No. 452
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
December 13, 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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On this date in 1994 — the ten-year anniversary of the robbery-murder that earned him his death sentence — Raymond Carl Kinnamon died to lethal injection despite his loquacity. A career criminal with 17 felony convictions and three prison stints previously to his name, Kinnamon robbed a Houston bar at gunpoint on December 11, 1984. […]
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Executed Today - 12/11/2019

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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

Via Newspapers.com The unofficial motto of Austin, Texas is "Keep Austin Weird." In early 1964, someone or something certainly obliged. The "Austin American," January 29, 1964: Can the mystery blast that shook Austinites Monday at noon be linked to puzzling reports of flying objects later the same day in Fort Worth and Dallas? Perhaps not, but the eerie events have one thing in common:
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Strange Company - 12/11/2019
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
William J. Elder, aged 61, was addicted to drink and when under its influence was violent and uncontrollable. His wife tolerated his abuse as long as she could then packed up and moved out of their farm in Hammonton, New Jersey, leaving behind her two sons, Robert and Mathew. In 1887, 19-year-old Robert Elder moved out of his father’s house as well. 12-Year old Mathew Elder was still
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Murder By Gaslight - 12/7/2019

It’s the blue hour in “Rainy Day, New York,” a 1940 painting by Leon Dolice—a Vienna-born artist who came to Manhattan in the 1920s. The sun has sunk below the horizon, and sidewalks and buildings are cast in a blueish glow, illuminated by streetlamps, car headlights, and the reflection of rain-slicked streets. I’m not sure […]
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Ephemeral New York - 12/9/2019
[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.