Shark Attacks of 1916


Friday, July 14: Matawan

NJ Governor James Fielder "virtually mandated" that steel wire mesh be used to enclose all popular swimming locations. 5:30 am: Train conductor Harry Van Cleaf spots Lester Stillwell's body floating in the creek by the train trestle (approx. 150 ft. west of Wycoff dock). 10:00 am: Stanley Fisher's parents - who had been out of state visiting their daughter - arrive by train in Matawan.

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Thursday, July 13: Matawan

Possibly both panicked and enraged by the loss of two members of their tightly-knit community, underwater blasting with dynamite in the creek was done in an attempt to kill the shark. Arris B. Henderson, Matawan Mayor, posted a $100 reward for "killing the shark."

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Wednesday, July 12: Matawan (5:06 pm)

5:06 pm: Stanley Fisher was placed on the train to Long Branch. 5:30 pm: Mr. Fisher was wheeled into the operating room. Dr. Edwin Field was the surgeon working to save his life. 6:45 pm: Mr. Fisher died from blood loss and shock. For more information about Stanley Fisher, please visit our Historic People page.

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Wednesday, July 12: Matawan (2:35 pm)

Another group of children was swimming in the creek at the brickyard dock, about 1/2 mile to the east from the Wycoff dock. Joseph Dunn, a 12-year-old from New York City, was visiting his aunt in Cliffwood Beach with his brother Michael, who was 14 years old. Joseph and Michael joined their friend Jerry Hourihan and two other friends in the creek by the NJ Clay Co. docks. The boys heard yelling and the word "shark" and quickly tried to make their way out of the creek. Joseph was farthest away from the dock ladder and last to reach it. He felt his left lower leg being ...

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