No. 584
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
December 8, 2022

Ararat: City of Refuge.

July 3, 2012
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Tag: 1870s

Female Wrestling Match in Nevada.

Two female athletes at Virginia city Nevada, indulge in a wrestling match for the championship.

11/8/2022

Interior of a Pullman Parlour Car.

The Smoking Saloon.

9/20/2022

A Female Gambling House in Boston.

They call it the "retreat" because of its charming privacy and apparent obscurity.

5/31/2022

Pandemonium in a Tumult.

Raid on the Broadway concert saloons, New York.

4/26/2022

Her Striped Stockings.

Bound to be in style - The expedient of a carriage painter's daughter at Vallejo, Cal., to obtain striped stockings.

11/30/2021

Forex news live

Two female athletes at Virginia City, Nevada, indulge in a wrestling match for the championship.

11/9/2021

Disguised as the Devil.

A Man in a Black Mask, Disguised as the Devil.

10/19/2021

A Charming Female Vaccinator.

Young gentlemen of Boston submitting their arms to a charming female vaccinator.

8/30/2021

A Man's Head Blown to Atoms.

A man's head blown to atoms by the explosion of a beer barrel on Long Island.

8/30/2021

Desperate Duel.

Desperate Duel between Ladies of Rank, at Santa Cruz.

6/22/2021

The Summer Exodus.

Commencement of the Heated Term—Swells and Belles at the Mountains and on the Sea Shore.

6/15/2021

The Deathly Opium-Drug.

The Demon Work of the Chinese Poppy Poison.

4/27/2021

Vaccination from a Beauty.

Idiotic freak of some young men at Los Angeles.

3/9/2021

Homeward Bound.

Vacationers leaving Lake George, New York, 1879.

5/7/2019

Up the Hudson.

9/18/2018

The Cure for Broken Hearts.

8/27/2018

Why She Pummeled Him.

A Cincinnati woman gets up a lively street sensation by vigorously thrashing a man on the sidewalk, and explains to the crowd that he was her runaway husband, whom she had industriously sought for that sole purpose.

4/17/2017

Take a Chance?

Many a one, who otherwise would not contribute a dime, will take a chance in a lottery.

9/9/2014

Mother Mandelbaum's Secrets.

4/23/2013

The Pawn-Ticket Game.

Pawn tickets make bad collateral.

3/5/2013

Vive Le Sport!

1/15/2013

The Grand Saloon.

11/27/2012

Comstockery.

Anthony Comstock was on a personal mission to protect America from vice.

5/1/2012

Allan Pinkerton.

The Eye that Never Sleeps.

3/27/2012

New York Society Classified.

11/27/2011

Belles of the Bowling Alley.

The athletic diversions of an association of dashing damsels in their club rooms in Chicago. 

6/6/2011

The Cardiff Giant

Cardiff, New York, October 16, 1869.

4/10/2011

Bank Heist

The Audacity of a Professional Thief.

4/3/2011
Not George Talkington, but there must have been a strong resemblance.Many people could be called “accident prone,” but, fortunately, few take it to the level of the subject of today’s post.  From the “Bath Chronicle,” November 21, 1833 (via Newspapers.com):George Talkington, once a celebrated horse-dealer at Uttoxeter, who died on the 8th of April, 1826, at Cheadle, Cheshire, in his eighty-third
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Strange Company - 12/7/2022
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Wishing you a happy and bountiful Thanksgiving Day! Lizzie is thankful for turkey and all the trimmings – and no mutton broth in sight!
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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 11/22/2022
CAME NEAR LOSING HIS MONEYSan Francisco ChronicleMay 6, 1893(Click image to enlarge)  San Francisco Man Taken in by Denver Card Sharks "First time I ever got caught" (Soapy Smith) This post was originally supposed to be about a new "victim" (Charles Anderson) swindled by the soap gang that I recently uncovered during a search through newspaper archives, but in looking through my files I found
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 12/6/2022
On this date in 2002, Pakistani Mir Aimal Kansi, Kasi, or Qazi was executed by lethal injection in Virginia, U.S.A. “Real angry with the policy of the U.S. government in the Middle East, particularly toward the Palestinian people,”* Qazi on January 25, 1993 revenged himself on Central Intelligence Agency commuters queued for a left turn […]
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Executed Today - 11/14/2022
 When tried for the 1840 murder of Catherine Merry, Charles Cook pled innocent by reason of insanity. Despite a history of medical treatment for extreme melancholy, and strange behavior such as running through the streets of Schenectady, wearing nothing but a blanket, proclaiming himself to be the Savior of the world, the jury rejected his plea and found him guilty.Before his execution, Cook
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Murder By Gaslight - 12/3/2022
For years I’ve walked by the delightfully shabby Joe’s Tavern sign at the corner of Tenth Avenue and 25th Street. I’ve never seen the vintage vertical beauty lit up, unfortunately. Even stranger, I’ve never seen any sign of life inside 258 Tenth Avenue, which once housed what I imagine to have been an old-school neighborhood […]
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Ephemeral New York - 12/5/2022
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
Female Tobacco Chewers. | Torturing a Lover.

