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

Her Wheel Was Her Ruin.

A father of Indianapolis, Ind., catches his daughter drinking wine with a jovial crowd at a notoriou
April 2, 2018
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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
In Consequence of the New Liquor Law. | An Adventure with a Sea-Lion.

Her Wheel Was Her Ruin.

Her Wheel was her Ruin

A father of Indianapolis, Ind., catches his daughter drinking wine with a jovial crowd at a notorious local roadhouse. [more]

There is a girl living on the south side, Indianapolis, Ind. whose wheel was demolished recently by an irate parent, and the young lady is still allowing her friends go guess whether the demolition was the work of a madman or not. The girl had ordered the wheel only this season. She is the daughter of a well-known and somewhat prominent gentleman. She has never been denied anything that she ever asked for from a kind indulgent father. He, however, opposed the bicycle when she asked for it. He thought the family carriage was the better method of taking pleasure rides. He did not doubt his daughter’s honesty with her parents, but he preferred that a girl so young should be under the watchful eye of a mother. He had heard of some temptations which the bicycle leads to, and it was a long time before he would consent to his daughter getting a wheel.

She got it, however, after persistent entreaty and, with her chum, began taking long rides. From afternoon and early evening trips they gradually came to night runs, and occasionally the hour would be rather late when the girls would return. The parents did not offer any objections, thinking that an unusually long run might have been taken and expecting such as the natural sequence of the possession and constant use of the wheel. Everything went nicely until a few nights ago. The daughter and her chum went as usual for their ride, starting just after supper. A little later in the evening the family horse was hitched to the single buggy, and the father started to go in the country a few miles to make a business call. He made the call, and returning, chanced to pass by one of the suburban road houses. It was a very hot evening and he stopped to get a glass of beer. While standing at the bar he thought he heard a familiar giggle above the din by some merrymakers in the next room. He stepped to the door and looked in.

What he saw led to the subsequent destruction of his daughter’s bicycle. The girls were his daughter and her chum. The grieved father slipped quietly out of the place and drove home. He waited on the front porch until his daughter returned home from a “delightful run to Millersville.” He had an axe in his hand and with it broke that wheel into a thousand pieces.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, October 3, 1896.