No. 542
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
January 27, 2022

Her Wheel Was Her Ruin.

A father of Indianapolis, Ind., catches his daughter drinking wine with a jovial crowd at a notoriou
April 2, 2018
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Via Newspapers.comThe following little meteorological oddity was reported in the “Ogden Standard,” January 7, 1909:Santa Cruz, Cal. Jan 6.--A remarkable phenomenon that has caused wonder and consternation in the neighborhood of the Santa Cruz Beach was reported by Mrs. W.H. Burns of 240 Riverside avenue this city this morning and when investigated was fully corroborated by residents of the
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Strange Company - 1/26/2022
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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
Soapy Smith leading the packArtifact #96-Front Page, Part 1National PopulistMarch 24, 1894Jeff Smith collection(Click image to enlarge)  amblers, Thugs, Murders and Rogues."The alliance of the gamblers and bunco men with the old Fire and Police Board is not a pleasant thing to contemplate. It has come to a pretty pass if the interests of the city and the lives and property of citizens can't
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 1/21/2022
Artist's rendition of the Pearl Bryan murder from The Mysterious Murder of Pearl Bryan, Or, The Headless Horror. Cincinnati: Barclay & Co., 1896. Read Pearl Bryan's story in the new book,So Far from Home: The Pearl Bryan Murder.Now available at Amazon.
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Murder By Gaslight - 1/27/2022
An article I recently wrote for the British online magazine, New Politic, is now available online. The article, “The Criminal Origins of the United States of America,” is about British convict transportation to America, which took place between the years 1718 and 1775, and is the subject of my book, Bound with an Iron Chain: […]
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Early American Crime - 12/17/2021
In Consequence of the New Liquor Law. | An Adventure with a Sea-Lion.

Her Wheel Was Her Ruin.

Her Wheel was her Ruin

A father of Indianapolis, Ind., catches his daughter drinking wine with a jovial crowd at a notorious local roadhouse. [more]

There is a girl living on the south side, Indianapolis, Ind. whose wheel was demolished recently by an irate parent, and the young lady is still allowing her friends go guess whether the demolition was the work of a madman or not. The girl had ordered the wheel only this season. She is the daughter of a well-known and somewhat prominent gentleman. She has never been denied anything that she ever asked for from a kind indulgent father. He, however, opposed the bicycle when she asked for it. He thought the family carriage was the better method of taking pleasure rides. He did not doubt his daughter’s honesty with her parents, but he preferred that a girl so young should be under the watchful eye of a mother. He had heard of some temptations which the bicycle leads to, and it was a long time before he would consent to his daughter getting a wheel.

She got it, however, after persistent entreaty and, with her chum, began taking long rides. From afternoon and early evening trips they gradually came to night runs, and occasionally the hour would be rather late when the girls would return. The parents did not offer any objections, thinking that an unusually long run might have been taken and expecting such as the natural sequence of the possession and constant use of the wheel. Everything went nicely until a few nights ago. The daughter and her chum went as usual for their ride, starting just after supper. A little later in the evening the family horse was hitched to the single buggy, and the father started to go in the country a few miles to make a business call. He made the call, and returning, chanced to pass by one of the suburban road houses. It was a very hot evening and he stopped to get a glass of beer. While standing at the bar he thought he heard a familiar giggle above the din by some merrymakers in the next room. He stepped to the door and looked in.

What he saw led to the subsequent destruction of his daughter’s bicycle. The girls were his daughter and her chum. The grieved father slipped quietly out of the place and drove home. He waited on the front porch until his daughter returned home from a “delightful run to Millersville.” He had an axe in his hand and with it broke that wheel into a thousand pieces.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, October 3, 1896.