Saturday, 28 August 2010

Nothing new: murders of the past

Winnipeg Police Museum
When people talk to me about my daily history blog I usually get a comment about how surprised they are at the crime reports they read about.

It's a sad fact that, like most cities, the good old days weren't always good and street crime, even ones that shock us today, go back a long time.

In just
the past five days I marked the anniversary of Manitoba's first hanging, that of Private Joseph Michaud, for the 1874 unprovoked, multiple-stabbing death of a bystander on Main Street. There was the 1909 hanging of Mike Pidhoney for slashing the throat of a man while he slept in Sandilands. Donald Prockiw went to the gallows for the brutal 1926 murder of "Scotch Annie" Cardno. Today commemorates the sad 111-year old quadruple murder-suicide of the Johnson family in Gilbert Plains.

I don't go out of my way to note crime stories so there are hundreds of murders, rapes, kidnappings and the like that sit in the newspaper archives.

If local true-crime is something that you are interested in there are a few great resources...

There is the Winnipeg Police Museum on Allard. It's only open business hours Monday to Friday but definitely worth a visit. Batons and arm bands used by "Specials' in the 1919 strike, historic wanted posters and even a 1920's Winnipeg Police paddy wagon are included in the collection.

The museum is also a great on-line resource with numerous well-researched stories about notorious criminals, crimes and the (mostly) men behind the badge.

Another site, Manitoba's Buried History, is a fascinating look behind the headstones. The famous, the forgotten and those who lost their lives as victim, or perpetrator, of crime.

Muddy Waters Tours has a great lineup including a Murder, Mystery and Mayhem walking tour. For walking tours better book soon before the summer is done !

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