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

Beauty as a Shield.

July 24, 2012
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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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Early American Crime - 2/7/2019
A Slippery and Subtle Knave – The Bank Sneak. | Spectacular Scenes & Sights Down on the Jersey Coast

Beauty as a Shield.

Beauty

Beauty Conquers avarice and outlawry “We won’t rob this house to-night.” [more]

A Midnight Picture that Prevented a Robbery

A couple of desperados who had been committing many acts of crime were recently captured and lodged in a Galveston (Tex.) jail. While confined one of them gave a reporter an extended account of their lives and adventures. According to the narrative, both are more or less imbued with that spirit of gallantry so much admired by young ladies and men of a romantic turn of mind. Situated in the outskirts of the city is a wealthy merchant’s residence, and rumor had it among the outlaws that it was a “good crib to crack.” Both of these men determined to try their luck, and alter a little trouble effected an entrance. On turning their bull’s-eye lanterns on the room they discovered two handsome ladies, daughters of the merchant, locked in each other’s arms, sleeping sweetly. The sight of so much loveliness and innocence unnerved them for the purpose in view. Their sense of chivalry was touched, and after a few moments of admiration they retraced their steps, each admitting that it would be a shame to commit an act that would injure the feelings of two such lovely girls. Beauty proved more potent than avarice.

 

From The National Police Gazette, October 30, 1880