No. 600
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
March 30, 2023

What a New York Girl Did.

A vain girl makes a fireman wait until she fixes her hair preferring to risk her life rather than ap
May 22, 2017
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Via Newspapers.comThis week, we visit a haunted house that has a bit of Mystery Blood thrown in.  The "Glen Elder Sentinel," August 20, 1903:A remarkable ghost sensation is disturbing the serenity of St. Peter Port, Guernsey, where a local photographer has just vacated his residence on the ground that he and members of his family have been terrified by supernatural visitations. The photographer
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Strange Company - 3/29/2023
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When Patrick  H. Doherty joined the Fall River Police Department in 1885, he might have been astounded to learn that he would be involved one day in two notorious murder cases- both involving hatchets and axes.  Patrick Doherty was born in Peoria, Illinois on August 10, 1859 to John and Mary Walsh Doherty.  Later the family moved east to Fall River, and we find Patrick Doherty living at 104 Columbia St. (off South Main) and working as a laborer for a time employed by Fall River Iron Works and the Fall River Line steamboat company.  He married Honora (Nora) E. Coughlin on April 25, 1887 at the age of 28, when he was employed at the Fall River Police Department as a patrolman.  The couple would have seven children:  Charles T., Frank., Grace, Robert, Helene, Margaret (called Marguerite), and John. Doherty, (as were several other patrolmen), was promoted to the rank of captain after their work in the case of the century, the Borden Murders of 1892.  Doherty had arrived at #92 after George Allen on the morning of the murders, and was very quickly in the thick of the action, questioning Lizzie upstairs, looking at the bodies with Dr. Dolan, running down to Smith’s pharmacy with Officer Harrington  to question Eli Bence, prowling the cellar for weapons with Medley, Fleet and Dr. Bowen, and making note of Lizzie’s dress.  Doherty stayed on the job on watch at the Borden house until he was relieved at 9 p.m.  When it came time for the inquest, it was Doherty who slipped down to 95 Division St. to collect Bridget, who had been staying with her cousin, Patrick Harrington after the murders.  He would testify at the Preliminary and the 1893 trial in New Bedford. In the midst of the excitement in New Bedford as Lizzie’s trial was about to get underway, yet another hatchet killing took over the front page, the murder of Bertha Manchester on May 30th.  It was a brutal attack to rival the Borden’s with the weapon being most likely a short-handled axe or possibly a hatchet. Doherty went out to the Manchester place with Marshal Hilliard, Captains Desmond, and Connors and Inspector Perron  on June 6th with the  suspect, Jose Correa de Mello, who revealed his hiding place for the stolen  watch taken from the victim and her purse at that time.  De Mello served time and then was sent back to the Azores, banned from stepping upon U.S. soil again. The Dohertys moved to 1007 Rock St. in 1897 and Patrick was pleased to walk his daughter Margaret (Marguerite) down the aisle in 1913. Patrick Doherty retired from the force in 1915 and succumbed to interstitial nephritis on June 28, 1915.. He, and some of his children are buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Fall River. Resources: Ancestry.com, Parallel Lives,: A Social History of Lizzie A. Borden and her Fall River, Find-a-Grave.com. and Yesterday in Old Fall River: A Lizzie Borden Companion Fall River Globe June 28, 1915
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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 3/3/2023
Bernard Gussow was born in Russia in 1881. But by 1900 he’d made it to the Lower East Side, where he was described as an “East Side artist” in a New York Times article about paintings he displayed at an art show at the Educational Alliance settlement house on East Broadway. [“Subway Steps”] Gussow would […]
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Ephemeral New York - 3/27/2023
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
 17-year-old James E. Nowlin murdered George Codman in a Massachusetts stable in January 1887. Then he took an axe and chopped Codman’s body into pieces. As he traveled home in a sleigh, he threw the pieces into the snow along the road.Read the full story here: Massachusetts Butchery.
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Murder By Gaslight - 3/25/2023
Roped-inOmaha Daily BeeJune 25, 1884(Click image to enlarge)  OSSIBLE VICTIM OF THE JEFFERSON R. SMITH GANG.  Omaha Daily Bee June 25, 1884 COLORADO. Col. Fletcher, a tourist from Boston, was roped-in by the bunko men of Denver and relieved of $1,000. NOTES: $1,000.00 in 1884 is the equivalent of $33,472.95 in 2023. According to the Rocky Mountain News there were at least two,
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 3/12/2023
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
Disguising Nature. | Booze Through a Key-Hole.

What a New York Girl Did.

Vain Girl

A vain girl makes a fireman wait until she fixes her hair preferring to risk her life rather than appear in public not “made up’; New York. [more]

When a girl concludes to put up her hair and make herself look sweet, the best policy is to let her have her own way. She can’t be drawn away from a mirror by any of the ordinary things of this life. A fire will sometimes do it, but it has been shown that even a fire may fail to excide some girls. The other night a New York lodging house took fire, and at a most uncomfortable hour, when most girls probably have their back hair down. One of the young ladies heard that the place was burning down, but she didn’t feel like making her appearance before the crowd which had gathered in the street looking like a perfect fright. She shut the door leading into the hall to keep out the flames and went to her mirror to fix her hair. Anybody who has waited for a girl to fix her hair knows that it takes time, and a great deal of it. This girl wasn’t any quicker than the average, and she was very particular about having her hair done up exactly as it should be. The fires had cut off her chances or escape by the stairs, and her lover, after appealing to her for some time, finally lost his patience and got away without her. A fireman got up to the room on a ladder and she made him sit on the edge of the window and wait until she had arranged her hair-pins and ribbons for a right sort of public appearance; then she threw herself into his arms—it was so romantic—and lid down the ladder with him, looking just so sweat. The whole thing was a tremendous success, but when the carful young girl was safely landed on the pavement she found that she had forgotten her stockings!


Reprinted from the National Police Gazette, November 20, 1880.