Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The new and commodious steamer KOSCIUSKO, 1850

OK, even I'm a touch tired of these ubiquitous ads for excursions to Coney Island. But hey, did you ever wonder what they looked like? Here you go, for "The new and commodious steamer KOSCIUSKO," commanded by Capt. C.M. Hancock.

--New York Daily Tribune, Wednesday, June 19, 1850

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ancient Clamdiggery - 1850

Sunday, June 9, will contain more than the usual quantity of reading matter--"The Merchant's Curse," from the French; "Shakspere (sic) in his best Day;" "The First and Last Bear," by Tom Frank; "The Indian Mother;" and other sketches. Also, a correct view of
embracing all the points of interest, with a succinct account of the late piratical expedition and Gen. Loafer, for the express purpose of overthrowing the existing government of this ancient Clamdiggery!!! Editorials--politics--news, etc. etc. Price, 3 cents--one dollar a year.

ATWOOD, LARKIN & CO. 22 Spruce-et. New-Yok (sic). For sale by all the newsmen and newsboys. je8 1t*

--New York Daily Tribune, Saturday, June 8, 1850

The fact that the ad put Coney Island on its own line shows that Coney Island was a draw for readers' eyes even in the 1850s. The "government" of "clamdiggery" was likely referring to the beloved Governor Gil Davis.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricanes on Coney Island - 1877, 1890s

Just thought these were timely. I'm not certain if these were really "hurricanes" as we would call them today.

Stay safe, Coney Island!

The Effect of One at Coney Island.

A Yacht Missing--Tables and Chairs Upset, Crockery Broken, Roofs Damaged, Bathing Houses Thrown Over--Narrow Escape of Some of the Bathers--Hail Stones of Unusual Size.

Last evening, at a quarter to seven o'clock, after a glorious sunset, the visitors at Coney Island were preparing to enjoy themselvis (sic) by the surf, on the beach and at the different hotel piazzas. About five minutes later the sky was overcast and threatening clouds loomed up in the distance, while fitful gusts of wind swept across the ocean and scattered the surf in spray. One puff of wind succeeded the other so swiftly that half of the people who were bathing at the time could barely get to their houses, dress and reach the hotels before the storm commenced in its fury. At first it was supposed there was going to be a heavy shower; then, as the ominous puffs of wind came, some of the Coney Island mariners predicted that there was going to be a "squall," and it was not five minutes after this last prediction when these ancient mariners sought the shelter of the hotels and restaurants and barred the doors securely against the fury of the storm.

It came up so suddenly that it caught some of the bathers in the surf, and the breakers changed in a couple of minutes to fierce and angry volumes of water, which swept in upon the beach with a roar and threw the sand away ahead of them. Not a few of the bathers, especially the women, were thoroughly frightened, and it was with much difficulty that they managed to combat against the undertow and gain the shore, and when they did they sought the shelter of the bathing houses as quickly as possible. Most of them got dressed and ran to the nearest hotels, but some were left behind, and one or two of them in a most pitiable though at the same time…


Several of the bathing houses were clean overturned, and in four or five of these were ladies who were in the act of dressing, and their fright must have been intense as the frail box in which they were securely locked toppled over and lade them in a prostrate and helpless condition. It was at this time that the bold and hardy men of the sea showed their pluck. One lady, who was on Vanderveer's sloop, was waiting for her husband to come out of the water, and after the storm arose and he did not appear she became alarmed and requested one of the storm tried mariners to go out and search for him. She was for awhile in an agony of trouble for fear he had been drowned, and she besought that some of these men would go out and see where he was. Not one of them would as much as lift the latch of the door to let in a puff of the wind whistled through the keyholes and made the casements rattle. (???) On the other hand several gentlemen who were in the water at the time, seeing that a general fright had taken possession of the ladies, did all in their power to get them out of the surf and see them to their respective bathing houses. Prominent among these gentlemen, who extended timely aid was Mr. Lang, of Lang & Nan, and he it was who was the first to rescue the imprisoned captives when the bathing houses overturned, and one or two of the ladies, it is said, were very far from being properly clad at the time.


Special Officer Williams, of Gravesend, who was on the beach at the time, saw three ladies in the surf near Tilyous hotel. One of them was out of her depth and the others were terror stricken for fear she would be drowned. Without a minutes (sic) hesitation Williams plunged into the water, not waiting even to remove any portion of his uniform, breasted the billows and rescued the lady and got her two friends safely ashore. They all sought shelter at Tilyous. The reporter, who was unable to see Officer Williams, could not learn the ladies names, but the officer noted the part of a brave and gallant man and deserves credit for it.

When the storm was at its worst it did considerable damage. At Cable's, Vandover's, Feltman's and other large hotels the chairs and tables were all blown around at a very lively rate. It had just urned dusk, and the various hostelries had illuminated their places. In many instances the glass in the lamps was broken, while almost every light was extinguished all over the Island. The canvas tent occupied by the London Marionettes was taken clean up in a second, and chairs, seats, piano, stage and everything were thrown in a confused mass on Endre's stoop and under the spines which support his pavilion. The new depot of the Manhattan Beach Railroad which was reported as having been levelled to the ground, was not injured to the extent of $200. About $150, it is believed, will cover all damages done. Some of the exposed portions of it, which is now but partially erected, were destroyed to a certain extent but not to amount to much. The government building was injured about $50. The Summer gardens in Feltman's were damaged slightly, but he lost quite a considerable amount of light glassware, which was blown off his shelving.