Ararat: City of Refuge.

Noah

“Hear, O' Israel, The Lord is our God-The Lord is One.  ARARAT, a City of Refuge for the Jews, founded by Mordecai Manuel Noah, in the Month of Tizri, September 1825, and in the 50th year of American Independence"
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Extra Mordecai Manuel Noah
Mordecai Manuel Noah had been a major in the Pennsylvania Militia, U. S. Consul to the Kingdom of Tunis, Sheriff of New York, a playwright, a publisher, and a high-ranking Tammany Hall politician. In the 1820s Noah was easily the most well-known and politically powerful Jewish man in America.  He was also the kind of flamboyant eccentric that has always been popular in New York City.
 
Noah’s most audacious move was his attempt to establish a homeland, or at least a “City of Refuge” for Jews in America. The idea was at least five years in the planning, with the first practical steps taken in 1825 when Samuel Leggett, acting on Noah’s behalf, purchased 2,555 acres on Grand Island, in the Niagara River. Noah then published his intention to found the city of Ararat—named after the resting place of Noah’s Ark—as a Jewish homeland.
 
A 300 pound cornerstone was created for the new community and it was to be dedicated on Grand Island in September 1825. The organizers could not find enough boats to carry the expected crowd to the island, so the cornerstone was dedicated at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Buffalo. Noah was a Royal Arch Mason and it is believed that Episcopal cooperation was obtained through his masonic connections. On September 2,  Mordecai Noah, wearing a Richard III costume and gold medallion borrowed from New York’s Park Theatre, led a procession that included a military band, an assembly of Freemasons, and a number of city officials. Also atttending was the great Seneca Chief, Red Jacket. Noah believed – as the Mormons later would— that American Indians were descendants of the lost tribes of Israel.
 
The cornerstone was laid on the communion-table, and cups filled with wine, corn and oil were placed on top of it. The stone was consecrated using both Hebrew and Episcopal rites. Following the consecration, Noah delivered a speech proclaiming himself “by the Grace of God, Governor and Judge of Israel” and announcing a re-organization of the Jewish government. He offered Ararat as an asylum to Jews throughout the world and at the same time levied a tax of three Shekels (one dollar) in silver on every Jew throughout the world, to capitalize the new venture and aid in the settlement of emigrants to the new community.
 
Grand Island Grand Island, New York
In spite of its grandiose beginnings, Ararat was a profound failure for a number of reasons. Noah had not consulted with Jewish leaders and his ideas had very little support. In America the Jewish community feared the venture would prove disreputable. In Europe, where Noah hoped to get most of his settlers, the idea was ridiculed from all corners.  Adding to Noah’s woes, the “Morgan Affair” the following year—in which Freemasons were accused of kidnapping and killing William Morgan for revealing their secretes—led to fervent anti-Masonic sentiment in Western New York. The Freemasons’ very visible support of Ararat raised public suspicion of the project.
 
The cornerstone never made it to Grand Island and it is doubtful whether Noah ever did either. Since 1825 it has been a matter of debate whether Noah was sincerely trying to establish a Jewish homeland or if it had all been a real estate scheme.  Letters discovered later indicate that it was a little of both.  Mordecai Noah’s support of Zionism never faltered, but in 1825 he was well aware of the value of the property at the mouth of the Erie Canal which opened later that year, and he hoped to make a sizeable profit in land sales.

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