Archive for January, 2009

Cow Quarrel Leads to Murder

January 26, 2009


Details Regarding a Murder at La Crosse — The Criminal at Large.

LA CROSSE, Wis., Oct. 7. — The brutal crime committed in this city yesterday morning when James Kelly struck Patrick Kennedy with a potato digger and killed him creates great excitement in this city. The trouble arose regarding the trespass of some cattle, it being said that Mr. Kennedy objected to allowing the cows of Mr. Kelly to run in his meadow. To settle the matter Mr. Kennedy had gone to see Kelly. He found him digging potatoes and commenced the talk without getting over the fence. Kelly must have approached quite near, and without any warning as to who he intended doing, suddenly struck the old gentleman with the digger, one prong of which penetrated the skull. James Kelly, the murderer is about forty-five years of age. He came here with his family to live about three years ago and hailed from Fond du Lac. He is about five feet, ten inches high, well built, rather sandy complexioned, had an Irish accent and dressed in very common working clothes. Patrick Kennedy the murdered man came to this city nearly thirty years ago. He was seventy years of age and resided with his wife. He had amassed quite a fortune in various ways. The murderer escaped after he committed the brutal act, and parties are scouring the country for the purpose of finding him.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Oct 7,  1885

James Kelly Pleads Guilty in the Third Degree.

LA CROSSE, Wis., Nov. 19. — James Kelly, the murderer of Patrick Kennedy has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the third degree. The district attorney was of the opinion that a jury would not convict of a more serious offense. He thought Kelly’s story that Kennedy provoked a quarrel with him, and then struck him with a cane, would be believed, and nobody thinks Kelly intended to kill the old man when he struck him.

Oshkosh Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Nov 19,  1885

Tom Crimmons Still Does his Daily Dozen

January 22, 2009
Tom Crimmons 1938

Tom Crimmons 1938

“Tom” Crimmons, 100, Tells His Reasons for Long Life
(Excerpt from article about 2 old residents)

NEBRASKA may have its off moments of heat and drouth and grasshoppers, but it seems a likely center for longevity…

Mr. Crimmons, born in County Cork, Ireland, found barren prairie when he went to Holt county, with herds of buffalo and other wild game an ordinary sight on the present Atkinson location. White settlers were few; hostile bands of Indians added to the troubles of the scattered settlers.

Born when Martin Van Buren was president of the United States, which was pretty much of an unknown land, Mr. Crimmons has an alert mind; reads with a glass, keeping abreast of current events; has had little dental work done; is erect in carriage. His hearing is somewhat impaired and he walks with a cane, due to a very serious accident.

Does Daily Dozen.
Early risers in Atkinson see Mr. Crimmons doing his daily dozen, lusty wood chopping. Only a few days before his birthday, he felled a huge dry cottonwood, although he admitted it was a bit hot for hewing to the line. His favorite relaxation is to sit in his porch rocker with his newspaper, to smoke. Mr. Crimmons and his brother-in-law, Thomas Hanrahann, who went to the county in 1880, live together, do all the household tasks and make a very good job of them.

Mr. Crimmons served four years in the Irish militia and worked on the Queenstown docks. At the age of thirty-one, in March, 1869, he came to this country, obtained employment on the Salem, Mass., docks, shouldering loads of 300 pounds and more with the greatest of ease. After eight years, he took up residence five miles from Atkinson, where his brother had preceded him by two years.

Haystacker and John Deere Tractor 1929

Haystacker and John Deere Tractor 1929

Years ago, the fork of a haystacker fell on Mr. Crimmons, breaking both legs and arms and mangling and crushing his hands. It was believed that if he did live, he would be a total invalid. He eventually laughed at all the dire prophecies. When he was eighty-eight, Mr. Crimmons had a severe illness, and again his life was despaired of. Again he laughed. He has not had a serious illness since that time.

In early days he was personally acquainted with many interesting pioneer characters. He was well acquainted with Doc Middleton, notorious Nebraska outlaw. When asked what he thought of Middleton, he replied: “I knew him well … regardless of what folks say he never robbed or harmed the poor settlers of this territory. He was a good man … but he traveled with a tough gang.”

A Nebraska Dugout

A Nebraska Dugout

Mr. Crimmons built the first shack in Long Pine and lived later in a dugout on the townsite of the present Bassett.

No special celebration was held for the birthday, but the following Tuesday Mr. Crimmons’ sister-in-law, Mrs. John Crimmons, and Mrs. Joe Corrigan, were present at a birthday dinner. Several old friends called during the day.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Aug 7,  1938

Americus, Georigia She, Turns He, Becomes Macon Restauranteur

January 22, 2009
A Restaurant in Macon

A Restaurant in Macon

A Woman Becomes a Man.

From the Eatonton, Ga., Star

During the war there was born in Americus, Georgia, a child baby, that became the pet of the town. The girl grew to girlhood, and after reaching her teens was sent off to a prominent female seminary in this state to receive the finishing touches in her education. Of course she associated and roomed with the other girls, and finally graduated. But on her return home, you can judge the surprise of the people of Americus when she donned male attire, and appeared upon the street as sprightly a little dude as you would care to see. She cut the acquaintance of the girls as associates, and went exclusively among the boys, adopting their habits and manner. Afterward this strange being moved to Macon, Georgia, where it opened a restaurant in the carshed, and did business there for several years. It was looked upon and recognized as a man, and indulged in all the dissipations characteristic of the sex. I roomed with him or her for several weeks, and both occupied the same bed. There was no difference in the bearing of my strange partner and any other man. It afterwards courted and married a young lady of Macon, but after living together as man and wife for several months the bride returned to her parents, but gave the world no reason for her voluntary separation. Those facts I know to be true, and I trust they are equally as wonderful as the story that you have just read. I have since learned that there are frequent instances where the sex of a woman has changed to that of a man, but no account is given of a transformation the other way.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Feb 22, 1889

The Notorious ‘Doc’ Middleton

January 22, 2009
'Doc' Middleton

'Doc' Middleton

From the (WOLA) Western Outlaw Lawmen History Association website, which provides a good amount of information about ‘Doc.’

