The Chronicle -

By Finn J.D. John
Chronicle Columnist 

Offbeat Oregon History - Monopoly legislation throws crimp in waterfront boarding business


June 13, 2019

Image/OSU Libraries

Portland Harbor as it appeared on a busy day around the turn of the 20th century. The big four-masted barque in the foreground, flying a Union Jack from her mast, is typical of the mostly-British grain fleet ships that were Portland crimps' primary customers.

Things were looking a bit grim for former welterweight champion of the world William "Mysterious Billy" Smith and his partners in almost-crime, brothers Harry and Jim White.

They had learned the trade of a Portland waterfront boarding master/crimp/shanghaier at the feet of the master - the legendary Larry Sullivan. Now they had dared to go into busness on their own, in competition with their former mentor, and Larry was not having it.

Larry's usual procedure in such cases was to chase down the offending competitor and put him in the hospital. He was a former professional middleweight boxer...

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