No. 656
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
June 23, 2024

"Bet Anything You've Got."

Jim Tuttle startles a faro bank party, at Gold Hill, Neb.
December 13, 2022

 "The Witches' Cove," Follower of Jan MandijnWelcome to the first Link Dump of Summer 2024!Time for that summer road trip!A young man's murderous attack on his family.The ghost of a murderer.Did the Allied leadership prolong WWII?The Great Bed of Ware.Decoding UK's "Seahenge."Hunter Thompson and the Hell's Angels.Looking for UFOs in the Vatican.A quadruple murder case in Pennsylvania.The
Strange Company - 6/21/2024
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.
Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 2/12/2024
Like many of Manhattan’s legendary department stores, Bloomingdale’s developed in stages. First came Lyman and Joseph Bloomingdale’s “Ladies’ Notions Shop” on Chambers Street, where they sold the trendiest garment of the 1860s: the hoop skirt. In 1886, the Bloomingdale Brothers moved their store, renamed the “East Side Emporium,” to the hinterlands of Manhattan at Lexington […]
Ephemeral New York - 6/17/2024
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: […]
Early American Crime - 12/17/2021
 Nellie and Fanny.Nelly Dalton and Fanny Coburn, two young Boston women, were out on the town one autumn afternoon in 1855. They met and flirted with William Sumner and Josiah Porter, two promising young college graduates. Though both women were married, they arranged to see the boys again.Nelly and William embarked on a heartfelt correspondence. Their amorous letters sometimes included
Murder By Gaslight - 6/22/2024
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
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
Executed Today - 11/13/2020
A Chicago Heiress and Her Wealth. | Her Last Quadrille.

"Bet Anything You've Got."


"Bet anything you've got," is the rule of the house at a faro game in Gold Hill, Neb.

"You've pretty near broke me," Jim Tuttle said to the dealer, the other night. "I'm out my roll of $200, and that wrong call gave you my watch and chain. What can I bet you now on the ace-queen?'

"Anything you've got, Jim," said the dealer. "We'll pull cards for anything we can get stuff out of. We can't risk stuff against wind, though. We must have the collateral."

"Can you get stuff out of this?' inquired the broken tiger-backer. "Here's collateral. 'Bet anything you've got,' you said. This is all I've got."

There was a rush from the table and a wild bolt from the room as Jim drew from his pocket a big rattlesnake, and stretching forth his hand laid it loose on the high card end of the layout. "It's all I've got," he said. "Let him go for a tenner, ace to the queen, dealer."

The dealer was not moved to the point of abandoning his cash drawer. He declined to turn cards for the remarkable stake offered him. He was, however, in mood to be conciliatory. He threw out a $20 note saying: "Call in your snake, Jim. That will do for to-day. Don't play any more. You couldn't win a shoestring with a thousand dollars. Take that and go home."

Jim pocketed the $20 first and his pet rattler a moment later. He went out into the night to buy a drink and struggle homeward.

"The snake is a winner, anyhow," he muttered. "I can't lay 'em down without they fly away from me. The rattler is better than I am. I'm no good. I must hang to him and play him again."

Illustrated Police News, July 26, 1890.