No. 444
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
October 15, 2019

Burning of Steamers at Cincinnati.

Burning of Steamers on the Ohio River at Cincinnati May 17, 1869.
September 17, 2018
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Our old familiar the Newgate Calendar supplies us with this narration of a Scottish Jacobin to pop the powdered wigs from Edinburgh to Westminster. A published version of the trial in question is available here, and a last-speech broadside awaits you here. Watt is the only monument in Executed Today‘s pages to the attempted creation […]
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Executed Today - 10/15/2019

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By Jo Anne Giovino with photography and research by Barbara Morrissey and Kristin Pepe *(All rights reserved, August 2019) Although …

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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 7/31/2019

Generally speaking, poltergeists are the bratty kids of the paranormal world. They create a lot of noise, cause some damage, and make obnoxious spectacles of themselves, but they are, on the whole, seemingly helpless to do any real harm. Their antics are tiresome, rather than evil. On occasion, however, polts exhibit threatening, even fiendish behavior. Reading these accounts, one
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Strange Company - 10/14/2019
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
John Delaney met Mary Jane Cox in October 1886; she smiled at him as they passed each other on Fulton Street in Brooklyn, and he turned to follow her. She was 17-years-old, he was 15. Mary Jane did not refuse his advances outright, but gave him her address and told him to write to her. Their relationship progressed quickly, and eight months later, Mary Jane told John she was pregnant, and he
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Murder By Gaslight - 10/12/2019

In this photo, some of the letters look red, others are definitely pink. No matter what colors the letters are, this gorgeous glowing sign for Neil’s Coffee Shop on 70th Street and Lexington Avenue is proof that New York bars and restaurants still feature the city’s iconic iridescent neon store signage. Neil’s is an under-the-radar […]
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Ephemeral New York - 10/13/2019
[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
Up the Hudson. | A Velocipede Riding-School.

Burning of Steamers at Cincinnati.

Burning Steamers

Burning of Steamers on the Ohio River at Cincinnati May 17, 1869. [more]

We illustrate the disastrous conflagration which took place on the Ohio River, at Cincinnati, on the morning of May 12. A little before two o’clock a fire broke out on the Clifton, caused, it is supposed, by the upsetting of a lamp. Five steamers were lying in close proximity and above these six others. In less than half an hour the six steamers below were destroyed, nearly all of them being burned to the water’s edge. Those on board the Clifton were just able to escape with their lives, so r paid was the conflagration. Before the earliest engine could reach the scene four of the boats were already inflames. The heat was so intense that they could only approach the boats with the greatest difficulty. Buy their daring was equal to the emergency, and the fought her fierce foe at close quarters. Some of the bots had on board a large quantity of oil, and as the barrels caught fire they floated out into the river, and then down the stream, making it a stream of burning fire. The Kentucky shore was lighted up, and the flames showed its banks filled with spectators drown from their beds by the magnificent spectacle. A dec-hand was burned to death on the Clifton, and it is reported that five hands on the Cheyenne suffered a similar fate. Three or four men from the Darling were drowns in their attempt to get ashore. The loss of property amounted to nearly $1,00,000, exclusive of cargo.


Reprinted from Harper's Weekly, May 29, 1869.