Judge Walsh and Assemblyman Shanley, who were at Cable's, report that the storm for a while was terrific. Waiters were running here and there trying to save tables from being overturned which had crockery and glassware on them. Napkins were flying all over, and could be had for the gathering, and the sturdy mariners clapped their hats on their heads and looked through the window at the destruction which "the toughest storm they had ever seen" was making. They varied this occupation by occasionally taking a drink and relating what they knew of previous tornados which had swept over the Island.


is said to have fallen very lively for about five minutes, but this changed into huge rain drops, which pattered everywhere, and made distinct holes in the sand as they fell. One young lady named McVickers was running into the Atlantic Garden from some of the adjacent bathing houses. She carried her hat wrapped up id (sic?) her shawl, and one of these hailstones, which were doubtless of unusual size, happened to strike her right in the eye, and injured that organ to a great extent. It became swollen and badly inflamed in a few minutes. She was attended to at the Atlantic Garden by a physician who happened to be at Engeman's.

The music stand in front of the Manhattan Beach Hotel, which had just been lighted up, was somewhat damaged, and Graffula lost a quantity of valuable music, which he had composed himself, and which was written by him in ink. It will cost him considerable time and trouble to replace it. It was a very fortunate thing that no person, so far as known, was hurt in any way. The principal damage done was by the wind, which cleaned half the flagstaffs and sent signs floating all over the Island. It is said that just before the storm got at its worst


out at sea, and during one of the vivid flashes of lightning it is alleged that some person saw her keel upward, or thought they did, but after the storm had ceased, not the sign of a yacht could be seen anywhere around, and there are who were at Coney Island that are certain in their own minds that the yacht was capsized and sunk, and of course believe that all on board were drowned. Some anxiety was manifested for the Rockaway steamers, but fortunately they had all got to their destination on their return trip from the beach. The Columbia was about the last and the storm did not break until she was safely in the East River.

It is impossible to estimate the damage that has been done, but under the circumstances it is not large. One thing is very certain, however, that the beach was never cleared of people so effectively and in so short a time before. Many people got wet through, and a few lost hats, handkerchiefs and vails (sic?), but the great majority, who, like the Coney Island sailors, were well housed, enjoyed the thing highly, and looked upon the whole as a good joke. A few bathing houses were smashed at Norton's Hotel, on Coney Island Point, but no serious damage was done. In an hour after the storm first commenced things were all quiet again and the people were promenading around, enjoying themselves as best they could and speaking of their recent experience as a thing of the past.

--The Brooklyn Daily Eagle,Saturday, August 11, 1877
Different storm, below.

Counting the Damage Done by Wind and Rain.

Fences Wrecked and Windows Broken All Over Brooklyn--Serious Injury Done to Beach and Buildings at Coney Island--The Walker Still Ashore--Telegraph and Telephone Lines Badly Damaged--The Sound Wind-swept.
The first thing Weather Forecaster Dunn did this morning was to run up the hurricane signals, which were displayed on the tower of the weather bureau, in New York, for the first time, yesterday. These signals will be continued until the storm abates…

Coney Island Suffered Some Serious Damage.

The high tide at 3 o'clock this morning coupled with high westerly winds continued the devastation commenced by the hurricane yesterday. All through the old town of Gravesend fences and trees were blown down. In Washington cemetery a number of tombstones were overthrown, two of them being smashed into pieces.

Part of the trestle of the old bicycle railway was blown away and about one hundred feet of fence in the Culver railway depot were torn down. The roof of Feltman's big hotel adjoining the carrousel on Surf avenue was lifted by the wind, and the second story of the building is a wreck. A portion of the new pavilion being built by Henderson was blown down. Three of Scovill's bath houses and all of Walsh's new bathing houses were washed out to sea. The water has made further inroads at Brighton Beach and Sea Breeze avenue, and has again flooded the Brighton race track. The wind is still from the west, blowing fiercely so that more damage is expected from the next high tide…

--The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 7, 1896

There's a New York Times article on that storm here.

Another High Water Record on Coney Island Shore.

