Thursday, March 4, 2010

Rather a sticky situation

Ever since the New York delegation to the 1776 congress arrived in Philadelpha, unable to do much more than abstain from voting because the New York legislature had never been too busy arguing to give them any instructions (an oft-repeated quote from the film 1776: "New York abstains. Courteously!"), New York has had something of reputation for being the homebase of large, quarreling groups whose actions tipped into the bizarre.

The Amateur Historian enters the Molasses Gang evidence. This gang, first formed in 1871, had a peculiar form of robbery. One member would walk into a store and ask the storeowner to fill up his hat with molasses, saying that he had a bet with a friend on just how much molasses his hat could cold. The gangmember would thereupon stick the hat, full of molasses, on the head of the shopkeeper and the gang- presuming they hadn't gotten bored and wandered off halfway through, as was often the case- would loot the store.

The Amateur Historian does not quite blame the gang members for getting bored. It must have taken a very long time to fill anything up with molasses, let alone a hat.


  1. What a fun post! I'm amazed at how you find this information. I loved it.

  2. Thank you! I mostly manage to find my blog post subjects through serendipity. I'm quite lucky that way!