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Monthly Archives: July 2010

The American Malefactor’s Dictionary: bess or bets(e)y or betty

bess or bets(e)y or betty – a simple picklock; a crooked nail used to open locks. Sources Matsell, George W. Vocabulum: Or, the Rogue’s Lexicon.. New York: George W. Matsell, 1859. Partridge, Eric. A Dictionary of the Underworld. New York: Bonanza Books, 1961. Note: See “Cant: The Language of the Underworld” to learn more about […]

EAC Places and Events: The Fort Mackinac Guardhouse Prison Cell

Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island was constructed in 1779 in order to protect the lucrative fur trade in northern Michigan and maintain relations with neighboring Native American tribes. The military importance of the Fort diminished as the nineteenth century progressed, but the Fort took on a new role when the Mackinac National Park was established […]

The American Malefactor’s Dictionary: beat and its variants

beat – 1. to get the best of him; 2. to rob or swindle; 3. the part of a town in which a criminal or gang works; 4. to escape from prison; 5. to cheat or defraud (as in beat the hotel out of its bill). beat out of – to extort money from (a […]