No. 643
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
February 29, 2024

Shooting at the Elevated.

After-dinner pistol practice at the trains that rush by windows
May 7, 2013
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Tag: Prison

Defying the Guards.

Downed by Kindness After defying a host of armed keepers, James Driscoll, in the Trenton, N. J. State prison succumbs to a gentle word.

1/12/2015

The “Prisoners’ March.”

Pennsylvania - Scene in the Schuylkill County Prison at Pottsville - The "Prisoners' March" for exercise in the corridor.

9/17/2013

It Was a "She."

7/9/2013

Insane Criminal Escapes.

1/27/2013

Taking a Criminal's Measure.

12/11/2012
Via Newspapers.comPhantom stagecoaches are always fun (especially when they generate manic headlines.)  The “San Bernardino News,” December 7, 1914:Have you seen the phantom coach that dashes madly, silently, down the steep, rugged mountain trail near Pilot Rock? It is a weird story, this. It deals with the apparently supernatural. Possibly it isn't that at all, maybe it is simply some
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Strange Company - 2/28/2024
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HE DUEL IN ELLEN'S HONOR. Soapy Smith’s grandmotherOn Wednesday, August 9, 1820, an argument between 17-year-old, James Bowe Boisseau (1802-1820) and Robert C. Adams (unknown-1820) vying for the attention of 18-year-old Ellen Stimpson Peniston (1802-1860), took a terrible turn. The happy party in her honor took a tragic turn when the competition for Ellen’s affections ended in a deadly duel,
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 1/10/2024
There’s nothing wrong with the MTA’s usual subway signage: the directions are clear, the design is simple. But when a contemporary sign happens to be stuck underneath original signage made with decorative tile and an unusual typeface—as it is inside the Sixth Avenue F and M station at 14th Street—the old-school sign wins hands-down. Subway.org […]
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Ephemeral New York - 2/26/2024
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
 Alice Hoyle last saw her sister, Lillie, the night of September 1, 1887, in the room they shared in Webster, Massachusetts. Lillie left to use the outhouse, and Alice fell asleep. Lillie never returned. The next morning, Alice went out, thinking Lillie had already left for work. That is the story Alice told the police— as the investigation progressed, she would change it several times.Read
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Murder By Gaslight - 2/24/2024
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
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
| St. Valentine's Day.

Shooting at the Elevated.

Shooting at the Elevated

A party of New York girls enjoy a little after-dinner pistol practice at the trains that rush by windows of their hotel. 

Popping at the Elevated.

How a Certain Reckless Party of Fast Young Men and Women Added to the Dangers of Travel.

The luxuries of metropolitan life are many and novel, but we think the rag has been taken off the bush completely by late developments of the methods of enjoyment that have become popular among a certain class of reckless young bloods and the equally reckless young women who are assisting them in running through their fortunes. The dear creatures have been in the habit, when full of wine after the little suppers given in a certain famous off color hostelry on the line of one of the elevated railroads, to get up shooting matches, the mark being the elevated trains as thy fly by the second-story windows of the hotel. This practice became so common a few weeks ago that the entire detective force was set to work to ferret out the marksmen. One of these companies of female sharpshooters was caught by the officers but the male friends of the women proved to be related to some high officials and they were let go with a reprimand, and the mystery of the shooting at the trains has never been revealed to the indignant public until now, when the Police Gazette takes the ditty on itself in its usually bold form of description and illustration.


National Police Gazette, Decmber 23, 1882.