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

Had a High Old Time.

September 12, 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
A Triangular Fight. | September.

Had a High Old Time.

High Old Time

Dr. Wellington of Chicago, leaves her handsome home in charge of Frank Beaupre who proceeds to turn it into a disreputable resort. 

Frank Beaupre of St. Paul inhabits a detective’s room at the Central Station, Chicago. Beaupre is the son of a one time millionaire grocer of St. Paul He is only twenty-six years old, but the life he has led for the past five years has made him look much older than he really is. His father was the senior member or the wholesale firm of Beaupre, Keogh & Davis, which recently failed for a large amount. The Beaupres have always moved in the best social circles of St. Paul, and Frank, the only son, was a welcome guest at fashionable receptions and dancing parties. A few months ago he was cast adrift by his father. He went to Chicago, and the little money he had was soon spent.

One afternoon in May, when he rang the door bell at 726 Washington Boulevard, he was emaciated from want of proper nourishment. His clothes were the worse for wear, and no one would have recognized him as Frank Beaupre, who use to lead the German at the swell parties in St. Paul. At 726 Washington Boulevard lives Dr. Gertrude G. Wellington, the wife of Attorney Wellington, of the Great Northern road. The Wellingtons used to live in St. Paul, and were neighbors of the Beaupres. When young Beaupre was on the verge of starvation he supplied to Dr. Wellington for assistance. He was clothed and fed and supplied with pocket money for weeks. He has shown his gratitude by stealing articles from the house and pawning them. This is why he is being detained at the Central Station.

On Aug 3. Mrs. Wellington and her two daughters went to Spokane Falls, leaving the Washington Boulevard establishment in charge of Beaupre. He promised faithfully that he would take good care of the premises and would have no companions. Before Mrs. Wellington was twenty miles from Chicago Beaupre and two of his friends were making things exceedingly lively in the Washington Boulevard mansion. When the Wellingtons arrived home last Friday morning they found the house in a state of disorder. It looked more like a beer bottling establishment than anything else. Empty bottles labeled “Export” and “Select” were scattered all over the house from the garret to the basement. There was a stack of bottles in the kitchen that bore silent testimony to the high old time Beaupre and his friends had enjoined during the absence of Dr. Wellington. Every room in the house had its quota of empty bottles and in all there were nearly 1,000.

When Mrs. Wellington left Chicago she discharged her colored cook, as Beaupre said he could get his own meals. The day after her departure Beaupre hunted up the cook, and told her that Dr. Wellington had given him permission to re-engage her. During the five weeks that Dr. Wellington was absent the cook use to come to the home every day and get the meals for Beaupre and his friends. There would be women to dinner, and orgies would continue until the dawn of the next day. Soon the neighbors got to talking and Beaupres was plainly told that unless the going and coming of that class of woman ceased he would be reported to the police. But the scandal grew. A neighbor investigated and found fourteen girls in the house at one time. They sat in a circle in the double parlor, wore short dresses, and smoked cigarettes. They had complete possession of the large mansion occupied every one of the twenty odd rooms in it, danced on the piano and fine furniture, trampled the rich portieres and rugs, and ruined almost everything.

Beaupre has written to his father for money to pay his obligations to Mrs. Wellington, and he hears from St. Paul he will be kept at the Central Station.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, September 30, 1893.