Adela Rogers

As the daughter of Earl Rogers, who at the height of his legal career was a Los Angeles celebrity, Adela Rogers got used to the limelight at a young age. In that era, it was uncommon for young women to attend college. Adela was educated by tutors, with brief stays in private schools, and studied […]

Horace Appel

Horace Appel was a very capable attorney and like Earl Rogers, a tortured soul who wrestled with personal demons and struggled to stay grounded in his personal life. Appel was actively involved, on his feet, throughout the entire trial, ready to do battle on every legal issue, armed with the controlling case law. As originally […]

Judge George Hutton

Judge George Hutton, like most everyone in Los Angeles at that time, was from some place cold, namely Minnesota. Hutton received his law degree from the University of Minnesota and was admitted to the bar at age 23. He spent the next four years employed by a railroad, prior to heading for California. The next […]

D. A. John Fredericks & his Deputy, Joe Ford

District Attorney John Fredericks was a man of pride, energy, and conviction. Tall, thin and almost precariously erect, there was nothing graceful about his appearance. Generally well-groomed and attired, he had very fair skin and a wedge-shaped face, accented by round, wire-rimmed spectacles and dark, closely-cropped hair. John Fredericks was the incarnation of intensity. Though […]

Darrow & Rogers

When it became apparent that people of power in Los Angeles didn’t want “labor’s lawyer” to leave town, Darrow reached out for suggestions on defense counsel; time and again, one name surfaced, Earl Rogers. At that time, Earl Rogers was not merely the best-known lawyer in Los Angeles but in all of California. By this […]

Lincoln Steffens

Lincoln Steffens was the first American investigative journalist to attain celebrity status. Curious, audacious, and charming, he rarely met a person who didn’t interest him, nor many people whom he did not eventually befriend. Small in stature, almost impish, eccentric, yet always “dressed to the nines,” he could disarm the worst curmudgeon. Steffens was born […]

Detective William Burns

Detective William J. Burns was one of a handful of private investigators to become a household name during his career. Portrayed as a real-life Sherlock Holmes by his fans and accused of being a shameless self-promoter by his enemies, Burns relished his celebrity status. He was a publicity hound and cultivated his relationships with reporters […]

The McNamara Brothers

Like most Irish in America in the second half of the 19th century, John J. McNamara (“J.J.”) found himself engaged in work reserved for his kind, what this historian refers to as “the three Ds,” dirty, difficult and dangerous. As the oldest child growing up in poverty in Cincinnati, J.J. left school for work while […]

New blog posts will be published weekly.

Author Nelson Johnson




Darrow's Nightmare
Boardwalk Empire
Battleground New Jersey
The Northside