No. 423
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
April 23, 2019

A Train of Cars Rushing Through Fire.

Traveling through fire—Fearful peril of a railway train, at Cedar Swamp, on the Eastern Railroad, Ma
October 23, 2017
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Spanish general Jose Aranguren was shot on this date in 1939 by Franco’s Spain. A brigadier general of the Civil Guard — an internal-to-Spain paramilitary/law enforcement force that remained predominantly loyal to the Republic during the Spanish Civil War — Aranguren (the very cursory English Wikipedia entry | the more detailed Spanish) at the outset […]
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ExecutedToday.com - 4/22/2019

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The Savoy bookstore in Westerly, R.I. was cram-packed with Borden case enthusiasts this evening as author Cara Robertson held forth …

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Lizzie Borden : Warps & Wefts - 3/26/2019
"Roses are red, Violets are blue, And my cat is, too." Cats and weird little stories from the past.  What could be more Strange Company than that?  For this reason, I'm delighted to temporarily pass the blog's steering wheel over to Peggy Gavan, whose upcoming book, "The Cat Men of Gotham: Tales of Feline Friendships in Old New York" (Rutgers University Press, May 3, 2019,) is now available
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Strange Company - 4/22/2019

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
Rosa Buckstahlen and Ida Bjornstad, servants in the Chicago mansion of Amos J. Snell, were awakened at 2:00 the morning of February 8, 1888, by the sound of a gunshot from the floor below. They heard someone shout “Get out! Get out of here!” followed by more gunshots, then silence. Thinking that all was well—or more likely, too frightened to do anything else—the girls went back to sleep.
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Murder by Gaslight - 4/20/2019
I count six transportation options Brooklynites had in 1915, according to this rich and detailed postcard of Flatbush Avenue. There’s the elevated train, of course, as well as a streetcar, automobile, bicycle, horse and wagon, and of course, getting around on foot, as most of the crowd seems to be doing—when they’re not mugging for […]
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Ephemeral New York - 4/21/2019
[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
A Duel on Horseback. | Kidnapped in Broad Daylight.

A Train of Cars Rushing Through Fire.

Train Through Fire

Traveling through fire—Fearful peril of a railway train, at Cedar Swamp, on the Eastern Railroad, Maine, Sunday, Sept. 17 [more]

One of the most thrilling scenes we have ever been called on to portray occurred in the woods at Cedar Swamp, Maine, on the track of the Eastern railroad, Sunday, Sept. 17.

The train was on its way to Augusta, conveying the 14th Maine regiment, when suddenly, without knowing it, they dashed at full speed into a piece of burning woods. Once in, there was no retreat, and on the train flew through the flames that reared themselves forty feet above the locomotive and cars. The oil of the wheels took fire, and for a few minutes it looked seriously as though the whole convoy was gone. The soldiers were smothering from the smoke and roasting from the flames, and the engineer only kept his post by almost superhuman command. The roar of the flames completely drowned the shrieks and cries of the human cargo, and for a few minutes it was a perfect pandemonium. Fortunately, none of the brave fellows threw themselves from the hurrying train, and the gallant locomotive, Cape Ann, sped them at lightning pace through the fiery ordeal, and dashed them in to fresh air and life, sound, save and except a little scorching which time will remove


Reprinted from Frank Leslie's Illustrated News, October 14, 1869.