Wednesday, July 12: Matawan (1:30 pm)

Approx. 1:30 pm: Capt. Thomas Cottrell, a retired sea captain, was walking back from fishing and while crossing the trolley drawbridge over Matawan Creek, he saw a dark, gray shape approximately 8 feet in length, going west, up the creek, with the incoming tide. He recognized that it was a shark. Four workmen on the bridge at that time also saw it.

Capt. Cottrell ran to bridge keeper Welling’s booth, where there was a phone and called Mulsoff’s Barber Shop (John Mulsoff is the town barber and chief of police) to warn about the shark. However, Mulsoff doesn’t believe him and thinks it’s just a prank stemming from the attacks along the shore. Capt. Cottrell got in a boat to warn a group of boys heading toward the creek, but he missed both Lester’s group of friends and another group of boys swimming in the creek. He then ran up Main Street shouting the warning.

Around the same time, a motorboat of teen boys also saw the shark near the drawbridge. The boys in the boat were 18-year-olds Harold Conover, Ralph Gall, and John Tassini.