Look Back: A couple of strong women come to town

Historical newspaper excerpts from the Wood County Historical Society

Photo Provided The Wood County Jail. Built in 1889, the jail was a year too late for the “female slugger” mentioned below to have enjoyed its confines. Situated across Market Street from the courthouse, the jail was razed in the 1970s. The first Wood County jail, ordered built by the new County Court in 1800, was to be 16 feet x 24 feet of squared logs. It was located near “the Point.”

A female slugger

A big-fisted and big-bodied female, weighing not less than 250 pounds, came here a few days ago from Columbus, Ohio. Her name is Frances Rice and she is a dandy. Yesterday she went into a saloon, got a couple drinks and a cigar and went down street smoking like a volcano. To-day, loaded with mint-julip, she went in to Mrs. Allen’s house, on Court alley, between Sixth and Seventh streets, and proceeded to clean out the premises. She tore the house upside down and threw it out the windows. Policeman Nolan’s attention was called to the actions of the dusky maiden about that time and he went after her. She is as big as two of him and told him she could knock him out in the first round. He tried to arrest her but she kicked like a steer and struck out from the shoulder like a prize fighter. Finally Nolan had to call in the assistance of two other men. By this time a large crowd had collected to witness the sport. The officers, after many failures, at last succeeded in getting little Frances into a wagon and started with her to the lockup. A large procession followed. At the jail another scrimmage occurred, but the doors were finally closed on her, leaving her dancing the can-can.

The Parkersburg Daily State Journal

Aug. 20, 1888


Belle Boyd

The manager of Belle Boyd, the lady known all over the country and Europe as the Rebel Spy, has arranged for her to give an entertainment at the Academy of Music Thursday night, for the benefit of Andrew Mather Post, G.A.R. A large number of tickets have already been sold and the Post assures us that the house will be filled.

Excerpt from the Parkersburg Daily State Journal

Aug. 28, 1888


Police Notes

Mrs. Frances Rice, the Jumbo slugger, got eight days in jail.

The Parkersburg Daily State Journal, Aug. 31, 1888


Mrs. is back in town

The police have had a good deal of trouble with a big woman by the name of Rice, known more widely as Mrs. “Jumbo.” Some time ago Squire Stapleton decided to bind her over to keep peace for a year, but she was unable to give bond and was sent to jail. After she had remained there for a couple weeks she was released with the understanding that she was to leave the city and stay away. She came back the other day, and proceeded to clean out a whole square on lower Ann street. Officer Nolan arrested her but he had to use the nippers on her, and in order to get her to jail she had to be dumped on a dray and hauled there. She will probably get to serve out her year now.

The Parkersburg Daily State Journal

Nov. 19, 1888