Edge Clipping #15 – August Crime Wave 1878

Included here are three clippings from Ron Edge's collection - all from August, 1878 issues of the Post-Intelligencer. They are all short stories of criminal behavior, more or less, and so are sufficiently sensational to be entertaining for the average reader, but then also for the blog's sensitive readers, because everyone likes sensation and a good crime story. The first story begins ominously, "Fast Riding. - Yesterday a party of men from across the mountains came into town . . ." Although such a lead holds real promise of mayhem it sputters to reconciliation. But stories two and three, "Footpads" and "Bold Robbery," go different ways.

A "footpad" is, of course, a highwayman - someone who preys on travelers and even pedestrians. Mill Street in this story was later renamed Yesler Way. "Near the tannery" is near 3rd and Yesler. (By the way, Front Street in the preceding story was later named First Avenue - north of Yesler way). In 1878 Seattle did not yet have 1000 citizens. It did, however, often have hundreds of single men visiting town in retreat from jobs on the Sound and in the forests and looking for social excitements. Some of these visitors were also scoundrels and others blackguards and at least two of those were footpads.
The next mean story mentions the Occidental Hotel, and above is a look at it (the brilliant white structure at the center) north on Occidental Avenue from near Main Street, about the time of the story below, that is, the late 1870s. Of course this is a hand-colored rendering of a pioneer photograph. The colorist was probably Robert Bradley, a professional photographer some of whose slides I inherited along with the Horace Sykes kodachromes from the Lawton Gowey family.

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An 1878 advertisement for the Occidental Hotel pulled from Ron Edge's collection of regional ephemera. This too is from the Post-Intelligencer in 1878.

2 thoughts on “Edge Clipping #15 – August Crime Wave 1878”

  1. I like the phrase “disciples of Turpin” (in the Footpads story), which would be a reference to Dick Turpin, famed English highwayman and horse thief of the 1700s.

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