The Hurricane on Its Progress Seaward Stirs Up the Ocean and Causes Additional Wreckage Along the Coast. Brighton Beach Property Flooded--Estimated Loss of $50,000 on Brooklyn's Shore--Big Seas at Cape May
A tide, even higher than yesterday's, renewed the attacks upon Coney Island property this morning between the hours of 7 and 9 o'clock, and further damage was done to the many frame pavilions along the ocean front. The sun rose on a line of wreckage extending from Brighton Beach nearly to Norton's Point, much of which was caused by last night's tide and wind. No property along the entire water front has suffered so much damage as has the Brighton Beach Hotel. There old ocean has made great inroads and on the western end of the hotel grounds nearly a hundred square feet of land has been washed out. The promenade following the line of the bulkhead along the entire front of the property has been ripped up and, although the main bulkhead has withstood the assaults of the breakers, the sea washes over it and damages the property almost as badly as if there were no bulkhead at all…

About 9 o'clock the tide changed and as it became lower evidences of the destruction it had caused could be seen all along the line. All highways leading to the Island were flooded as they were yesterday and the miles of meadow land were covered by a vast sheet of water. When the tide was at its highest the water lapped the tracks of the West End Railroad, between Coney Island Creek and the Island, and the railroad bridges were only a foot above the water…

The woman who was reported yesterday morning to have been carried into the sea at Coney Island was Mrs. Freda Hoop, wife of Andrew Hoop, who was occupying apartments in Garland's bathing pavilion. Mr. Hoop went off to work yesterday morning and about an hour after he had gone Mrs. Hoop found her home surrounded by water while the building was shaking almost continuously. Mrs. Hoop became frightened and called to some men who were working near by to help her out of the house. The men procured a ladder and mounting to the roof of an adjoining building Mrs. Hoop and her baby were taken out. She could not be prevailed upon to return to her abode after the tide had fallen and during the day she had her belongings removed to other apartments, a block away from the water.

The damage among the West End was estimated this morning at $50,000.

--The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Tuesday, October 26, 1897

This appears to mostly be talking about Brighton Beach, but I imagine it's a good description of 1890s beaches in storms in general. If you read the full article there's accounts of swimmers staying out in the storm (!) and clinging to the rope I guess they had there for bathers to use as support?


Trolley Cars Stalled at Various Points. Passengers Injured in Two Collisions.


The fierce hurricane that swept across New York City yesterday afternoon between 4 and 5 o'clock, bringing with it an electrical storm cloud that poured rain and hail in torrents, wrought disaster where it passed. Three deaths were reported to the police during the early part of the night and unauthenticated stories of other victims of the storm came in from the seaside resorts, where the elements raged most furiously…

At Coney Island and Brighton Beach there were many thousands who had gone down to take a cooling plunge in the surf. All of the bathers got a shower bath that wasn't on the programme and wasn't enjoyed. The storm came up suddenly and the wind blowing at nearly seventy miles an hour sent the sand across the beaches like bird shot from a choke bore gun. The sand peppered through the thin bathing suits and gave the bathers a sensation something like sharp needles pricking into the skin. The rush for the bathing pavilions was a grand stampede in which big men trampled over the little men and the little men ran over the women, who in turn scattered the children right and left in the flight.

"You'd better run fast or you'll get wet," shouted the onlookers from the sheltered verandas to the bathers, as the latter tore across the sands with salt water and fresh pouring in commingled torrent from their bodies.

Everybody talked about getting wet as if it had been perfectly dry in the surf before the storm came. The wind was blowing a fierce gale and very few were bold enough to go inside of the bathing pavilions, as everyone expected the weak structures to blow out into the ocean the next moment. For nearly an hour the wet crowds were jammed together like baskets full of drowned kittens…

When the thousands of Bath Beach bathers were permitted by the storm to go to their bath houses they found there a situation that inspired the men to say wonderful and divers things about the weather and everything else they could think of to anathemize. In many of the bath rooms the street clothing that had been left while the owners were bathing had been thoroughly soaked and it was simply jumping from the frying pan into the fire to change the wet bathing suits for the wetter street clothes. So that is how it happened that several hundre seaside enthusiasts were seen trudging homeward through mud and slush knee deep, lugging their street garb and attired in bathing suits. The top of some of the bath houses was blown off and others leaked so badly that it was impossible for clothing to keep dry.

--The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Sunday, August 6, 1899

Oceanic House - 1850

I missed this ad for the Oceanic House, 1850. I'll admit, the idea of waves fresh from the ocean amused me...as opposed to an ocean beach with stale ocean waves?


C.M. ROGERS would inform his old patrons, friends and the community--all those who are desirous of visiting the sea shore, that his Oceanic House, Coney Island, will be opened on Saturday, June 8.

This will be found one of the best and safest bathing places in the whole range of the Coast. The fine surfs, fresh from the ocean are nowhere surpassed. The visitor will find delightful rides in the vicinity, and have a fine view of all vessels coming in and going to sea.

Steamers leave the Island six or eight times a day, and stages morning and evening. The Oceanic House is only one hours ride from New York, or Brooklyn, by water or land. CHAS. M. ROGERS

Mr. F. HENSHAW will be at the Astor House until the 8th, from 10 to 3 o'clock, each day, to wait upon any persons desirous of making arrangements for board during the season. [je5 3t*] CHAS. M. ROGERS

--New York Daily Tribune, Wednesday, June 5, 1850

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Gold Near Coney Island and Pirates - 1840

Here's another article about the pirate gold on Coney Island (I first mentioned it here).

From the N.Y. Herald.

