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

George Dixon’s Victory over Australian Billy.

February 26, 2013
...
...

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
More...
Strange Company - 2/28/2024
`
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,
More...
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 […]
More...
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: […]
More...
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
More...
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.
More...
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
More...
Executed Today - 11/13/2020
The Pawn-Ticket Game. | Burglary Tools.

George Dixon’s Victory over Australian Billy.

George Dixon

Dixon’s Right Lands on Murphy’s Body.

The Colored Wonder Defeats the Australian Champion in Six Rounds in New York, Jan. 22. [more]

Murphy the other night was quick and decisive. The long-legged foreigner made a showing in the first couple of rounds which was well calculated to give adherents of the colored wonder some uneasiness, but after that there was no doubt—beyond the usual chance factor—about the result. The “Little Torpedo,” as Harry Weldon calls him, proved to be a “verry cunnin’ gent.” When he found himself lacking the ability to force the pace himself, and he found himself unable do go, the terrible volley of left-handed punches whcih were being shot into his face, neck and body, with rare discernment and discretion he gracefully took advantage of the first opportunity that was afforded him to “turn it up.” That was the opinion of Referee Roche and hundreds of others who sat up close to ringside and had a position to see in minute detail everything that was going on. In the third round he looked as if he didn’t want to go any further, but Dixon, who expressed a determination to give him a good walloping in return for past offenses, “pulled a hit” to enable Murphy to steady himself. The affair was too one-sided to deserve any extended reference.

Dixon’s defeat of Murphy makes it more apparent than ever that the former should be given another chance at Erne. When he met the latter recently he was not conditioned and in no shape to fight. He has remedied his faults, corrected his habits and settled down to hard work. He never was in better condition than the other night. Had he looked as carefully to his preparations for the Erne affair, the latter never could have earned a decision over him.

The two are matched again, however, to fight at Dan Stuart’s carnival or wherever the best inducments can be obtained. If under Stuart’s auspices it will be a finish affair, but if under a social club the duration of the bout will be only five rounds.


Reprinted from The National Police Gazette, February 6, 1897