Doc Middleton** was born James M. Riley in Bastrop County, Texas (his death certificate says he was born in Mississippi). Family members state the middle name was Middleton. Doc’s early years are confusing, but sorted out nicely by Harold Hutton in his book. Suffice to say, Doc got into some trouble in Texas, joined a cattle drive and headed to Nebraska.

The website link** above doesn’t seem to work anymore, so here is a link to the WWHA site, which also has a good article about Doc Middleton.


Fight with Outlaws.

OMAHA, July 26. Hazen, the detective wounded in a fight with Doc Middleton, has arrived here. Lewellyn, third detective in the fight, arrived at Fort Hartsuff and has left with soldiers from there for the place where Middleton is.

Later report shows the detectives treacherously fired on the outlaws, during negotiations. The outlaws promptly returned the fire. Middleton is severely wounded. Hazen badly and Llewellyn slightly. Black George and another outlaw were killed. The result will be the capture of Middleton and breaking up the gang.

Daily Kennebec Journal (Augusta, Maine) Jul 28,  1879


Chicago, July 24. — An Omaha special to the News gives meagre details of a desperate fight between a body of detectives and four desperadoes of Doc Middleton’s gang of thieves and murderers infesting the cattle country on the Niobara river which occurred Monday on one of the branches of the creek called Long Pine, 140 miles north of Grand Island. Shots were fired by two of the detectives and returned by the desperadoes, with effect upon each side, although no lives were lost. Hazen, one of the detectives, received three balls — one in the neck, one in the arm, and a third through his body below the ribs, coming out near the backbone.

S. Lewellyan, another of the detectives who was present at the fight, is missing, and the remaining detectives escaped without a scratch, and made their way to Columbus, 150 miles distant. Hagan reached the place safely and his wounds are not serious, though painful. Middleton would have been killed, had not the detective’s revolver missed fire four times. He was badly wounded in the groin, and it is thought he will die. He is being cared for by friends.

Fort Wayne Weekly Sentinel (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Jul 30,  1879



CHEYENNE, July 31. Doc Middleton, the notorious horse and cattle thief for whose capture large rewards were offered by different counties in Nebraska, was taken last Sunday in his camp on the Nebraska river, about 200 miles northwest of Columbus, Neb., and brought into that town this evening. Sunday morning, detectives and soldiers from Columbus and Grand Island surrounded the house of Richardson, Middleton’s father-in-law, and captured Middleton and five of his gang.

Daily Kennebec Journal (Augusta, Maine) Aug 1,  1879


“Doc.” Middleton, the notorious horse and cattle thief, has been sentenced to five years in the Nebraska penitentiary for stealing horses from Carey Bros, of that Territory. There are other indictments against him in Nebraska.

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Sep 21,  1879


Killed by Gamblers.
OMAHA, March 26 — A gang of gamblers, supposed to be Doc Middleton’s gang, went to Covington, Neb., Tuesday night and opened up a room. Yesterday morning they killed John Peyton, a gambler, and fled. The sheriff is in pursuit.

Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey) Mar 26,  1891


–Covington, the Nebraska suburb of Sioux City was the scene of another saloon and gambling house murder. James Peyson, ex-mayor of the town, is nearly dead, and Doc Middleton, a young gambler, has a dangerous wound in the abdomen. The trouble grew out of a game of craps in the White House, a notorious place kept by Sioux City saloon men. All were drunk.

The New Era (Humeston, Iowa) Apr 1,  1891



For a While He Ran Things With a High Hand in the Black Hills Country — Defied the Federal Authorities and Made a Judge Quickly Throw up His Hands.

“‘Doc’ Middleton was the most daring desperado that ever terrorized the Elkhorn valley and ruled the Black Hills country with a high hand,” said John C. Barclay, a shoe drummer, at the Lindell, as a party of western traveling men were swapping stories.

“Middleton always bore the soubriquet of ‘Doc,’ but nobody seems to know how he was so dubbed. Before the railroads were built into Deadwood, S.D., I used to make one trip a year by stage to that country, and I saw ‘Doc’ Middleton several times. He was a powerful fellow, with quick, elastic step, and wore a dark sombrero, an overcoat of wildcat skins and a bright handkerchief, and his cowboy make-up gave him the appearance of a typical western frontiersman. Leading a band of rangers, he waged war on the Sioux Indians and protected the settlers of the Elkhorn valley, Neb. Government officials in those days feared him, and for years he was the chief of desperadoes in those parts. But he settled down to a respectable life in Nebraska over 15 years ago and was engaged in the cattle business.

“When I first knew ‘Doc’ he was freighting from Sidney, Neb., to the Black Hills. One night, in a Sidney dance house, a half-dozen soldiers engaged in a quarrel with ‘Doc,’ and there was a shooting scrape. Middleton escaped and his in the hill sands on the Platte river. While living in the hills he picked up a bunch of horses and started out with them. He was captured and thrown into jail in Sidney. The second night there he got the jailor drunk and walked away. He next appeared at a road ranch up the Elkhorn, having been without food for five days. Soon after that he was hurrying down the Elkhorn valley with a bunch of horses that belonged to the Indians. ‘Doc’ and his party were pursued by a company of United States soldiers, about 50 settlers and a band of Indians. The white men gave up the chase in a few days, but the Indians kept on the trail. One night the thieves were overtaken by the Indians. The red men dared not shoot Middleton, so they took the horses and returned home. Middleton’s front teeth were filled with gold, and he was known to all the redskins as the ‘Gold Chief.’ The Indians believed that ‘Doc’ must have been favored by the Great Spirit in oder to have gold teeth, and they would not kill him.

