Thursday, July 26, 2012

Obscure way to wrap up 1852

I guess this again shows how many residents Coney Island had…and how little respect it got!

HO FOR THE SPOILS !--The Advertiser of yesterday informs the public that the proprietor of the Eagle is a prominent candidate for postmaster of the city, and the editor is going in hard for the City Clerkship. This is but little of our ambition; in addition to these aspirings for the spoils, we intend to grab up all the loves (sic?) and fishes that will fall to the share (?) of Long Island, on the approaching retreat of the Whigs : while Paddy expects to be sent out as Minister to Coney Island, to preside over a constituency of clams and oysters. He is desirous of going out with the full powers of a plenipotentiary and expects that the least deference that can be shown to him by the authorities is to supply him with a complete outfit, consisting of a pair of water tight over alls, a couple of top boots with cork soles, and an oil cloth jacket ; to detail a double bottomed mud scow to transport him to his destination, and to order a salute of fifteen fire crackers and a blue rocket, to honor his arrival. In these elevated aspiratians (sic) he hopes to have the powerful aid of the Advertiser and its editor, notwithstanding his threat to withhold it for the future.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Thursday, December 30, 1852

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

More Train News

Common Council.
[Reported for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.]
Monday, Dec. 13th, 1852….
Petitions &c.
…Pet. of Rafferty & Leask for permission to construct a railroad through Fulton and Court streets and Hamilton and Third avs. to Coney Island : also of Cohen & Winsor and others for the same. Laid on the table to be taken up with the special order.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Tuesday, December 14, 1852

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Gravesend and Coney Island Road and Bridge Company

NOTICE is hereby given that an election will be held for Directors and Inspectors of Election, of the Gravesend and Coney Island Road and Bridge Company, on MONDAY, Nov. 15th, at the house of Ann Jackson, at Gravesend, in Kings county, at the hour of 5 o'clock in the afternoon.

By the Board,

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Monday, November 15, 1852

This page says the Gravesend and Coney Island Road and Bridge Company built the Coney Island House. (At any rate, the house dates back to 1829.)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Railroads to Coney Island?

Letter to the editor.

City Rail Roads.

To the Editor of the Brooklyn Eagle--

SIR--Permit me, at an interval of peace like this, when the great political battle--in which the Eagle bore so conspicuous a part--is now among the things that were, and our Democratic friends are congratulating each other, and extending the hand of goodwill to the enemy, to call your attention to person employed as agents who are busily engaged throughout our city, plying the unwary and uninterested, by every argument that they can make use of, to sign petitions to our Common Council for, what they say, will be a public benefit. Judge, sir, of the fact, when those modest gentlemen only want the privilege of laying railroad tracks through Fulton st., commencing at the Fulton Ferry and going up thence to Court, through Court to Hamilton avenue and thence to Coney Island. One, sir, can scarcely help smiling at the extreme lengths the foul spirit of Avarice has prompted those wily and intriguing speculators to go in concocting a scheme, which, if they could by any means carry into effect, would at once raise the value, 500 per cent, of their property on the hills of Gowanus, which are now becoming rapidly improved without the aid of railroads, which would ultimately destroy this beautiful city...

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Thursday, November 11, 1852

I've heard the same arguments about light rail where I am. Though after standing near a real, functioning train at the Greenfield Village and breathing in all that soot…I can definitely see the author's point of view.

I have no idea if this particular railroad went through, but like it or not, rail was coming.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Another Death at Coney Island

INQUEST AT CONEY ISLAND.--Coroner Donly, of Gravesend, held an inquest yesterday afternoon on the body of a man found floating in the water, near the wharf, at Coney Island Point. Deceased was apparently about 30 years old, dark brown hair, and was dressed in check shirt, blue over-alls, cotton socks, and coarse shoes. It is supposed the body has been in the water only a few days. There were no papers or other articles found in his possession by which he could be identified. Verdict, death from some cause or causes to the jury unknown.--The remains were conveyed to Flatbush for interment. Further particulars may be had by applying to the Coroner, at his store in the village of Gravesend, L. I.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Wednesday, November 10, 1852

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Gil Davis v. Gen. Scott

The Fun of the Election.

