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

Murderous Assault by a Wife on Her Husband.

October 6, 2014
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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 Green-Eyed Monster. | Belle Gordon.

Murderous Assault by a Wife on Her Husband.

Murderous Assault

She Charges That “He is No Man.” She Discharged a Husband (Still Living) for the same reason. [more]

A certain class of females in this country are, it seems, possessed of a large development of superfluous muscle—strong-fisted if not strong-minded. Sometimes they can handle their “mauleys” with the force of a Heenan or McCool, and prove in a most palpable manner their title to the honorary “first blood” and “first knock down.” Sometimes it is a cowhide, which they wield with scientific precision and marked effect. Anon they arm themselves with the revolver and make daylight shine through the object of their wrath. As to the knife, let the Newmarket tragedy tell that awful tale. New Jersey has for some time back been winning the race in this particular line, and bids fair to carry off the palm from the other states of the Union, as our readers from week to week have abundant opportunities of judging for themselves. The last performance of feminine muscularity which has traveled the courses across the North river in and which, as being highly illustrative, we illustrate in our first page, the dramatis personae having the undoubted patronymics of children from the Emerald Isle—Bridget and Pat, and involving a matrimonial imbroglio of very lively interest.

The story runs thus: Some three months ago Bridget was united in the bonds of matrimony to Patrick Coyle, and they have been living in Beacon avenue in Hudson City. Most people who enter that “blissful” condition permit the honeymoon to pass over without any serious difficulty arising to prevent the course of true love running somewhat smooth, but it appears that Bridget and Patrick had their scrimmage before their wedded life was two days old—Bridget declaring that Patrick “was no man at all.” Domestic troubles from this alleged cause became of daily occurrence; and at length culminated in Bridget making a terrible assault on Pat with a knife and an axe, which she used in a manner that indicated nothing less than murder. On Saturday morning last, this “injured female” suddenly jumped out of bed, seized first a knife with which she gashed her husband’s face and hand generally; but this kind of small sword exercise was not doing the purpose with the celerity with which she intended to dispatch poor Pat; so, like the illustrious chief of her country who smote the Danes at Clontarf, she seized a battle-axe, with which she made several murderous blows at the unhappy object of her vengeance. Fortunately for both, Pat succeeded in making his escapes out of the home in his shirt, his face all bloody. His appearance soon arrested the attention of the neighbors, who interfered and brought Pat’s clothes to him and had the wounds dressed.

The case came up in the course of the day before Justice Aldridge, when the husband told his story. Believing Bridge to be a widow, he married her; but soon after he learned that her first husband was still in the land of the living. Bridget having case him of on the ground of being over age—that he was “too ould.” Among the other charges in her indictment was that Coyle was “the worst of the two,” and that he “was no man all.” Having heard the complaint, Recorder Aldridge issued a warrant, upon which the amiable damsel was arrested and committed for trial. Hudson City is becoming quite a lively place, and will not permit the smallest blade of grass to grow under the feet of its worthy Recorder, if it goes on at the present pace.

 


Reprinted from The National Police Gazette, September 7, 1888.