No. 643
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
February 29, 2024

Torturing a Lover.

June 26, 2012
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Via Newspapers.comPhantom stagecoaches are always fun (especially when they generate manic headlines.)  The “San Bernardino News,” December 7, 1914:Have you seen the phantom coach that dashes madly, silently, down the steep, rugged mountain trail near Pilot Rock? It is a weird story, this. It deals with the apparently supernatural. Possibly it isn't that at all, maybe it is simply some
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Strange Company - 2/28/2024
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HE DUEL IN ELLEN'S HONOR. Soapy Smith’s grandmotherOn Wednesday, August 9, 1820, an argument between 17-year-old, James Bowe Boisseau (1802-1820) and Robert C. Adams (unknown-1820) vying for the attention of 18-year-old Ellen Stimpson Peniston (1802-1860), took a terrible turn. The happy party in her honor took a tragic turn when the competition for Ellen’s affections ended in a deadly duel,
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 1/10/2024
There’s nothing wrong with the MTA’s usual subway signage: the directions are clear, the design is simple. But when a contemporary sign happens to be stuck underneath original signage made with decorative tile and an unusual typeface—as it is inside the Sixth Avenue F and M station at 14th Street—the old-school sign wins hands-down. Subway.org […]
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Ephemeral New York - 2/26/2024
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
 Alice Hoyle last saw her sister, Lillie, the night of September 1, 1887, in the room they shared in Webster, Massachusetts. Lillie left to use the outhouse, and Alice fell asleep. Lillie never returned. The next morning, Alice went out, thinking Lillie had already left for work. That is the story Alice told the police— as the investigation progressed, she would change it several times.Read
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Murder By Gaslight - 2/24/2024
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
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
Ararat: City of Refuge. | Napoleon's Oraculum.

Torturing a Lover.

Torturing A Lover

Louisiana, Sept. 1882 - A masher who fools a Louisiana girl is tied hand and foot, smeared with molasses and laid in the sun to be tortured by flies until he consents to marry.[more]

A Young Masher Fools a Girl in Louisiana and is Taken into Camp.

A young couple arrived in New Orleans on the 20th ult. Who excited some remark.  They were a bride and bridegroom. He was wrapped in bandages, limped and groaned at every motion as if he had been put through a threshing machine and was sore in every joint. She stuck close to him and watched him as a cat does a mouse. He could not make a move but that she was on his heels ready to pounce on him should he attempt to make his escape.

Several attempts were made to interview the young man but they were only partly successful, owing to the watchfulness of the catlike bride. It was ascertained however that he was a drummer for a New York house who had in his journeying through Louisiana scraped an acquaintance with the young woman. He had used all his metropolitan fascinations to such good purpose that she was in the worst sort of predicament. Her pap insisted that the young fellow should marry the girl but he respectfully declined and harnessing up his horse prepared to leave. The old man was no chump, though. He seized on that city chap and with the aid of the girl bound him hand and foot. Then they soused him in a hogshead of molasses and laid him out in the sun for the flies to settle on and torture until he made up his mind to wed. After the old man had secured a parson who lived a few miles away, he and his daughter, armed to the teeth, sat down and covering the dominie with their pistols waited until the young lady’s intended should weaken. He was covered with a swarm of insects who tortured him sore. His struggles and shrieks of agony had no effect on the determined father-in-law and he prospective bride, however. They silenced the parson’s protests and were deaf to the cries of their victim.

At last after enduring a great agony he gave in. The flies were brushed off and just as he was he was wed. Then they washed and dressed him and he insisted on starting for New York at once. His bride went with him for her wedding tour. He threatened to drown her if he recovered the use of his limbs on board the steamer, bug from his “all broke up” appearance there seemed little chance of getting square for two or three months, if ever.

 

From The National Police Gazette, October 21, 1882