SITE FOR THAT HOSPITAL.--It has been suggested by Gil Davis, that Gen. Scott can find an elegant site for a Military Hospital on Coney Island, where he can find there plenty of soup, which he can take at his leisure.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Friday, November 5, 1852

The article goes on to note that Frank Pierce, "The 'obscure,' 'insignificant,' 'blue-nose New Hampshire Yankee,' is now, by the potent voice of the people, President elect of the United States."

If you can believe it, General Scott went on to serve in the Civil War, at the age of 75!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Crusade against Coney Island

Well, really, this is more about politics.

STUMP CANDIDATES--COLONEL JACK ON THE RUN.--The number of stump candidates now before the people are numerous enough we should think, but if they continue to multiply as they have done we don't see how the matter can be regulated unless by every man getting out his own ticket and voting for himself…Of all who have taken the stump, however, none appears to be making such tremendous headway as Colonel Jack. He has got his yards squared and all sail set, and cuts through the political waters like one of the Collins steam ships…

When elected, he shall cause to be passed a bill for the construction of a Canal from the Wallabout to Gowanus, and another for the erection of Long Island into a separate and independent state and the immediate annexation of Coney Island. He shall vote for a port of entry at every seaboard town on our ample coasts…

Mr. Powell will be a dangerous rival, and the Col. must stretch himself to get ahead. If the former candidate succeeds in his designs of a filibustering crusade against the authorities of Coney Island, it will strengthen his chances amazingly, and if he can erect ports of entry at Red Hook Point, Fort Hamilton and Sheeps Head Bay, his popularity will carry him into the halls of Congress in spite of the wind and weather.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Tuesday, October 5, 1852

I'm not sure who these people are, but at any rate, I believe Coney Island didn't become part of Brooklyn until the 1890s.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Happier time via Plank Road

After yesterday's accident, I figured I should share a happier excursion over the Plank Road.

THE DEMOCRATIC BANNER ALOFT.--The Granite Club of Brooklyn, accompanied by deputations from other parts of the city, proceeded to Sheep's Head Bay yesterday afternoon to erect a hickory pole as a symbol of the elevation of democratic principles in November. The great stage of Husted and Kendall's line, with ten omnibuses of the same line, all started in procession from the City Hall at 2 o'clock P. M., with a heavy freight of democracy--each being crowded. Granger's band had been engaged for the occasion, and struck up some of the most popular music as the cortege proceed over the Coney Island plank road to Sheep's Head Bay. On arriving at the Bay, the 8th ward had taken possession of the ground and planted their banner with the following inscription : "8th ward Pierce and King Association of Brooklyn--when united, always victorious." A hickory pole measuring ninety-six feet in length was elevated, and the democratic flag attached to the summit.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Tuesday, September 14, 1852

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Accident on Coney Island Plank Road


ACCIDENT.--Mr. John Murphy, residing on Van Brunt, near Commerce street, was out carriage riding with a friend on the Coney Island Plank Road, on Wednesday last, when the wagon came in contact with an ice cart, and Mr. Murphy was thrown out and the wheel of one of the vehicles passed over his foot crushing it dreadfully.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Friday, September 10, 1852

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

From Coney Island to San Francisco

SCOTT IN NEW YORK.--The Herald in speaking of the election campaign, says:--

Beginning with the ratification meeting at the Broadway House, every attempt to get up a successful gathering for Gen. Scott has been a most signal failure…And the same heavy incubus of indifference to the military glory of General Scott, appears to extend over the whole country, from the St. Lawrence to the Rio Grande, and from Coney Island to San Francisco.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Thursday, September 9, 1852

It appears the Scott to whom they refer is Winfield Scott, presidential candidate in 1852.

There was another article that day that mentioned Coney Island, perhaps a reader letter to the editor, but I couldn't really follow it.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Coney Island for Charity

More sarcasm from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. They don't seem to be pleased that government officials would visit Coney Island on the public dime.

INVITATIONS NOT ACCEPTED.--We received a few days ago the following invitation, dated at Kings Co. Almshouse, Flatbush, Sept. 1852 :

"You are invited to visit the Kings Co. Almshouse, Hospital and nursery buildings at Flatbush, on Wednesday, Sept. 8th, 1 o'clock, P.M.
By order of the Superintendent.