By the arrival of Mr. James Bennett, of Arlington House, Long Island, who came expressly to give us the news, we learn that a large portion of the money stolen from the brig Vineyard, in Nov. 1830, by Gibbs, the pirate, and his associates, Wansley and others, has been found upon a small island, called Plumb Island, lying between the east end of Coney Island and the west side of Barren Island, on the Long Island coast.

The first discovery of this money took place on New Year's day, immediately after the late heavy blow. On that day three fishermen, or wreckers, took a boat, above three islands for pieces of wrecks, or whatever 'plunder' the sea might throw in their way.

When they landed on the south side of Plumb Island they saw the Mexican dollars strewing on the beach from the edge of the water up to a high sand bank, about a rod from high water mark. It was in this bank that Gibbs, Wansley, awes, and Brownrig, buried all the specie they took on shore from the brig Vineyard; and mistaking Plumb Island for Barren Island, when they went, afterwards, to show the officers where the money was buried, they could not find the spot. After a lapse of nine years, the sea has laid the treasure bare. The sand bank in which they buried the money, is, as we have stated, about a rod from high water mark ; and the sea never reaches it except in unusually severe gales, as in the present instance. During the recent high tides, the sea washed away the sand, washed off some of the canvass bags in which they were buried, and strewed dollares all along the beach, besides reburying some in the sand again. The greater part, however, were not disturbed, but lay in the original grave on the top of the bank like a ridge ((?--paper is folded)) of potatoes.--From this spot to the water's edge, the three first finders saw the dollars lay like sea-shells along the shore. For two days they had the picking all to themselves.--Since then, all the clamboys, wreckers, and oafters from the neighboring villages have turned out and dug in the sand with various success. Some would find $20 in a lump ; others $300 in a spot ; and so in proportion. One man found a pair of suspenders sewed full of dollars, that had belonged to Atwill, the pirate, who was drowned going ashore. The search still continues ; at least 300 people are on Plumb Island, raking and scratching ; and they have established a ferry from the east end of Coney Island, where they charge 25 cents for a passage to the lucky spot….

--Burlington Free Press, Vermont, Friday, February 7, 1840

If you want to read more about the pirates, including Gibb's hanging (!), follow the link to the story or check my previous entry.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Flood Near Coney Island - 1839

Sounds like a story of providence to me, if true.

Perilous Situation.--During the late violent gale and tide, Mrs. Caldwell, a poor woman, who with 4 or 5 children lived in a miserable shanty, at a small island, near the end of Coney Island, found her little home suddenly surrounded with water. The gale soon took away the roof of her house, and the tide swept away the house itself.

She despatched her two boys for a boat, and they with a man came near the spot to take off the woman and two smaller children, but the strength of the wind drove them from the shore, and they could not approach the island. In this fearful dilemma, the woman tied a wagon to a tree, and herself, children and dog, got into the wagon. Every tree around her except the one to which the wagon was tied, was washed up by the force of the water, but the little company on the wagon were thus saved.

--Rutland Herald, Vermont, Tuesday, February 26, 1839

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Dutch Customs and Coney Island Sand - 1836

I knew there were excellent old newspapers at The Library of Congress' website, but had failed to notice just how early the articles started (1836!). So I'm hopping back for a while. This one notes the Dutch influence in America in the 1790s. Coney Island reference boled.


The NEW YORK MIRROR, a periodical, which we never fail to open without finding something both amusing and instructing, contains an article under the above title purporting to be a letter from LAURIE TODD, to the editors, on a very interesting subject, as will be seen, to the present rising generation--from which we make the following extract.--ED. HERALD>

…………..I have been feasting on "Harrison's New York Museum" for 1795-6-7, etc. ; it brings up actors and scenes long shifted from time to eternity ; it also recalls the scenes of youth, and it appears to me, that Providence has so constituted our nature, that the mind retains more of the pleasures than of the pains, in life's journey.

The poems, sonnets, acrostics and anecdotes, with the association of ideas therewith connected ; the deaths, marriages, and weekly occurrences which these old volumes contain, make me live again "the days o'langsyne." When Dutch manners, Dutch fashions, Dutch ships prevailed, we had more arrivals from Amsterdam then than London and Liverpool put together. Then the floors were scrubbed on Saturday, and sprinkled over with white sand from Coney Island or Rockaway Beach; a rug carpet and green Windsor chair was a luxury…..

--Rutland Herald, Vermont, Tuesday, April 5, 1836

If you search for "sand" in this story on The Legend of the Wooden Shoe you can read about an example of sand on Dutch floors.

It sounds like Washington Irving corroborates, but he says they did this in the parlor and then didn't use the room all week!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Military Target Practice at Coney Island

Governor Gil Davis is back!

Military Movements...

RINGGOLD HORSE GUARDS, AND FLATBUSH LIGHT ARTILLERY.--These fine companies proceeded to the Kingdom of Clams, State of Coney Island, this morning, for target practice. They were accompanied by a number of guests and friends, and will doubtless have a good time of it. Governor Davis will give them a grand reception, for which purpose he has ordered out several squadrons of quahogs, with a troop of roasting pigs.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Thursday, September 19, 1850

Same article--not Coney related, but I was interested to see how military uniforms have changed; it appears they didn't even used to be standardized.

