Tag Archives: crime

Timeline Tuesday: Coal Thieves

The advent of winter at one time prompted many Nebraska householders to lay in a supply of coal. Those who lacked the money sometimes found creative ways to fill the family coal bin. From Lincoln’s Daily State Journal of January … Continue reading

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Flashback Friday: A Funny Post-Election Poem…and the Grisly Story Behind It

A bit of post-election humor from the NSHS collections seems appropriate just a few days before the 2016 election—but it has a dark backstory unrelated to politics. How did this piece of paper come to reside in the NSHS collections? … Continue reading

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Flashback Friday: Why Cowboy Gun Battles Were Often Shots in the Dark

Associate Editor and black powder enthusiast Jim Potter wrote this blog post. One staple of TV or movie “Westerns” is a shoot-out in a saloon. Such confrontations are often portrayed as stemming from a volatile mix of drinking, gambling, testosterone, … Continue reading

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John T. Bell’s Shorthand in the Courtroom

Before the invention of recording and dictation machines, shorthand was considered an essential skill for secretaries, journalists, and court reporters. John T. Bell, an early Nebraska stenographer and journalist, in 1889 addressed a meeting of the Nebraska Shorthand Society in … Continue reading

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Mystery Grave in Boyd County

The Boyd County skull, showing what appears to be a bullet hole in the forehead. Like something out of detective fiction, a crew digging a trench found an unmarked grave in a rural field where no graves were known to … Continue reading

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Murder at the Lincoln Hotel: The Irvine-Montgomery Case

The Lincoln Hotel at Ninth and P streets was the scene of a sensational murder in May of 1892. NSHS RG2158-408c The trial of William H. Irvine for the murder of Charles E. Montgomery in October of 1892 in Lancaster … Continue reading

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A Prisoner’s Plea

The Society has a large collection of Nebraska-made/Nebraska-themed sheet music.  While cataloging some a few weeks back I came across two pieces that piqued my interest–mainly because the composers were identified only by their prisoner numbers. This sheet music has … Continue reading

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Stinkfinger’s Popular Illustrated Monthly Magazine

I recently discovered a rather strange item while editing a collection description on our website. The finding aid for our Charles E. Wood collection lists an item entitled, Stinkfinger’s Popular Illustrated Monthly Magazine. Intrigued by the title, I decided to … Continue reading

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“Judge Lynch” in Nebraska

During the six decades from 1859 to 1919, at least 45 men and two women died at the hands of lynch mobs in Nebraska while during the same period, only 23 or 24 individuals were executed according to law. Find … Continue reading

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The Great Sheedy Murder Trial of 1891

It was Lincoln’s most sensational criminal trial of the nineteenth century. But as historian Timothy Mahoney argues, the Sheedy case was more than just a sordid tale of murder, adultery, and greed. In “The Great Sheedy Murder Trial and the … Continue reading

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