“One of Middleton’s escapades was known all over the country. He was at North Platte, and a deputy sheriff tried to take him. ‘Doc’ mounted his horse, pulled a couple of revolvers and rode over all the town daring any man to shoot at him. The government finally made a determined effort to capture ‘Doc’ and sent out four secret service men. They met ‘Doc’ at a Fourth of July celebration at Atchison, Neb. He took their pistols away and made them run foot races and join in the other festivities of the day. Once Judge Moody of Deadwood demanded Middleton’s surrender. He made the judge throw up his hands and then took all the valuables he had.

“Middleton was finally captured by Deputies Lewellen and Hazen, who were sent out by Governor Thayer of Nebraska. ‘Doc’ was taken to Omaha, where he received a sentence of five years in the penitentiary. He was shown leniency because he always protected the white settlers and only stole the stock belonging to the Indians. At the expiration of his term ‘Doc’ returned to Atchison, Neb., and became a law-abiding citizen.” — St. Louis Globe-Democrat.

New Oxford Item (New Oxford, Pennsylvania) May 6,  1898

“Doc.” Middleton, well known to pioneer Nebraskans twenty years ago, who served a term in the penitentiary and afterwards engaged in the saloon business at Gordon, is now in the same business at Ardmore, South Dakota. He is also town marshal and so gets pay for “running men in” after he has “filled them up.”

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Dec 21,  1900


Doc Middleton Had Asked Malone for Job as Detective
“I knew Doc Middleton well,” said Chief Malone, in discussing news of the outlaw’s death. “My relations with him were very friendly. When he was at Whitman I got acquainted with him. Some months ago Doc asked for positions for himself and his son as specials in the railroad secret service. I have his letter of application in my possession now.” The chief said that Middleton wanted a job at Crawford.

A Burlington man tells a good story of the outlaw and gambler and an old time detective of the road. The latter had gone to a western town in the state with the avowed purpose of cleaning out the Middleton gang. He and his assistants were quartered in a freight car when it reached the town. The gang heard of the arrival of the detective and his force of exterminators and when the train pulled in shot after shot was fired into each freight car. Quick orders from the sleuth resulted in the train being pulled outside of the corporate limits of the town. The job of extermination was nipped in the bud.

Lincoln Daily News (Lincoln, Nebraska) Jan 1,  1914


(From the Journal Files.)
Five of Doc Middleton’s gang, including Middleton, passed thru Sidney, Neb. Local officers were in hot pursuit and shot one of the outlaws within city limits.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Apr 28,  1939

Sixty Years Ago Today.
It was learned that Doc Middleton, the notorious outlaw, had paid a quiet visit to Lincoln during the week.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Sep 13,  1944

Doc Middleton's Gravestone

Doc Middleton's Gravestone

Doc Middleton, Nebraska “bad man” of the seventies, died at Douglas, Wyo. In the early history of the state his gang was the terror of settlers in northwestern Nebraska. He belonged to the “Wild Bill” and “Calamity Jane” period in that section. He had a ranch at Rushville said to be the rendezvous of many noted road agents.

The Lincoln Star (Lincoln, Nebraska) Dec 30,  1933


Santa Fe Publisher Puts West in Books
Of Our Staff
(excerpt from article)
The other two, “Doc Middleton, The Unwickedest Outlaw,” by John Carson, and “The Lynching of Elizabeth Taylor,” by Jean Williams, are based in Nebraska…
The story of Doc Middleton — horse thief, gambler, accused murderer and Texas fugitive — also is interesting reading. A lot happened between the time Middleton came to Nebraska in 1876 at the age of 25 and his death from a group of diseases while in the Converse County jail in 1913 at the age of 62.

Amarillo Globe-Times (Amarillo, Texas) Nov 10,  1966

Golden Empire: A Novel of the Northwest
By Chalmer Orin Richardson
Published by Greenberg, 1938
274 pages

…by Chalmer Richardson now superintendent of schools at Vesta. “Golden Empire,” by Mr. Richardson, is a story of Custer county of the 70’s and 80’s and brings into prominence the Olives, well known Nebraskans because of the Mitchell and Ketchum case long in the courts of the state. Mr. Richardson does not say that none of his characters are drawn from life. He admits that several are fairly close copies of early people of Custer county. Doc Middleton, another well known and lawless early day resident, is easily recognizable. The original title of the book was “Buffalo Grass,” which has sufficient meaning for people brought up in close proximity to this familiar landscape covering, but evidently not enough for Mr. Richardson’s publishers. The book made its appearance as “Golden Empire, a novel of the northwest: blandly ignoring the fact that Custer county is far from being in the northwest of Nebraska, to say nothing of the territory usually known as the northwest.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Oct 9,  1938

On Men and Boys

January 21, 2009
Boys Will Be Boys

Boys Will Be Boys

Every man is the father of his own works; and a fine family of failures some men are raising.

Daily Iowa State Press (Iowa City, Iowa) Apr 29, 1899

Arizona Saloon 1885

Arizona Saloon 1885

Five million boys of each generation are needed by the saloons each generation to keep the business going. Is your boy one of the many?

The Daily Herald (Chicago, Illinois) June 9, 1905

Tennessee Mountain Dew Queen

January 21, 2009


Tennessee’s Mountain Dew Queen.
From the Arkansaw Traveller.

Miss Bettie Smith, of Fentress county, Tenn, who was arrested on the charge of illicit distilling is said to be handsome and accomplished, and is supposed to have written that wild and stirring romance, The Blue Headed Sapsucker, or The Rock Where the Juice Ran Out. Colonel Harvey Mathes editor of the Memphis Ledger says that Miss Smith is undoubtedly the author of the story. This is a startling revelation. At one time Colonel Mathes offered $3,000? for the discovery of the author.

When Miss Smith was arraigned before the United States court at Nashville she conducted her self with such grace and dignity that the polite old judge deeply impressed arose and made her a profound bow.

