No. 584
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
December 7, 2022

January.

Allegorical Representation of January
January 2, 2017
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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
Caught Helping Themselves. | Seeing in the New Year.

January.

Allegorical Representation of January

Sire of the Year! First actor on the stage,
Whereon Time plays his year-long pantomime,
Thy beard is worthy of most brilliant rhyme,
Thy “frosty pow” is glorious in its age;
For thou, bluff January, hast been sage
In thy libations, when the old town’s chime
Announced thee to the world—stanch war to wage—
Peace against Feud and Charity ‘gainst Crime!
Welcome, brave month, with icicles on beard,
No icicles, I trow, cling to thy heart:
Therefrom the voice of Christian love is heard;
Therefrom the tears of Christian love will start,
Welcome, hoar father of the nascent year,
And joyous be thy brief sojourning here!

Yet to thy blazon one sad stain will cling,
The latest day beheld a harrowing scene,
When this fair land, with Brutus-like demean,
Looked on the scaffold dressed for her lost king.
O! Mercy, hide the memory with thy wing:
Teach us to be like thee—blessed serene;
The “doubly blessed” and may the future bring
Blessings to crown the country and the queen!
Forward! Bluff January! The ball’s begun,
With the fantastic and the mistletoe;
Saint Stephen’s chapel room will see rare fun,
Alas! Comingled with far greater woe.
Joy to thee! Merry month! Time’s hoary pinion
Will waft the speedily form his dominion.


Reprinted from Gleason's Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion, January 1, 1853.