No. 550
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
December 7, 2021

An Undertaker’s Assistant’s Mistake.

August 26, 2014
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"Chicago Tribune," October 1, 1978, via Newspapers.comPoisoning cases are often inscrutable.  They are particularly frightening when it is impossible to tell if the poisoning was by deliberate action or by accident, and even the nature of the toxin is unknowable.  Such was the deadly puzzle which plagued a family in Pevely, Missouri.In September 1978, Eva Sims and her husband Alvin had their home
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Strange Company - 12/6/2021
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[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
Entrance to Juneau Company WharfLocation of the shootout on Juneau Wharf 1898Circa 1930s-1940sJeff Smith collection(Click image to enlarge)        ntrance to Juneau Company Wharf  Here is a new addition to my photograph collection. The above is the cropped, close-up showing the entrance to the Juneau Company Wharf where Soapy Smith and Frank Reid shot it out in the Shootout on Juneau Wharf,
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 12/1/2021
In 1870, Peter Kenney and Richard O’Keefe opened a liquor store and barroom on the corner of B and 4th Streets in South Boston. Kenney was married to O’Keefe’s sister who owned the building. The Kenney’s lived on the second floor and in 1872, O’Keefe boarded with them.The business was doing well, and the two men got along until O’Keefe moved in. That winter they frequently argued over the way
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Murder By Gaslight - 12/4/2021
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 Drama of Life, | The Girls Have a New Game.

An Undertaker’s Assistant’s Mistake.

She wasn't the corpse.

She Wasn’t the Corpse.

The Queer blunder made by the assistant of an undertaker in a house of mourning, Bridgeport, Conn. [more]

In a town near Bridgewater, Conn., death entered an estimable household at midnight, and an undertaker from the city was summoned by telegraph. On arriving at the house the undertaker sent his assistant to an upper chamber to prepare the corpse. Taking her box of bandages, sponges, &c., the assistant went, as she thought, to the room indicated, but instead she entered the room of a young lady, a member of the bereaved family, who had fallen sound asleep from exhaustion caused by her constant attention at the sick bed. The attendant had an old-fashioned tallow dip, which she set on the stand, and depositing her box on the bed by the side of the sleeping beauty she began operations. Takin a soft sponged she carefully washed the face observing, what was not unusual, that the flesh was still warm. The young lady slept on, but when a fine-toothed comb was drawn through some tangled crimps of her hair she awoke with a suddenness that upset bot the attendant and the box of implements. Both ladies gave a shriek that could have been heard blocks away, and as soon as a match could be struck, for the candle had been overturned and extinguished, explanations followed. The attendant believed the corpse had come to life, and the awakened damsel thought she had been disturbed by a burglar. The household below was aroused, and they followed the undertaker in quick succession to the scene of the disturbance. Although the death had cast a gloom over the household there was a quiet laugh when the situation was explained.


Reprinted from The National Police Gazette, October 9, 1886.