Thursday, May 12, 2016
VINTAGE STRAIGHT RAZORS AND THEIR MURDEROUS REPUTATION
There is a collector for everything - even straight or "cut-throat" razors. We have a few vintage "cut-throats" in our shop for those who choose to collect such. Frankly, I get a bit unnerved when I'm around anyone who has a grip on one of these "weapons" - they just look evil. The following news accounts are examples of the troubled history of these tools of refinement... and war. Thanks to
for his summary:
Dallas Morning News (October 18, 1887)
A BLOODY FIGHT
Texarkana, Ark. At a dance a few miles west of here Saturday night, given by Jim Young, colored, two negroes, named John C. Breckinridge and Monroe Ross, got into a difficulty over a woman whom Ross had carried there. Breckinridge wanted to dance with her, but Ross insisted on monopolizing her. Ross beat his antagonist severely on the head with a chair and broomstick, but Breckenridge finally got in his work with a razor and cut Ross, the blade entering behind the left ear and coming around to the front, making a gash five inches long, severing an artery and just missing the jugular vein. Breckenridge is in jail and Ross lies in a critical condition.
Dallas Morning News (May 20, 1893)
A BLOODY FIGHT
Brenham, Tex. At 4 o'clock this afternoon Jim Sutton, an officer of Austin county, whose home is said to be at Sealy, while walking down the street came upon Henry Lee, a negro, who was standing near the corner of Sandy and Ant streets. Sutton hauled away and cuffed the negro in the face. Lee then pulled out a razor and began carving Sutton, and Sutton reached in his hip pocket to pull his pistol, but Lee caught his wrist with his left hand and prevented him from drawing it, while with his right he slashed Sutton pretty severely, cutting his throat to rags and making three long deep gashes across the back and left side, and also cutting his left ear nearly off his head.
At this juncture bystanders interfered and took their weapons away. After this they continued fighting with rocks, chasing one another up and down the street, the white man hitting the negro in the face one time and the negro returning the compliment until both were as bloody as beeves. This amusement was kept up about ten minutes or more before any officer arrived, when finally Constable Boyd reached the scene and arrested them. The negro was locked in jail and Sutton was carried to Luhn's drug store, where Drs. Styles and Young dressed his wounds. Sutton, being asked why he slapped the negro, replied that he (Lee) had been monkeying with his affairs and interfering with his business for several years and he had got tired of it.
Brooklyn Eagle (July 10, 1897)
FOUGHT TO DEATH IN DARKNESS
Greenwood, Ark. A dance was hold at the home of Frank Finn, a miner, near the Austrian camp, last night, at which beer flowed freely. Tom Sturgai and Anthony Dollar became involved in a difficulty over a woman. When the dance was over Sturgai followed Dollar to his room and a bloody fight began. Sturgai used a long knife and Dollar defended himself with his razor. The candle was extinguished and the deadly combat continued in the dark until Sturgai lay dead, literally cut to pieces, and Dollar was fatally wounded, having received fifteen knife thrusts. The room in which the fight took place presented a gruesome sight when the duel was over, blood being spattered all over the floor, walls and furniture. Dollar's razor blade was found embedded in the body of his victim.
Brooklyn Eagle (July 20, 1901)
BLOOD WAS SPILLED FREELY
During a race riot that took place last night on the Bowery, Coney Island, several colored men and one white man were severely slashed with razors and knives and another negro was rendered unconscious with a brick. The police were called out to quell the riot and several of them found it a difficult undertaking, as they had to pick their way between the negroes who were running about armed with razors. The white man who was cut is Paul Matley, a special policeman who is employed at Lawrence's concert hall, at the corner of Bowery and Jones' walk, and in front of which place most of the cutting was done. Lots of blood was spilled and the boardwalks are well sprinkled with it.
The row was started by two negroes who began to fight, it is said, over one of the colored soubrettes [dancers] employed in the concert hall. One of these men named Cook drew a razor and commenced to slash the other fellow and then the latter's friends went to his rescue. Matley and another special policeman employed at the place soon heard the noise outside the pavilion and they ran out in time to see several negroes brandishing razors. Cook soon received his quietus by being cut in the neck with a razor and Matley was then set upon by a crowd of negroes, who downed him and cut him about the head and face. His hand was also badly slashed near the wrist.
The regular police were all this time busily engaged in trying to break some heads and they were somewhat successful. A waiter named Sullivan was badly hurt and it was said his skull was fractured. Matley was attended to at the Emergency Hospital, where it is said fourteen stitches were taken in his face and head.
Dallas Morning News (August 20, 1908)
TWO NEGROES IN DESPERATE FIGHT
Corsicana, Tex. Last night Will Morris and Lee Evans, negro section hands on the Trinity and Brazos Valley [Railroad], fought desperately, one using a knife and the other a razor. When hostilities had ceased both were terribly slashed and bloody. The fight occurred some distance from town and Evans walked to town, where he received medical aid, thirty-six stitches being necessary to close the wounds he had received. Morris also left the scene, saying he, too, was coming to town to a physician, but he has not been seen or heard from.
Moberly Daily Monitor (August 5, 1915)
MEXICAN NEGRO HAD HIS THROAT CUT LAST NIGHT
But for the fact that the point of the razor being wielded by his antagonist caught on the point of his chin, there would have been a dead negro in Moberly today, and a murder to chronicle in the news.
The negro came here from Mexico yesterday to celebrate Emancipation Day. Late yesterday evening he visited a house on East Rollins street where the Moberly negroes congregate and became engaged in an argument with a strange darkey. The latter pulled out a razor and started to work. He cut the Mexican man's throat from a point under the left ear to a point on his left cheek bone. Had he not given the razor an artistic upward thrust, the Mexico man would have been killed. But the razor stuck into the point of his cheek bone, and the negro's assailant fled. He has not since been found by the police. The injured negro was given medical treatment and it is said will recover from his wound.