Randomly googling stuff led me to this, and I just had to share. Can you imagine if this happened in present-day NYC? I can't even picture what the New York Post headline would be...probably something blaming DeBlasio, I guess.

Attackers Objected to his Prize French Bulldog

From the New York Times, published February 24, 1896:


Attacked by Fireman Who Objected to His Prize French Bulldog.


The Clubman Overcome by Superior Numbers and Very Roughly Handled.

Hempstead, L. I. Feb. 23–James L. Kernochan's second prize French bulldog was the innocent cause of a fight early this morning between his owner and a gang of drunken firemen, who were returning to Far Rockaway, after having taken part in the Washington's Birthday parades in New-York and Brooklyn.


The trouble occurred on the train of the Long Island Railroad which left Long Island City at midnight for Hempstead, Jamaica, and Far Rockaway. On board were a number of the firemen, most of whom had been drinking, and some of whom were ugly.

On the same train was Mr. Kernochan and several other members of the Meadowbrook Hunt Club, who had been to the Dog Show in New-York, and were returning to Hempstead. Many of their dogs had won prizes, and were in charge of Mr. Kernochan's grooms, who, with their employer, were sitting in the smoking car.

Chief among the dogs was Mr. Kernochan's Margot, who had won second prize in the French bulldog class at Madison Square Garden. Margot occupied a seat beside Mr. Kernochan.


Some of the firemen did not like French bulldogs, and began to make uncomplimentary remarks about the appearance of the animal. They even took exception to the good taste of the judges who had awarded Mr. Kernochan's dog even a second prize.

Mr. Kernochan paid no attention to these remarks. Encouraged by his silence, one of the firemen forced himself into Mr. Kernochan's seat, and knocked the dog from the seat to the floor.

Not satisfied with abusing the dog, he turned his attention to the dog's owner, and made a few insulting remarks about Mr. Kernochan.


Mr. Kernochan still refused to argue the matter, and the fireman changed from verbal to active aggression, and began to ill treat the dog. Thinking to end the matter, Mr. Kernochan gave the animal to one of his grooms.

This made no difference to the drunken fireman, and Mr. Kernochan changed his plan of campaign. He told the fireman to mind his own business.

Trouble then [illegible] in earnest. Both men were getting angry. The fireman suddenly struck Mr. Kernochan a terrific blow over the eye, and followed it by one on the mouth.


Mr. Kernochan grappled with him, and the two men mingled in the liveliest kind of a fight in the car aisle. Mr. Kernochan began to get the better of the fireman, and had managed to give him a fairly satisfactory thrashing, when two of the other firemen decided to take a hand.

The reinforcements proved too much for the dog owner, and he was knocked down on the floor of the car. The firemen kicked him in the back, chest, and ribs, and in the pauses punched him in the face.

At this point reinforcements reached Mr. Kernochan. His foreman and grooms, Harry T. Hewett, Thomas Gibson, John Hastings, Daniel Junk, and another groom named Thomas Murphy, seeing that their employer was being unmercifully beaten, ran to his assistance.


The fight became general and the car was filled with struggling men. Some twenty of the firemen joined in when Mr. Kernochan's grooms came to his assistance.

That the fight might be more strictly a private affair, the firemen held the doors at each end of the car, and prevented the conductor, L. J. Beers, from entering or bringing assistance to the Kernochan side.

The doors were kept shut, and the fight went merrily on, until the train reached Jamaica, where the firemen changed cars for Far Rockaway. From Glendale, where the fight began, to Jamaica, where the combatants were obliged to part company, is a run of about ten minutes, and during that time the contest was close and exciting.


The Kernochan party were the worst sufferers. John Hastings, a groom, only eighteen years old, was struck a terrific blow behind the ear by a fireman and knocked to the other end of the car, senseless.

Mr. Kernochan's foreman, in endeavoring to defend him, was knocked backward through one of the car windows, but managed to get within the car again.

Daniel Junk, Mr. Kernochan's coachman, was the most seriously injured of the party. He was knocked to the floor and kicked in the back, chest, ribs, stomach and abdomen.
Public sympathy everywhere is in favor of Mr. Kernochan, and much indignation is expressed against the brutal conduct of the Far Rockaway firemen.


It is understood that Mr. Kernochan will to-morrow swear out warrants before Judge Francis B. Taylor for the arrest of every fireman who was implicated in the brutal assault upon him and his grooms.


A New York Times article published the following day said, "Mr. Kernochan's injuries are not serious. His right eye and cheek are bruised and blackened, and his nose is slightly abrased. From head to foot he has been stiff and sore since the scrimmage. Apparently unembarrassed by the marks of the adventure, he took a long drive through the streets of the village this afternoon. He was of course the centre of the curious gaze of hundreds of persons, but he did not seem to mind it, being inclined to treat the whole matter as a huge joke at his expense."


It further said that he was unsure if he would press charges against the belligerent firemen. There was no mention of Margot, the Frenchie, so presumably she survived in fine trim and lived to be the gray-muzzled senior bitch in the photo.

James Lorillard Kernochan was one of the founding members of the FBDCA, a member of a socially prominent New York family, and a keen horseman who rode in steeplechase races, played polo and was a leading member of the Meadow Brook hunt. He was seriously injured several times while riding to the hounds or in steeplechases. He despised automobiles and banned them from his Long Island estate.

He loved all animals and of course had Frenchies and probably other breeds. He gave his mother a pet Frenchie, named Missey, who became a favorite of Mrs. Kernochan and her circle. The New York Times in 1911 announced that Missey at age 12 became very sick, was euthanized and buried in a coffin under a weeping willow tree.


While schooling a young hunter in July 1903, Kernochan was thrown, landing on his head resulting in a serious injury. In October he died, suffering from meningitis and the effects of the earlier accident. "Jimmy" Kernochan was thirty-five years old.

–Jim Grebe