No. 462
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
February 24, 2020

Murderous Assault by a Wife on Her Husband.

October 6, 2014
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Ramendra Narayan Roy, in the days when no one questioned that he was alive. One of the most famous court cases of the 19th century revolved around Arthur Orton’s years-long campaign to prove that he was, in fact, Sir Roger Tichborne, a wealthy young man who had disappeared in a presumed shipwreck many years before. As strange (and protracted) as the whole Tichborne matter was, it was
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Strange Company - 2/24/2020

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"Denver's Oldest Bar" matchbook cover outside cover - A (Click image to enlarge) new addition to my collection A matchbook cover from "Denver’s Oldest Bar" is a new acquisition to my private Soapy Smith collection. Though it is a "modern" item from the 1960s-70s, it has a direct link to Soapy Smith. "Denver’s Oldest Bar" was once controlled by Soapy, under the name, "Tivoli Club,
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 2/7/2020

Fifty-nine years ago in February 1961, thousands of avid fans trudged through 20 inches of snow to Carnegie Hall to see comedian Lenny Bruce—in a show that was recorded and released in a three-record set, The Carnegie Hall Concert. This famous show, “was the moment that an obscure yet rapidly rising young comedian named Lenny […]
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Ephemeral New York - 2/23/2020
Beginning on January 1st, W&W will begin featuring fascinating short clippings from the Fall River papers and other newspapers from …

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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 12/29/2019
Nellie C. Bailey. William Dodson led a drive of 2300 head of sheep from Kansas through Indian Territory to their new home in Texas in October 1883. A mile behind them the owner of the new ranch, a widower named Clement Bothemly, and his sister Bertha traveled in a wagon outfitted with bedrooms. Pulled by two yoke of oxen, the wagon was so large that observers compared it to a railroad car.
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Murder By Gaslight - 2/22/2020

Second-century Christian bishop and martyr St. Polycarp of Smyrna has his feast day on February 23. Be sure to shout supplications loudly, as he’s the patron for earaches. Reputedly inducted into the mysteries by the Apostle John himself in the late first century, Polycarp was a consequential clergyman in the early church and a living […]
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Executed Today - 2/23/2020
[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
The Green-Eyed Monster. | Belle Gordon.

Murderous Assault by a Wife on Her Husband.

Murderous Assault

She Charges That “He is No Man.” She Discharged a Husband (Still Living) for the same reason. [more]

A certain class of females in this country are, it seems, possessed of a large development of superfluous muscle—strong-fisted if not strong-minded. Sometimes they can handle their “mauleys” with the force of a Heenan or McCool, and prove in a most palpable manner their title to the honorary “first blood” and “first knock down.” Sometimes it is a cowhide, which they wield with scientific precision and marked effect. Anon they arm themselves with the revolver and make daylight shine through the object of their wrath. As to the knife, let the Newmarket tragedy tell that awful tale. New Jersey has for some time back been winning the race in this particular line, and bids fair to carry off the palm from the other states of the Union, as our readers from week to week have abundant opportunities of judging for themselves. The last performance of feminine muscularity which has traveled the courses across the North river in and which, as being highly illustrative, we illustrate in our first page, the dramatis personae having the undoubted patronymics of children from the Emerald Isle—Bridget and Pat, and involving a matrimonial imbroglio of very lively interest.

The story runs thus: Some three months ago Bridget was united in the bonds of matrimony to Patrick Coyle, and they have been living in Beacon avenue in Hudson City. Most people who enter that “blissful” condition permit the honeymoon to pass over without any serious difficulty arising to prevent the course of true love running somewhat smooth, but it appears that Bridget and Patrick had their scrimmage before their wedded life was two days old—Bridget declaring that Patrick “was no man at all.” Domestic troubles from this alleged cause became of daily occurrence; and at length culminated in Bridget making a terrible assault on Pat with a knife and an axe, which she used in a manner that indicated nothing less than murder. On Saturday morning last, this “injured female” suddenly jumped out of bed, seized first a knife with which she gashed her husband’s face and hand generally; but this kind of small sword exercise was not doing the purpose with the celerity with which she intended to dispatch poor Pat; so, like the illustrious chief of her country who smote the Danes at Clontarf, she seized a battle-axe, with which she made several murderous blows at the unhappy object of her vengeance. Fortunately for both, Pat succeeded in making his escapes out of the home in his shirt, his face all bloody. His appearance soon arrested the attention of the neighbors, who interfered and brought Pat’s clothes to him and had the wounds dressed.

The case came up in the course of the day before Justice Aldridge, when the husband told his story. Believing Bridge to be a widow, he married her; but soon after he learned that her first husband was still in the land of the living. Bridget having case him of on the ground of being over age—that he was “too ould.” Among the other charges in her indictment was that Coyle was “the worst of the two,” and that he “was no man all.” Having heard the complaint, Recorder Aldridge issued a warrant, upon which the amiable damsel was arrested and committed for trial. Hudson City is becoming quite a lively place, and will not permit the smallest blade of grass to grow under the feet of its worthy Recorder, if it goes on at the present pace.

 


Reprinted from The National Police Gazette, September 7, 1888.