PEARSON LIGHT GUARD.--This favorite corps, under the command of Captain Robert B. Clark, will make an afternoon parade, in full uniform, on Friday next, 20th inst. The uniform of this company is said to be the most brilliant of any worn in this country--consisting of white coat with blue and gold facings, scarlet pantaloons with buff stripe, and grenadier cap of bear skin, with gold tassels pendant to the front. Their ranks are rapidly filling up.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Thursday, September 19, 1850

Thursday, August 18, 2011

More Plank Road - 1850

Appears to be related to a May 1850 story.

PUBLIC NOTICE is hereby given that an application will be made by the Coney Island Plank Road to the Board of Supervisors of the county of Kings, on the 8th day of October, 1850, for permission and authority to lay out and construct a Plank Road, from a point in the city of Brooklyn to a point on Coney Island, and to take the Real Estate necessary for such purpose--to pass through the city of Brooklyn, the towns of Flatbush, New Utrecht and Gravesend. August 23, 1850.
au24 1aw8w JOHN VANDERBILT, President.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Wednesday, August 28, 1850 (and other days)

The results:

Board of Supervisors.
Oct. 8th,

The Board of Supervisors held a meeting yesterday in the County Jail--Present, the chairman J G Bergen, and Mssrs. Crooke, Verplanck, Seabury, T G Bergen, Ryder, Voorhees, DeBevoise, Berry and Sloan.

The minutes of the last meeting read and approved....

Col. Crooke presented an application from the Coney Island Plank Road Company for permission to commence the road and detailing the route &c., proposing Messrs. Philip Hamilton, Abram Verplanck and Charles A. Van Zandt as commissioners, which was granted, and placed on file, and an order entered on the minutes to be recorded.

The Board adjourned to the 16th inst., at the same hour and place.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Wednesday, October 9, 1850

And it continues! I find the timing here interesting, as it appears this is the first notice of this meeting, published presumably the morning of the meeting...

NOTICE-- We, the undersigned, Commissioners appointed by the Board of Supervisors of Kings county to lay out the Coney Island Plank Road, will meet on Wednesday, the 13th instant, at 3 o'clock, P.M., at the office of the Coney Island Plank Road, at the residence of John Vanderbilt, Esq., Flatbush, to hear all persons who may apply to us to be heard.

n12 2t

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Wednesday, November 13, 1850

Last Plank Road article for the year. Really.

[Reported for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.]
WEDNSDAY, Dec. 26, 1850.

Mr. T. G. Bergen presented a petition from the Coney Island Plank Road Company, stating that they were organized pursuant to law, and asking for the appointment of Inspectors. Accepted--and Messrs. Hamilton, Van Zandt and Bergen were, on motion, appointed such inspectors, and the clerk was instructed to give the necessary notification.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Friday, December 27, 1850

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Jilted Parties in the Surf - Coney Island

A little story--a bit challenging for the modern reader to follow (or at least it was for me), but probably worth it to get the flavor of the era. (It, or a substantially similar story, was also published in the Brooklyn Eagle August 27, 1850.)

A Surf Scene.

A correspondent of the Springfield Republican at Coney Island, gives the following killing incident of the surf:

During my passage down the bay I had caught several glances of a familiar face. I knew I had seen it before, but where? The lady as evidently had been subject to a jog of memory. The exchange of a few glances satisfied us both that we only wanted a proper opportunity, or a disposition to speak. Ten long years before, we had parted in a huff, and considering myself at the time the aggrieved party, I was not particularly anxious to renew the acquaintance--the jilt. As soon as the boat touched the pier, I was on it, and off for a bath. The lady for the time was forgotten, and issuing from the bath house in my rough bathing dress, I plunged into the breakers. I had been frolicking some time, laying my hand on the "ocean's mane," and the ocean laying his hand on mine, when I saw two or three other bathers edging up towards me between the swells. There was a lady evidently, in advance. Her company apparently forgot her, at last, and still she approached me. I went farther out. She followed and I found she was determined to speak to me.--I knew who she was of course. A huge wave came in, and knocked the woman down, but sticking her head out of the water, she gave one scream, and that brought me. I was on the spot as soon as I could get there, and grasping her arm raised her to her feet.

'Oh!' said the lady, 'wha--wah--waht a meet--meet--meeting, after such a parting."

'Well--yes,' said I, bluntly.

She now undertook to look the grateful and the interesting, when a huge wave struck her as she looked up to me with parted lips, and crammed her dear mouth with salt water. She dropped again, and again I pulled her out, and she was either very weak or she thought I was certainly very strong.

'Mary,' said I, 'have you been happy since we parted?'

She answered me with a sigh, and then looking up to me put the same question.

Says I, 'ho hum--ho hum--ho hum--Mary don't talk about it.'

'I have learned some things since then,' said she.

'Yes,' says I, 'I believe you have: you married a learned man I think.'

'Me married !'

'What did you jilt a very good looking man for ten years ago, but to marry a certain learned man?' asked I fiercely.

