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