Mary Jane “Bricktop” Jackson, New Orleans Serial
Killer - 1860
New Orleans prostitute Mary Jane Jackson (the scourge of Gallatin
Street) was as “a husky, full-bodied strumpet whose mop of flaming red
hair had earned her the sobriquet of Bricktop”. She was never bested
in a brawl (against man or woman), and during her career as prostitute
in New Orleans she killed four men and stabbed many others. She
clubbed one man to death in 1856 for calling her a whore and stabbed
another, known as Long Charley (almost seven feet tall), with a
specially designed knife which had been made to her order from her own
design; it had a heavy five-inch blade at each end, with a center grip
handsomely mounted in German silver. With this fearsome weapon
clutched in her fist, she could slash, cut, and stab in any direction
without changing the position of her hand.
Finally serving a short prison term for one of her
killings, “Bricktop” linked up with John Miller, former boxer and
temporary jailer. Miller had lost an arm and augmented his stump with
a formidable iron ball and chain, which he used as a weapon. In 1861,
he made the mistake of deciding to thrash “Bricktop” with a cowhide
whip. She grabbed it and delivered him a flogging instead. An attempt
to strike her with his ferrous prosthetic had her seize the iron orb
in mid-air and drag him around the room by his own ball and chain. She
bit his hand when he pulled a knife, then used his own weapon to kill
him. [summary of text from: Herbert Asbury, The French Quarter,
Killed The Man Who Had An
Iron Ball For A Hand
Along with Bridget Fury above, Mary Jane 'Bricktop'
Jackson also legendarily roamed the streets of seedy New Orleans and
in eight years killed four men. Along with a career in the
dance-houses in New Orleans, she was reported to have a favorite knife
she designed herself, "it had a heavy five-inch blade at each end,
with a center grip handsomely mounted in German silver". Needless to
say, she was a complete psychopath, who fittingly had an
also-murderous-prostitute roommate, which only could have been the
worst possible influence.
Anyway, so back to her knife: with her weapon, she could cut and slash
in any direction "without changing the position of her hand,"
according to her. It's safe to assume that many men fell to her blade
before the murder that inspired her disappearance.
In 1857, she moved into a house with Bridget Fury after having been
banned from the dance-houses and became a prostitute out of necessity.
In 1861, she "brutalized" John Miller, a former boxer who, get this,
lost his left arm in a fight and fastened AN IRON BALL AND CHAIN TO
THE STUMP. He made his arm into a mace. You know that REAL men have
died out once we live in a time where it doesn't seem
reasonable/necessary to attach a medieval weapon to where one of your
most important limbs used to be. Oh, the good old days.
As recorded in this book (The French Quarter, by Herbert Asbury), the
way everything got started was that Miller (the guy with the
Bond-villain arm) threatened Bricktop (the girl with the unsexiest
prostitute name ever) with a whip and said she needed to be lashed
(while probably wasted out of his mind, or just bored from busting in
too many heads with his awesome cannonball-arm).
Bricktop stepped forward, snatched the whip defensively and beat him.
He attacked with his iron ball, charging at her and she was able to
actually take the ball and use it to drag him down to the floor. As a
last resort, he tried to stab her, but she pushed him up against the
wall and furiously knifed the beejesus out of him using her pride and
She was sent to prison, released a year later and never heard from
SEX: F RACE: W TYPE: T MOTIVE:
MO: Prostitute with violent temper;
stabbed male acquaintances.
DISPOSITION: 10 years for one count,
1861; reprieved by new governor when Union troops occupied New Orleans
nine months later.
Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial
Killers - Hunting Humans