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Tag Archives: Roxalana Druse

Wuss Out Sick Day

How Wuss-out Wednesday can I get without getting another blog post behind?  Taking a Blogger’s Sick Day would be pretty wussy, I think.  I feel AWFUL!!! I don’t know if it is a cold or allergies, but there is not much I can do right now except feel awful.  Well, I can also spare a little me to feel stupid for being such a big fat baby about what is really a trifling illness.  And to feel guilty about not making a better blog post.  But that’s about it.

“What’s in this drink?”

I thought I would throw in a picture, so this could be also a kind of a Wordless Wednesday.  Doesn’t she look a little like she’s taking some nasty medicine?  I don’t think she is.  It is the lady from The Atomic Brain, one of my favorite cheesy movies.

It’s kind of a cheesy grin, no?

A theatre friend made this frame over a picture of me when I was playing Roxalana Druse at Ilion Little Theatre.  She killed her abusive husband and was hung for it, in case you did not remember the famous case.  Art Wilks, who played my husband in Roxy, is in Morning’s at Seven with me now, but not as my husband.  I find the picture appropriate for today, because when I am feeling particularly ill (you know how these illnesses get better or worse in waves), I keep saying I want to die. Of course I do not. I might miss something.

Here’s a cheery grin for you!

Looking to end on a lighter note, I include this picture of a nice little vampire, in the Halloween pot my friend Marsha sent me.

Now I am going to drink some hot tea with lemon and honey.  Perhaps you will join me tomorrow for Non-Sequitur Thursday.

 

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I Hope to Haunt

I thought I would take today’s post to give a quick shout-out to an event I am taking part in this Saturday, Oct. 27: Haunted Historic Four Corners in Herkimer, NY, hosted by the Herkimer County Historical Society.

Regular readers may remember that Herkimer’s Historic Four Corners is one of my favorite places to walk or run by.  They may not know that each of the four corners is reputed to have at least one ghost.   On Saturday, participants can walk a tour of two of them: Suiter House and the 1834 Jail.  The New York Shadow Chasers will be on hand to share their findings when they have investigated the sites.  A few ghosts may be on hand as well.  That is where I come in.

At least, there may be a few actual ghosts on hand; I can’t speak to that.  However, there will also be actors there impersonating some of the more famous ghosts.  I will reprise my role of Roxalana Druse (I was in the play Roxy by Jack Sherman in 2015; perhaps you read a few of my blog posts about it).   Jean Gianini and Chester Gilette are two other murderers that may be there, as well as one or two that haven’t had plays written about them (ooh, a future writing project for me?).

Here I am when I played Roxalana last year. I have better hair for it this year.

The event runs from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27.  Pre-sale tickets are $10.00 and available at the Herkimer County Historical Society, 406 N. Main St., Herkimer, NY, Monday-Friday, 10-4. They will be $15.00 the evening of the event. Tickets will be sold by time slot – tours will leave every 15 minutes. Proceeds will benefit the Historical Society and the “Friends of Historic Herkimer County” who are renovating the 1834 Jail.  For more information, contact the Historical Society at 315-866-6413.

 

Snap! It’s Lame Post Friday!

For the record, I have not reached mine yet.

My husband, Steven, and I are watching Snapped, one of my favorite guilty pleasures.  It is, with some exceptions, about women who kill people, most often women who kill their husbands, ex-husbands, lovers, or boyfriends.  I think it is a mark of great trust in my husband that he does not mind that I sometimes watch it with a notebook and pen handy.  Ahem, it is the TV Journal, not an Evil Plan Book.  I don’t have an Evil Plan Book, although now that I say so, it sounds kind of cool.  Note to self: get Evil Plan Book.

Where was I?  Ah yes, Lame Post Friday.  However foolishly I may have posted all week (I admit that some weeks it is a lot of foolishness), I still feel free to be silly on Friday.  You can shake your head, your finger, or you booty at me.  It won’t change anything.

That’s not me on the poster, but I was Roxy.

Speaking of women who snapped, a few years ago I played one who did in Roxy by Jack Sherman, which was presented by Herkimer County Historical Society and Ilion Little Theatre.  I wrote a few blog posts about it at the time.  I won’t link back to all of them.

On the Historic Four Corners, one of my favorite spots in Herkimer, NY.

The story of Roxalana Druse was a famous local story.  To make this a post of more local interest, I include pictures of a couple of the sites where some of it took place.  Above is the 1834 Jail, where Roxy stayed during the trial and awaiting execution.  She was hanged behind the jail, the last woman hanged in New York State.

