly inducted into the mysteries by the Apostle John himself in the late first century, Polycarp was a consequential clergyman in the early church and a living […]
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Executed Today - 2/23/2020
[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
What it Has Come To. | The Minister Was Coltish.

A Bloody Ruction.

A Bloody Ruction

Bayonets and Knives—A Sister’s Influence and Prevention of Murder. [more]

Joseph Staples and Alfred Leighton had a bloody fight at Leighton’s house in Falmouth, Me. Stapes went home partly drunk, and threatened Leighton with violence. The latter seized a loaded gun, with a sharp bayonet attached, and started out, when Staples met him and tried to obtain possession of the weapon. Staples was stabbed four tunes with the bayonet. Leighton snapped the trigger, but the charge did not explode. Staples then managed to secure Leighton’s arm, holding the gun and taking a clasp-knife from his pocket, opened it with his teeth, and made a desperate slash at Leighton’s throat. He laid open the cheek from ear to mouth, and then cut the other side of his opponent’s face in the same manner. At this point of the struggle a sister of Leighton’s managed to get between the men, and ating on her advice, Leighton leaped through a window and fled to Oliver Harding’s, which he reached in a fainting condition. Medial aid was summoned and his wounds were dressed. Staples’s wounds were also dressed, and he is now quite comfortable, but not out of danger .The bedroom where the fight took place is covered with blood from wall to ceiling.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, December 4,1880.