No. 522
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
May 17, 2021

The Girls Biffed Each Other

April 16, 2011
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The following tale comes from that classic collection of mostly first-hand accounts of supernatural encounters, "Lord Halifax's Ghost Book."  It was related to Lord Halifax in 1920 by his nephew, Charles Dundas.  Dundas had recently heard the tale from a renowned Royal Air Force pilot named Edward Villiers.  (Later Sir Edward Villiers.)  It is one of the briefest stories in the "Ghost Book," but
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Strange Company - 5/17/2021

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LOOK OUT FOR "SOAPY" SMITHSt. Louis DispatchSeptember 23, 1897(Click image to enlarge) e reported himself in good health and money."   New information showing that Soapy Smith did go to St. Louis to check up on his ailing wife, Mary, after leaving Skagway.  Below is the transcription of the article from the St. Louis Dispatch, September 23, 1897. LOOK OUT FOR “SOAPY” SMITH ― The Smooth Man
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 5/11/2021

Born in 1870 and completed 13 years later (at a cost of $15 million and with more than 20 worker deaths), the Brooklyn Bridge is marking its 138th birthday this week. What better way to honor an icon than with a brilliant lithograph produced by a Pearl Street publisher depicting the fireworks, ship parade, and […]
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Ephemeral New York - 5/17/2021
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
The crack of gunfire startled the residents of 88 Merrimack Street, a boarding house in Lowell, Massachusetts, around 10:00, the night of  August 31, 1876. The boarders rushed to Lulu Martin’s room on the third floor, where the shot was fired. The door was locked; they heard a man inside shouting, “Go for the police! She has shot me! I will hold her! Break open the door!”A group of men broke in
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Murder By Gaslight - 5/15/2021

Along with Bertie Whitehead, Abby’s half-sister, May 13th was also the birthday of Helen Craig, famous stage actress best-remembered for Johnny Belinda. Helen Craig, who played Abby in The Legend of Lizzie Borden was born May 13, 1912, a month after Titanic sank. Helen Craig was not a great beauty by Hollywood standards, but a very fine actress. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0185871/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1 Her portrayal of Abby Borden as a mean, greedy glutton, more than any other thing, has affected the way most people think of Abby Borden. Sadly it was not an accurate portrayal. Helen did some television in her later career, most notably The Waltons. She died in New York City in 1986. She was married to stage and film actor John Beal who played Dr. Bowen in Legend of Lizzie Borden. They are seen together in the publicity photo below.
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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 5/13/2021
[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
The Drunkard's Looking Glass | The Cardiff Giant

The Girls Biffed Each Other

Girls Biffed Each Other

Mabel Herbett and Mamie Brown fight for George Woodward in Pleasantville, N.J.

Two lovely daughters of two prominent Pleasantville, N.J., fami­lies have created a sensation in that town. Mabel Herbett and Mamie Brown nearly scratched each other's eyes out one day re­cently. It is true that they didn't bark and bite, but they came as near as they could without actually doing the dawgie act. From what we can learn, Mamie and Mabel were enamored of George Wood­ward and determined to settle their difficulties according to pugilistic rules.

The two girls consulted with their nearest friends, and decided that nothing but a personal en­counter could settle the question. A prize fight was arranged, the win­ner to have George.

The other girls went into it with a vim; that is, the lively girls did; and Pleasantville has a full quota of lively girls. They arranged to have the affair come off in an old barn on the edge of the village, and after studying up on the subject settled on a 16-foot ring. Three o’clock one Sunday morning recently was the hour set. Of course, only girls were admitted, and they had to sneak out of their bedrooms to attend in regular elopement style.

The bevy of beauties repaired to the barn and there had it out in grand style. The two combatants, when they got through with each other, had neither one won the prize, but both were considerably damaged.


Reprinted from The National Police Gazette - September 27, 1890