‘Miss Smith,’ said the judge, ‘to see you in this awful predicament seriously touches me.’

‘It does me too judge.’

‘How old are you?’

‘Judge you should not ask such a question but I will tell you I am two years older than my married sister who was married before she was as old as I am. She has been married eighteen months, and still speaks well of her husband. Now, how old am I?’

‘I cannot tell.’

‘I am not to blame for your mathematical inefficiency.’

‘Why did you go into the distilling business?’

‘Because I wanted to make whisky.’

‘How long have you been a distiller?’

‘Ever since I was sixteen years old.’

‘When were you sixteen years old?’

‘The year my father died.’

‘When was that?’

‘The year my uncle Henry moved to Texas.’

‘Miss Smith, you are a woman but I insist that you shall answer my questions. Remember that if convicted of this awful charge you will be sent to the penitentiary. What did you do with the whisky you made?’

‘Sold it.’

‘Who bought it?’

‘Well judge, it would be rather hard to tell who bought it all. Sometime ago a party of gentlemen came out into my neighborhood to hunt deer. The party got out of whisky but found it difficult to buy any. After a while I told a man if he would put his jug down on a dollar and go away he might when he came back find the jug full of whisky. He did so.’

‘Would you know the man?’

‘Oh, yes sir. I recognized him in a moment. You are the man, judge.’

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) May 27, 1888

The Explosion of the Steamboat Louisiana

January 20, 2009
A Steamboat

A Steamboat

The Late Terrible Disaster!
Full particulars of the Explosion of the Steamboat Louisiana.

Yesterday morning we gave all that could be gathered at the time, relative to the almost overwhelming catastrophe that has clothed our city in mourning, and made desolate the hearts of many of its citizens. But the sad records has largely increased, and in the mournful lists below, we present a full statement up to the present time. The lists of the missing is still very incomplete; no register has been found of the passengers of the ill-fated Louisiana, and until the river gives up its dead, the blank cannot be filled! The emigrants that thronged its deck have gone to that far off country from whence no traveller returns. The bright eye of woman lies dimmed beneath the weight of waters that press upon it; the strong man’s agony has passed away in its embrace. Anxious days, months — months — will be spent by loved ones far away, and yet no words of joyous welcome can ever fall upon the dull, cold ear of death. Fathers will bend beneath the blow that is now flying; a swift-winged messenger of sorrow to the homes that can know the Lost no more; mother’s hearts will break for the idols there so long enthroned; brothers will bow in manly grief, and sisters pour out the gushing tenderness of their wealth of love, until the fading forms give sorrowful earnest of another victim.

Thirty-six hours since, a gay assemblage, clothed in bright hopes, gathered on board of the Louisiana. Where are they now? And on whom does the awful responsibility rest of sending into eternity so many souls?

We are told that the origin of the explosion is not known, and yet we know that the first engineer was on shore, with leave to join the boat at Lafayette; and that the second engineer must have been absent from his post from the fact that the instant before the explosion he returned to the engine, found that there was something wrong — cried out to the mate to run for his life, and saved his own by a rapid movement to the stern.

Negligence the most culpable is too plainly seen. The boat was within a few minutes of its departure, when officers and crew should have been doubly vigilant; and yet how different from this are the facts shown.

The steamboat Storm, having just come in from Louisville, had her larboard exposed to the explosion and her upper works were made a complete wreck.

Death was hurled in the midst of her passengers, with the giant force of steam, and they fell amidst the crashing timber that overwhelmed them.

Steamboat Bostona

Steamboat Bostona

The Bostona, also lying alongside of the Louisiana, shared the fate of the Storm. Her decks were strewed with the dead and dying, and her cabin presented a dreadful scene.

The crowd of persons upon the levee, bidding farewell to kindred and friends, also added their quota to the terrible work that in an instant summoned two hundred human beings to their last account.

A number of clerks of mercantile houses were on board of the boat receiving their bills of lading?, and their names, as far as we could learn from them, are in the list of the “missing” — a word that tells their fate at the present hour. News-boys eagerly pursuing their daily trade, became early victims to the dread destroyer, and their humble homes are in mourning as sincere as the residence of the more favored of fortune. Grief levels all distinctions — side by side we found yesterday the penniless and the millionaire, searching among the bleeding mass of disfigured corpses! Their tears mingled together — words of sympathy came from each.

We now proceed to give the sad details conveyed in the lists of the killed, wounded and missing.

Killed. — Mrs. Robert Moody, Major B.B. Edmondson, of Missouri; Dr. Thomas M. Williams, Peter Welsh, Simeion Wolffe, Capt. W.P. Brown, John Sullivan, Horace Goldstein, J.N. Craft, Dennis Abbott, John Handerhin, Richard Kelly, Alfred Watson, pilot of the Louisiana; Joseph Clusman, J.H. Meyers, Edward Hulbert, Levi Prescott, Capt. Renselear Becker, Wm. C. Read, of Fulton, Mo.; Robert Devlin, Andrew Bell, pilot of the Louisiana; John Hughes, Rowland Pell, Jas. Gilmore, mate of the Louisiana; Robert McMackin, 1st clerk of the Louisiana; Euan Knox, Louis, a cabin boy; James Martin, Dr. E.J. Marsh, James Atkinson, Richard Perry, Rich Caudon.

Died in Charity Hospital. — John Kelly, Wm. Riley, John Laws; a clerk of the Louisiana Bakery.

Wounded. — Harrison Rea, both legs broken, Mr. Rea, Mr. Horrell, severely injured; Mr. Isaac Hart, very seriously hurt, S. Davis, Capt. Hopkins, of the steamer Storm; Capt. Dustin, badly wounded; R. Price, John Mason, slightly wounded the barber of the Storm, mutilated by the taking off of one of his hands at the wrist; Henry Bingham and his wife, of Helena, Ark., seriously wounded, but out of danger; Henry Livingston, slightly injured; Edward McCarty, leg amputated; Simeon Davis, seriously injured; Mr. Wolf, slightly injured; Noah J. Ellis, a compositor in T. Rea’s Rotary Press Office; Elijah Cannon, brother of Captain Cannon, of the Louisiana, severely injured; Capt. Cannon, of the Louisiana, slightly injured; Mr. Tyler, bar-keeper of the Louisiana, dangerously wounded.

