No. 436
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
August 19, 2019

Turkey Shooting.

About the beginning of October, turkeys, young and old, move from their breeding districts towards t
November 20, 2017
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Photo of Cindy Weber in the "Red Deer Advocate," October 23, 1981, via Newspapers.com Every missing-persons story is tragic, of course. However, I know of few such cases that are both as heart-breakingly sad and utterly peculiar as the following disappearance. It reads like a psychological horror movie, with an almost Fortean ending. People inevitably called Cynthia "Cindy" Weber of
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Strange Company - 8/19/2019

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By Jo Anne Giovino with photography and research by Barbara Morrissey and Kristin Pepe *(All rights reserved, August 2019) Although …

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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 7/31/2019

The hanging, and then posthumous beheading and head-spiking, of the Virginia slave Abram lacks any firmer primary date than the signature given this Richmond newspaper report that was later widely reprinted in the young United States. (Our text here hails from the Hartford, Conn. American Mercury, September 18, 1800.) A HORRID MURDER. Capt. John Patterson, […]
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Executed Today - 8/19/2019
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
(sic) Mary Catherine Anderson—Katie to her friends—was in good spirits when she went out the evening of Monday, February 7, 1887. 16-year-old Katie Anderson was a domestic servant living at the home of her employer, Stat Colkitt on his farm in Mount Holly, New Jersey. She said she was just going out for a walk, but Katie was not seen again until Tuesday morning when a neighboring farmer found
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Murder By Gaslight - 8/17/2019

The neighborhood surrounding St. Mark’s Church on Second Avenue and 10th Street owes its charm to the descendants of the Stuyvesant family. These were the great-great grandsons and granddaughters of Petrus Stuyvesant, the director-general of New Netherland from 1647-1664. In the late 1700s and early 1800s, these Stuyvesants lived in stately houses on land that […]
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Ephemeral New York - 8/19/2019
[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 Wedding Postponed. | Packed Away in a Trunk.

Turkey Shooting.

Turkey Shooting

[more] About the beginning of October, turkeys, young and old, move from their breeding districts towards the rich bottom lands near the Ohio and the Mississippi. The males associate and feed in companies of from ten to a hundred, apart from the females, which advance singly, sometimes followed by their young, and sometimes in united families, forming a band of from seventy to eighty. All these exhibit a dread of the old cocks, and are constantly on the watch to avoid them; for though the young birds are now about two-thirds grown, the males seem always to regard them as rivals, and whenever they have an opportunity they will attack and often kill them by repeated blows on the head. Towards the middle of February, or early in March, the turkeys begin to prepare for breeding, the females at first shunning the males, who eagerly pursue them, and utter their peculiar gobbling call. At night, the two sexes roost apart; though usually at no considerable distance. When a female chances to utter the call-note, all the males within hearing return a loud response, in a rolling gobble of rapidly successive notes, as if with the design of emitting the last as soon as the first, much in the same manner as the tame turkey when he responds to any unusual or frequently repeated noise, but not with the spreading tail and strutting gait, as when fluttering around the hens on the ground, or practising similar movements in the morning on the branches of the roost-trees. Then their numbers are considerable, the woods from one end to the other, sometimes for miles, resound with this singular hubbub, continued from the roosting-places in alternate responses for about an hour. All then becomes still again, till at the rising of the sun they leap down in silence trom their roost-trees, and begin to strut about with expanded tails and drooping wings. Then the male and female turkey meet, the ceremonies of strut¬ting and opening the wings are carried on by both parties, with the same pomp of movement that used to distinguish the stately minuets of the courts of St. James and Versailles. The match being at length agreed upon, the attachment appears to continue during the season. At the time of laying, the hen has reconrse to every stratagem of cunning to conceal her eggs from the male, who always breaks them, in order to prevent her from withdraw¬ing from his society, by attending to the duties of incubation. At this period the hens shun the cocks daring the greater part of the day, the latter becoming clumsy and listless, meeting each other without strutting or exhibiting any rivalry.


Reprinted from Gleason's Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion, November 11, 1854.