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

They Ran a Snide Game.

A “friendly” poker scheme exposed at Bogota, N. J., by one of the players squealing.
June 13, 2016
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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
Threatening an Umpire. | Snares for the Unwary.

They Ran a Snide Game.

A Snide Game

A “friendly” poker scheme exposed at Bogota, N. J., by one of the players squealing.  

Some months ago there moved into a neat cottage at Bogota, N. J., on the east side of the Hackensack River, opposite Hackensack, N. J., a family who introduced themselves as the Larkins.

When Mrs. Larkins and her daughters, Julie, Clytie and Bell, first settled in Bogota the were regular in their attendance upon worship in the "old church on the green,” where their presence was at once remarked, and they were classed as inhabitants of ultra sweldom by the staid Dutch worshippers, who cling to the belief of their forefathers that gaudy colors and silks and satins are an abomination. But it has just leaked out that Mrs. Larkins has been running a little game of draw in her quiet little cottage.

It now appears that “Mrs. Larkins: and her “family” were reaping a rich reward from the visitors among whom were at least three well-known local poker experts, who are known to have been regular in their visits Saturday nights. The handsome “father” of the house is said to have been a professional gambler, who plucked the larger game, while the callow youth were left to the fair but expert misses.

Under such circumstances it would be impossible to say how long the pleasures of the place might have been enjoyed had it not been for the rashness of one young man, who, while presumably headed with wine, imagined that the fair Clytie held one card too many at a moment when the inducement was a jackpot of generous amount. Clytie smilingly protested her innocence, but the youth lost his temper, and so far forgot himself as to impeach her veracity in a word of four letter preceded by a powerful adjective. When a constable wen with a warrant to pull the house he found in large black letters “To Let” on the door.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, January 4, 1890.