Across the street from the jail.

This handsome building is the Herkimer County Courthouse where the trial took place.

Well I don’t know how lame this post turned out to be.  I started out with television and veered into local history, not saying very much about either one.  And I don’t know why I told you what I did; if you’ve read this far, you know what I wrote.  Kind of lame of me, would’t you say?  Happy Friday, everyone.

 

Remember Roxy?

So there I was, trying to think of something to make a blog post about that was not whining about how I couldn’t make a blog post today or sharing pictures of monster movies, when I saw that a friend on Facebook had shared a memory from 2015, and I said, “Ah, Roxy.”

I’m being threatened by the guy with the ax, but don’t worry: I turn the tables on him.

This is a rehearsal shot from the play Roxy by Jack Sherman, that was presented by the Herkimer County Historical Society at Ilion Little Theatre in September of 2015.  It concerns a famous local murderess, who was tried in the Herkimer County Courthouse and hanged behind the 1834 Jail. I played the title role.  It was a large cast, and everybody had a chance to shine.  It was quite the theatrical experience for all involved (I believe I wrote a few blog posts about it).  Having downloaded the above photo for inclusion in today’s post, I typed “Roxy Ilion Little Theatre” into the Facebook search box to see what else I could find.

I didn’t really look like this, although I tried.

This is the poster.  The Historical Society also had little magnets of it made up.  I have one on my refrigerator now.

Isn’t he handsome?

This is my wonderful husband, Steven, who played four different roles.  Here he portrays Dr. Suiter, who rather fancied himself as a forensic expert and had a lot to do with getting Roxy hanged.  Thanks a lot, Steve!

That reward isn’t really being offered, so don’t go calling “America’s Most Wanted.”

A friend put this frame on a picture of me.  As far as I remember, no reward was offered for Roxy’s capture, and she wasn’t that hard to take in anyways.  If you want to know the real story of Roxalana Druse, I recommend James M. Greiner’s book, Last Woman Hanged.  I said I was not going to be in any more plays for a while.  Still, if anybody decided to stage a revival of Roxy… well, let’s just say I would take it under consideration.

 

Pedestrian Post with Pictures

Steven and I decided to take a little stroll after dinner, so I brought along my Tablet to take a few pictures.  It was a lovely afternoon for a stroll.  After stopping to chat with  neighbor, I saw some flowers I wanted to snap.

This is an apartment building that used to be a school.

Hmm… I guess that one did not come out very clearly, but I liked the purple flowers.

Maybe I’ll go back after dark and try to get a picture of these lit up.

Steven noticed some solar lights and wondered if ours still work.  We did not put them out this year.  It’s kind of a rebuilding year for our lawn; we have not done much with it except get the nice young man who lives across the street to mow it for us.

Steven thinks this would make a delightful movie/opera house.

Eventually we turned down Main Street, and I suggested I take a picture of this building, which we have long admired.  The “for sale” sign that I had noticed there previously was gone.  I wondered if somebody had bought it or if they were just doing the trick of taking the sign down for a while so when they put it back up folks will think it is a new listing.

I love the color; the picture does not fully do it justice.

Continuing down the street, we saw a building that had seen better days, but there was one lovely flower in front of it, so I took its picture.  Soon we were approaching the Historic Four Corners, which regular readers may recall is a favorite spot of mine.

I wrote a blog post about this cemetery once, a long time ago.

This is the Herkimer Reformed Church.   I love the old gravestones.  Next I wanted a shot of the Suiter House, home of the Herkimer County Historical Society.

It’s even more interesting inside.

The house was built by Dr. A. Walter Suiter, who played a pivotal role in the trials of Chester Gillette and Roxalana Druse, two famous historical murderers of the area.  Steven played Dr. Suiter in the play Roxy, presented by the Historical Society at Ilion Little Theatre in 2015 (I played Roxy.  Perhaps you read a few of my blog posts about it).

Across the street is the Herkimer County Courthouse, where Chester Gillette and Roxalana Druse were tried for their respective murders.

Still a magnificent-looking building.

Of course I had to take a picture of the 1834 Jail, which housed both Gillette and Druse.

Who put that tree in the way!

Steven suggested I take a picture of him on the steps.

“Try to look like Dr. Suiter,” I suggested.

“In my party shorts with my Mr. Incredible t-shirt,” he said, as if he thought that was a problem.  He just smiled handsomely instead.

“Romeo, Romeo, wherefore are thou…” Oh, wait. Wrong play.

Continuing down Main Street, I took a picture of Christ Episcopal Church.