Wounded and admitted in Charity Hospital. — Henry W. Bermegan, Daniel Eckerle, Henry Livingston, Isaac Garrison, Hugh McRee, Henry, a slave; Samuel  Fox, William Welch, Clinton Smith, Miley Mulley, a slave of Moses Murry, Ga. and her two children; Jno. Evans, Wm. Burke, Wm. Tucker, Henry Tucker, Missouri; James Matthes, Juan Montreal, Wm. Nee, James Welch, James Flynn, John E. Baber, Wm. Way Mo.; Wm. Riley; Daniel Kenne, George Zimbleman, John Lynch, Joseph Wilbur, Edw. McCarthy, Thomas Simmons, Isaac Miller, Herman Sibold, bother legs amputated; Cornelius McCann, John O’Leary, Mrs. Gallagher, this lady lost one child; John Kelly, Daniel McCarthy, John Montgomery, John Laws.

Wounded admitted in Dr. Stone’s Hospital. — Thomas Harrison, Fulton Mo.; Sam’l Corley, Frederick A. Wood. — [Mr. Rea is also at this establishment.]

Wounded admitted in Marine Hospital— Crockett Harrison, Fulton, Mo.; George, a negro, and a negro child.

Missing. — J. Gillespie, J. Mensing, Mr. Edgar, Mr. Elliott, clerk in the house of Marsh & Raulett, J.W. King, of the firm of E.J. Gay & Co, St. Louis; Merritt Morris, clerk of Small & McGill; a son of Mr. Bareille, the Sicillian Consul; Mr. Stone, Dr. Bienville, John Dairie, Wm. Hopkins, St Louis; J. Leonard, Alton; J. Mumford, St Louis.

A number of amputations have taken place in the Charity Hospital, and the medical faculty have invariably used chloroform, with the greatest success. A vast amount of suffering, in this catastrophe alone, has been saved by this great discovery.

To-day the Mayor has called upon our citizens to testify, by signs of mourning, the irreparable loss sustained. We feel assured that this mark of grief for the dead will be responded to. Already each heart feels the calamity, and sympathizes with the bereaved.

New Orleans Levee at Night 1883

New Orleans Levee at Night 1883

The event of Thursday was the most disastrous of the kind that ever occurred in this city. The extent of the mortality will exceed our highest estimates. All the facts discovered thus far, gives color to the gloomiest apprehensions of the number killed. More than sixty-four dead have already been recognized — more than forty were exposed in the Baronne street watch-house yesterday, and at least twenty were in the dead houses of the several hospitals. Several have died at private houses. Many others have no doubt floated down the stream and will never be heard of again. Others have been crushed under the weight of the wreck, and their bodies will not rise for some time.

Early yesterday we visited the scene of the disaster. A large crowd was assembled on the Levee. Not a vestige of the Louisiana was visible, but the Storm and Bostona lay in the same position they occupied when the explosion occurred. — There they were, the Storm a perfect wreck, riddled and crushed from the boilers to the stern; the Bostona, a costly and beautiful boat, also, with her pilot house knocked off, and her wheel house badly crushed. Amid the general wreck of the Storm, we were painfully impressed by the spectacle of a beautiful little girl of seven or eight years, who stood near a gentleman, apparently her father; sitting in the cabin of the Storm, with his head in his hands, seemingly in deep grief.

The expression of dependence, affection and grief of the little girl, with the sorrowing attitude of her father, surrounded as they were by so many signs of disaster and desolation, made a picture which we shall not soon forget. We have since learned that the gentleman was Mr. Moody, clerk of the Storm, whose wife was killed. The little girl was his only child.

The wharf, the barrels and sacks lying on it, were still sprinkled with blood, and the debris of mutilated bodies. A number of persons were engaged in fishing up bodies. Six were taken up whilst we were on the levee. In all, eleven were taken out of the water yesterday.

Several new boys were killed. The destruction of life would have been much greater, had not the explosion passed over the great number of persons on the Levee near the boat. The fragments were hurled in every direction; a large piece of one of the boilers was thrown upon the Levee, and one, entire — a mass of iron, 15 feet long, and weighing thousands of pounds — was thrown 600 feet from the river, landing within three steps of the door of the “White Mansion Coffee House,” at the corner of Canal street. This almost incredible exhibition of the power of steam can now be seen there. In its passage it struck against some bales of cotton, which lessened its force, or the huge mass would have penetrated the house. In its fall it killed two men, and a mule attached to a dray! another piece of the boiler struck a sign in Natchez street, and parts of the wreck were carried for squares from the scene of the disaster. Several limbs of the unfortunate victims were found nearly opposite to Gravier street.

This terrible calamity has clothed our city in mourning, and to-day, when the sad truth that many of those now only reported as missing are numbered with the dead is made known, it will shade still deeper the gloom. Last night hundreds were seeking friends and relatives amidst the wounded and dying, and the wild grief of those who found the objects of their search stretched upon the ground, robbed, in the twinkling of an eye, of life, made the scene most heart-rending.

A number of our city officers were early on the spot, and, with the Mayor at their head, offered every assistance in their power. We found them, too, at the Hospital, and other places where their services were needed.

In the coat of one of the persons lost was found letters to the principal officers in California, from Gen. Dodge of Iowa, and endorsed “Per Wm. C. Read,” indicating that this was the name of the passenger. He was from Fulton, Mo. [Formerly of Keokuk, and a member of our Legislature.]

