Who was the real victim here?

Oh, you naughty villain! - Morning Chronicler 24 July 1820: SURREY SESSIONS. - July 22. Bigamy. - Wm Thomas, a old decrepit man, who is so deformed that he has been from his birth unable either to dress or undress himself, having neither hands nor feet, stood indicted...

Aged donkey served rich and poor

 Longevity of the ass - Bury and Norwich Post 4 January 1854: A donkey has just died at Fornham All Saints, having attained to the venerable age of 70 years and upwards. It formerly belonged to the Cornwallis family, and was ridden by Lady Ann, after whom it was...

Long shot survivor

Battled on for 40 more years - Reading Mercury 01 July 1799: DIED - At Northam, aged 80, J.Padmore, who, at the battle of Minden, received a ball through his head. It is a little odd that the passing of an individual would be so casually recorded. Note that the battle...

James Tetley and Betty Stockdale’s wedding

Warren Nunn Many people tend to see genealogy as a boring, uninteresting pastime. Why spend time in the past looking at old records? Why not focus on the people around you and enjoy your family who are actually alive? In some ways you can understand where they are...

Thomas McRoberts

Great progenitor - Aberdeen Press and Journal 11 November 1799: Died, at Newton-Stewart, on the 16th ult. Thomas McRoberts, aged about 100 years. His great-grandchildren by the first marriage are above 12 years of age, and he has left a daughter by the third marriage...

Coalport catastrophe

Dreadful stupidity - Aberdeen Press and Journal 11 November 1799: A dreadful accident happened at Coalport, near the Iron Bridge, Shropshire, on the evening of the 30th ult. As a considerable number of the work people, men and women, belonging to Messrs Rofe and Co's...

Mary Evans

No impediment to love - Aberdeen Press and Journal 01 July 1799: A marriage was on Tuesday celebrated at Wells, which excited a considerable degree of curiosity and entertainment. The bride, Mary Evans, was born without arms, but enjoyed the use of her feet in such a...

Outrage at Kildare

Horror of horrors - Aberdeen Press and Journal 19 November 1798: Letters from Rathangan relate an outrage committed near that place, scarcely paralleled even in the atrocities of the present rebellion: The house of a respectable clergyman in that neighbourhood was...

Woman of distinction

Bravery at sea - Aberdeen Press and Journal 11 November 1799: This is at present in the Middlesex Hospital a young and delicate female, who calls herself Miss T-lb-t, and who is said to be related to some families of distinction: her story is very singular. At an...

Indian Peter

Penny post man - Aberdeen Press and Journal 28 January 1799: On Saturday last died here, Mr Peter Williamson, well known for his various adventures through life. He was kidnapped when a boy at Aberdeen, and sent to America, for which he afterwards recovered damages....

She wasn’t kidding

Not rushing into things - Derby Mercury 12 March 1795: At Chesterfield, on Monday last, Mr. John Bulman, a lusty, hale, and vigorous Bridegroom, aged only 86, to the lovely, blooming, and adorable Widow of the late Mr. Morris Nadin, now in her 79th year; both...

Hobbling down the aisle

The ceremony took ages - Derby Mercury 26 October 1786: Bristol, October 21. Tuesday was married at Stapleton Church in the County of Gloucester, Mr. John Harford, aged 79, to Mrs Elizabeth Neal, aged 98, both of the same Parish. There was a vast Concourse of People...

Humanity unmasked

Astute observation - Derby Mercury  26 June 1794: ANECDOTE. Mr. NEWTON, when formerly captain of a Guinea trader, charging one of his negroes with a theft, the latter denied it. The master doubting the veracity of his slave; this poor, dark, untutored, uncivilized...

Market fluctuation

Shameful price to pay - The Suffolk Chronicle; or Weekly General Advertiser & County Express, 28 February 1835, page 2: SALE OF A WIFE. - On Monday se'nnight*, one those disgraceful proceedings, the sale of a wife, took place in Clare market. Strange to say, the...

Curl your lips

This should bring a smile - South Australian Chronicle and Weekly Mail, 15 August 1868: An American photographer says that ladies, when having their portraits taken, may observe the following rules with some advantage as to their appearance. "When a lady, sitting...

