No. 452
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
December 12, 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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On this date in 1994 — the ten-year anniversary of the robbery-murder that earned him his death sentence — Raymond Carl Kinnamon died to lethal injection despite his loquacity. A career criminal with 17 felony convictions and three prison stints previously to his name, Kinnamon robbed a Houston bar at gunpoint on December 11, 1984. […]
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Executed Today - 12/11/2019

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Lizzie’s Old School Chum, Augusta Poole (Mrs. Cyrus Tripp) Shelley M. Dziedzic, October 2019 (all rights reserved) During the hot …

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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 10/19/2019

Via Newspapers.com The unofficial motto of Austin, Texas is "Keep Austin Weird." In early 1964, someone or something certainly obliged. The "Austin American," January 29, 1964: Can the mystery blast that shook Austinites Monday at noon be linked to puzzling reports of flying objects later the same day in Fort Worth and Dallas? Perhaps not, but the eerie events have one thing in common:
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Strange Company - 12/11/2019
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
William J. Elder, aged 61, was addicted to drink and when under its influence was violent and uncontrollable. His wife tolerated his abuse as long as she could then packed up and moved out of their farm in Hammonton, New Jersey, leaving behind her two sons, Robert and Mathew. In 1887, 19-year-old Robert Elder moved out of his father’s house as well. 12-Year old Mathew Elder was still
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Murder By Gaslight - 12/7/2019

It’s the blue hour in “Rainy Day, New York,” a 1940 painting by Leon Dolice—a Vienna-born artist who came to Manhattan in the 1920s. The sun has sunk below the horizon, and sidewalks and buildings are cast in a blueish glow, illuminated by streetlamps, car headlights, and the reflection of rain-slicked streets. I’m not sure […]
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Ephemeral New York - 12/9/2019
[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.