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32 OCTOBER 2018 I LIC COURIER I www.qns.com
A BODY IN THE BOG
Near the intersection of Vernon
Boulevard and Broadway was a
long dreary causeway spanning
Sunswick Creek, a stream that yet runs
under 21st Street and which once sepa-rated
Astoria from Ravenswood.
They noticed an object in the water. The
tide was low but the rough, wintry wind
raised such heavy ruffles that it was difficult
for the men to determine whether the few
straggling tufts of hair that were occasion-ally
uplifted were those of a man or a dog.
They called to Officer Emmet of Astoria
and when he reached the place, the shifting
of the tide had turned the object over and
the features of the dead man were fully
exposed. The policeman attempted to drag
the body from the water but it was fast held
to the bottom and resisted his utmost efforts.
Coroner Maujer of Winfield was summoned
and he and a group of villagers gradually
pulled the corpse from the mud. The body
was that of a man about 45 years with a
The features were wildly contorted and
wrinkled as though he had died in agony.
He was dressed in a brown cardigan jacket,
a black velvet vest, brown undershirt, light
pepper and salt pantaloons and light slip-pers
of German make. There was $5.95 in
German silver coins in the pockets.
The body was borne to the Sunswick
Hotel and there the inquest was held. The
jury returned a verdict of death by drowning.
The whole valley which is several miles
long and a half mile wide is a trackless
waste, interspersed with rank wild grass,
slimy pools, and treacherous ferns. It is
shunned. It is a land of quicksand, of oozy
mud pools and tangled bogs and it is said
that no one who ever ventured upon its
surface escaped with his life.
The tide rises to a great height, some-times
seven or eight feet, and when it is
pouring in, it would be impossible to imagine
a more perilous situation than that in the
meadows on either side of the causeway.
It is supposed the drowned man was
caught in the treacherous bottom of these
meadows and was imprisoned until the
stealthy incoming waters slowly rose and
engulfed him. Across the soft pulpy mud his
painful footsteps could be traced. Through
the tempest of Saturday night he prob-ably
struggled and each step took him
deeper into the mire, adding to the horror
and hopelessness of his situation and he
sank powerless to help himself. His face
was covered with mud when he was taken
from the quagmire.
The body was unrecognized and, as
there is no morgue in Astoria, was placed
at once in a plain pine coffin and in the
afternoon was buried in St. Michael's Cem-etery;
there was no clue to the dead man's
identity. It was the general opinion that he
was caught in the quagmire and died after
hours of torture as the stream slowly crept
through the timbers of the floodgate.
This true Astoria Halloween story was in
the November 3, 1873 issue of the Flush-ing
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This image adapted from an invitation to the
Long Island City Athletics 33rd Annual Masque Ball, 1909.