The child of Mr. Moody, clerk of the Storm, reported as lost, was found this morning, safe and sound. Mr. Moody escaped by a miracle. He was at his desk, writing, within twenty feet of the boilers of the Louisiana, when they exploded, riddling the entire larboard side of the Storm as if with grape shot and tearing down the planks all around him, yet he remained uninjured. His lady at the other end of the boat, was killed at the same moment, instantaneously. We learned that several other ladies on the storm were slightly injured.

In reference to the mass of iron at the corner of Canal and Levee streets, which is an entire half of one of the Louisiana’s boilers, the flue is crushed or rolled together like a sheet lead. One end of this huge fragment is smeared with blood, mixed with hair. The effects of the explosion on the ceiling of the Bostona’s fore cabin are awful to behold. The whole surface is stained of a claret-color, occasioned by the scattering of the blood of the victims.

GREAT PRESENCE OF MIND. — Capt. Mason, pilot of the Storm, was in the pilot-house on the upper deck when the explosion occurred. Those who have seen the Storm, perfectly riddled as she is, from fore to aft, can alone form an opinion of the narrow escape he made. A negro at the wheel, working under the direction of Capt. Mason, and standing three feet from him, was killed immediately. His body fell over the tiller of the rope — Capt. Mason himself was stunned and slightly wounded. Perceiving the Storm was moving out, her ropes. which had made her fast. having been cut, Capt. Mason, with admirable presence of mind, rung his bell for the engineer to set the engines to work, and prevent the boat from getting out into the current. The engineer promptly responded, and the boat was thus kept up. — Capt. M. then perceiving that the explosion proceeded from the Louisiana, lying alongside, and not the Storm, and that the Louisiana was rapidly sinking, halloed out to some persons he saw in the after cabin of the Louisiana, to take care of themselves, as the boat was sinking. — Capt. M. says the bodies of persons fell from the air into the river like hail. — Wherever a body fell the water bubbled up and blood was visible for some minutes after. A number of persons rushed aboard of the Louisiana to rescue the wounded, who were crushed under the wreck. About twenty were saved, and many others were picked up by the fruit boats.

The wife of the clerk of the Storm was sitting in her state-room, when she was struck over the neck by a large spar from the Louisiana, and instantly killed.

CAUSE OF THE EXPLOSION. — Much difference of opinion prevails as to the cause of the explosion. The majority of people, however, believe that the explosion occurred from the willful neglect of the engineer, in keeping up the fires without a sufficiency of water in the boilers, thereby causing the formation of inflammable gas. That there was water in the boilers, seems to be established by the concurrent testimony of many persons, as to the ejection of a large volume of water, which fell for some distance around. Mr. White, agent of the boat is certain as to this fact, so is Captain Cannon, both of whom were standing within a few feet of the gangway, when the explosion occurred.

Captain Cannon says that the fires were low, and there was but little steam in the boilers, so that he had just ordered the engineer to fire up in order to proceed down to the shipping in the Third Municipality to take emigrants. About fifteen minutes before the explosion Capt. C. had directed the engineer to keep the wheels in motion to prevent the boat from dragging, as the water where she lay was not deep.

On the other hand it is said that the boilers of the Louisiana were very old — that they were the same that had been used in the old Dallas, some years ago.– We do not vouch for the correctness of this statement, but we learn from an undoubted source, that they were the boilers of the Gov. Jones, which was broken up a year ago, when they were transferred to the Louisiana, a new boat. If it should turn out that the boilers were unfit, we trust that the owners and all concerned will be held to a rigid accountability for such diabolical recklessness. And as to the engineer, should the general opinion prove correct that it was by his neglect the accident occurred, there is no punishment too severe for him.

We trust our police will inquire into the matter, and see that the lives of hundreds of our people are not destroyed with perfect impunity. The first engineer has not been seen since the explosion. Capt. Cannon thinks he was aboard, and was blown up. One of the engineers, who is very badly wounded, is at Stone’s Hospital.

NOBLE ACT. — Just as the Louisiana was sinking, a poor negro woman was seen hanging by her dress to some of the wreck, and uttering the most piteous cries for help. She held in her arms a young child, which with great strength she made out to throw into the arms of a man in the boat, who immediately went off with the child. The boat had sunk  to the waters’ edge, and the poor negress was struggling in the water, when a gentleman on board the Bostona, whose name we regret we could not learn, threw off his coat and hat and leaped into the water, and swam towards her. The poor woman, mad with fright, seized the gentleman around the neck, and thus prevented him from using his arms — they sunk together. Some one cried out, they are both gone. But presently they came up, and the gentleman, holding the negress in his left arm, swam ashore. The poor woman fainted from exhaustion and fright. When she came to, she began to cry for her child, and ran about like one possessed.

AFFECTING INCIDENT. — A little girl, the daughter of one of the steerage passengers, was taken from the wreck, and being placed on the Levee, began to cry for her mother. Being shown some of the dead bodies, she recognized that of her mother from the ring on her finger, and threw herself, in deep grief, on the mutilated remains. This little girl is at the house of a gentleman in this city. A generous rivalry was enacted among our citizens, to extend to her all the protection and kindness in their power.

GOOD AND BAD DEEDS. — Occurrences like this never fail to develop the higher as well as the lower qualities of humanity. During the confusion of the scene, following the explosion, many of our citizens threw themselves, with characteristic generosity, and promptitude, and energy into the crowd of the dead, and the dying and the wounded.

The Mayor, A.D. Crossman, ably seconded by Captains Youens and Forno, of the First and Second Municipality Police, were on the ground, rendering every assistance that the circumstances permitted, in rescuing persons from the wreck, and carrying off the dead and wounded. John M. Celif, Colonel McAlpin, Wilhelmus Bogert, Henry Bier, and several other citizens whose names we could not learn, were also active and ardent in deeds of philanthropy. In the meantime the baser order of humanity, lost to all sensibility and shame, embraced the occasion as a fit one for successful thieving and pocket picking. A great deal of money was thrown about the Levee, and was eagerly grabbed by the loafers who were assembled. One man was seen going off with a large roll of bank notes.