'I beg you will not allude to the foolishness of a school girl,' replied the lady, and then changing the subject, she wanted to know how she should have felt if, in saving her from a watery grave, I had drowned myself. I told her it would probably have made less difference with her and me than with my wife and child. She gave me but one look, and rose to her feet, and put.

"I saw her but a moment,
But methinks I see her now,"

as she walked off with her bathing-dress sticking to her, and her little bare feet indenting the sand with the spitefulness of her step.

--Hartford Weekly Times, August 31, 1850

In subject matter it almost reminds me of Same Old Lang Syne by Dan Fogelberg. (My dad kind of likes that song; I'm' not really a fan. Though the concept of celebrating the holidays with some "car beer" amuses me...I don't really drink so it's not plausible for me though!)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Collision between Chingarora and Coney Island boat St. Nicholas

Doesn't look like this happened at Coney Island, but

Correspondence of the Daily Eagle.
Saturday, M., 24th Aug.

DEAR SIR:--I haste to inform you of a collision between the steamboat "Chingarora" (plying to Keyport) and Coney Island boat, "St. Nicholas." Last evening at half past 4 o'clock, as the boats were approaching the wharf at this place, the Chingarora came alongside, and passed the St. Nicholas, she being the "inshore" boat, and was crossing her bow in such a way, that it was expected the latter would have been obliged, either to steer for shore, or be jammed between the other boat and the dock. The pilot, however, thinking, I suppose, that "self-preservation is the first law of nature," suddenly turned the bow of his boat "off shore," and stopped the wheels, whence some might be led to suppose that he was in fault, whereas, unfortunately the "Jarsey" boat Chingarora was all to blame. The bow of the St. Nicholas came in contact with the guard of the Chingarora, which was considerably injured.

Respectfully yours, C.N.C.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Saturday, August 24, 1850

The St. Nicholas was referenced several time prior. In 1846 it was called "new and elegant."

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Coney Island Institute again - 1850

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle mocks the Coney Island Institute again. Though it's so outrageous I'm wondering if the institute really even existed; hmmm.

By Magnetic Telegraph,

CONEY ISLAND, Aug. 24, 1850.

Present, the Chairman of the Board and a quorum.

CONEY ISLAND INSTITUTE.--This learned association held their semi occasional anniversary, under the big tent at Coney Island, last evening, A. Don Key, Esq., President of the Association, in the chair. Mr. Muttonheyd presented a beautiful and rare specimen of Zllqzffiyghbrii, or duck-legged beetle. The specimen, after being critically examined through a glass containing a sherry cobbler, was pronounced to belong to the family of hum-bugs.

Mr. G. Ology read a paper in reference to the origin of Coney Island Clambakes, indicating great research and learning. The learned author contends that clams were originally thrown up from the centre of the earth during Volcanic eruptions, and in support of this hypothesis, adduced the well known fact that these wonderful creatures would instantly open their mouths, and exhale their gratitude in grateful odors, upon being submitted to the ordeal of fire. He further contended that the smoothe, oval shape given to clams was the result of fusion by heat, and forcible projection into the atmosphere. The stones found at the base of volcanic cones invariable assume this shape, and the larger lumps of gold found in the "wet diggins" of California have invariably a clam-my appearance.

A motion to print this document for the benefit of the members of this association was the signal for a clam-orous debate, in the midst of which a motion to adjourn was put and carried.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Saturday, August 24, 1850

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sherry Cobbler on Coney Island - 1850

MARINE AFFAIRS.--Clams, sherry cobblers, and bathing dresses. For further particulars, inquire at the "Oceanic House," Coney Island....

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Monday, August 19, 1850

I don't really drink, but it appears the sherry cobbler was a drink probably made of crushed/shaved ice, sherry, sugar and citrus like lemon, and sucked through a straw, reed, or macaroni (!!!). It was reportedly very popular back in the day; even Charles Dickens wrote about it! I can't tell if it would've been strained in the 1850s, but another Brooklyn Daily Eagle article describes it:

The following amusing hit is from the "Great Gun," a satirical and humorous paper, just commenced in London by some of the writers for the celebrated "Punch :"

The Sherry Cobbler.
Suggested by seeing the article announced at the North and South American Coffee House, in Threadneedle street.

The great feature of civilization is--a sherry cobbler.

The men of the West-end fancy they know something of taste ; that they are judges of the delicate and refined. No fallacy could be more glaring. Sherry cobblers are barely known out of Threadneedle street.

The circumstances that Columbus was unable to attach his name to his discovery, and that Dr. Guillotine was unable to detach his name from his invention, are cited by Victor Hugo as two remarkable instances of ill-fortune. Let us cite as a third that the name of him who invented the sherry cobbler is buried in oblivion. Yes, he who first taught rude man to lay sparkling crystals of ice beneath the delicious Sherry, and to flavor the liquid with sharp slices of lemon, and then to imbibe it, not by coarse Thracian draughts, but gently, lightly, and playfully through a rustic straw, is totally unknown.