We have received repeated invitations to visit these buildings on similar occasions, but as the invitations always omitted one particular item--to wit, by what conveyance we were to arrive at our destination--we always declined taking any notice of them. We have no desire to walk out to Flatbush such weather, and were we to go carriage riding at our own expense we should hardly think of visiting Flatbush while Coney Island, Sheep's Head Bay, and similar scenes are spread around (illegible) on every side. The Supervisors go out to day to view the charitable institutions above named, and eat a good dinner, with all the et ceteras, at the public expense, which will, no doubt, fill their minds with wisdom, and their hearts with christian charity and benevolence, while it will also supply the vacancies of the stomach with good and nutricious matter. Spinola is to say grace, and that big clownish looking chap from Willismaburgh give the "Amen." The proceedings, we have no doubt, will be highly interesting, and the poor inmates of the Almhouse as well as the county generally will be largely benefitted thereby.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Wednesday, September 8, 1852

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Storm Damages Coney Island Plank Road - 1852

DAMAGE BY THE STORM.--Some property in Brooklyn sustained considerable injury in consequence of the excessive rain of Saturday, but in all cases the damage was less than had been expected. A block of three story wooden buildings at Gowanus, in course of erection, and owned by Mr. Parker of Washington Market, N. Y., were blown down. A block of unfinished brick houses, belonging to Mr. Warren Beaman, were partially blown down and greatly damaged in other respects. Another building belonging to Mr. B., at Gowanus, was completely levelled. His loss altogether will amount to some thousands of dollars….The Coney Island plank road was slightly damaged. The injury sustained was very trifling and will be repaired today.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Monday, August 30, 1852

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pic Nic Stage at Coney Island

Johnson and Hudson s splendid Pic Nic stage, drawn by ten elegant horses, took a party of young people to Coney Island yesterday afternoon, and attracted much attention. This elegant stage is called the "Seventy-six," and will hold some 40 or 50 persons. It was built expressly for large parties, and is fitted up with every elegance and every convenience needful for this object. The party which went with it yesterday appeared to enjoy themselves as well in the stage as they did on the beach. These great omnibuses are great promoters of social life.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Friday, July 30, 1852

40 to 50 people…and they enjoyed it. Can you imagine?

(Unless the Brooklyn Daily Eagle staff took a kickback from Johnson and Hudson…)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Thief at Coney Island Point

At least, that's certainly implied…

BOLD ROBBERY OF A HORSE AND WAGON.--Yesterday, a gentleman named James Robinson, residing in New York, who owns a large amount of real estate at Flatbush, had proceeded to the latter place for the purpose of pointing out some trees to a carpenter to have felled. He left his horse and wagon, tied with the reins to a tree ; but on returning neither horse nor wagon were to be seen. He immediately set off in pursuit, accompanied by a Flatbush constable named Williamson, and found the lost property in the possession of an unknown individual at Coney Island Point. The thief was arrested and brought to this city, where he was examined before Justice King, John Brown, a resident of Plymouth street, Brooklyn, deposed that he had met the prisoner on the way to Coney Island Point, and asked him who owned the horse ? He answered at first that it was his own, and afterwards said he had hired it in New York. The defendant was committed in full for trial.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Thursday, July 29, 1852

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Coney Island in July 1852

CONEY ISLAND.--We understand that this favorite watering place is overcrowded, and that several new public houses are in great demand. The Plank Road is now the favorite ride for the denizens of these two great cities, and the Coney Island beach being a favorite bathing place, attracts also a large number of summer boarders. Two public houses have been erected on the Plank Road just beyond Flatbush, and the old Ocean House, which was burned down a year or two ago, is rising, Phoenix like, from its ashes, younger and fresher than before. The post of Governor for Coney Island is not likely to diminish in dignity ; so that the successor of the famous Gil. Davis is sure to be some.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Monday, July 26, 1852

I assume they meant the Oceanic House, which burned in 1851.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Steamer to Coney Island - 1852

This ad repeats several times in July.


The new and splendid steamer MAY QUEEN, Captain C McNeill, will commence her regular trips for the season on FRIDAY, June 16th, leaving pier foot of Spring st, NR, at 9 1/2 A M. 12 1/2 and 3 1/2 P M. Leaves pier No. 3 NR, 10 A M, 1 and 4 P M. Returning, leaving the Island at 11 A M, 2 and 6 1/2 P M. Landing at Fort Hamilton each way, N.E.--No half-price for children.
je21 3m M

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Thursday, July 1, 1852

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A real conspiracy with a visit to Coney Island

Coney Island references bolded.


[Reported for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.]

