No. 444
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
October 21, 2019

Pretty Mary Nelson’s Downfall.

Wine suppers, fine dresses and rolls of greenbacks cause a young and fascinating Cincinnati girl to
August 29, 2016
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Via historic-uk.com It is, of course, common knowledge that one of the precipitating factors of World War I was the murder of Franz Ferdinand and his wife. However, it is largely forgotten that another cold-blooded assassination very nearly sparked an armed conflict between America and Great Britain. This week, let us remember the Great Dead Pig War of 1859. The main stage for our
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Strange Company - 10/21/2019

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Lizzie’s Old School Chum, Augusta Poole (Mrs. Cyrus Tripp) Shelley M. Dziedzic, October 2019 (all rights reserved) During the hot …

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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 10/19/2019

George Grosz made a name for himself drawing and painting caricatures of life in his native Germany during the postwar Weimar era. But this Expressionist painter who helped lead the Dada movement left Germany in 1932 and relocated to New York City, turning his cynical eye on his adopted home city. “New York Harbor,” from […]
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Ephemeral New York - 10/20/2019
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
In October 1893, 64-year-old Patrick Finney of New Bedford, Pennsylvania, was visiting his old friend and drinking buddy James Campbell in Hazelton, Ohio.  Campbell had been a saloonkeeper in Pittsburgh before retiring and moving with his wife to Hazelton, a suburb of Youngstown.  As was their custom, Finney and the Campbells were drinking heavily the night of October 9. James Campbell had a
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Murder By Gaslight - 10/19/2019

Dictator Muammar Gaddafi (several alternate transliterations are familiar, such as Qaddafi and Gadhafi) was killed by his captors during the Libyan civil war on this date in 2011 — an act very much on the extrajudicial and summary side of the foggy borderlands defining an “execution”. Libya’s ruler since deposing the British-supported King Idris way […]
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Executed Today - 10/20/2019
[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
September. | Athletics.

Pretty Mary Nelson’s Downfall.

Pretty Mary Nelson

Wine suppers, fine dresses and rolls of greenbacks cause a young and fascinating Cincinnati girl to cast aside the mantle of virtue. [more]

Until a short time ago one of the best known young women on Walnut Hills, Cincinnati, O., was Mary Nelson, the pretty daughter of the late wholesale confectioner of that name. Confectioner Nelson was one of the best known merchants in the city, and his chain of stores received a liberal share of the patronage in the various localities in which they were situated.

Shortly before his death he became heavily involved and was forced to make an assignment. Business reverses weighed heavily on the old man’s mind, and finally caused his death he following his wife to the grave, the latter dying a short time before the former. The death of Nelson left his daughter Mary an orphan in the world. She receive a liberal education, and was coached in the classics and language. Not only had her general education been looked after, but she was also sent to a conservatory of music on Fourth Street, where her musical training was attended to. Mary had also been taught book-keeping by a private tutor, and when her father died he accepted a position with a well-known local firm. Her salary, however was very modest, and she found it necessary to solicit the aid of wealthy relatives in Philadelphia. Her Quaker City connections did not turn a deaf ear upon her, but continued to her support until a short time ago.

When she no longer received aid form the East, Mary became despondent and lost her position. She became acquainted with a set of fast young men who introduced her to their female companions. Among the latter was a George Street Courtesan named Corinne, who is an inmate of Cora Mack’s resort. The latter became infatuated with Mary, and told her how she could become a queen of the demi-monde if she would cast aside the mantle of virtue. Corinne insisted on Mary taking a supper with her and during the repast she showed the latter her extensive wardrobe and a large roll of money. Nothing further was needed, and Mary’s downfall was accomplished. She saw visions of finery and wealth during her sleep, and finally reluctantly consented to become Corinne’s running mate at the above named resort where she is now ensconced in one of the apartments.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, October 7, 1893.