No. 462
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
February 24, 2020

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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Ramendra Narayan Roy, in the days when no one questioned that he was alive. One of the most famous court cases of the 19th century revolved around Arthur Orton’s years-long campaign to prove that he was, in fact, Sir Roger Tichborne, a wealthy young man who had disappeared in a presumed shipwreck many years before. As strange (and protracted) as the whole Tichborne matter was, it was
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Strange Company - 2/24/2020

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"Denver's Oldest Bar" matchbook cover outside cover - A (Click image to enlarge) new addition to my collection A matchbook cover from "Denver’s Oldest Bar" is a new acquisition to my private Soapy Smith collection. Though it is a "modern" item from the 1960s-70s, it has a direct link to Soapy Smith. "Denver’s Oldest Bar" was once controlled by Soapy, under the name, "Tivoli Club,
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 2/7/2020

Fifty-nine years ago in February 1961, thousands of avid fans trudged through 20 inches of snow to Carnegie Hall to see comedian Lenny Bruce—in a show that was recorded and released in a three-record set, The Carnegie Hall Concert. This famous show, “was the moment that an obscure yet rapidly rising young comedian named Lenny […]
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Ephemeral New York - 2/23/2020
Beginning on January 1st, W&W will begin featuring fascinating short clippings from the Fall River papers and other newspapers from …

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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 12/29/2019
Nellie C. Bailey. William Dodson led a drive of 2300 head of sheep from Kansas through Indian Territory to their new home in Texas in October 1883. A mile behind them the owner of the new ranch, a widower named Clement Bothemly, and his sister Bertha traveled in a wagon outfitted with bedrooms. Pulled by two yoke of oxen, the wagon was so large that observers compared it to a railroad car.
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Murder By Gaslight - 2/22/2020

Second-century Christian bishop and martyr St. Polycarp of Smyrna has his feast day on February 23. Be sure to shout supplications loudly, as he’s the patron for earaches. Reputedly inducted into the mysteries by the Apostle John himself in the late first century, Polycarp was a consequential clergyman in the early church and a living […]
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Executed Today - 2/23/2020
[Editor’s note: Guest writer, Peter Dickson, lives in West Sussex, England and has been working with microfilm copies of The Duncan Campbell Papers from the State Library of NSW, Sydney, Australia. The following are some of his analyses of what he has discovered from reading these papers. Dickson has contributed many transcriptions to the Jamaica Family […]
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Early American Crime - 2/7/2019
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.