Best Nicknames of the 19th Century Gangs of New York

Share on twitter Tweet
Share on facebook Share

Trivial Diversions

Best Nicknames of the 19th Century Gangs of New York

Best Nicknames of the 19th Century Gangs of New York

gngs2

Cow-legged Sam, Slobbery Jim, Sadie the Goat, Dandy Jim Dolan, Dick the Rat and Hell Cat Maggie lived in Manhattan’s hotbed of thieves. Members of the Forty Thieves, Plug Uglies, Dead Rabbits and the Daybreak Boys were a memorable crew; from biting the head off live rats, wearing brass eye-gougers and stringing ears around their necks, it was a brutal existence in a hellish world.  Even the author Charles Dickens who was used to seeing poverty in London was shocked, calling it: ‘a world of vice and misery.’ Let’s take a look at some of this lost world’s most mythologized inhabitants:

#1 Cow-Legged Sam and Slobbery Jim

Both vicious robbers, they were feared for their murderous looting of cargo boats. Their headquarters was in the gorgeously-named Slaughter-house Inn. But a gang of psychopaths was never going to get along and one night in the Hole-in the Wall while dividing up the spoils Slobbery Jim got into a fight with Patsy the Barber. Their quarrel over sharing out the twelve cents they had stolen resulted in Slobbery Jim trying to bite Patsy’s nose off, slitting his throat and stamping him to death.

#2 Sadie the Goat

Female gang members could be just as fierce and Sadie Farrell was nicknamed after her habit of charging and head-butting victims before robbing them. Her reputation for river robberies also earned her the nickname Queen of the Waterfront. Sadie was so tough that when a female rival named Gallus Meg bit off one of her ears in a bar brawl, she simply stole the ear back, pickled it and wore it on a necklace for the rest of her days.

#3 Dandy Jim Dolan

Among this ragged crew, Jim stood out not only for his dress but for his improvised clothing weapons. He wore a special pair of shoes with blades in the sole and a copper ‘eye-gouger’ on his hand. During a robbery he used his gouger and stole the victim’s eyes – they were found in his pocket on his arrest. Convicted of murder and sentenced to hang, his tough guy act finally burst as he collapsed in tears.

#4 Kit Burns & Dick the Rat

Kit Burns ran the deceptively decent-sounding ‘Sportsman’s Hall.’ It was actually a rat-pit where crowds of toughs gathered to bet on grey wharf rats as they fought terrier dogs. For an additional fee Kit’s son-in-law Richard Toner, known as “Dick the Rat” offered extra entertainment – he would bite the head off a mouse for ten cents and the head off a wharf rat for a quarter.

#5 Hell Cat Maggie

A female member of the Dead Rabbits, Maggie loved to fight and had her teeth filed to points so as to bite her opponents better.  She also wore a brass fingernail cover to help inflict deep scratches in hand to hand combat. Literally armed to the teeth, she was by all accounts as ferocious a fighter as any man.

So when you next walk the streets of Manhattan give a thought to these legends of a thankfully bygone age.

Related topics Gangs of New York, Manhattan
Next post Previous post

Your reaction to this post?

  • LOL

    0

  • Money

    0

  • Cool

    0

  • Fail

    0

  • Cry

    0

  • Geek

    0

  • Angry

    0

  • WTF

    0

  • Crazy

    0

  • Love

    0

You may also like

3817 Views
A Girl’s Best Friend: 7 Diamond Facts
History

A Girl’s Best Friend: 7 Diamond Facts

Diamonds are nothing but tiny crystals of carbon converted into

2192 Views
Actors You Forgot Were on <i>Gilmore Girls</i>
Uncategorized

Actors You Forgot Were on Gilmore Girls

Chad Michael Murray: The One Tree Hill actor got an early start

3527 Views
Amazing Female Pirates
Uncategorized

Amazing Female Pirates

The most famous pirates stick in everyone’s mind: Blackbeard, Long