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

Trying to Scare an Old Maid with a Wooden Dutchman.

A wooden Dutchman, rather than no man at all, was what a sensible spinster argued when some practica
July 11, 2016
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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
An Irishman and a Yankee Settle a Dispute. | She Stole Her Lover’s Clothes.

Trying to Scare an Old Maid with a Wooden Dutchman.

Wooden Dutchman

A wooden Dutchman, rather than no man at all,
Was what a sensible spinster argued when some practical jokers under took to scare her in Oakland, Cal. [more]


Probably the most pathetic incident since the war occurred in Oakland the other day, and it is still agitating the higher circles of that locality to their inner depths. It appears that on Jackson street resides an old maid—a very old maid—who puts in all the time she can spare from the supervision of other people’s affairs to searching for burglars. In fact, the latter occupation may be said to be her hobby.

For the last twenty-five years Miss Goobey has never retired without first  industriously “shooing” under each and every bed for the purpose of expelling any burglariosly inclined person who might be thus secreted.

The other day a bold, bad man, who happened to be temporarily staying at the Goobey residence, concocted a dreadful practical joke. By the assistance of some of his dissolute companions, he stole a life-sized wooden Dutchman form the front of a cigar store, and placed it under the chaste couch of the mature Diana in question.

The conspirators waited on the landing when Miss Goobey locked the door that night expecting a domestic earthquake to be started as soon as the bogus burglar was sighted.  They waited unsuccessfully for an hour. Was it possible Miss G. had neglected her invariable custom of looking under the bed? No, the idea was preposterous. They still lingered for the volcano to begin, throwing up screams, convulsions, melted lava and hair pins.

Silence.

Another hour passed by.

At last the well-known sound of Miss Goobey’s high soprano snore sounded faintly through the door, and impelled by ungovernable suspense and curiosity, the watchers climbed up and peeped though the transom.

There were two figures in the bed.The wooden man had been carefully lifted into the couch and covered up with its head on Miss G’s off pillow. While one thin arm over his manly red-wood chest, and with one saffron cheek pressed against the irresponsive shoulder, Miss Goobey slept in contented sleep of one who had reached bedrock at last.

She was making believe, poor thing!

 


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, December 17, 1881.