No. 635
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
December 2, 2023

Customs Inspections on the Canadian Frontier.

"Madam, is there anything dutiable in this bag?"
September 13, 2021

Tag: Editorial

The Day We Are Waiting For -

- When the "Irish," "Germans," and All the Other "National Votes" shall Get Together and Call Themselves Americans.


The New Rule at the Post-Office.

Persons collecting money-orders must be fully and completely identified.

 "The Witches' Cove," Follower of Jan MandijnWelcome to the first Link Dump of December!The Strange Company HQ staffers are already starting on the Christmas parties.The "Shankhill Butchers."The history of Christmas puddings.In which we learn that Napoleon had planned to spend his retirement in New Orleans.  Oops.Vintage Christmas gift ideas.The adventures of a Victorian sailor boy.A
Strange Company - 12/1/2023
Soapy Smith in Leadville, ColoradoJuly 21, 1880Soapy and partner, rear, between carriagesCourtesy Kyle Rosene collection(Click image to enlarge) Soapy Smith's stereo-view photographLeadville, Colorado, July 21, 1880Where was it taken?WHERE IN LEADVILLE WAS THIS TAKEN?(Click image to enlarge)     Those who have read Alias Soapy Smith: The Life and Death of a Scoundrel may
Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 9/14/2023
On a busy day in 1951, a hot dog vendor found himself captive to a hawker of cheap jewelry who set up shop across from his rickety food cart decorated with American flags. Horses still worked the side streets of the city. Stray dogs waited for food scraps to fall to the pavement. TV antennas […]
Ephemeral New York - 11/27/2023
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: […]
Early American Crime - 12/17/2021
The morning of February 5, 1895, Dr. John E Rader was found murdered in the house of Mrs. Catherine McQuinn in Jackson, Kentucky. Catherine told police they were drinking whiskey with her paramour Tom Smith and when Tom passed out, Dr. Rader assaulted her. She shot him in self-defense. Catherine could have committed the murder; she was a rough, course woman with a bad reputation. But the
Murder By Gaslight - 12/2/2023
On October 16, 1900, the Fall River Daily Herald reported an incident at Maplecroft. Lizzie took a tumble from a step ladder while adjusting a picture on the wall. Dr. Stephen Masury Gordon set the broken wrist. Dr. Gordon lived at 165 Rock St. and was a Harvard graduate. One has to wonder why Lizzie did not have one of the servants or her handy man doing the chore. Dr. Gordon
Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 10/12/2023
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 […]
Executed Today - 11/13/2020
Photography's Abuse by Blackmailers. | A Man's Head Blown to Atoms.

Customs Inspections on the Canadian Frontier.


"Madam, is there anything dutiable in this bag?"

Custom Inspections on the Canadian Frontier.

To be rudely awakened from one’s slumber at anytime, and under any circumstances, is harrowing, but to be shaken into a doubtful wakefulness by a grim official in order that your baggage may be examined for the purpose of ascertaining if you are concealing contraband or dutiable articles in you impediments, is the worst form of awaking: a clear exemplification of adding insult to injury. On the border line which divides Canada from the United States the unhappy traveler is subjected to the “uncanny” hands of the vigilant and lynx-eyed Custom House officer, a creature in whose leathern bosom no spark of human sympathy remains. Remorselessly and with wooden visage he informs you, in a dull sing-song, that you most expose the contents of your baggage to his gimlet gaze. What matters it to him that you protest—that you solemnly assert that you have nothing to declare? He has a certain duty to perform, and this duty he means to get through, not caring a whit for the outraged feelings of the rudely awakened sleeper. Elderly ladies of excitable and fretful temperament are his daintiest morsels. To their protests, examinations and treats of vengeance, he turns the deafest of ears. Funny old gentlemen ,he calmly sits upon. Irate youths he harries. Tearful maidens he treats with disdain. He is a fiend of the most exasperating type—unendurably exasperating, he never affords the satisfaction of “talking back.”

Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, February 10, 1883.