No. 526
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
June 21, 2021

Dropping Their Disguise.

June 18, 2013
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"Louisville Courier-Journal," May 8, 1881, via Newspapers.comWhen I started this blog, I hoped to focus on the smaller, obscure stories from the past--the long-forgotten bits of random oddities that, when taken together, show just what a strange world we live in.  In short, the "uncommon" is really quite commonplace.One such story is the death of one otherwise completely unmemorable young man. 
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Strange Company - 6/21/2021

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An Ordnance to Cover the Defective Points.Denver Tribune-RepublicanMay 14, 1885(Click image to enlarge)   n order to cover such cases as "Soapy" Smith, the arrest of whom for violating the lottery ordinance"  Note how bad the Xerox copy at the top is. This was shared to my father, by his brother (my uncle) Joseph Jefferson Smith​ (1909-1977). Obviously, the copiers at the time did not do
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 6/13/2021

When railroad baron H.H. Cook decided to build himself a New York City mansion, he didn’t try to squeeze into a plot of land on Fifth Avenue in the 50s—an area that had been colonized by several Vanderbilt heirs and other Gilded Age moneymakers. Instead, he went to the then-hinterlands of Manhattan, purchasing the entire […]
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Ephemeral New York - 6/20/2021
Youth With Executioner by Nuremberg native Albrecht Dürer … although it’s dated to 1493, which was during a period of several years when Dürer worked abroad. November 13 [1617]. Burnt alive here a miller of Manberna, who however was lately engaged as a carrier of wine, because he and his brother, with the help of […]
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Executed Today - 11/13/2020
Parental hostility drove Fanny Madison out of her home and into the arms of her cousin, Thomas Cluverius. It was not a wise decision.Read the full story here: Kissing Cousins.                                             Pictures from Illustrated Police News, May 2, 1885.
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Murder By Gaslight - 6/19/2021

Producer-director Ric Rebelo has today, in memory of LeeAnn Wilber, former co-owner of the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast, released this award-winning film for public view on Youtube. This was filmed in 2010, some of the participants in the production are no longer with us today. What was recorded in 2010 has not changed much today in 2021, only intensified in fascination.
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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 6/16/2021
[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 Tyranny of Fashion. | Jos. Schlitz Brewing Co.

Dropping Their Disguise.

Dropping Their Disguise How a loving bridal couple were suddenly transformed into a brace of absconding counterfeiters after crossing the border between the United States and Canada, on the A. & G. W. R. R. [more]

“We’re in Canada now, Mike; I’m going to take of these togs."

This was the remark made by an apparently youthful bride to her companion, a well dressed young bridegroom on his wedding tour.

They were seated in one of the parlor cars on the Atlantic and Great Western railroad, and the train had just passed the boundary line that separates the land where the stars and stripes float supreme and the territory where flaps the crimson ensign of England.

The pair had attracted much attention all the way from Lockport, being very loving and billing and cooing like turtle doves. The rather peculiar expression alluded to above attracted still more attention, and the passengers were somewhat surprised to see the blushing bride disrobe herself, take of a jaunty hat and blonde wig and disclose an underdress of male clothing. Her companion also divested himself of a mustache and a wig. The metamorphosis showed up the travelers in their true light. . They were two counterfeiters escaping from the land of the brave and the home of the free, where things had got too hot for them.


Reprinted from The National Police Gazette, November 19, 1883.