No. 584
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
December 7, 2022

A Bloody Ruction.

Bayonets and Knives—A Sister’s Influence and Prevention of Murder.
June 12, 2015
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Not George Talkington, but there must have been a strong resemblance.Many people could be called “accident prone,” but, fortunately, few take it to the level of the subject of today’s post.  From the “Bath Chronicle,” November 21, 1833 (via Newspapers.com):George Talkington, once a celebrated horse-dealer at Uttoxeter, who died on the 8th of April, 1826, at Cheadle, Cheshire, in his eighty-third
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Strange Company - 12/7/2022
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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
CAME NEAR LOSING HIS MONEYSan Francisco ChronicleMay 6, 1893(Click image to enlarge)  San Francisco Man Taken in by Denver Card Sharks "First time I ever got caught" (Soapy Smith) This post was originally supposed to be about a new "victim" (Charles Anderson) swindled by the soap gang that I recently uncovered during a search through newspaper archives, but in looking through my files I found
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 12/6/2022
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
 When tried for the 1840 murder of Catherine Merry, Charles Cook pled innocent by reason of insanity. Despite a history of medical treatment for extreme melancholy, and strange behavior such as running through the streets of Schenectady, wearing nothing but a blanket, proclaiming himself to be the Savior of the world, the jury rejected his plea and found him guilty.Before his execution, Cook
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Murder By Gaslight - 12/3/2022
For years I’ve walked by the delightfully shabby Joe’s Tavern sign at the corner of Tenth Avenue and 25th Street. I’ve never seen the vintage vertical beauty lit up, unfortunately. Even stranger, I’ve never seen any sign of life inside 258 Tenth Avenue, which once housed what I imagine to have been an old-school neighborhood […]
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Ephemeral New York - 12/5/2022
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
What it Has Come To. | The Minister Was Coltish.

A Bloody Ruction.

A Bloody Ruction

Bayonets and Knives—A Sister’s Influence and Prevention of Murder. [more]

Joseph Staples and Alfred Leighton had a bloody fight at Leighton’s house in Falmouth, Me. Stapes went home partly drunk, and threatened Leighton with violence. The latter seized a loaded gun, with a sharp bayonet attached, and started out, when Staples met him and tried to obtain possession of the weapon. Staples was stabbed four tunes with the bayonet. Leighton snapped the trigger, but the charge did not explode. Staples then managed to secure Leighton’s arm, holding the gun and taking a clasp-knife from his pocket, opened it with his teeth, and made a desperate slash at Leighton’s throat. He laid open the cheek from ear to mouth, and then cut the other side of his opponent’s face in the same manner. At this point of the struggle a sister of Leighton’s managed to get between the men, and ating on her advice, Leighton leaped through a window and fled to Oliver Harding’s, which he reached in a fainting condition. Medial aid was summoned and his wounds were dressed. Staples’s wounds were also dressed, and he is now quite comfortable, but not out of danger .The bedroom where the fight took place is covered with blood from wall to ceiling.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, December 4,1880.