No. 563
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
July 6, 2022

They Were "Soaked" in Every Sense.

A New York high roller "on a bat" with a high grade dazzler—they win up in the bath tub of his hotel apartment.
February 4, 2022
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Eli Bence has always been a person of great interest to Borden case historians, even though his testimony did not get considered at the trial in the end. He has been a person of personal fascination for me for 30 years and I was delighted to learn his home in Pittsfield, MA sold in July 2020 and the realtor included some interior photos of the graceful 1900 – built home. Bence had some heartaches in his life, the death of his daughter Priscilla, and first wife, Sarah Hayhurst- and he, himself died tragically at the peak of his illustrious career as a pharmacist. His story, pharmacy in New Bedford in 1894 and second marriage to Annie Maxfield have been covered fairly extensively on the Warps & Wefts blog over the years but here is a new photo of Eli in 1885, and photos of his Pittsfield home as well as two obituaries you will enjoy reading. The link will take you to interiors of his 64 Commonwealth St. Pittsfield home, which sadly, have been greatly modernized. I have always been a great believer in what Eli had to say in 1893. https://www.realtor.com/…/64-Commonwealth-Ave…
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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 7/6/2022
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'SOAPY' SMITH AND TWO COLLEAGUESObject ID 2017.6.350Courtesy of Salvation Army Museum of the West(Click image to enlarge) New photograph of "Soapy" Smith?NOT EVEN CLOSE.      A B & W photograph, said to be of Jefferson Randolph "Soapy" Smith, and two colleagues. Soapy is in the middle, marked with an "X." The photo was taken in Alaska,
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 4/11/2022
Via Newspapers.comHere we have your bog-standard “prophetic dream” story, but with a rather unusual twist.  Usually in such accounts, telling the dream to others saves a life.  In this case, it was what doomed the victim.  From the “Madisonian,” May 25, 1839:A letter from Hamburg contains the following curious story relative to the verification of a dream. It appears that a locksmith’s apprentice
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Strange Company - 7/6/2022
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
 1n 1827, Elsie Lansing lived with her husband John, in Cherry Hill, the stately mansion overlooking the Hudson River near Albany, New York. Jesse Strang was a servant living in the basement. When Elsie and Jesse fell in love, their torrid affair led to the murder of John Whipple.Read the full story here: Albany Gothic.
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Murder By Gaslight - 7/2/2022
The Gilded Age was a captivating era of growth, greed, and deep cultural changes that set into motion the way we live today. It was a time when men and women typically occupied vastly different spheres: men in the outside world of business and industry, women as the center of home, family, and society. But […]
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Ephemeral New York - 7/4/2022
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 […]
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Executed Today - 11/13/2020
Tar and Feathers. | Western Train Robbers' Ways in New York State.

They Were "Soaked" in Every Sense.

They-were-soaked Life in the Tenderloin district in New York is regarded with considerable awe by those that have heard of its naughty and glittering peculiarities, and the befuddled "sports" that take part in it probably assure themselves that it is vicious enough to be imposing. You will find that the citizens of every community take especial pride in the extent and variety of their immorality and the people of New York have always pointed to the Tenderloin as a magnificent feature of metropolitan life. You can get as stirring exhibitions of dissipation and wickedness in New York as are to be found anywhere. The wild dazzling vice of the frontier may be noisier, but for lively episodes among "racketers" and golden youth who are "blowing their stuff," New York is not to be surpassed. You watch the panorama of vice there and you will find that it is never dull.

Two fine figures which illuminated the shifting scene last week with a brilliant escapade to stir the pulses were fished out of a bath tub in the -------- Hotel on Fifth avenue. They had wound up a routine of wild debauchery by proposing to cool their heads under "the shower" of the bath tub in their hotel suite. The plug was in the bath tub, the tub filled with water, and the chambermaid found the occupant of the apartment and his girl companion asleep side by side in the water-filled tub, with "the shower" turned on. This was bathing relieved by poetic charm and individuality. A comical feature of the damp situation was that the male roysterer had an umbrella raised over himself. His girl companion is a well-known brilliantly wicked demi-virgin of Gotham, very handsome and representing very high grade and high cost immorality. One of her peculiarities is a permanent thirst for wine, but men who are of her set look upon her as very delightful and desirable. She has had before some dazzling orgies. and her past life has been followed by beautiful success in money getting. She is not an oyster-house woman; she is a high flyer. The best Gotham affords is none too good for her. She "bathes every day," she says, laughingly, "but not every day with a $300 dress and $200 worth of lace underwear on."

Illustrated Police News, May 4, 1895.