No. 462
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
February 24, 2020

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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Ramendra Narayan Roy, in the days when no one questioned that he was alive. One of the most famous court cases of the 19th century revolved around Arthur Orton’s years-long campaign to prove that he was, in fact, Sir Roger Tichborne, a wealthy young man who had disappeared in a presumed shipwreck many years before. As strange (and protracted) as the whole Tichborne matter was, it was
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Strange Company - 2/24/2020

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"Denver's Oldest Bar" matchbook cover outside cover - A (Click image to enlarge) new addition to my collection A matchbook cover from "Denver’s Oldest Bar" is a new acquisition to my private Soapy Smith collection. Though it is a "modern" item from the 1960s-70s, it has a direct link to Soapy Smith. "Denver’s Oldest Bar" was once controlled by Soapy, under the name, "Tivoli Club,
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 2/7/2020

Fifty-nine years ago in February 1961, thousands of avid fans trudged through 20 inches of snow to Carnegie Hall to see comedian Lenny Bruce—in a show that was recorded and released in a three-record set, The Carnegie Hall Concert. This famous show, “was the moment that an obscure yet rapidly rising young comedian named Lenny […]
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Ephemeral New York - 2/23/2020
Beginning on January 1st, W&W will begin featuring fascinating short clippings from the Fall River papers and other newspapers from …

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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 12/29/2019
Nellie C. Bailey. William Dodson led a drive of 2300 head of sheep from Kansas through Indian Territory to their new home in Texas in October 1883. A mile behind them the owner of the new ranch, a widower named Clement Bothemly, and his sister Bertha traveled in a wagon outfitted with bedrooms. Pulled by two yoke of oxen, the wagon was so large that observers compared it to a railroad car.
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Murder By Gaslight - 2/22/2020

Second-century Christian bishop and martyr St. Polycarp of Smyrna has his feast day on February 23. Be sure to shout supplications loudly, as he’s the patron for earaches. Reputedly inducted into the mysteries by the Apostle John himself in the late first century, Polycarp was a consequential clergyman in the early church and a living […]
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Executed Today - 2/23/2020
[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
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.