Shattering bolt

Struck by the electric fluid - Wolverhampton Chronicle and Staffordshire Advertiser, 23 February 1859: On Wednesday last, Achill was visited by one of the most violent thunderstorms which has occurred within memory. A house in Curraun, on the mainland,...

Warmly received

Woolly first-fleecers - Wolverhampton Chronicle and Staffordshire Advertiser, 23 February 1859: After six years of indomitable perseverance, Mr. Charles Ledger, an English merchant, established in Peru, has succeeded in landing safely at Sydney a flock of...

Taking it in his stride

Boots made for walking - Aberdeen Journal, 23 May 1827: Pedestrianism. - James Baxter, foot-messenger, residing in Fochabers, has been employed in that capacity, by different members of the Noble Family of Gordon, since the year 1785, a period of 42 years,...

Loudly hitched

Wedding for the ages - Bury and Norwich Post, 31 August 1836: On Friday last, John Scates, carpenter, aged 68, to the widow Childs, both of this town. The bridegroom had been judged too far advanced in his dotage to redeem his "lady love" for her child-hood,...

Photo finish

  Deadly reflection - Bury and Norwich Post, 10 March 1847: DIED. On the 14th ult., at St. Christopher's, aged 36, Charles Thornton Cunningham, Esq., Lieutenant-Governor of the Leeward Islands, eldest son of the Rev. J.W.Cunningham, Vicar of Harrow. The...

That’s a relief

Worthy of support - The Ipswich Journal, 20 September 1845: A PATRIARCH.-John Matthews, aged 114, residing in the parish of Llandilo-Talybout, together with his daughter, applied for relief, for the first time, at a meeting of our board of guardians, held...

Still squabbling

Nothing new under the sun - The Examiner, July 24, 1858: TURKEY— Fanatical Movements.— The news from Turkey increases in importance, The Paris 'Pays' says “It appears by recent letters from Mecca, that during the last religious fetes serious dissensions...

Dressing down

Frocking tale - Herts Guardian, Agricultural Journal, and General Advertiser, 15 November 1853:  Ann Bacon, Sarah Sayles, and Jane Archer, three uninteresting young ladies of Hatfield, were charged with assaulting May Ann Mitchell, another...

Three’s a crowd

Triple treat - The Ipswich Journal, 3 September 1836: At Brussels, last week, a barber's wife, 40 years of age, and who had been married 10 years without having children, gave birth to three bouncing boys, who, with the mother are doing well.

Cracking heads

Matrimonial miseries - The Ipswich Journal, 3 September 1836: Mary Bird, the woman who on Monday was charged with an assault upon her mother-in-law Mary Mann, attended to prefer a charge of assault against her husband, William Bird, a coal-porter, and in...

Making hay

Longevity - Bury and Norwich Post, 15 September 1847: There is at present a woman named Mary Benton, living in the village of Elton, near Stockton-on-Tees, who has attained the great age of 107 years, and is at present in possession of most of her faculties....

Canine conversation

Speaking of dogs - Newcastle Courant, 13 February 1731: Edinburgh, Jan. 16. Both City and Country having been for several Days past amused with different Accounts of the late Apparition in the Shire of Perth, we have thought proper to publish the...

Tears at the altar

Jilted curate's agony -  Nottingham Evening Post, 3 July 1925: Unites to his rival the girl who rejected him - M. Arna, a Swiss Protestant curate who had been jilted by his fiancee, was called on in his professional capacity to marry her to his...

Makes for a big reunion

Daniel Aitken died aged  120 - Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 1 May 1847: A man named Daniel Aitken lately died in Wexford, Canada, at the age of 120 years; during his life had contracted seven marriages, and he has left five hundred and seventy...

Hear, hear, here

Speaking of silly - Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 11 March 1848: At the Lancaster assizes, on Monday, a witness was called to verify the signature to a deposition. Being rather tardy in entering the witness-box, Mr Baron Alderson inquired the cause of...

Fighting for love

Sailor boy, sailor girl - North Devon Journal, 22 July 1841: A female sailor. - A considerable degree of excitement was caused last week in the town of Brixham, by the discovery of a female sailor, on board one of trawl boats, in which capacity she had been...