Let us, therefore, devise a fable to account for the origin of the Sherry Cobbler and its importation to our beloved country.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Wednesday, January 8, 1845

Married...with dinner has a pretty decent summary that matches with the other explanations I saw.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Body and Crime near Coney Island - 1850

BODY FOUND.--The dead body of an unknown man was picked up near Coney Island on Sunday and an inquest held upon it at that place. The body was much decomposed, and no clue to its identity was obtained.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Wednesday, August 14, 1850

And more of the Brooklyn Eagle's cynicism and sarcasm.

OUR "VIGILANT" SHERIFF.--It appears that another prisoner has made his escape from the County Jail, and is now at large. This took place last week, and the affair has been kept a secret from the public, up to this time. Is it not the duty of the Sheriff to offer a reward in such cases! The fugitive is a black man, named Carlo and he was under arrest for stealing a gold watch from Capt. Combs, at Coney Island. Cannot our "vigilant" cotemporary over the way, whose "vigilant" nose is ever on the scent for official negligence, or misconduct, bring this "vigilant" Sheriff before the bar of the public, and compel him to answer for these periodical escapes of felons committed to his "vigilance"?

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Saturday, August 17, 1850

I couldn't see who Captain Combs was, but searching for him, I found an 1862 newspaper with at least two reports of lost/stolen watches, as well as reference to a Capt. Combs looking for recruits in New York City (I'd assume Civil War).

Monday, August 8, 2011

Coney Island Institute - 1850

This Day in History, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle again mercilessly mocks their potential readers, 1850. (Though I daresay they think the below gentlemen not smart enough to read their newspaper.) This goes out to anyone who imagines the 1850s were a much more genteel and respectful time.

Reported expressly for the Daily Eagle.

NATURAL PHILOSOPHY.--The " Coney Island Institute" held a special meeting on Saturday evening last. A compact, globular, vegetable ball, of a peculiar odor, was presented to the Society, by A. Tumble Bug, Esq., and referred to the Committee on Knick Knacks, with instructions to analyze the same and report to the next meeting. Adjourned.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Monday, August 5, 1850

A. Tumble Bug? REALLY? No; I think it's more of the Eagle's mockeries.

(Next article censored by me)

By Magnetic Telegraph,


CONEY ISLAND, Aug. 7, 1850.

CONEY ISLAND INSTITUTE.--The proceedings of this learned body possessed unusual interest this morning.

Mr. Pickwick, jr., presented to the society a dilapidated boot-jack, said to be the identical one used by a notorious giant of antiquity, in divesting himself of his "seven-league-boots."

A. Donkey, Esq., arose for information. He wished to know the basis upon which the article in question rested for its genuineness. He trusted his learned friend came prepared to satisfy the society upon this point.

Mr. Pickwick, jr., arose, under evident excitement. Did his friend, A. Donkey. Esq., intend to insinuate that the story of the seven-league boots was a humbug ? No, sir, he dare not. Every child in the country would, incontinently, rise up and hiss him, did he dare to advance, in their presence, such a proposition. The authenticity of this fact being admitted, the objection of the honorable member fell to the ground....

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Monday, August 7, 1850

The men have a bit of a spat but I think you get the idea.

I can't figure out if the seven-league boots were stolen by Hop o' my Thumb (who I never would have heard of if not for the Internet).

And I think the end of the mockery...at least for a few days...

CONEY ISLAND INSTITUTE.--We understand that this prosperous and popular association of savans have just received the following addition to their stock of curiosities:--

The segment of a circle described by a "Mexican Revolution.

A bunch of faggots from the river Styx.

A bucket of water from the "See of Rome."

A specimen of domestic manufactures, made from the thread of Webster's last discourse upon the tariff.

A pair of nipples from the "bosom of the ocean."

The identical "note" that Young, the poet, declined taking of "time."

A chunk of cheese made from the "Milky Whey."

Visitors to the rooms of this association are respectfully requested not to mutilate any of the above articles.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Tuesday, August 8, 1850

I never thought I'd type these words, but I miss Walt Whitman. The Eagle wasn't like this when he was editor. There's using sharp words to make a point, and then there's beating a dead point into the ground. I think this is the latter.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Beating on the Coney Island boat - 1850

Sad! I wonder if the perpetrator was drunk.


CITY COURT.--Before Judge Johnson.--Aggravated case of assault and battery. This morning, Edward M. Garner appeared to the court, with his counsel Judge Dikeman, to obtain a certificate from his honor under the 16th section of the "act to establish courts of civil and criminal jurisdiction in Brooklyn." The circumstances under which this application was made are represented to be these. On the 26th of July inst., on board of the Coney Island boat, Mr. Garner was assaulted by a man named Thomas Burny, and beaten most outrageously. His face was a striking illustration of the punishment inflicted on him by Burny, for whose brutality there was no provocation. A certificate that the case was a proper one to be tried in a higher court, than the Special Sessions, was granted by Judge Johnson. The accused party was then taken before Justice John C. Smith, and required to put in bail in the sum of $300, to appear at the next Oyer and Terminer, for Kings County.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Monday, July 29, 1850

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Coney Island's name - 1837

Found an older story so we're heading back in time for a day. No, even in the 1830s, people didn't know the origin of the name Coney Island.


