No. 584
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
December 8, 2022

A Train of Cars Rushing Through Fire.

Traveling through fire—Fearful peril of a railway train, at Cedar Swamp, on the Eastern Railroad, Ma
October 23, 2017
...
...

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
More...
Strange Company - 12/7/2022
`
Wishing you a happy and bountiful Thanksgiving Day! Lizzie is thankful for turkey and all the trimmings – and no mutton broth in sight!
More...
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
More...
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 […]
More...
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
More...
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 […]
More...
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: […]
More...
Early American Crime - 12/17/2021
A Duel on Horseback. | Kidnapped in Broad Daylight.

A Train of Cars Rushing Through Fire.

Train Through Fire

Traveling through fire—Fearful peril of a railway train, at Cedar Swamp, on the Eastern Railroad, Maine, Sunday, Sept. 17 [more]

One of the most thrilling scenes we have ever been called on to portray occurred in the woods at Cedar Swamp, Maine, on the track of the Eastern railroad, Sunday, Sept. 17.

The train was on its way to Augusta, conveying the 14th Maine regiment, when suddenly, without knowing it, they dashed at full speed into a piece of burning woods. Once in, there was no retreat, and on the train flew through the flames that reared themselves forty feet above the locomotive and cars. The oil of the wheels took fire, and for a few minutes it looked seriously as though the whole convoy was gone. The soldiers were smothering from the smoke and roasting from the flames, and the engineer only kept his post by almost superhuman command. The roar of the flames completely drowned the shrieks and cries of the human cargo, and for a few minutes it was a perfect pandemonium. Fortunately, none of the brave fellows threw themselves from the hurrying train, and the gallant locomotive, Cape Ann, sped them at lightning pace through the fiery ordeal, and dashed them in to fresh air and life, sound, save and except a little scorching which time will remove


Reprinted from Frank Leslie's Illustrated News, October 14, 1869.