Bovine battleground

Serious raid by a bullock - Carlisle Patriot, 19 April 1867: The spirit of mischief seems to have taken possession of the bovine race, as never a market day now passes without an adventure in the streets of Dumfries more or less exciting and dangerous with...

Sleuth-hounds caracole

Dream of a Spelling Bee - Leicester Chronicle, 22 January 1876: Unknown (1876) Menageries where sleuth-hounds caracole,  Where jaguar phalanx and phlegmatic gnu Fright ptarmigan and kestrels, cheek by jowl With peewit and precocious cockatoo. Gaunt...

Young love triumphs

An elopement frustrated - Aberdeen Evening Express, 17 July 1888: A singular scene was (says a correspondent) witnessed in the Citadel Station, Carlisle, yesterday morning, when the police frustrated the elopement of a lady and gentleman from the Lake...

Money isn’t everything

Eccentric woman's death at Colchester - Essex Standard, 28 January 1899: The circumstances attending the death of Eleanor Neale, a spinster, aged 72, residing in Lucas Road, Colchester, have given rise to a good deal of local gossip. Deceased had lived in the town for...

Shot doing his job

Right royal mistake - Derby Mercury, 26 October 1786: ANECDOTE of the late KING of PRUSSIA. It is well known, that amongst the numerous Body of Prussian Troops, the King formed one Regiment which he call the “Immortal Corps of tall Grenadiers;” so named, because...

Fists fly in Elder abuse

Mutiny of Mormon converts - The Shields Daily Gazette and Shipping Telegraph, 18 February 1898: Terrible fight in a train. A special telegram from New York to the Newcastle Journal states that at Cheyenne a carload of 60 Scandinavian converts to...

Baby faced jockey

Tiny hoop wows women - Aberdeen Journal, 24 September 1902: The Sheepshead Bay Racecourse, New York, was the other day the scene of an extraordinary demonstration. A jockey named Washington Breassal, who is only nine years old, rode Ipse Dixit, and came...

It’s tough at the top

'Distress' in London - Bell's Weekly Messenger, 27 May 1865: (From the Owl.) For the last fortnight accounts have reached us from all sides showing the existence at the present time of a widespread distress throughout the populous districts of Mayfair...

Oswego lake monster

Another 'sea serpent' sensation - Sheffield Independent 2 July 1867: We know that it has been customary for the manufacturers of the marvellous to revive at intervals the story of the "sea serpent," which has gone the rounds of the papers "many a time and...

Hound begs for money

A sagacious dog - Aberdeen Herald and General Advertiser 2 November 1844: A dog, of a mongrel breed, who is well known about Castle Street by the name of "the Doctor," has been, for some time past, in the habit of begging halfpennies from all and sundry with whom he...

A very costly spurning

Extraordinary breach of promise to marry-£400 damages  - Leeds Times 5 March 1864: At the Warwick assizes, on Thursday, a trial for breach of promise was heard before Mr. Justice Blackburn. Charlotte Emma Blackham, daughter of Mr. Blackham, pin...

The floor gave way

Precipitated into the cellars - Cambridge Independent Press  11 January 1873: An extraordinary accident happened at Charleston, Cornwall, on New Year's Eve. The Rev. A.H.Ferris, vicar, and a number of the leading parishoners, held a tea meeting,...

Caning in church

The office of dog-whipper - Hertford Mercury and Reformer 3 November 1888: In reference to the "antient inhabitant" of Great Amwell whose name appears in the register of that parish as having died in 1634, and who, among other occupations, was employed to...

Extraordinary way to die

Fatal final steps - Aberdeen Press and Journal 3 April 1822: On Friday last, as John McKenzie, a poor man 80 years of age, was coming home laden with some firewood, which he had been gathering, he was blown into the Canal by the strength of the wind, at Muirtown...

Baldrick would have been so proud

Monster turnip - Hereford Times 5 October 1861:   We have been favoured with the sight of a turnip, of the white variety, grown on the farm of Mr George Hooper, of Barewood, Pembridge (son of Mr Hooper, late of Putson, near this city), which may be said to "take...