No. 656
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
June 18, 2024

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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"Montana Record-Herald," September 24, 1900, via Newspapers.comThis somewhat unusual story about ghosts with a taste for spectral construction work originally appeared in the “Boston Herald” in 1900, but was reprinted in a number of different newspapers.  The author was F.R. Guernsey, an American living in Mexico who was a regular correspondent for the “Herald.”For scores of years the old
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Strange Company - 6/17/2024
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
Frank Gouldy was a wild and restless young man. Unable to hold a job, he lived in idleness and dissipation in his father’s house. He was sometimes pleasant to his brothers and sisters but more often morose and vengeful, with an uncontrollable temper.Frank came home at about ten o’clock on October 26, 1858, and his father reprimanded him about money he had taken. Frank responded with “a low
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Murder By Gaslight - 6/15/2024
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
Done Up by Dizzy Blondes. | A Successful Trip.

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.