No. 425
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
May 20, 2019

He Liked Little Boys.

How a Georgia alligator attempted to make a meal of Captain Johnson’s son.
March 20, 2017
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Chapter 2
Catholic priest Jan Bula was hanged on this date in 1952 at Jihlava A Rokytnice pastor, Bula (English Wikipedia entry | the more detailed Czech and German) put himself in the gunsights of the postwar Communist state by defying its strictures on proselytization and commenting publicly against them. Although perhaps a gadfly from the state’s […]
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ExecutedToday.com - 5/20/2019


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Coming in May! Warps and Wefts is excited to announce the publication of “Dressing Miss Lizzie”, a collection of paper …

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Lizzie Borden : Warps & Wefts - 4/23/2019
Montreal Gazette, October 13, 1857, via Newspapers.com William Townsend was, on the whole, a very ordinary sort of villain. His numerous grim deeds were brutishly uncomplicated, wholly lacking any of the originality, enterprise, or even flashes of humor that go to make some crimes permanently capture the public imagination. Townsend, in his private life, had a talent for mimicry that in
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Strange Company - 5/20/2019

Jeff and Joe Soapy Smith buries Joe Simmons The Illustrated Police News April 9, 1892 (Click image to enlarge) oe Simmons was a tall, slender gambler known to many as “Gambler Joe” Simmons, a member of the Soap Gang who managed Soapy Smith's Tivoli Club in Denver, 1890, and Soapy's Orleans Club in Creede, 1892. According to William Devere’s poem "Two Little Busted Shoes," Simmons
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 3/25/2019
In July 1890, a man came into the 126th Street Police Station in Harlem, New York City, to report a conversation he had overheard in an elevated train. A young man and woman sitting near him were talking about the mysterious disappearance of Miss Goodwin from the Storm King flats on East 126th Street. They believed that she had been foully dealt with by “professional malpractioners.” The woman
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Murder by Gaslight - 5/18/2019
I’m not the first old sign enthusiast who came across this beauty of a beer sign on the tenement at 317 East Fifth Street. Grieve wrote it up back in January, and I’m sure other fans walking along this quiet East Village block noticed the ancient signage, too. “S. Cort Wines & Lager Beer” the […]
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Ephemeral New York - 5/19/2019
[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 Needed Addition to the Park Police of Every City. | Courtship from a Tree.

He Liked Little Boys.

He liked little boys

How a Georgia alligator attempted to make a meal of Captain Johnson’s son. [more]

While Capt. R. B. Johnson, of Clinch county, Georgia. was helping a party of 23 or 30 men haul for trout in a millpond, the other day. his little son, Joseph. had a most thrilling experience, Master Joseph carried a bag, or corn sack, in which to deposit the fish when caught. When loaded with as many as he could carry he would take them out and make a deposit and return for more. In making one of these trips, while wading through water about three feet deep some distance from the fishermen, a monster alligator, said to be of unusual size, rose suddenly right at the boy and seized him by the thigh. A desperate struggle ensued—the boy battled for his life and the alligator for his prey. It so happened that the bag, which hung by the boy's aide, was caught In the alligator's mouth with the thigh, and It proved a sort of shield—lessening greatly the incisions made by the brute's teeth, and thus, perhaps, preventing a shock to his nervous system which might have made him succumb without the struggle which saved him his life. By an effort the boy tore his bleeding flesh from the alligator's Jaws. The monster grimly held to the sack a moment with the delusion, perhaps, that he still had his prey, affording the boy an opportunity to escape.

He had hardly extricated himself from the jaws of death before the fishermen, alarmed by the struggle, were at hand, and another battle ensued. Thirty men, armed with gigs, poles, pocket knives and such other instruments of war as were at hand, charged upon the monster. Being In three feet of water, the 'gator bad considerable advantage, but those men had their blood up and were not to be outdone. They poled and punched and harpooned him until the brute was almost outdone, when one of the party made bold to seize him by the tail. This was a signal for a general assault. In less time than it would take to tell it, a number of the more daring had him by the tail and legs. There were too many of them for the 'gator to slap around with his tall, a peculiar mode of n 'gator warfare, and he had to give up the fight. A harpoon was plunged into his mouth and then it was safe to approach him with pocket knives. Soon his head was severed from his body, and the victorious party marched out of the pond with the monster's head on a pole.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, December 15, 1883.