Another handsome, historical building.

We cut though the little park next to Basloe Library (another of my favorite places), and I got a picture of some nice flowers.

I did not read the NOTICE on the building. I hope it did not say not to take pictures of the flowers.

After that, I thought I had taken enough pictures, so we continued our walk back home.  Now I see I am over 550 words and I have successfully avoided having another Wrist to Forehead Sunday post.  I say, not a bad ending to the weekend.

 

More About the Jail

When we last left our heroine (you know that’s me, right?), she was about to begin her blog post in the third person point of view.  But I changed my mind.

Sorry about that little bit of nonsense. I was about to write more about our visit to Herkimer’s 1834 Jail on Monday.  Steven and I were in the second group to go up the stairs with our guide, Jim Greiner.  As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the Jail is famous as the place where Chester Gillette stayed while on trial for the murder of Grace Brown in 1906.  There was to be a talk on a newly revised book about the case by author Craig Brandon at the Court House across the street at seven that night.

Our first stop was the cell Gillette stayed in during his trial.  It is actually kind of a suite, two cell off a third, larger cell.  Photocopies of old magazine photos adorn the walls, because Gillette had decorated the cell with magazine clippings.

From there, we saw the men’s side of regular cells, with a shower at one end, then the women’s cells, with a claw-foot tub.  One woman was offended by the sexism of this, because the shower clearly offered more privacy than the tub.

Somebody asked about where Roxalana Druse was housed.  Druse was hanged behind the jail in 1887.  I mentioned yesterday that Greiner wrote a book about her.  He told us she was housed on the third floor, where offenders who were considered less dangerous were kept.  The third floor was, sadly, not part of the tour.  He told the story of how a fire broke out while she was there.  Druse refused to evacuate but formed part of the bucket brigade putting out the fire.  When Friends of Herkimer Jail took over the building, one member bravely went up to the attic and found where some burnt timbers remained.

We greatly enjoyed our tour.  I love living in a village that has such a rich local history as well as people who work to preserve and share it.

 

Only Through the Door of the Jail

It is well known (by people who know me) that I am a big fan of Herkimer’s 1834 Jail.  When Steven noticed tours would be available this past Monday, I was delighted.  I was even more delighted when we realized that Steven would also be available to participate.  The tours were in conjunction with a talk by Craig Brandon taking place across the street in the Herkimer County Courthouse.

Brandon wrote Murder in the Adirondacks, about the murder of Grace Brown by Chester Gillette in Moose Lake.  Gillette was housed in the jail and tried in the courthouse.  Brandon recently revised the book, adding new photos and information. I’m hoping Steven buys me a copy for my birthday.

Some people, when they have seen an historic site or other attraction, are done. I, on the other hand, am not that way, especially when it is something you can’t go to just any old time.  The 1834 Jail is in that category.  The Jail is an easy walk from our house, on Herkimer’s Historic Four Corners where Main Street meets Church Street.  We thought we had left in plenty of time, but people were already gathering in front of the jail when we arrived.  The door was open, so we went in.  We could hear voices upstairs.

Other people soon followed us in.  One lady noticed a place to sign in, but there was no pen.

“You can borrow my pen,” I said.  It was actually one of Steven’s pens.  He buys these cheap ballpoint pens to take to work, in case he hands one to a customer and doesn’t get it back.  That was a good thing, since I didn’t get it back.  Almost everybody wanted to sign in.

“Oh, look, there are the gallows they strung me up on,”  I said, pointing into the next room.  It was the replica of the Galloping Gallows, which were used to hang Roxalana Druse, who killed her husband in Warren County.  Herkimer B.O.C.E.S. built the replica for Herkimer County Historical Society when they presented the play Roxy at Ilion Little Theatre last September.  I played Roxy.  (In case anybody did not see the play and was concerned, they did not show me being strung up.  The audience was shown the gallows, but the actual execution took place offstage.)

Soon the group who had enjoyed the first tour came downstairs with their tour guide, Jim Greiner, who wrote Last Woman Hanged: Roxalana Druse.  Jim is a dynamic speaker and very knowledgeable about the jail and Herkimer County history.  Steven and I attended a talk he gave about his book, and I have taken a tour of the jail with him.  He greeted us new arrivals  as “Chester Gillette fans.”

“And Roxalana Druse fans,” I said, although truth be known I am a Gillette/Brown aficionado as well.

I must end my blog post here, at the beginning of our tour.  I have a rehearsal tonight for Much Ado About Nothing, and I’m not quite ready for it.  I hope to see you all on Lame Post Friday.