No. 543
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
October 18, 2021

Abducted by a Woman.

March 31, 2014
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The "Memoirs" of Sir John Reresby (1634-1689) contain a reference to a minor witch trial which somehow morphed into one of the oddest "ghost" sightings on record: Leaving the public affairs for a while, at this untoward pass, I would venture to take notice of a private occurrence which made some noise at York. The assizes being there held on the 7th of March, 1686-7, an old woman was
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Strange Company - 10/18/2021
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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 engaged as a carrier of wine, because he and his brother, with the help of […]
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Executed Today - 11/13/2020
Sometimes a painting has so much rich detail, it just knocks you out. That was my reaction to this magnificent scene of the Third Avenue Railroad Depot between 65th and 66th Streets, painted two years after the depot opened in 1857. Amazingly, the painter of this “precise representation” of the depot, William H. Schenck, was […]
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Ephemeral New York - 10/18/2021
[Editor’s note: Guest writer, Peter Dickson, lives in West Sussex, England and has been working with microfilm copies of The Duncan Campbell Papers from the State Library of NSW, Sydney, Australia. The following are some of his analyses of what he has discovered from reading these papers. Dickson has contributed many transcriptions to the Jamaica Family […]
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Early American Crime - 2/7/2019
A very anxious and excited man arrived at the jail in Ann Arbor, Michigan, around midnight, October 22, 1871. He told the jailer he was unwell and wanted to sleep in the jail that night. The jailor decided it was in everyone’s best interest to give him what he wanted. As he locked the cell door, the man burst out crying but would not say why. The following morning the jailor released him. The man
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Murder By Gaslight - 10/16/2021
First response from the Sourdough Associationto Jefferson R. Smith from Clara JohnsonJeff Smith collection(Click image to enlarge)     lease try to attend and thus forward the spirit of the Sourdough." Soapy Smith's son contacts the Sourdough Reunion, 1951      Seventy years ago, at some date previous to February 15, 1951, Soapy Smith's son, sixty-five year old Jefferson Randolph Smith III
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 9/17/2021
Dr. Scott's Electric Corset. | What it is Coming to in Chicago.

Abducted by a Woman.

Abducted by a Woman

Harry Sommerville, of Lexington, Ky., is snatched from his bed by the mistress he had repudiated in order to marry another girl. [more]


A special from Lexington, Ky., Oct. 6, says: Several weeks ago Harry Sommerville, formerly one of Lexington’s most gifted and promising young artists, married Mrs. Belle Payton, widow of a Cincinnati saloon keeper. The match was not suitable to the lady’s relatives, with whom she has been living, and who had Sommerville in their employ, and the new voyagers on the matrimonial sea were driven away. They went to board with another relative of Mrs. Sommerville, but here their troubles multiplied. A few nights ago the wife of Alonzo Barnett, a conductor on the Cincinnati Southern Railroad, drove to Sommerville’s boarding house, and, going to his bedroom, where he and his wife were in bed, she commanded and forced him to get up, dress and go with her. Since then Mrs. Sommerville has never seen her husband, and she has fallen sick with fever, and is now at St. Joseph’s Hospital. It seems that Sommerville had been intimate with the Barnett woman before his marriage, and that as soon as she heard of it she went for him. All parties are well known here.


Reprinted from the National Police Gazette, October 29, 1887