No. 650
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
April 18, 2024

Hallow Eve Sports.

The cool reception that some frolicsome young Doylestown girls gave to a verdant beau who was not posted as to the manners and customs of the Pennsylvania Dutch
October 27, 2013
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Tag: Bet

Slid Down the Firemen’s Pole.

How a plucky New Brunswick, N. J., girl won a wager from one of her doubting companions.

4/30/2018

A Human Rat Eater.

An employee of the Boston Gas Works boasted his ability to kill a rat with his teeth.

8/14/2017

A Successful Trip.

William Leland, of Buffalo, N. Y., takes a pleasurable dive over the Horseshoe Falls and still lives to be written up.

6/5/2016
Via Newspapers.comAs I believe I’ve mentioned before, I have a particular fondness for obscure, unimportant, but intriguing little mysteries.  One such example appeared in the “London Morning Chronicle,” April 21, 1809:Nevis, Feb. 7, 1809.“Dear Sir,"I beg leave to mention the following circumstances, and leave to your better judgment the propriety of making the same public.-- "About a
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Strange Company - 4/17/2024
Included in yesterday’s trip to Fall River was a stop at Miss Lizzie’s Coffee shop and a visit to the cellar to see the scene of the tragic demise of the second Mrs. Lawdwick Borden and two of the three little children in 1848. I have been writing about this sad tale since 2010 and had made a previous trip to the cellar some years ago but was unable to get to the spot where the incident occured to get a clear photograph.  The tale of Eliza Borden is a very sad, but not uncommon story of post partum depression with a heartrending end. You feel this as you stand in the dark space behind the chimney where Eliza ended her life with a straight razor after dropping 6 month old Holder and his 3 year old sister Eliza Ann into the cellar cistern. Over the years I have found other similar cases, often involving wells and cisterns, and drownings of children followed by suicides of the mothers. These photos show the chimney, cistern pipe, back wall, dirt and brick floor, original floorboards forming the cellar ceiling and what appears to be an original door. To be in the place where this happened is a sobering experience. My thanks to Joe Pereira for allowing us to see and record the place where this sad occurrence unfolded in 1848. R.I.P. Holder, Eliza and Eliza Ann Borden. Visit our Articles section above for more on this story. The coffee shop has won its suit to retain its name and has plans to expand into the shop next door and extend its menu in the near future.
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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 2/12/2024
How many ways are there to style a subway entrance sign? In New York City, dozens of designs and typefaces are used across the subway system—often with no rhyme or reason. Take this gold and white sign on William Street. It’s for a side entrance/exit for the Fulton Street station, affixed to a 20th century […]
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Ephemeral New York - 4/15/2024
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
 Samuel Smith and his wife Emma appeared to the world as a happy and affectionate young couple. She was pretty and vivacious with a dazzling wardrobe, and he was energetic with a winning personality. But beneath the surface was a hidden turmoil that did not come to light until Emma was found dead in their apartment, her head blown apart by a shotgun blast, and Samuel nowhere to be found.Read
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Murder By Gaslight - 4/13/2024
CHIEF OF CONSThe Morning Times(Cripple Creek, Colorado)February 15, 1896Courtesy of Mitch Morrissey ig Ed Burns robs a dying man?      Mitch Morrissey, a Facebook friend and historian for the Denver District Attorney’s Office, found and published an interesting newspaper piece on "Big Ed" Burns, one of the most notorious characters in the West. Burns was a confidence man and
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 4/2/2024
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 … Continue reading
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Executed Today - 11/13/2020
Duel of the Divas. | Hungry Joe.

Hallow Eve Sports.

Hallow Eve Sport

The cool reception that some frolicsome young Doylestown girls gave to a verdant beau who was not posted as to the manners and customs of the Pennsylvania Dutch. 

In no part of the country can be found a place where the old times sports of Hallow Eve are better kept than Doylestown, Pa. The last day of October is a carnival of fun for the honest and mirth-loving descendants of the Pennsylvania Dutch, of good old Bucks county. It is a holiday in which the young girls can particularly enjoy themselves by a little practical joking. Socials parties are held on the occasion, and the young folks rack their brains to devise schemes to catch the unwary in some ludicrous predicament. They enjoy catching some unsophisticated youth to play their tricks on. A party of gay damsels of Doylestown lately captured a fresh young dude from Philadelphia, and after playing many tricks on him, capped the climax by inducing him to take a seat between two of the belles of the occasion, who were apparently seated on a lounge covered by a sheet. It was not long before he discovered that the supposed lounge was two chairs at the end, and under the enticing looking centre seat was a tub of cold water, as the young man found to his sorrow.


Reprinted from The National Police Gazette, November 10, 1883.