No. 423
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
April 22, 2019

Breaking Up a Bagnio.

November 18, 2012
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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

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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
The Domshof town square still holds a spuckstein (“spit stone”) where passersby can revile Gesche Margarethe Gottfried, a serial poisoner beheaded in Bremen on this date in 1831. Ptooey! (cc) image by Jürgen Howaldt. Gottfried wielded the 19th century’s weapon of choice for subtle domestic homicide, arsenic, mixed into spreadable fat, a concoction known as […]
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ExecutedToday.com - 4/21/2019

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
There are, unfortunately, no sponsors for this week's Link Dump.  The staff at Strange Company HQ is busy celebrating Spring Break. What the hell caused the Kentucky Meat Shower? Watch out for those Midnight Washer Women! In which Mr. Cambray asks to go to prison. That time Benjamin Franklin had a rendezvous at Notre Dame. Why you wouldn't necessarily want to see into the future.
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Strange Company - 4/19/2019
[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
The Grand Saloon. | Rogues & Brawlers.

Breaking Up a Bagnio.

Bagnio

The White Hat of Lafayette, Ind., is burst up by a mob of women. [more]

A little before dark on the evening of Sept. 9, a crowd of indignant women, numbering about forty; reduced the bagnio of the notorious “White Hat,” on Sixteenth street, Lafayette, Ind., to a complete if not picturesque ruin. It was a quiet but determined vigilante committee, and they did their work well. White Hat’s dive has long gloried in the reputation of the hardest place in Lafayette. It was a free for all. Race, color or previous condition of servitude was no bar. It was a cross between an old woman’s home and a pest house, and a stench to the nostrils of the neighborhood. The place has long been under police surveillance, and on the night mentioned above it was raided. The male guests scaled the back fence and fled, but four women, including White Hat, were run in. Next morning they were given thirty days apiece in jail. This episode left the establishment, for the time being, tenantless.

At a little after 4 o’clock the women of the neighborhood began to congregate on an adjacent corner. The news that the ranch was to be demolished spread like wildfire, and the crowd soon numbered two score. When it reached these dimensions the onslaught was made. A few determined women led the van and the rest streamed after, over the front yard. The house is a double brick, and the dive proper was in the south side. Here attentions were directed.

One of the women had an axe. She was about forty-five years old, tall, strong, and when she brought the blade against the panels they went in with a crash. A few more blows sent the door of its hinges. Almost a dozen of the boldest rushed in and began to demolish the interior, while the timorous contented themselves in throwing stones on the outside.

For a few moments it sounded like a fusillade of artillery, and in that length of time there wasn’t a piece of glass the size of a half dollar in any window in the establishment. Meanwhile several other axes had been brought into play and all the window frames and door cases splintered. Even the floor did not escape and was badly backed, while big chunks of plastering were knocked bodily out of the ceiling.

In the course of the afternoon most of the effects of the White Hat outfit had been removed on a dray, so there were but few household goods for the crowd to wreak their vengeance on. A cooking stove was the most conspicuous object, and this was speedily reduced to junk iron. Their work of ruin occupied in all about half an hour and the crowd then quietly departed. They did not stop to talk the matter over, but went straight home, and the demoralized house was the sole evidence of what had occurred. The work was viewed by a large crowd of men but none offed to interfere. They knew better.

The end of the trouble was not, however, in the event described above. At 9:10 in the evening an alarm of fire came in and called the department to the vicinity. Flames were seen braking through the roof of the dismantled edifice and rapidly spreading along the woodwork. The fire was obviously the work in an incendiary, as there had been no fire about the premises during the day. A little brisk work soon extinguished the blaze with a big hole burst through the shingles and considerable damage to the interior. It will take quite an outlay of money to put the property in anything like a condition to rent again. The fire is generally accepted as a final notification to the outfit that their presence will be no longer tolerated in Linnwood. It was said on the ground that the parties who fired the house are well known and will use dynamite the next trip if it is occupied again by the same kind of cattle.

 

 

Reprinted from The National Police Gazette, September 26, 1885.