In 1914, Major Benjamin Koehler faced a court martial on Plum Island, off the eastern end of the North Fork coast of Long Island. A number of men under his command at the island’s Fort Terry had accused this career officer of immoral conduct. The resulting trial and verdict, after an initial flurry of notice in the press, is largely forgotten now.
Marian Lindberg, a lawyer with the Nature Conservancy and a former journalist, has gone to great lengths to retrieve Major Koehler’s ordeal from obscurity. Her book, Scandal on Plum Island: A Commander Becomes the Accused (East End Press), uncovers the possible motives for the court martial as well as the social and political climate surrounding it.
You can hear more about the Koehler trail, and the shifting views of masculinity and gender it helps illuminate, here.
The Long Island History Project is an independent podcast featuring stories and interviews with people passionate about Long Island history. It is co-hosted by academic librarian Chris Kretz and local historian and preservationist Connie Currie.
For a full list of this week’s New York Almanack podcasts announcements click HERE.
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