No. 423
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
April 23, 2019

Sparking in Tompkins Square

June 28, 2011
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Hanged April 23, 1845 for poisoning her brother Charles Dimond — and commonly suspected to have offed several other family members by means of arsenic — the “Shapwick Murderess” Sarah Freeman insisted her innocence to her very last breath. “I am as innocent as a lamb,” she said to the hangman William Calcraft as he […]
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ExecutedToday.com - 4/23/2019

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The Savoy bookstore in Westerly, R.I. was cram-packed with Borden case enthusiasts this evening as author Cara Robertson held forth …

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Lizzie Borden : Warps & Wefts - 3/26/2019
"Roses are red, Violets are blue, And my cat is, too." Cats and weird little stories from the past.  What could be more Strange Company than that?  For this reason, I'm delighted to temporarily pass the blog's steering wheel over to Peggy Gavan, whose upcoming book, "The Cat Men of Gotham: Tales of Feline Friendships in Old New York" (Rutgers University Press, May 3, 2019,) is now available
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Strange Company - 4/22/2019

Jeff and Joe Soapy Smith buries Joe Simmons The Illustrated Police News April 9, 1892 (Click image to enlarge) oe Simmons was a tall, slender gambler known to many as “Gambler Joe” Simmons, a member of the Soap Gang who managed Soapy Smith's Tivoli Club in Denver, 1890, and Soapy's Orleans Club in Creede, 1892. According to William Devere’s poem "Two Little Busted Shoes," Simmons
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 3/25/2019
Rosa Buckstahlen and Ida Bjornstad, servants in the Chicago mansion of Amos J. Snell, were awakened at 2:00 the morning of February 8, 1888, by the sound of a gunshot from the floor below. They heard someone shout “Get out! Get out of here!” followed by more gunshots, then silence. Thinking that all was well—or more likely, too frightened to do anything else—the girls went back to sleep.
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Murder by Gaslight - 4/20/2019
I count six transportation options Brooklynites had in 1915, according to this rich and detailed postcard of Flatbush Avenue. There’s the elevated train, of course, as well as a streetcar, automobile, bicycle, horse and wagon, and of course, getting around on foot, as most of the crowd seems to be doing—when they’re not mugging for […]
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Ephemeral New York - 4/21/2019
[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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Sparking in Tompkins Square

Cupid-Tompkins-Park

New York, New York, 1888 - Sparking in Tompkin Square, a place which Cupid has made his favorite stomping ground, and where the stern paterfamilias is wont to appear. [more]

Cupid has had great sport in Tompkins Park, this city, on pleasant evenings of a Sunday for some time past. Recently the interesting spectacle of forty couples breathing tales of love was witnessed at this charming rendezvous for "spooney" young men and women. Near the circular structure in the center of the park sat a maiden of sixteen or thereabouts, clad in a maroon dress, which just reached to the tops of her buttoned boots, a lavender jacket, and a jaunty hat matching her dress, with a raven's wing in the band.

Close beside her sat a youth of equal age, who was gazing into her eye. He held her hand in his, and in an undertone told her many pretty secrets.

Changing her hand to his other one, his arm gently stole round her waist. She seemed unconscious of it. He whispered something and she shyly looked at him, presumably the better to understand his whisper. He inclined his face to hers and "just one" he pleaded-and hastily took one, two, three. He paused a few seconds in admiration of her and then resumed talking, and she talked, too, in a bashful way.

But presently a very substantial vision intruded itself upon their happiness-a tall, ponderous Dutchman in trousers of ample volume, a jean jumper and a velveteen cap similar to those worn by the drivers of brewery wagons.

"You vas here, eh?" he queried of the girl. "You vas coom home."

She coomed.

Another young couple plumped down. The Fellow manifested his affection by pulling his sweetheart's hair and pinching her ears. She tee-hee-hee'd, slapped him playfully, and twittered, "Now, Jamesie, you stop." But just the same she didn't seem pleased when Jamesie did stop. She slapped him some more; whereat Jumesie pushed hack her head and gave her a loud kiss.

With all the couples the time was fraught with happiness and sweetness and most of them didn't leave the park until the broad-faced clock in the steeple of St. Bridget's Church nearby tolled the hour of ten.

 


The National Police Gazette, November 3, 1888