No. 653
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
May 27, 2024

A Duel with Whips.

A Duel with Whips. Two hot-blooded Georgians fight till they are raw and their weapons give out and
July 14, 2015
...
...

The archives of the Humble Oil & Refining Company are about the last place where you’d expect to run across a first-rate poltergeist account, but it just goes to show that we live in a funny old world.  In 1948, a folklorist and historian was browsing through the company’s papers when he came across a letter that had absolutely nothing to do with oil.  It read:Jan [illegible] '
More...
Strange Company - 5/27/2024
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.
More...
Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 2/12/2024
When these photos from the collection of the Museum of the City of New York were taken at Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery at the end of May in 1899, Memorial Day didn’t exist. “Decoration Day,” however, was an established holiday celebrated every May 30. The idea was to visit the final resting places of thousands of […]
More...
Ephemeral New York - 5/27/2024
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: […]
More...
Early American Crime - 12/17/2021
John Wesley Elkins.11-year-old John Wesley Elkins was slight of stature—four feet eight inches tall, weighing 73 pounds. He was intelligent and well-spoken, and he had never caused trouble until the day he murdered his parents. At 2:00 am, on July 24, 1889, while his parents were sleeping in their Iowa farmhouse, he shot his father in the head and then beat his mother to death with a club.
More...
Murder By Gaslight - 5/25/2024
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
More...
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
More...
Executed Today - 11/13/2020
A Hot Day in New York. | Eaten by Sharks.

A Duel with Whips.

Duel With Whips

A Duel with Whips. Two hot-blooded Georgians fight till they are raw and their weapons give out and then call it a draw. [more]

Two Georgians Fight Until they are Raw, But Neither Wins.

In Harmony Grove, Ga., a few weeks ago as already briefly reported in these columns, a couple of men, a Mr. Hill and W. L. Goss, had a novel Duel. An eye witness of the affair thus reports it:

Hill was the challenger, and Goss said he didn’t care to fight with deadly weapons, but if Hill would not be satisfied any other way he would fight him with buggy whips. The distance and other rules to govern the fight were made, new buggy whips were procured and the parties toed the mark, about five feet apart, and operations commenced. The battle ground was in front of Freeman’s livery stable in the heart of the town, and it was not long until the most of the citizens of the place were looking on at a safe distance. No one had interfered and the combatants were making steady and regular licks upon each other without flinching ant the stoics of the whips could be heard several blocks away, as they went whizzing through the air and upon the backs of the two men.

Occasionally one or the other would back a little from his line, but he would soon come back again to the scratch. Whenever they got tired one would call out to hold up for awhile, and they would go a t it again. The fight continued for over three hours, with short intervals for rest. After the second round Hill, who had no covering on his back except a shirt, insisted that Goss should pull off his coat, which he did, and they took both hands to their whips and went to work. By this time the news of the fight had spread all over the town; some of the merchants closed their stores and business was generally suspended to see what would be the result of the encounter. After they had worn out $7 worth of buggy whips and were completely tired down they agreed to quit, and Hill told Goss that he was satisfied.

From parties who saw Hill’s back we learn that there was not a place on it that you could place a silver quarter without touching the welts of the whip had made, and he was marked all over in the same way. We learn that Goss was not hurt quite so bad.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, October 21, 1882.