No. 650
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
April 18, 2024

They Put Her Ashore.

A Show Manager's Faithless Wife.
March 26, 2024
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Via Newspapers.comAs I believe I’ve mentioned before, I have a particular fondness for obscure, unimportant, but intriguing little mysteries.  One such example appeared in the “London Morning Chronicle,” April 21, 1809:Nevis, Feb. 7, 1809.“Dear Sir,"I beg leave to mention the following circumstances, and leave to your better judgment the propriety of making the same public.-- "About a
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Strange Company - 4/17/2024
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.
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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 2/12/2024
How many ways are there to style a subway entrance sign? In New York City, dozens of designs and typefaces are used across the subway system—often with no rhyme or reason. Take this gold and white sign on William Street. It’s for a side entrance/exit for the Fulton Street station, affixed to a 20th century […]
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Ephemeral New York - 4/15/2024
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: […]
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Early American Crime - 12/17/2021
 Samuel Smith and his wife Emma appeared to the world as a happy and affectionate young couple. She was pretty and vivacious with a dazzling wardrobe, and he was energetic with a winning personality. But beneath the surface was a hidden turmoil that did not come to light until Emma was found dead in their apartment, her head blown apart by a shotgun blast, and Samuel nowhere to be found.Read
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Murder By Gaslight - 4/13/2024
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
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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
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Executed Today - 11/13/2020
Turning the Tables. | Unmindful of their Attire.

They Put Her Ashore.

Put-Her-Ashore

A Show Manger’s Faithless Wife—Her Paramour Dumped into the Mississippi, and the Guilty Woman Landed in the Woods.

A "summer snap" manager has been moving up the Mississippi from St. Louis for the last fortnight, exhibiting at various landing places on his way Northward. His domestic experiences on the trip led to a very dramatic scene just below Cairo, last week, in which the full strength of the company participated. The manager's wife, a comely and vivacious woman, considerably younger than her lord in years, had given cause for gossip in the show troupe by her evident partiality for the society of the treasurer of the show. There was no effort by either to conceal their liking for each other, and with reckless disregard of appearances, they were found frequently closeted together in different state rooms, with the door-key turned to shut out intruders. The manager was slow to suspicion, and when suspicion was no longer impossible to others, he remained in doubt. Representations by various members of the company as to improprieties of conduct they had witnessed did not convince him. "The broken pitcher goes to the well once too often," the Spaniards say, and the guilty wife and her paramour, regardless of warnings and their own knowledge that they were under surveillance, made the most of all their opportunities for intercourse. The patient husband of the guilty woman at last "got on to the racket dead." A Mississippi steamer is too narrow a field for a liaison to remain long and undiscovered. The wife and the treasurer were found in a position which left no room for doubt of their criminality, and the wrath of the wronged husband knew no bounds. Ordering the steamer headed for a lonely waste of forest on the Missouri shore, he summoned the show troupe together, told them plainly and with tears running freely down his cheeks, the story of his wrongs and the convincing character of the evidence lie had obtained. He ordered the band to play a dirge, and as the boat run her nose into shore, he put out the gang-plank and made the guilty woman go ashore across it. At the same time he pitched her paramour over the steamer's side into the river. "Now set her out into the channel," said the manager to the pilot.


Illustrated Police News, July 12, 1890.