Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Attack at the Oceanic House

City News and Gossip

DIFFICULTY AT CONEY ISLAND.--A row occurred at the Oceanic House during a ball on Friday night last, which has caused considerable commotion among those whose families were staying there and resulted in severe if not dangerous injuries to James Cozine, an inhabitant of Gravesend. Much mystery pervades the affair. no reliable particulars having yet transpired here. Mr. Clark the proprietor preferred a police complaint against Cozine on Saturday, and stated that the latter attempted to enter the ball room without his coat, and that this was the cause of the affray. Mr. Cozine, on the other hand, states that he merely desired to hand his wife and daughters their ball tickets and retire, but that he was seized and pushed down stairs by a door keeper whose coat he accidentally tore. Three or four hours afterward while Cozine was sitting in the barroom, a great outcry was raised, and on rushing in to see what was the cause, he was struck with a bottle which cut through his hat, and inflicted a serious wound on his forehead, from the effect of which he is now suffering. From what cause the last row arose, or what was done, will transpire on the forthcoming police investigation. All, however, agree that it was a serious affray, in which the waiters of the establishment seemed to be principally engaged.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Friday, August 25, 1848

In 1845, at least, James Cozine was the coroner of Gravesend! See Mystery on Coney Island and The Sloop Victoria He's also cited as such on Page 425 of The New York State Register for 1845!

It looks like by October 1848, however, he may not have been the coroner. The Board of Supervisors meeting from October 3, 1848:

Mr. Bergen from the com. on accounts reported the following county bills which were severally ordered paid as reported: J. Cozine, straw for jail $8,32....G A Abraham, coroner, $140..."

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Friday, October 6, 1848

(J. Cozine could very well be Jacob Cozine, who was mentioned in that paper November 3, 1848, and that he had a meadow....)

Follow-up stories:

Some of the inadvertent statements of our cotemporaries have been of a most amusing character recently. For instance, the Evening Star informed its readers on Saturday, in giving an account of a row at Coney Island, that a bottle which was hurled, struck a man on both sides of his head. It must have been of a different shape from ordinary bottles. The Tribune in its "Brooklyn affairs," stated a few days since, that the property of the Misses Van Cleef was "insured in the Brooklyn Savings Bank." This was a highly interesting piece of news to the directors of that institution....

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Friday, August 31, 1848

In a vain attempt at brevity, I'll stop there, but the article goes on to outline numerous errors in other papers! And evidently "cotemporary" is another word for "contemporary."

The bottle dispute continues:

A BOTTLE HOLDER.--The genius of the Star waxeth savage and is inclined to be belligerent.--The other day he, or the literary police justice who does up some brilliant scribblings for that paper, proposed to horsewhip the editors, proprietors, devils and all hands attached to the other Brooklyn press, because some unknown but obnoxious person was allowed to write for the latter. The bellicosity of our most amiable cotemporary has assumed another but not less violent phase, and now, forsooth, because "many of the reports of the Eagle are identical with those of the Advertiser," and because the Eagle has the presumption to "make merry with that bottle which struck Mr. Cozine on both sides of the head," our stelier (sp?) friend proposes to prove on our devoted pate that bottles can be made to strike both sides of a head, if the editor of the Advertiser will lend him a bottle.

Having no doubt of the complaisance of the latter editor, we accept the challenge thus plainly extended. The time for this interesting skirmish shall be high noon, to-morrow ; place, the scales of Justice, on the cupola of the city hall ; weapons, junk bottles ; and the principals to be the bottleholders. It is a rather hazardous venture on the part of the individual who at present writes himself the "editor and proprietor" of the Star to fight with a bottle. One would reasonably suppose that the long contest he has already had with that instrument would satisfy any man whose desires are not of an inordinate nature. We hope that he may not repent of his temerity, and endeavor to emulate Hudibras in thinking that

"He who fights and runs away
May live to fight another day,"

for when struck with a bottle he will find it rather difficult to run away. We beg leave, in conclusion, to correct one very little error which our would-be antagonist has fallen into. He says he understood that the bottle which struck Mr. Cozine on "both sides" was held by another man. This is ingenious ; but it won't do, Mr. Star. You happened, unfortunately for your ingenuity, to state either directly or indirectly that "that bottle" was thrown at Mr. Cozine. How is that?

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Thursday, August 31, 1848

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