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Three Women, Three Horse Whips, and One Unfortunate Rent-a-Cop in Foggy Bottom: An 1894 GoDC Tale

This amusing story from 1894 Washington Post tells of three irate women, armed with horse whips, who confront a rent-a-cop in Foggy Bottom. Find out what happened and the possible consequences in this GoDC tale!
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this is a whip
this is a whip

This likely was a scene of great amusement for any who were able to witness it. This is an article from August 9th, 1894 in the Washington Post.

Three irate women with horse whips and a yelling special policeman gave plenty of amusement last Friday to a number of people who stood outside of a grocery store on Twenty-sixth, between F and G streets northtwest [sic], George Cunningham is the name of the special officer, and he is employed by the storekeepers around “Foggy Bottom” to watch their places of business.

He was supposed to have been the author of some derogatory reports against the character of Harriet Payne, a white woman who lives on Water street, in Georgetown. The report reached the ears of the woman, and she traced it to the special officer. The woman took into her confidence her two sisters and started out for revenge. They secured three heavy horsewhips, and on Friday night by strategy got the watchman to enter the grocery store. Once inside the front door was locked and the key taken away. Seeing the determined look on the faces of the females the special suspicioned that something was wrong and attempted to escape. This was the signal for the women, and all three started in to lash the man. Over his head and across his back the blows rained down on the unfortunate watchman. There was no escape from the blows, and not until the women were exhausted did they cease from their labors. The door was then opened and the watchman allowed to go, and he immediately vanished, leaving behind his hat.

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The affair has been kept very quiet, the police not knowing anything of it. Further results are expected in the matter, and an assault case is likely to grow out of it.

That 1890s rent-a-cop will surely mind his mouth the next time. A couple of days later, this article was published in the Post.

Mrs. Harriet Payne, who keeps a store on Water street, Georgetown, denies most emphatically that she has had any trouble with Special Officer George Cunningham, as reported on Thursday. She says if there was a cow-hiding affair, as rumor has it, she was in no manner connected with it; in fact, she has no acquaintance with Cunningham. Mrs. Payne requests this statement to set herself right.

Seems fishy. Either Harriet is covering up, or some Washington Post fact checker didn’t do their job. Either way, this is an amusing story to share with the GoDC community.

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