CITY COURT--FRIDAY--Before - Judge Greenwood, and Ald. Green and Evans.
FRIDAY, June 25
Catharine Combs, the alleged wife of the plaintiff, George A. Scherff, sworn.--Must be between 28 and 32 years of age ; can't tell exactly ; became acquainted with George A. Scherff 15 or 16 years ago in New York ; he asked me and my sister to his home ; we did not go at that time, but promised we would another time ; he visited me in Madison street, he said his object was to get a wife if she pleased him ; I visited him at his room with my sister ; he told me I must come sometime alone and I did ; when he got me at his room he threw me on a bed and tried to do violence to me, but he did not succeed at that time ; he told me he would never marry a woman unless he knew her before he married her ; he persuaded me to leave home and promised to marry me ; there was intercourse between us before I left home about two years after he first became acquainted with me ; he came to my home one Sunday afternoon and we went to Brooklyn ; he took me to his store where he had a bed----he told me he would marry me if anything occurred; my family tho't we were going to Coney Island ; another time he took me to a house in East Broadway ; I knew where we were going. He told me he wanted me to take a black powder before I went home again ; he thought I was enciente. I remained there three or four weeks. I took the powder he gave me. I met my father one day, he had found out where I was and persuaded me to return. I did not go. Scherpf then took me to Coney Island, where he kept me two weeks. One night my sister came there and I went home. Scherpf told me to tell my family I was married ; we passed there as man and wife ; we next lived for ten weeks in the house of a Mrs. Payne, New York. For several years we lived as man and wife, and several times I made a proposition to be marred (sic), but he said it did not matter…

They outline a bit more of Scherff/Scherpf's exploits and conclude by explaining:

She denied any criminal connexion with Erler or Scadezkey, and some other witnesses being examined to show that they had merely lived at her house as a boarder, the Court adjourned.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Monday, June 28, 1852

Couldn't find any more information on these folks on the Internet at large, but looking at other pages in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, it appears that Miss Combs, or Mrs. Scherff, was accused of adultery. Not sure what the conspiracy was, per se, but I don't know that things went very well for her.

City News & Gossip

Mrs. Scherpf, who attempted to commit suicide on Friday last by taking laudanum, continues in a precarious condition.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Tuesday, June 29, 1852

Monday, July 9, 2012

Vandalism on Coney Island - 1852

Must be one of the first acts of vandalism on Coney Island.

DEMOLITION.--Several persons have been arrested on a charge made against them by Stephen J. Voorhees of Gravesend, accusing them of pulling down a house belonging to said Stephen, situated on Coney Island. The motive of such a wicked act on the part of the accused has not been stated. The names of the accused parties are Aaron Brooks, Nicholas Brooks, Wm. Van Paten and Thomas Downs. The examination will take place before Justice King.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Saturday, June 26, 1852

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Coney Island Editorial

I recently had a question on Facebook asking what Coney Island looked like in the 1850s. I don't think there were many pictures or even paintings of the place, but this editorial hints at just how rustic Coney Island must have been. Also, how much the Brooklyn Daily Eagle hates Whigs.

SATURDAY, 2 o'clock, P.M.



&c. &c. &c.

We have been put in possession of the proceedings of a mass ratification meeting, held last evening on the beach at Coney Island. The meeting had been called in pursuance of the following circular:--

"GRAND RALLY--All the inhabitants of the nasty deep are requested to meet this evening on Coney Island Beach, to ratify Gen. Scott and the whig ticket. Several distinguished oysters will address the meeting."

At the appointed hour one clam made its appearance.

Seeing no other present the clam proceeded to organize the meeting and addressed itself as follows, amid clam-orous applause. The speech is one of such true whig eloquence that we give it entire. The speaker said, Mr. Clam :

Flam vhpuiadn GLORY caestasid aecd SCOTT bhee othiaisi7 wnSne rsBlrbbusos rsisChu 7otg1, dmsiTukaCm, tmos-xoe oycoyl. Idbropoet wdsne LUNDY'S LANE eebhel wed ueSa ae Soa jaltie….

(And it goes on from that!)

During the delivery of this pathetic and highly eloquent speech, several lobsters and oysters had arrived. At the conclusion of the speech it was found that the clam had dissolved with the strength of his emotions, and it was resolved to serve him up as fresh soup for Gen. Scott, and present the shell to Col. Jack, to be hung around his neck as a clam medal, for his eloquent speech at the City Hotel on the same evening.

--Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Saturday, June 26, 1852