A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from May 22, 2005
A "repeater" is someone who votes more than once. The term was used frequently in the election of 1867. With electronic voting, it is hoped that the term is now historical.

The "repeater" was often paid or given a free meal. No one ever said that New York City politics was clean!

There were other "repeaters" in the 1860s. A watch was a "repeater." Also, a firearm was a "repeater."

(Oxford English Dictionary)

5. Chiefly U.S. a. One who votes, or attempts to vote, more than once at an election.

1868 [see COLONIST 3]. 1871 Scribner's Monthly I. 366 Repeaters changed their coats and hats after every vote. 1884 Fortn. Rev. Mar. 389 A leader of a gang of repeaters before the ink on his fraudulent naturalization papers was dry. 1888 BRYCE Amer. Commw. II. III. lxiv. 474 [Troy] is full of fellows who go to serve as 'repeaters' at Albany elections.

4 February 1860, Harper's Weekly, pg. 78:
A New Trick.—"Does your Watch Go, and is it a
Repeater?" is the title of a new conjuring trick. The
watch that does not go is a repeater; for whenever you
consult it, it always tells you the same time.

12 July 1862, Harper's Weekly, pg. 439:
And two old men, unable to restrain their
enthusiasm upon the same occasion, were threatened with
death in my hearing by blood-thirsty secessionists, stand-
ing around with Colt's repeaters in their bosoms.

5 January 1867, National Police Gazette, pg. 3:
When I wrote an exposition lately relative to the frauds in voting by "repeaters" and "colonizers," I hardly thought at the time, although you knew every word to be true, that you dare to publish it.

6 July 1867, National Police Gazette, pg. 2:
As the elections seem to be coming on, the noted thieves of New York, or rather those that have set themselves up as their leaders, have commenced organizing certain gangs known as "repeaters;" and owing to the deadly warfare which now exists between Tom Davis and Reddy the blacksmith, over the late "crack" at the bonded warehouse, probably the "repeating" will be even; for the Republicans will buy up Reddy's mob, and the Democrats Tom Davis's.

16 November 1867, National Police Gazette, pg. 2:

23 November 1867, National Police Gazette, pg. 2:
Shortly before the election, I said that Little Doc, the "knuck," would be discharged from the Penitentiary, in time to be one of the numerous "repeaters" that disgraced the city at the late election.

Posted by Barry Popik
Workers/People • (0) Comments • Sunday, May 22, 2005 • Permalink