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

Too Fond of Kissing.

A Steamship Steward Who Has Been Kissing Fourteen Years and Hasn’t Got Sick of It.
May 22, 2018
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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
A Wine-Inspired Wager. | Renewed Activity of "The Finest."

Too Fond of Kissing.

Too fond of kissing.

A Steamship Steward Who Has Been Kissing Fourteen Years and Hasn’t Got Sick of It. [more]

A too jovial disposition has got John Barbour, the good-natured, good-humored, Falstaffian steward of the steamer Hecla, of the Cunard Line, into trouble. John has too great a propensity for kissing the girls, a predilection that sooner or later bound to lead a man into kissing the wrong girl and being brought up with a round turn in consequence.  Thus, it was that John, when his stately ship left Liverpool, just two weeks ago, began to make love to all the females in his steerage domain. It was one of his duties to distribute food to the passengers.

The artful fellow would generally manage to exact the penalty of a kills for such sight culinary favors as he granted. The women soon grew accustomed to his odd fancy and avoided him. But one of the “told” on him as soon as the vessel reached p[ort a few evenings ago. Her name is Mary Roberts, and into the astonished ear of Superintendent Jackson of Castle Garden, she poured the story of the gay Britisher’s conduct. And not only this, but other whisperings affecting the management of the steerage quarters and separation, or rather non-separation, of the sexes ‘board ship, passed between the informer and the informed.

The result was an investigation which was conducted before the Commissioners of Emigration. John was hauled up, overhauled and keel-hauled by the angry Commissioners, and made to confess his misdeeds. He stated that he had “sailed the ocean blue” for fourteen years, and during all that time he had been kissing steadily.

Commissioner Lynch inquired where he wasn’t tired of it by this time.

Commissioner Ulrich asked if he wasn’t ashamed of such Barbourous conduct.

Another commissioner said he should be compelled to label such behavior as monstrous.

John’s examinations further revealed the fact that he kissed Mary Roberts “once,” but as she didn’t scream, he assumed it was all right. The girls he found didn’t object every much to being kissed unless he had been drinking beer. Then they wouldn’t stand it.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, October 2, 1880.