No. 479
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
July 14, 2020

The “Prisoners’ March.”

September 17, 2013
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Patrick Eugene Joseph Prendergast, a madman who assassinated the mayor of Chicago, was hanged on this date in 1894. Prendergast seems to have been a mentally unbalanced character from his early childhood; one might speculatively attribute it to a youthful head injury, or the very early death of his father, or the strains of an […]
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Executed Today - 7/13/2020

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Soapy Smith in July 4th paradeSkagway, Alaska 1898Broadway and Fourth Ave.Note Soapy is on the left of center, behind Joe Brooks.Behind him is Brooks' Pack TrainWhere is the Skaguay Military Company?Where is the Fitzhugh Lee wagon?Courtesy ofKlondike Gold Rush National Historical Park (Click image to enlarge) ow Soapy Smith conned his way to be Grand Marshal of the 4th of July With
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 7/10/2020

Rhynwick Williams In March 1788, a London woman named Maria Smythe was standing on a friend's doorstep when a stranger suddenly accosted her, muttered some unrecorded but evidently horribly vile comments, stabbed her with a knife, and fled, leaving her slightly wounded. Although she had no way of knowing it at the time, she was the first victim of a bizarre crime spree that would not be
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Strange Company - 7/13/2020
It was a perfect weekend to journey out to Tyngsborough to get a glimpse of what was left of the …

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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 6/13/2020
On the morning of March 19, 1875, Charles K. Landis entered the office of the Vineland Independent and demanded to see the paper’s editor and publisher, Uri Carruth. When Carruth entered the room, Landis approached him, waving a newspaper clipping. “Mr. Carruth, did you write that?” Landis shouted. “I did, and I will do it again,” said Carruth. “Will you promise not to attack my wife
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Murder By Gaslight - 7/11/2020

In 1976, the 92 acres of landfill that would one day become Battery Park City was in place and ready. Unfortunately New York City—which hoped this new development would help revitalize the lower West Side of Manhattan—was too broke to get construction started until 1980, according to bpcparks.org. So until the early 1980s, an actual […]
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Ephemeral New York - 7/13/2020
[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 […]
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Early American Crime - 2/7/2019
Her Last Ascent. | Over-the-Rhine.

The “Prisoners’ March.”

Prisoners March Pennsylvania—Scene in the Schuylkill County Prison at Pottsville—The “Prisoners’ March” for exercise in the corridor. [more]

Noted Pennsylvania Prison.

The Schuylkill County Prison at Pottsville is one of the largest and most important in the State of Pennsylvania. Special interest has attached to it of late years from the fact that may of the notorious Mollie Maquire murderers have been either executed within its walls, or ar now serving out sentences there. The building is 285 feet wide by 296 feet deep, the prison proper being in the shape of an L. The front wing is 165 feet long, and the side wing 213 feet, making the total length of 378 feet by a width of 52 feet. A corridor extends through the middle on each side of which is a two-story row of cells, 114 in number. The corridor is fifteen feet wide and is covered by a brick arch, in which there are ten large skylights. On each side of the prison is a space of ground, surrounded by a wall thirty high, and here the prisoners are exercised daily, except in the Winter, when, on account of the severity of the weather, the corridor is used. The prisoners are all kept regularly at work, and the goods which they manufacture reduced the net cost of the institution to the county last year from $22,619 to $7,860. The warden is Joseph Dolan, who is assisted by two keepers, and they have an average number of 65 persons under their charge, although the total sometimes runs up as high as 125. The scene presented in the corridor, when the prisoners are gathered for their daily round of exercise, is a very interesting one, as our illustration shows. A couple of jolly Africans, whose misdeeds have debarred them form airing their musical accomplishments in the outside world, head the procession and sound the keynote with their banjos, while some of the older and more trusted prisoners see that order is preserved. Discipline is well enforced, while the harmless recreation thus afforded proves an excellent thing for the convicts.


Reprinted from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper 10 Mar 1883.