No. 584
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
December 8, 2022

Eaten by Sharks.

In the Jaw of the Man-Eaters. James E. Hamilton of Lake Worth, Florida, is Devoured by Sharks.
July 6, 2015
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Strange Company - 12/7/2022
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Wishing you a happy and bountiful Thanksgiving Day! Lizzie is thankful for turkey and all the trimmings – and no mutton broth in sight!
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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 11/22/2022
CAME NEAR LOSING HIS MONEYSan Francisco ChronicleMay 6, 1893(Click image to enlarge)  San Francisco Man Taken in by Denver Card Sharks "First time I ever got caught" (Soapy Smith) This post was originally supposed to be about a new "victim" (Charles Anderson) swindled by the soap gang that I recently uncovered during a search through newspaper archives, but in looking through my files I found
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 12/6/2022
On this date in 2002, Pakistani Mir Aimal Kansi, Kasi, or Qazi was executed by lethal injection in Virginia, U.S.A. “Real angry with the policy of the U.S. government in the Middle East, particularly toward the Palestinian people,”* Qazi on January 25, 1993 revenged himself on Central Intelligence Agency commuters queued for a left turn […]
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Executed Today - 11/14/2022
 When tried for the 1840 murder of Catherine Merry, Charles Cook pled innocent by reason of insanity. Despite a history of medical treatment for extreme melancholy, and strange behavior such as running through the streets of Schenectady, wearing nothing but a blanket, proclaiming himself to be the Savior of the world, the jury rejected his plea and found him guilty.Before his execution, Cook
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Murder By Gaslight - 12/3/2022
For years I’ve walked by the delightfully shabby Joe’s Tavern sign at the corner of Tenth Avenue and 25th Street. I’ve never seen the vintage vertical beauty lit up, unfortunately. Even stranger, I’ve never seen any sign of life inside 258 Tenth Avenue, which once housed what I imagine to have been an old-school neighborhood […]
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Ephemeral New York - 12/5/2022
An article I recently wrote for the British online magazine, New Politic, is now available online. The article, “The Criminal Origins of the United States of America,” is about British convict transportation to America, which took place between the years 1718 and 1775, and is the subject of my book, Bound with an Iron Chain: […]
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Early American Crime - 12/17/2021
A Duel with Whips. | Oscar Wilde Gets a Reception.

Eaten by Sharks.

Jaws of the Man-Eaters

In the Jaw of the Man-Eaters.

James E. Hamilton of Lake Worth, Florida, is Devoured by Sharks. [more]

Terrific But Vain Fight of a Mail Carrier With Man-Eaters.

A special form Jacksonville, Fla. Oct 20, says: The dread of the mail carriers on the Florida southeast coast are the Hillsboro and New River inlets, which have to be crossed by small boats. Here the dark waters of the Everglades empty into the Atlantic with tremendous force at this season, and if the ocean is rough the meeting of the cross currents produces heavy and dangerous seas. Sharks of the fiercest kind fill the inlets.

James E. Hamilton, the mail carrier from Miami to Lake Worth, was an athletic young man and carried the light mail on his shoulders, waking the entire distance. Seventy-five miles, on the beach. He left Lake Worth on Tuesday, in the morning, and should have reached the Refuge Station, twenty-five miles distant, that afternoon.

Late at night a fisherman named Waring came to the station and told the story of Hamilton’s horrible death. Waring was about one-half mile from Hillsboro Inlet when he saw Hamilton get into his boat to cross. He noted that the sharks were about in unusual numbers, and just as Hamilton reached the center of the crossing a huge one drove at the boat and bit a piece off the gunwale.

Hamilton struck at the sharks, but nothing could drive them off. Soon both oars were bitten in two, and then the fierce tigers of the sea seemed perfectly ravenous. The tore at the boat, snapped at one another, and the water for yards around was dyed with their blood. The boat began to fill, and the sharks scenting their prey, redoubled their dashes.

Hamilton stood on the middle seat as if stupefied glaring at them. Looking up and seeing Waring, he cried out to him, but in vain. Even as he shouted a huge monster dashed up and hit the partially filled boat a tremendous blow, throwing Hamilton out into the midst of the monsters.

A cry of agony was heard as he went down, and the devourers had him piecemeal before the horror-stricken spectator could take in the full measure of the tragedy. As soon as Waring recovered his senses he went to the station and told of the affair. A searching party went out at once but nothing was found save the remnants of the boat cast on the shore.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, November 19,1887.