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

Crazed by Politics.

Lendall Pratt, and aged Long Islander, kills himself while in a political frenzy.
November 7, 2016
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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
Map of the Square and Stationary Earth. | The Last Dip of the Season.

Crazed by Politics.

Crazed by Politics

Lendall Pratt, and aged Long Islander, kills himself while in a political frenzy.

Col. Lendall Pratt, of Hyde Park, Queens county, worked hard to secure the election of Mr. Blaine throughout the last campaign. Although seventy-three years old, he did not spare himself, and day and night his sturdy figure could be seen all over the county. As election day drew near, he became somewhat erratic and his friends came to the conclusion that his reason had become impaired. The conflicting stories the following day about which candidate was elected seemed to unsettle his mind altogether, and he became violent. He threatened to kill his wife to hoe he had hitherto displayed the greatest affection, and it was considered dangerous for her to allow herself to remain alone with him. On Thursday, Nov. 6, he grew worse, and on Friday his violent manner hot having subsided, it was decided to put him in the county insane asylum at Mineola, from which his house is not a half a mile.

At 1 o’clock on the morning of Nov. 7 he quietly arose and dressed himself. His movements were so stealthy that they did not arouse the other lunatics. H went to the window, raised it, and seizing hold of the iron bars, began to tug at them. This noise aroused the other lunatics, and they sat up and looked at him. One of them, a lad of eighteen, jumped out of bed, and, shouting for an attendant, ran toward the door. Col Pratt caught hold of him and threw him back, then he glared the other lunatics, and threatened to kill them if they made any outcry. Thoroughly cowed, the crouched down in their cots, and watched him with frightened eyes.

The madman went back to the window, and seizing the bars again, he tore them out of their sockets. He took several blankets and threw them out of the window upon the slanting roof of the plaza, ten feet below. At this moment, an attendant who had heard the cry for assistance appeared at the door. Col Pratt turned and looked at him. The next instant he plunged head first through the window carrying with him the sash. He struck on the slanting roof, and rebounding, landed heavily on the ground, a distance in all of twenty feet. When Mr. Cement reached him he was dead. The fall had broken his neck.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, November 29, 1884.