No. 556
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
January 22, 2022

It Was Another Kind of Cat.

February 21, 2012
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Soapy Smith leading the packArtifact #96-Front Page, Part 1National PopulistMarch 24, 1894Jeff Smith collection(Click image to enlarge)  amblers, Thugs, Murders and Rogues."The alliance of the gamblers and bunco men with the old Fire and Police Board is not a pleasant thing to contemplate. It has come to a pretty pass if the interests of the city and the lives and property of citizens can't
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 1/21/2022

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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

 "The Witches' Cove," Follower of Jan MandijnWinter has been here for one month now.And this is the current mood here at Strange Company HQ.A professor has an interesting side job.A board game from 4,000 years ago.Exploring the possibility that John Keats was a grave-robber.This week in Russian Weird looks at a vampire Baroness and her cursed tomb.In which we are confronted with way too much
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Strange Company - 1/21/2022
The Nicholsons of San Francisco owned some farmland near Watsonville in Monterey County, California. In 1873, Mrs. Sarah Nicholson spent all of her time there, working the farm while her husband traveled back and forth from San Francisco, where he had a carriage business.Two years earlier, they bought the land from Matt Tarpey, a wealthy landowner and a big man in Monterey County politics. Tarpey
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Murder By Gaslight - 1/22/2022

An article I recently wrote for the British online magazine, New Politic, is now available online. The article, “The Criminal Origins of the United States of America,” is about British convict transportation to America, which took place between the years 1718 and 1775, and is the subject of my book, Bound with an Iron Chain: […]
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Early American Crime - 12/17/2021
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It Was Another Kind of Cat.

Elevator boy

Washington, D.C., December 1885 - An elderly guset of Willard's Hotel, Washington, mistakes the elevator boy for a chambermaid.[more]

Fooled by an Elevator Boy

One of the elderly guests of Willard’s Hotel, Washington, lately solicited a pretty chambermaid to sew some buttons on his pants. This service she declined, but promised to send another girl who would perform the task. The girls, for reasons best known to themselves, “put up a job” on the ancient individual, dressed Joe, the elevator boy, in female attire, and dispatched him to the guest’s apartment. The room being dark, the elderly gentleman, failing to detect the sham, advanced his gallantry so far as to hug and kiss and other wise attempt to caress the supposed maid. The affair coming to Mr. Staples’ knowledge he summarily “bounced” the elevator boy, who in turn had Mr. Staples arrested for assault.


Reprinted from The National Police Gazette, December 11, 1885.