No. 448
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
November 19, 2019

Sparking in Tompkins Square

June 28, 2011
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Chapter 2
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Scene of the Debbins murder Walter R. Debbins was shot twice in the back, in broad daylight, on Highland Street in Medford, Massachusetts, on the afternoon of Saturday, March 27, 1897. Though no one saw the murder or heard the gunshots, there was enough traffic on Highland Street that afternoon for the police to precisely pinpoint the time of the shooting to between 1:00 and 1:05. But
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Spanish seaman Joseph Garcia was hanged at Usk Prison on this date in 1872, for the Llangibby Massacre. It occurred in the Welsh village of that name, inland from the mouth of the Severn where Garcia had alit as a mariner at Newport nearly a year before. He’d committed a burglary there, and been committed […]
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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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Sparking in Tompkins Square

Cupid-Tompkins-Park

New York, New York, 1888 - Sparking in Tompkin Square, a place which Cupid has made his favorite stomping ground, and where the stern paterfamilias is wont to appear. [more]

Cupid has had great sport in Tompkins Park, this city, on pleasant evenings of a Sunday for some time past. Recently the interesting spectacle of forty couples breathing tales of love was witnessed at this charming rendezvous for "spooney" young men and women. Near the circular structure in the center of the park sat a maiden of sixteen or thereabouts, clad in a maroon dress, which just reached to the tops of her buttoned boots, a lavender jacket, and a jaunty hat matching her dress, with a raven's wing in the band.

Close beside her sat a youth of equal age, who was gazing into her eye. He held her hand in his, and in an undertone told her many pretty secrets.

Changing her hand to his other one, his arm gently stole round her waist. She seemed unconscious of it. He whispered something and she shyly looked at him, presumably the better to understand his whisper. He inclined his face to hers and "just one" he pleaded-and hastily took one, two, three. He paused a few seconds in admiration of her and then resumed talking, and she talked, too, in a bashful way.

But presently a very substantial vision intruded itself upon their happiness-a tall, ponderous Dutchman in trousers of ample volume, a jean jumper and a velveteen cap similar to those worn by the drivers of brewery wagons.

"You vas here, eh?" he queried of the girl. "You vas coom home."

She coomed.

Another young couple plumped down. The Fellow manifested his affection by pulling his sweetheart's hair and pinching her ears. She tee-hee-hee'd, slapped him playfully, and twittered, "Now, Jamesie, you stop." But just the same she didn't seem pleased when Jamesie did stop. She slapped him some more; whereat Jumesie pushed hack her head and gave her a loud kiss.

With all the couples the time was fraught with happiness and sweetness and most of them didn't leave the park until the broad-faced clock in the steeple of St. Bridget's Church nearby tolled the hour of ten.

 


The National Police Gazette, November 3, 1888