Joe Tyler, the self-styled 'King of the Dock Road', was landlord of the Black Horse pub, near Mann Island, when, in 1870, his world came crashing down – courtesy of a wet mop. Tyler ran his pub as his own kingdom and on his patch, his rules were to be obeyed.
Thieves and pickpockets caught plying their trade on his premises faced a choice – hand over half their take and never darken his door again or be handed over to the authorities.
But for others, those who Tyler thought he could have some fun with, he had a special kind of retribution up his sleeve.
And one cold January night a chain of events was set off that would bring about the landlord's death.
At 4am one morning, Tyler caught a boy breaking into his pub. The youth was tied up and threatened, with a gun pushed to his temple, until he revealed the identity of who had sent him to burgle the place.
In fear of his life, the boy spun Tyler a tale of how a man with a beard, moustache and mole on his face had put him up to it.
Police arrived to arrest the boy and gave Tyler a warning not to take the law into his own hands.
But no-one told 'The King' what to do or how to run his pub.
And so when, two nights later, a man walked in matching the description given by the boy, he was lynched by Tyler.
The man, a local caretaker by the name of Bob Woods, was hauled into the cellar by Tyler's mob and made to plead with the kangaroo court.
His pleas fell on deaf ears and he was sentenced to 'death'. Woods was blindfolded, forced to kneel on the floor and had his head put on a chopping block pulled out from the corner of the cellar.
Then Tyler was handed a wet mop and brought it down on the back of Woods' neck. The room of men erupted with laughter, having seen many 'criminals' suffer the same humiliation and be thrown out of the pub still in shock.
But as the laughter died down, one of the men noticed Woods had not moved. His weak heart had given out under the shock.
Two of the mob, presumably to save their own skins, turned police informant as Tyler, fearing a murder charge, took flight and hid.
He boarded a ship under an assumed name from the docks bound for New York and it was here he met his death.
The ship, the City of Boston, never made it across the Atlantic after hitting an iceberg on its voyage and sinking.
Later, the teenage burglar who started it all later confessed to police he had made up his tale to Tyler because he feared he would be killed if he admitted he had decided to break into the pub on his own.