Many others were seen picking up watches and other valuables, and others, still more depraved, employed themselves in pulling rings and other jewels from the dead and wounded. An honest laborer, having rescued a watch from one of the rogues, gave it to the Mayor for safe keeping. It did not remain, however, long in his Honor’s pocket, some daring scoundrel having extracted it whilst the Mayor was absorbed in his duties.

The Crescent City says:
Numerous incidents of an extraordinary and affecting nature are attached to this dreadful event. The melancholy history connected with the death of Dr. E.J. Marsh, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, call forth our warmest sympathy. From memoranda taken from his person, we found that he had been toiling for some time in the mines of California, and with the product of his labor, after undergoing innumerable hardships, he was hastening to return to his family in the Far West! He arrived in this city a few days since in the Alabama, and a large amount of gold was found upon him. Alas for human hopes! With joyful anticipations of the meeting in store, with warm feelings thronging around his heart, and glad thoughts of the happy future, he was swept away from earth, and his distant home made dark and desolate!

The body of William C. Read was recognized yesterday morning at the Baronne street watch house, by two of his friends, and removed for the purposed of taking it back to his late residence, Fulton, Mo. — Mr. Read was one of a party of six that left that place with the design of proceeding to California. On their arrival here, not being able to procure tickets for the whole route by way of the Isthmus, five concluded to return and await until next December. Of the five Read is killed, and Thomas and Crocket Harrison badly scalded. Upon the person of Mr. Read was a money belt of red webbing, bound with leather, containing $700 in gold, which cannot be found. One of his friends, who was miraculously preserved, although standing at the time of the explosion upon the boiler deck of the Louisiana, saw a man on the levee take away the belt from the body, but he was himself so bewildered by the dreadful shock received, that he offered no impediment. The individual told him that he would be responsible for the money, and that his name was Smith.

[This money did fall into honest hands. It was taken by Mr. John Smith, No. 34 Poydra street, who has given notice in the Picayune, that it will be delivered to the legal claimant.]

Mr. Frederick A. Wood, now lying in a very precarious state at Dr. Stone’s Hospital, was walking on the street, two squares from the place of the disaster, when he heard the explosion; thinking it very close he hurried instantly from the danger, but a semicircular bar of iron fell suddenly upon him, breaking both arms. He has already had one of them amputated, and now his life hangs upon a thread.


RESPECT FOR THE DEAD. — We are happy to see that the message of the Mayor, advising that proper tokens of respect should be exhibited for those who were suddenly swept from time to eternity by the disaster of Thursday evening, has been promptly responded to by our citizens and the shipmasters in port. The flags from the different public buildings, and nearly all the ships and steamboats in port are displayed at half mast, and a deep gloom pervades throughout the city.

Burlington Hawk Eye (Burlington, Iowa) Dec 6, 1849

Rats in the House That Jack Built

January 20, 2009
Rat in the House that Jack Built

Rat in the House that Jack Built

The Arkansas delegation in Congress are singular fellows — singular, because Van Buren member of Congress, and yet quite honest. We have already amused our readers by sundry extracts from the blunt denunciations of the corruptions of the party to which they belong, which have fallen from the lips of Senator Sevier and Representative Yell. — The latter gentleman has been again applying the lash to his delinquent friends. Some proposition of the party being before the House, proposing the expenditure of several hundred thousand dollars, Mr. Yell broke out into the following exclamation, “is this the time,” said he, “for us to think of useless taxation, and useless expenditure? What is our condition? AN EMPTY TREASURY — A NATIONAL DEBT — A VILIFIED CREDIT!” Verily, here is a yell for you! The picture of the national degradation brought upon the country by the empiricism of Van Buren, is drawn with a pencil light! But hear Yell yet a while longer. Hear him describe his fellows of the House — the real Simon Pure hard-money-Loco-foco-Democratic-people-loving-money-hating, “cats and rats” of Van Burenism and their masters, who have kept them sleek and plump by good feeding!


“Mr. Speaker, it is not to be denied that there are in this House cats and rats — I certainly do not intend to offer any term reproach or discourtesy to any gentleman, when I make use of such epithets — who have for years been struggling, and often with too much success, to clutch the malt, and carry it away from the House that Jack built. The fact has been known to all — the late and present Executive have both been aware of the fact — and if I have any language of censure or of reproach to add, it must be found in a well grounded complaint that they have not drawn the offending rats from their hiding places, dismissed them from their confidence, and held them up to public reprobation.” — Journal and Register.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) July 17, 1838

The House That Jack Built

Other Political Uses From Wikipedia:

  • Thomas Jefferson, prior to serving as President, first used it to criticize the broad construction approach of the “necessary and proper” clause of the U.S. Constitution with respect to a bill to grant a federal charter to a mining company. The term was used to suggest that the expansion of federal powers under these arguments would give the federal government infinite powers. “Congress are authorized to defend the nation. Ships are necessary for defense; copper is necessary for ships; mines, necessary for copper; a company necessary to work the mines; and who can doubt this reasoning who has ever played at ‘This is the House that Jack Built’? Under such a process of filiation of necessities the sweeping clause makes clean work.”
  • One of the “Political Miscellanies” associated with the Rolliad, an 18th century British satire, was “This Is the House That George Built”, referring to George Nugent Grenville, Marquess of Buckingham, who had briefly supported William Pitt the Younger into government before resigning from office. The parody is attributed to Joseph Richardson.

Little River County, Arkansas Lynchings, 1899

January 19, 2009
An Alabama Lynching: picture from

An Alabama Lynching: picture from




Wrath of the White Men Not Yet Appeased, and Search Going On
–Murder of Planter Starts the Trouble.

