was the first editor of The New York Evening Post
(today known as the New York Post
The New York Post is the 13th-oldest newspaper published in the United States and is generally acknowledged as the oldest to have been published continuously as a daily, although – as is the case with most other papers – its publication has been periodically interrupted by labor actions...
), chosen by founder Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton was a Founding Father, soldier, economist, political philosopher, one of America's first constitutional lawyers and the first United States Secretary of the Treasury...
Coleman was born in Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...
on February 14, 1766. He studied law and was admitted to the bar, and moved to Greenfield, Massachusetts
Greenfield is a city in Franklin County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 17,456 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Franklin County. Greenfield is home to Greenfield Community College, the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra, and the Franklin County Fair...
. He moved to New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...
around 1794 and practiced law at one point with Aaron Burr
Aaron Burr, Jr. was an important political figure in the early history of the United States of America. After serving as a Continental Army officer in the Revolutionary War, Burr became a successful lawyer and politician...
In 1801, he began The New York Evening Post
, and he served as editor of the paper from 1801-29.
Duels and other run-ins
In early 1804, Coleman killed New York harbormaster Captain Johnson in a duel
A duel is an arranged engagement in combat between two individuals, with matched weapons in accordance with agreed-upon rules.Duels in this form were chiefly practised in Early Modern Europe, with precedents in the medieval code of chivalry, and continued into the modern period especially among...
. The duel took place at "Love Lane", the path of which is now Twenty-First Street in Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...
between Sixth and Eighth Avenues.
The duel arose from a dispute between Coleman and James Cheetham (1772–1810), editor of the rival New York paper American Citizen
. When Cheetham claimed that Coleman was the father of a mulatto
Mulatto denotes a person with one white parent and one black parent, or more broadly, a person of mixed black and white ancestry. Contemporary usage of the term varies greatly, and the broader sense of the term makes its application rather subjective, as not all people of mixed white and black...
child, Coleman challenged Cheetham to a duel. The duel did not occur however, because others intervened to stop it including Judge Brockholst Livingston
Henry Brockholst Livingston was an American Revolutionary War officer, a justice of the Supreme Court of New York and eventually an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States....
. Thereafter, Thompson, a friend of Cheetham, claimed that the duel had only been stopped because Coleman had revealed it publicly before it had occurred, because he was a coward. Coleman thereupon challenged Thompson to a duel. On the appointed evening it was quite dark, and the parties reportedly had to approach a few steps closer after taking initial shots, in order to see each other. At that point, Thompson was shot and was claimed to have exclaimed "I've got it" as he fell into the snow. A physician who had been brought to the scene confirmed it was a mortal wound, and Thompson was left at the entrance of his sister's residence, and those involved rang the bell and quickly left. Thompson refused to reveal Coleman's name or any other details, and simply said that he had been treated fairly. The details of the duel were not revealed for many years. After the event however, Cheetham was more careful in his editorial treatment of Coleman.
Later that same year, Coleman's friend Alexander Hamilton was killed by Aaron Burr in perhaps the most famous duel in U.S. history. Coleman compiled a book of materials regarding the duel and Hamilton's death.
In 1819, after publishing a highly negative story about prominent state official and Democrat Henry B. Hagerman, Coleman was viciously attacked by Hagerman and left bleeding in the street. It took many weeks for Coleman to recover from the beating, and he suffered from bouts of paralysis for the remainder of his life. Coleman later recovered $4,000 in a civil suit against Hagerman, considered a large award for the time.
Coleman died of a stroke on July 13, 1829, and was succeeded at the Post
by William Cullen Bryant
William Cullen Bryant was an American romantic poet, journalist, and long-time editor of the New York Evening Post.-Youth and education:...