No. 499
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
November 26, 2020

Trying to Scare an Old Maid with a Wooden Dutchman.

A wooden Dutchman, rather than no man at all, was what a sensible spinster argued when some practica
July 11, 2016
...
...

"York Dispatch," November 28, 1905.  (All clippings via Newspapers.com) When normal people think of Thanksgiving, they picture large family dinners, a relaxing day watching football in front of the TV, a general atmosphere of comfort and contentment.Me, I picture turkeys being used as lethal weapons and guided missiles.  The "Passaic Herald-News," November 23, 1956:This inventive lady celebrated
More...
Strange Company - 11/25/2020

`
A CHAMPIONSan Francisco ChronicleOctober 12, 1898(Click image to enlarge)     ASCOMB IS A CHAMPION    Guess Bascomb Smith wasn't all bad. The texts of the newspaper appear below.  Miss Hall finds a champion. Brother of  “ Soapy” Smith claims her as his wife.There is another side to the pathetic story told to the police by Minnie Hall, the Vaudeville actress to jump into the bay from Howard
More...
Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 9/25/2020

It’s been a good century or so since New Yorkers celebrated Evacuation Day. But in the late 18th and 19th centuries, this holiday—on November 25—was a major deal, marked by festive dinners, parades, and a deep appreciation of the role the city played in the Revolutionary War. Evacuation Day honors the day in 1783 when […]
More...
Ephemeral New York - 11/23/2020
Colorization can sometimes add another whole dimension to vintage black and white photos. We’ve done this one of the crime …

Continue reading

More...
Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 8/31/2020
 Old Cap. Collier, the fictional dime novel detective, tries his hand at solving the murder of Dr. Cronin.The real murder of Dr. Patrick Henry Cronin was stranger than fiction, with the good doctor found naked and dead in a Chicago sewer after confronting the corrupt leaders of an Irish secret society. As Edmund Pearson said, “It was one of those murders over which men nod their heads and look
More...
Murder By Gaslight - 11/21/2020

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 […]
More...
Executed Today - 11/13/2020
[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 […]
More...
Early American Crime - 2/7/2019
An Irishman and a Yankee Settle a Dispute. | She Stole Her Lover’s Clothes.

Trying to Scare an Old Maid with a Wooden Dutchman.

Wooden Dutchman

A wooden Dutchman, rather than no man at all,
Was what a sensible spinster argued when some practical jokers under took to scare her in Oakland, Cal. [more]


Probably the most pathetic incident since the war occurred in Oakland the other day, and it is still agitating the higher circles of that locality to their inner depths. It appears that on Jackson street resides an old maid—a very old maid—who puts in all the time she can spare from the supervision of other people’s affairs to searching for burglars. In fact, the latter occupation may be said to be her hobby.

For the last twenty-five years Miss Goobey has never retired without first  industriously “shooing” under each and every bed for the purpose of expelling any burglariosly inclined person who might be thus secreted.

The other day a bold, bad man, who happened to be temporarily staying at the Goobey residence, concocted a dreadful practical joke. By the assistance of some of his dissolute companions, he stole a life-sized wooden Dutchman form the front of a cigar store, and placed it under the chaste couch of the mature Diana in question.

The conspirators waited on the landing when Miss Goobey locked the door that night expecting a domestic earthquake to be started as soon as the bogus burglar was sighted.  They waited unsuccessfully for an hour. Was it possible Miss G. had neglected her invariable custom of looking under the bed? No, the idea was preposterous. They still lingered for the volcano to begin, throwing up screams, convulsions, melted lava and hair pins.

Silence.

Another hour passed by.

At last the well-known sound of Miss Goobey’s high soprano snore sounded faintly through the door, and impelled by ungovernable suspense and curiosity, the watchers climbed up and peeped though the transom.

There were two figures in the bed.The wooden man had been carefully lifted into the couch and covered up with its head on Miss G’s off pillow. While one thin arm over his manly red-wood chest, and with one saffron cheek pressed against the irresponsive shoulder, Miss Goobey slept in contented sleep of one who had reached bedrock at last.

She was making believe, poor thing!

 


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, December 17, 1881.