Episode 62: Ten Paces, Fire! Boston’s Hamiltonian Duel

Early in the morning of March 31, 1806, two young men of Boston faced each other across a marshy field outside Providence, Rhode Island.  With the sun beginning to peek above the horizon, they marked out ten paces between themselves, then stood facing one another.  Each had a friend at his right hand, as they coolly leveled their pistols at one another.  Now, one of the friends called out, “Are you ready… Present… Fire!”  And both men squeezed the triggers on their dueling pistols.  

If that sounds an awful lot like the famous duel that Alexander Hamilton fought against Aaron Burr two years earlier, you’re not wrong.  In ways that we’ll examine, it’s even more similar to the duel that Alexander’s son Philip Hamilton fought against a man named George Eacker in 1801.  


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Episode 61: Annexation, Making Boston Bigger for 150 Years

In the latter half of the nineteenth century, Boston transformed itself from a town on a tiny peninsula to a sprawling city.  In part, this was done by creating new land in the Back Bay and South Boston, but the city gained a great amount of area by annexing its neighbors.  The first was Roxbury, which joined the city of Boston 150 years ago this week.  Dorchester, Brighton, West Roxbury, and Charlestown would follow.  Other towns, like Cambridge and Brookline would not.  Find out why in this week’s show.


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Episode 55: The Boy Fiend, Boston’s Youngest Serial Killer

Jesse Pomeroy was a Victorian era serial killer who stalked the streets of Boston. He predated Jack the Ripper by a decade, and the Boston Strangler by almost a century. At only 14 years old, he was known as the Boy Fiend, a child who tortured and killed his fellow children, becoming Boston’s youngest serial killer.


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Episode 11: The Ursuline Convent Riots (Inauguration Special, part 1)

On a hot summer’s night in 1834, rumors swirled around a Catholic girls’ school in Charlestown.  Catholicism was a frightening, unfamiliar religion, and Catholic immigrants were viewed with great suspicion.  People said that the nuns were being held in slavery, or that Protestant children were being tortured and forcibly converted.  A crowd gathered, and violence flared.  When the sun rose the next morning, the Ursuline Convent lay in smoking ruins.  Thirteen men were tried, but none served time.  What deep seated biases led Yankee Boston down this dark road?  Listen to this week’s episode to find out!

Continue reading Episode 11: The Ursuline Convent Riots (Inauguration Special, part 1)