1813: John Sprigg missing; he has a wide mouth and zigzag teeth

A notice from a New York newspaper in May 1813 reports the disappearance of a local man:

“Ran away from his wife and helpless family on Friday last, John Sprigg, by trade a tailor, aged thirty-five. He has a wide mouth, zigzag teeth, a nose of high-burned brick blue, with a lofty bridge, swivel eyed and a scar, not an honorable one, on his left cheek… Had on when he went a three-cocked hat which probably he has since changed to a round one, with a blue body coat, rather on the fade. He was seen in Benning on Saturday last, disguised in a clean shirt…”

It then goes on to list John Sprigg’s personal habits, none of which were favourable:

“He primes and loads [takes snuff and smokes tobacco]; he is so loquacious [talkative] that he tires every one in company but himself. In order that he may entrap the sinner and the saint, he carries a pack of cards in one pocket and the Practice of Piety in the other; he is a great liar and can varnish a falsehood with a great deal of art… It is supposed that he did not go off without a companion, as he is a great favourite with the fair sex.”

Source: The New York Register, May 5th 1813. Content on this page is © Alpha History 2019-23. Content may not be republished without our express permission. For more information please refer to our Terms of Use or contact Alpha History.