No. 656
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
June 22, 2024

Rip Roaring Fun.

How the merchants and cowboys of Butte City, Montana run the local concert hall after their own fashion.
April 2, 2019
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 "The Witches' Cove," Follower of Jan MandijnWelcome to the first Link Dump of Summer 2024!Time for that summer road trip!A young man's murderous attack on his family.The ghost of a murderer.Did the Allied leadership prolong WWII?The Great Bed of Ware.Decoding UK's "Seahenge."Hunter Thompson and the Hell's Angels.Looking for UFOs in the Vatican.A quadruple murder case in Pennsylvania.The
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Strange Company - 6/21/2024
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.
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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 2/12/2024
Like many of Manhattan’s legendary department stores, Bloomingdale’s developed in stages. First came Lyman and Joseph Bloomingdale’s “Ladies’ Notions Shop” on Chambers Street, where they sold the trendiest garment of the 1860s: the hoop skirt. In 1886, the Bloomingdale Brothers moved their store, renamed the “East Side Emporium,” to the hinterlands of Manhattan at Lexington […]
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Ephemeral New York - 6/17/2024
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: […]
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Early American Crime - 12/17/2021
 Nellie and Fanny.Nelly Dalton and Fanny Coburn, two young Boston women, were out on the town one autumn afternoon in 1855. They met and flirted with William Sumner and Josiah Porter, two promising young college graduates. Though both women were married, they arranged to see the boys again.Nelly and William embarked on a heartfelt correspondence. Their amorous letters sometimes included
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Murder By Gaslight - 6/22/2024
CHIEF OF CONSThe Morning Times(Cripple Creek, Colorado)February 15, 1896Courtesy of Mitch Morrissey ig Ed Burns robs a dying man?      Mitch Morrissey, a Facebook friend and historian for the Denver District Attorney’s Office, found and published an interesting newspaper piece on "Big Ed" Burns, one of the most notorious characters in the West. Burns was a confidence man and
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 4/2/2024
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
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Executed Today - 11/13/2020
"He Loves Me; He Loves Me Not." | "Daredevil" Steve Brodie

Rip Roaring Fun.

How the merchants and cowboys of Butte City, Montana run the local concert hall after their own fashion.

The Butte concert saloons are usually underground. The saloon is square, with a row of private boxes all around the top. The orchestra b occupied by cowboys and miners, who guzzle beer at twenty-five cents per glass with flabby barmaids The boxes are occupied by bank presidents, merchants and wealthy citizens, who sit behind lace curtains and drink Missouri cider champagne at $5 a bottle with girls in gauze dresses or tights. The gambling tables and broken-voiced singers make a pandemonium of the place. The weird electric lights make the room look like Hades, Illuminated. At 11 o'clock the singing is now and then disturbed by pistol shots from the cowboys, who shoot down into the ground unless they have a special dislike to the singer; then the ball whisps through the curtain. Sometimes the cowboys chaff the merchants behind the curtains in the boxes and make them order whiskey for the orchestra. Everybody calls everybody else by his first name, and there is perfect democracy throughout the saloon. There is no concealment of wickedness, but each on does all he can to make the concert hall the wickedest place in the wickedest city in the world. The next morning everything is forgotten, and the merchants are in their stores, the miners in their mines and the pistolled cowboy punching his cattle ten miles away.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, June 19, 1886.