No. 478
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
July 02, 2020

“For Members Only.”

November 10, 2014
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Christian reformer Martin Luther composed his hymn “Ein neues Lied wir heben an” (literally “A new song we raise” but commonly titled in English “Flung to the Heedless Winds”) in response to a major milestone for his movement: the first evangelicals executed for the faith, namely defrocked Augustinian monks Jan van Essen and Hendrik Vos […]
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Executed Today - 7/1/2020

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(Click image to enlarge) HE SHOOTING OF HARRY "SHOTGUN" SMITH. Denver's unsolved murder: Number #10 On June 23, 1893, Harry "Shotgun" Smith (no relation) went on a drinking binge and made the deadly mistake of visiting the Tivoli Club and provoking a fight with Bascomb Smith, the younger brother of bad man "Soapy" Smith. Bascomb walked away unscathed. Harry Smith was not
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 6/23/2020

Via Newspapers.com Yes, indeed, it’s time for the annual post celebrating the holiday in which America becomes the land of the free, and the home of blowing yourself up with homemade fireworks. Appropriately enough for this blog, the following story combines both the usual red-white-and-blue carnage with an atypical Fortean element. Elyria Independent Democrat, July 12, 1871 St. Paul
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Strange Company - 7/1/2020
It was a perfect weekend to journey out to Tyngsborough to get a glimpse of what was left of the …

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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 6/13/2020
On Sunday, May 23, 1875, Thomas W. Piper, sexton of the Warren Avenue Baptist Church in Boston, lured 5-year-old Mabel Young to the church belfry on the pretext of looking at pigeons. There he crushed her skull with a cricket bat. Piper was captured after he was seen leaping from the belfry. In custody he confessed to a series of murders and violent sexual assaults. Read the full story here: 
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Murder By Gaslight - 6/27/2020

The New York City of the moment is bringing many people down. Luckily, we can escape with a little time traveling thanks to these old-school store signs. Matles Florist has been in Manhattan since 1962, and the vintage sign with the very 1960s typeface shows it. The store is on 57th Street between Eighth and […]
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Ephemeral New York - 6/29/2020
[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
Aboriginal Footprints. | Bulldozing a Voter.

“For Members Only.”

Members Only

A Lot of Boy Burglars Fit Up and Run a Snug Little Club of Their Own in Boston, Massachusetts. [more]

A Den of Thieves.

A special from Boston, Mass., October 5, says: To run club rooms in the proceeds of burglaries is the latest exploit of Boston youths. Five lads averaging 15 years of age, are behind the bars because of their jovial tastes, and another in in Montreal from fear of arrest. They had fitted up in an elaborate style a front room in a house on Tabor street, at the Highlands, and had named their organization “The Tabor Club.” It appears to have been well supplied with cash; also with cigars. When the members visited the theatre in a body they had plenty of money to buy a box if they desired, They also had plenty of money for supper afterward. The clubroom had lots of change in it at all hours. A big box in the corner had lots of change in it at all hours. This bore the inscription in small letters, “For members only.” Only in one instance in the club’s existence did the box get empty, according to the police. This was several weeks ago, when one member suspected another of taking the last cent to secure a bunch of matches. Two guns were hung on one side of the wall. There was a big hitting bag in the centre. The library opposite the main door was quite extensive. Among the volumes it contained the following half-dime novels: “Deadwood Dick’s Device,” “Kit Harefoot, or Old Powderface,” “Corporal Cannon the man of Forty Deeds,” “Pier Detective, or Phil’s Big Skirmish.”


Reprinted from The National Police Gazette, October 29, 1887.