No. 643
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
February 23, 2024

The Can Can in Denver.

Elevating the Fantastic Toe.
January 2, 2024

 "The Witches' Cove," Follower of Jan MandijnWelcome to this week's Link Dump!  As you can see, the Strange Company Art Department is busy with the illustrations for next week's posts.The working lads of Whitechapel, circa 1900.A human leg has been found on the New York subways, and I'm betting that's not the worst thing you'd find there.A brief history of condensed milk.The
Strange Company - 2/23/2024
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,
Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 1/10/2024
Entering the Wall Street IRT subway station on Lower Broadway at Trinity Church can feel like going into a time warp. That’s because of the cast iron hoods that cover the stairwell as you descend underground. Decorated in a leaf pattern, the curved hoods date back to the station’s 1905 opening. The hoods mesh well […]
Ephemeral New York - 2/19/2024
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: […]
Early American Crime - 12/17/2021
A postmortem examination revealed that Katie Dugan was four months pregnant when her body was found beaten and slashed in an empty field in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1892. A two-year investigation led police to believe that Albert Stout, Katie’s former employer, was her killer and the father of her unborn child. But Stout was a prominent, well-connected businessman, and despite evidence that he
Murder By Gaslight - 2/17/2024
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.
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
Executed Today - 11/13/2020
Crowds Watch the Bicycle Race. | New Years in the Wings.

The Can Can in Denver.


DENVER, Col , Sept. 4.—In this beautiful city of the West the devil is fast gaining ground. Drunkenness and prostitution are becoming alarmingly prevalent, and if not checked will make Denver on a par with the worst cities of the Union in vice. The neighborhood of Halliday Street is the stronghold of sin. The stranger, no matter where he comes from, if his tendencies are evil, gravitates toward this locality as naturally as a duck takes to the water. On this street are located the fashionable palaces of sin, the most notorious of which is presided over by Madam Minnie Clifford, who takes pride in saying that she is the only Madam in Denver in whose house the infamous dance known as the "Can Can" is performed. She openly boasts that her best 3 patrons are married men, many of them bald-headed and grey, who frequently remain till three o'clock in the morning. She has seven soiled doves, whose· names are: Della Thompson, Ida Charleston, Marian Custer, Ada Courtney, Lillie Thorp, May Crocker, India Florence. All of these women perform the "can can" nightly for the delectation of Madam Clifford's patrons. The premiere of the dance is the last named, a young girl with a history. She states that she was born in Washington, D.C., and became the victim of man's perfidy four years ago, and shortly after went to Philadelphia, and entered a fashionable bagnio, presided over by Madam Annie Winters, 1216 Locust Street.

She remained there six months, and came to Denver three years ago, and has since resided at her present abode. She never appears in the "can can" without wearing at least $2,000 worth of diamonds.

Those who have seen these dances say that they excel in lewdness anything ever witnessed in this city. They are orgies which would delight the basest tastes. The accompanying sketch will afford a slight idea of the scene.

National Police Gazette, September 18, 1880.