No. 583
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
November 30, 2022

Eloped on a Spotted Steer.

How a loving West Virginia couple escaped from an obdurate father and were married.
January 30, 2017
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Fifteen-year-old Jody Randall of Long Beach, California, was in most ways a typical suburban teenager.  The one thing that set her apart was a passion for antiques which was unusual for someone of her youth.  As a result of spending all her available free time (and her parents’ money) on her hobby, she eventually amassed some impressive pieces, including a doll collection noteworthy enough to
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Strange Company - 11/28/2022
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Shell and Pea Game on the Trail"Sketched from life by M. W. Newberry"San Francisco ChronicleApril 10, 1898(Click image to enlarge)    UNKO MEN AND THEIR TRICKS      A wonderfully detailed description of the modus operandi of Soapy Smith's three shell and pea manipulators along the Chilkoot and White Pass trails. Witnessed and reported by Joseph D. Barry, and published in the San Francisco
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 11/21/2022
Working as a domestic servant in 19th century New York City had plenty of challenges. Sure, servants received room and board in addition to their wages, and they usually had at least Sunday afternoon off. But living in another family’s home was isolating and lonely—particularly if you didn’t speak English or weren’t accustomed to urban […]
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Ephemeral New York - 11/28/2022
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
Museum of the City of New YorkWilliam Howe and Abraham Hummel were the most successful criminal lawyers in Gilded Age New York. With a combination of skill, showmanship, and unethical practices, they defended most of the city’s significant criminals and many of its murderers. Whether they won or lost, Howe and Hummel made every trial sensational. Here are a few of the many accused murderers
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Murder By Gaslight - 11/26/2022
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
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
Freaks of Fashion. | Thrown from a Balcony.

Eloped on a Spotted Steer.

Eloped on a spotted steer

How a loving West Virginia couple escaped from an obdurate father and were married. [more]

On last Thursday morning a young couple appeared in Welch, McDowell County, W. Va. They were Miss Carrie Coats, a pretty, peachy-cheeked country damsel of 17, and Sandy Johnson, a tall, stalwart, good-looking mountaineer, of 22 years. They had travelled all night from the bride’s home on Ground Hog Cree, in order to elude the obdurate father of the girl. The girl was riding on the back of a dignified spotted steer, and sandy was walking by her side. The unusual sight soon drew a crowd of people, and as everybody loves a lover, half a dozen hurried off after a magistrate or a preacher. Unluckily for the lovers, no official could be found who would marry them on account of the girl’s age. When the couple learned of this they broke down and cried, the girl sobbing as if nearly heartbroken.

The tears of the pretty young girl brought about a determination on the part of the spectators to see them through in some way, and one suggested that thy take the train, then nearly due, for Bristol, Tenn. Where they would find no difficulty in getting married. The proposition changed the tears of the bride into smiles of joy and Sandy’s less apparent grief into open-mouthed delight for a moment, until he thought about a license. Someone in the crowed, however, anticipated the young man, and proposed that the crowd pay all expenses, and in less time than ti takes to write it pocketbooks were out and enough money was contributed to carry the couple through, with a souvenir left over for the bride.

The spotted steer was stalled in front of a pile of oats and corn to ruminate in peace and plenty until the return of the couple and the procession headed for the platform. Neither of the couple had ever seen a train before, and when it pulled in they got on the platform between the engine and the baggage care. Their sponsors soon remedied this mistake and had them conducted into a ladies’ car, where the conductor was expressly charged to see them safely through. The last seen of Carrie and Sandy as the train was wheeling out of sight, they were folded in each other’s arms laughing and straining their eyes as they looked out of the window.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, October 14, 1893