No. 539
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
September 17, 2021

Thrilling Railroad Accident.

Startling accident at the draw bridge of the Rensselaer and Saratoga Railroad, Federal Street, Troy,
November 6, 2017
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If you were young in New York City in the 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s, then you probably remember the thrill of visiting Jonah’s Whale at the Children’s Zoo in Central Park, with that smiling open mouth you could practically walk into. Jonah’s Whale had been part of the Children’s Zoo since its 1961 opening, according […]
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Ephemeral New York - 9/16/2021

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Youth With Executioner by Nuremberg native Albrecht Dürer … although it’s dated to 1493, which was during a period of several years when Dürer worked abroad. November 13 [1617]. Burnt alive here a miller of Manberna, who however was lately engaged as a carrier of wine, because he and his brother, with the help of […]
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Executed Today - 11/13/2020

Via Newspapers.comThis odd little story appeared in the “Altoona Tribune,” March 25, 1875:For the past week a story has been current on the street which at first we could not believe. Mrs. Julien Jerome, a Frenchwoman, whom all that knew her say had always led a very devout, good life, lived on Main street, and was taken sick about five weeks ago. Immediately after a cross appeared on the wall
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Strange Company - 9/15/2021
[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
On Saturday, May 13, 1882, 16-year-old Thomas McCabe shot his stepmother, Catherine McCabe, in their New York City apartment. The wound to her neck was so serious that Coroner Knox was summoned to take her anti-mortem statement. She dictated her story:“Shortly after 5 o’clock, I came from the kitchen and was putting oil in my lamp when my stepson, Thomas McCabe, fired a shot at me. I fell on my
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Murder By Gaslight - 9/11/2021

Frank Reid casket guardsas shown in Klondike '98By Ethel A. BeckerEthel Anderson Becker collectionLocation currently unknown(Click image to enlarge)    rank Reid's Casket GuardsReversed Image    I received the following fascinating email     Greetings Jeff Smith: (re: Sept. 18, 2009 – Speaking frank about frank pt. 2 – Soapy Smith’s Soap Box blog).     Having cruised to Alaska, I got
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 9/1/2021
Packed Away in a Trunk. | A Duel on Horseback.

Thrilling Railroad Accident.

Startling Accident

Startling accident at the draw bridge of the Rensselaer and Saratoga Railroad, Federal Street, Troy, N. Y., Saturday, Sept 23. [more]

One of the most singular accidents we have ever been called on to illustrate came off on the Saratoga and Rensselaer Railroad on the night of the 23d of September. At about 7 o'clock the sleeping car train was on its way from Green Island at abort the time that the draw near the Troy shore was opened to admit the passage of the steamboat McAllister towing a raft. The red light was lowered to indicate that the draw was but still on rushed the train. As It passed the opening between the bridge on Starbucks Island, Joseph Lawrence, of the Central Road, saw that the draw was open, and shouted to the engineer to stop. He did not do so, and Mr. Lawrence, jumping on the last car, put down the brake, but could not prevent the result. He partially checked the train, to that the engine did not take the leap it otherwise would have done through the open draw. The passenger car followed, and in the fall was turned completely around, while the sloping car hung halfway, suspended has Mahomet's coffin.

It was very dark at the time, but the woodwork of the engine caught fire and lit up the scene with an unearthly glare, while the escaping steam made a deafening noise, suggestive of explosion and danger. River street was filled with people, and there was a general rush down the dock to the scene. Fortunately, the raft had floated down to the wreck, forming a bridge by which it could be reached.

An alarm of fire called out the people, who came to the dock by hundreds and thousands to gaze at the ruins amid the darkness. Efforts were immediately commenced to raise the suspended car. This was accomplished by jacks and tackles from the bridge, when the draw was closed, and travel won resumed.

The most remarkable part of the occurrences is that no lives were lost.


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