Coney island. This name is generally supposed to be a corruption of Conyn's island; so called in honor of its original proprietor. Sed quere. May not Coney island have been so called in consequence of its abounding in coneys, or rabbits?

--Niles' Weekly Register by Wm. Ogden Niles, From September, 1836, to March, 1837

I believe Sed quere means "But is it so?" Though if you Google it, they spell it Sed quaere.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

One more jab at the Star

I see so many assaults on the Brooklyn Daily Star when I'm JUST looking for Coney Island articles! Can you imagine how many there must have been in every issue?

The editor of the Star has been scolding the Aldermen for going with the Sandwich Islanders, to Coney Island, since the President's death. Poor man ! What a relief to him his first smile will be after the funeral on Friday. Wonder if he will make a public exhibition of it ?--Freeman.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Thursday, July 18, 1850

Yes, more 1800s sarcasm!

President Zachary Taylor died July 9, 1850. It may have been cholera, which was going around in the mid-1800s, even in New York. The Sandwich Islands was an old term for Hawaii.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Granny who was a man

GRANNY NEDDY SPOONEY, of the Star, is very indignant at us, and shakes her withered fist, and snaps her toothless jaws at us in a very unfeminine and unbecoming manner. How naughty in a dignified and pious old lady thus to

--unpack her heart in words,
And fall to cursing like a very drab.

Ah! well, times aint now as they used to was, and these "Woman's rights Conventions" are rapidly unsexing the sex, and making breeches in the ranks of maidenly propriety. Poor Spooney !

"We could have better spared a better wo-man."...

OUR GRANDMOTHER is most respectively informed that it is not for us to explain or reconcile the resolution, cited by her, with the actual facts of the transaction. All we know is that our statement was literally true, and that the city bore none of the expenses consequent upon the Coney Island clam-bake and its "savage" guests. You have flourished your broomstick in the wrong direction, granny....

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Wednesday, July 17, 1850

Wow. What IS this? Could the Eagle really write something so cruel about an elderly woman?

Nah. Sounds like "Ned Spooney" (not sure that was his real name) was a man who edited the Brooklyn Star. Google and Bing don't offer any leads. The whole thing seems to have started a bit earlier. I guess the newspaper liked to berate someone named Ranger.

The smart one from the Jersey woods is particularly anxious that some person will do him the favor to "bay the moon. If it were BRAYING at the moon, or any other luminary, Master Ranger is the very individual for the job.--Brooklyn Star.

Spooney continues to wax facetious, and countless are the jibes and jokes that our venerable monitor showers down upon the terrible individual from the "Jarsey woods." Ranger is impervious to sarcasm, but nevertheless we would advise him to lay low while the dog "Star" rages. Let him remember the old nursery rhyme:

High diddle diddle,
Uncle Ned's cornstalk fiddle,
In the paws of a funny Galphin cooney ;
Let "Jarsey" clar de track;
And never once look back,
If he would avoid a whack
From the pen of a Long Island Spooney.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Tuesday, July 9, 1850

A CARD.--Grandmother Spooney, of the Star, known as the Mrs. Partington of the Brooklyn press, is respectfully informed that we shall prescribe for her complaint (which we believe to be "chronic fidgets,") at our earliest convenience.--Her attack on Saturday last has a Holmes-pun appearnce which commends itself to our sympathies. In the meantime we caution the old lady to be sparing in the use of snuff, and to soak her head nightly before going to bed.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Monday, July 15, 1850

Mrs. Partington was a fictional character--a kind-hearted but not so bright aunt caring for her young nephew Ike. Bartleby.com notes their relationship is a lot like Tom Sawyer and Aunt Polly. SeacoastNH.com's printing of one of the stories sounds a lot like the other two I read. So anyway, they're likening the newspaper editor to this woman.

Then shortly after the Coney citation above, there's a poem "To the Lady Florence", by "Ranger," that has this brilliant line:

A "broken heart" is a thing quickly mended
(Mine has been broken quite often,)
And people who lose their intended
Don't often resort to a coffin.

It ends:

MY DEAR EAGLE:--The above limps somewhat in measure, and is slightly crippled in metre. Let Spooney of the Star, harpoon its imperfections, and bless the benevolence which induced me to toss him another bone....

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Monday, July 15, 1850

Note the pronoun "him" to confirm that they're facetiously calling this character a grandmother.

And the volleys continue:

Mr. Crawford, it is said, is preparing a letter to be laid before the House of Representatives, offering to deposit the money received by him from the Gaphin claim, or to submit to the decision of the Supreme Court in the matter. This does not look like dishonesty. What does our neighbor of the Eagle say to it? Restitution and thievery do not inhabit generally the same breast.--Star.

What does the Eagle say to it? We say just what Spooney says--that "it is said, Mr. Crawford, &c. It is also "said" that the moon is made of green cheese. What does our neighbor of the Star say to it ?

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Thursday, July 18, 1850

That seems to have ended the matter, at least on the Eagle's side. Well, at least, there didn't seem to be any more references to "Spooney" as a character through 1860 or so.