Crime Blotter, 1874 | Bleader

Monday, December 28, 2009

Crime Blotter, 1874

Posted By on 12.28.09 at 09:30 AM

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The Chicago Inter-Ocean, December 18, 1874. You could get your ride boosted in Chicago long before it was a car. In certain other respects, the crimescape has changed quite a bit.

The "Bridewell" refers to this place. The name originates with London's Bridewell Prison, but was used generically for "pokey," "calaboose," "lock-up," etc. The Chicago Tribune was still using the term into the 1970s.
Said House of David was one of the city's biggest and roughest saloons, and shows up in the crime news routinely. Its owner and eponym, David Thornton, was a major political fixer in the mold of Deadwood's Al Swearengen.
"Revised and corrected" in the sense of "busted," or so I guess. Coat-theft was a very common criminal enterprise at the time.
A "waterproof" is a raincoat. "Spirituelle" meant "witty" which here serves as a euphemistic synonym for "gay," which at the time meant "prostitute," not "homosexual." So Nixon mugged working girl Libby Reid for her raincoat.
A couple of Catholic girls in danger of turning gay, I surmise.
Chicago hasn't run out of wife-beaters yet, but pigeon thefts are way down since the late 19th century.
"The social evil" was a refomer's term for prostitution. Apparently this particular lady of the evening had reconsidered her suicide and wasn't yet ready to move on. (I don't think "goblin movements" was meant as a double entendre, but perhaps I'm being naive.)

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