No. 656
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
June 23, 2024

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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 "The Witches' Cove," Follower of Jan MandijnWelcome to the first Link Dump of Summer 2024!Time for that summer road trip!A young man's murderous attack on his family.The ghost of a murderer.Did the Allied leadership prolong WWII?The Great Bed of Ware.Decoding UK's "Seahenge."Hunter Thompson and the Hell's Angels.Looking for UFOs in the Vatican.A quadruple murder case in Pennsylvania.The
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Strange Company - 6/21/2024
Included in yesterday’s trip to Fall River was a stop at Miss Lizzie’s Coffee shop and a visit to the cellar to see the scene of the tragic demise of the second Mrs. Lawdwick Borden and two of the three little children in 1848. I have been writing about this sad tale since 2010 and had made a previous trip to the cellar some years ago but was unable to get to the spot where the incident occured to get a clear photograph.  The tale of Eliza Borden is a very sad, but not uncommon story of post partum depression with a heartrending end. You feel this as you stand in the dark space behind the chimney where Eliza ended her life with a straight razor after dropping 6 month old Holder and his 3 year old sister Eliza Ann into the cellar cistern. Over the years I have found other similar cases, often involving wells and cisterns, and drownings of children followed by suicides of the mothers. These photos show the chimney, cistern pipe, back wall, dirt and brick floor, original floorboards forming the cellar ceiling and what appears to be an original door. To be in the place where this happened is a sobering experience. My thanks to Joe Pereira for allowing us to see and record the place where this sad occurrence unfolded in 1848. R.I.P. Holder, Eliza and Eliza Ann Borden. Visit our Articles section above for more on this story. The coffee shop has won its suit to retain its name and has plans to expand into the shop next door and extend its menu in the near future.
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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 2/12/2024
Like many of Manhattan’s legendary department stores, Bloomingdale’s developed in stages. First came Lyman and Joseph Bloomingdale’s “Ladies’ Notions Shop” on Chambers Street, where they sold the trendiest garment of the 1860s: the hoop skirt. In 1886, the Bloomingdale Brothers moved their store, renamed the “East Side Emporium,” to the hinterlands of Manhattan at Lexington […]
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Ephemeral New York - 6/17/2024
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
 Nellie and Fanny.Nelly Dalton and Fanny Coburn, two young Boston women, were out on the town one autumn afternoon in 1855. They met and flirted with William Sumner and Josiah Porter, two promising young college graduates. Though both women were married, they arranged to see the boys again.Nelly and William embarked on a heartfelt correspondence. Their amorous letters sometimes included
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Murder By Gaslight - 6/22/2024
CHIEF OF CONSThe Morning Times(Cripple Creek, Colorado)February 15, 1896Courtesy of Mitch Morrissey ig Ed Burns robs a dying man?      Mitch Morrissey, a Facebook friend and historian for the Denver District Attorney’s Office, found and published an interesting newspaper piece on "Big Ed" Burns, one of the most notorious characters in the West. Burns was a confidence man and
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 4/2/2024
Youth With Executioner by Nuremberg native Albrecht Dürer … although it’s dated to 1493, which was during a period of several years when Dürer worked abroad. November 13 [1617]. Burnt alive here a miller of Manberna, who however was lately … Continue reading
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Executed Today - 11/13/2020
A Transparent Rigg. | Caught a Cowboy.

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.