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

Rip Roaring Fun.

How the merchants and cowboys of Butte City, Montana run the local concert hall after their own fashion.
April 2, 2019
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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
"He Loves Me; He Loves Me Not." | "Daredevil" Steve Brodie

Rip Roaring Fun.

How the merchants and cowboys of Butte City, Montana run the local concert hall after their own fashion.

The Butte concert saloons are usually underground. The saloon is square, with a row of private boxes all around the top. The orchestra b occupied by cowboys and miners, who guzzle beer at twenty-five cents per glass with flabby barmaids The boxes are occupied by bank presidents, merchants and wealthy citizens, who sit behind lace curtains and drink Missouri cider champagne at $5 a bottle with girls in gauze dresses or tights. The gambling tables and broken-voiced singers make a pandemonium of the place. The weird electric lights make the room look like Hades, Illuminated. At 11 o'clock the singing is now and then disturbed by pistol shots from the cowboys, who shoot down into the ground unless they have a special dislike to the singer; then the ball whisps through the curtain. Sometimes the cowboys chaff the merchants behind the curtains in the boxes and make them order whiskey for the orchestra. Everybody calls everybody else by his first name, and there is perfect democracy throughout the saloon. There is no concealment of wickedness, but each on does all he can to make the concert hall the wickedest place in the wickedest city in the world. The next morning everything is forgotten, and the merchants are in their stores, the miners in their mines and the pistolled cowboy punching his cattle ten miles away.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, June 19, 1886.