No. 465
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
April 01, 2020

Murderous Assault by a Wife on Her Husband.

October 6, 2014
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Via Newspapers.com I heartily dislike most practical jokes--they generally are nothing more than dressed-up sadism--so April Fool’s Day generally ranks with me somewhere between root canals and dropping an anvil on my foot. This little sermon from the March 31, 1901 “Chicago Tribune” is equally sympathetic to this most perverse of holidays: Because some time before the beginning of the
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Strange Company - 4/1/2020

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When New York’s first cholera epidemic hit in 1832 and killed 3,515 people (out of a population of 250,000), the poor took the blame. “Many city officials implicated the residents of the poorest neighborhoods for contracting cholera, blaming their weak character, instead of viewing the epidemic as a public health problem,” stated Anne Garner, in […]
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Ephemeral New York - 3/29/2020

Polish mass murderer Ryszard Sobok hanged in Wroclaw on this date in 1984. The horror of the little village of Walim, Sobok suddenly slaughtered six intimates from February 11 to 12, 1981. On the former date, Sobok strangled his seven-month-pregnant mistress Krystyna Nykiel along with Krystyna’s 16-year-old daughter and one-year-old son. They had a fractured […]
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Executed Today - 3/31/2020
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
Elizabeth Ragan As Arthur Ragan lay dying of a stomach ailment, in Piqua, Ohio, on April 3, 1855, his wife, Elizabeth took the physician aside and told him she believed her husband had poisoned himself. She said she thought the cream of tartar he had been taking for his stomach was actually arsenic. Mr. Ragan died that day, and a post-mortem examination proved his wife correct, he had
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Murder By Gaslight - 3/28/2020

Felix B. Mulgrew 7/30/1854 - 5/30/1915 Karen Hendricks collection (Click image to enlarge) ELIX B. MULGREW friend or victim of Soapy Smith's? Karen Hendricks is the great-great-granddaughter of Felix B. Mulgrew. Mulgrew was a newspaper man, entrepreneur, Klondiker, and had some running correspondence with his friend, Jefferson Randolph "Soapy" Smith. Through Karen we learn
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 3/30/2020
[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.