TEXARKANA, Ar., March 23. — A race war is on in Little River county, and during the past forty-eight hours an indefinite number of negroes have met their death at the hands of an infuriated white population. Seven are know to have been lynched, shot to death or slain in some manner and the work is not yet done.

The bodies of the victims of the mob’s vengeance are hanging to trees in various parts of the country, strung up wherever overtaken, while that of another who was shot to death while trying to escape, was thrown into a river.

White men are collecting in mobs heavily armed and determined; negroes are fleeing for their lives and the community is in an uproar.

The known dead to date are:
Two Let Off With Whipping.

Joe King and John Johnson were also taken in hand by mobs and whipped. They were afterwards turned loose and have disappeared.

Little River county is in the extreme southwest corner of the state, bordered on the west by the Indian territory and on the south by Texas. The negro population is large and has for a long time proved very troublesome to the whites. Frequent murders have occurred and thefts and fights have become common affairs. One or two negroes have previously been severely dealt with when the people found it necessary to take the law into their own hands but it was not until Tuesday that the trouble took on a very serious aspect. It then developed that carefully laid plans had been made by a number of negroes to precipitate a race war, and that many white men had been marked for victims. It is learned that twenty-three negroes were implicated in this plot and the whites are now bent on meting out summary punishment to the entire coterie of conspirators. Seven have been killed and the work of wiping out the entire list continues without relaxation of determination.

All implicated in the plot are known and small parties of white men, varying in number from twenty-five to fifty, are scouring the country for them. Wherever one is found he is quickly strung up, his body perforated with leaden missiles to make sure of their work and the mob hastens on in quest of its next victim. Some of them were found near Richmond and the work of killing the first two or three was an easy matter.

Negroes Panic Stricken.
But the news soon spread among the negroes, who, instead of making the resistance and offering the battle that they had threatened, became panic stricken and began getting out of the community as quickly as possible. Two whose names were on the list of conspirators got a good start of the mob who were detailed to look after them and they succeeded in reaching  the Texas state line before being captured. However, they did not escape. They were overtaken, out of breath and exhausted, but were swung without ceremony.

Last Saturday a prominent planter named James Stockton was murdered at his home near Rocky Comfort by a man named Duckett. The negro escaped at the time, but after remaining in hiding in the swamps until Tuesday he surrendered, saying he had had nothing to eat since his flight. He was taken to Rocky Comfort and soon after his arrival there Sheriff Johnson and deputies started with him for Richmond. They were overtaken by 200 armed men, who demanded the prisoner. Duckett was taken to the place where he had killed Stockton and after making a confession he was lynched. when the negro was taken to the George  plantation just before the start was made for Richmond, it seemed as if every man in the ten miles knew of the capture and before the officer and prisoner could get fairly started the whole country was aroused.

Had Planned an Uprising.
After the lynching it was learned that Duckett had frequently tried to get the negroes in the country to join him in a race war against the whites. A few hours after he had killed Stockton he passed several negroes at a farm house and told them that he had killed one white man and if they would follow him he would kill more. It is now believed that the negroes had banded for a race war. Duckett’s body was buried by the county, as the negroes refused to touch it.

Advices from New Boston, Tex., tonight are to the effect that across the river several negroes have been lynched. This morning Benjamin Jones was found dead on Hurricane Bend and from New Boston it is learned that Joe King and Moses Jones were found hanging to trees at Horseshoe Curve today. Another Jones is missing. In the gang that was plotting for a race war were twenty-three negroes, and it is likely that the entire number have been strung up in the thickets. The negroes are fleeing from the district. Today three wagons full arrived at Texarkana, having crossed Red river at Index at midnight last night. The citizens of Little River county have suffered much recently from lawlessness. Some months ago, the two races clashed at Allene at a sawmill and a small riot followed. From accounts it seems that Duckett and several ringleaders have been killed.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Mar 24, 1899

Patsey: Woman, Mother, Slave

January 15, 2009

A PROLIFIC NEGRO FAMILY.— The Memphis Avalanche has discovered a most prolific and certainly well-branched family. Such a family wouldn’t take much time to stock all the plantations of the South with “hands.”

The head of this family is now living in Chickasaw county, Mississippi, on the plantation of Colonel Duncan Hubbard, and is now considerably over one hundred years of age. She was a woman and a mother during the war of the revolution. Her name is Patsey.

1860 Slave Schedule

1860 Slave Schedule

It is related of the old woman, that a few Sundays ago, becoming impatient at the slow progress made by some of the younger negroes in hitching up a team which was to convey her to church, some two miles distant from her master’s plantation, she started off on foot at a brisk rate, walking the whole distance, and reaching the church before the others with her.

The number of her descendants is truly astonishing, she having no less than [three hundred and one] living children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren. A large number of the descendants — perhaps one-third of the whole — have died. Her oldest son, a robust, healthy man, died recently at the age of ninety years, and her oldest living child is over seventy years old. One of her sons, “Uncle Billy,” is the father of sixteen children, and these children have now living eighty descendants. Patsey, the maternal ancestor of all this army of men, women and children, still lives in the enjoyment of a ripe old age, surrounded by every comfort which a kind and indulgent master can bestow, and respected by all who know her, whites as well as blacks.

Newport Daily News (Newport, Rhode Island) Oct 3, 1859

Duncan Hubbard was the son of David Hubbard, a cousin of Samuel Houston. Sometime after 1860, probably during or after the Civil War, Duncan moved to Pointe Coupe Parish, Louisiana, which is where his father died.  There is a PDF file regarding the papers of David Hubbard, which also gives a timeline of David Hubbard’s  life among other things here.

As far as Patsey and her family, I have no idea if they followed Duncan to Louisiana or not, since I can’t find Duncan on the later census records.  There only appear to be a few Hubbard’s (provided they used that surname) who were probably at one time slaves in the Chickasaw Co., MS area and Pointe Coupe Parish, LA in 1870.