NIAGARA FALLS, NY (Oakwood Cemetery) - Another Stunter connection to Oakwood has been discovered. While doing photographic research for a family, Oakwood volunteer Giselle Ladouceur came across this article posted to findgrave.com by Ellen Herrman. Thank you Giselle and Mrs. Herrman for your unique look into Niagara's History and Oakwood Cemetery.
NIAGARA FALLS GAZETTE,
NIAGARA FALLS, N. Y.
WEDNESDAY AUGUST 31, 1887.
TRIP OF A LIFE BOAT
C. A. Percy takes a Ride Through the Rapids and Whirlpool
SOMETHING THAT MAY BE USEFUL.
From Monday's Daily Gazette (Aug. 29)
The subject of constructing a boat that would carry several passengers safely through the Whirlpool Rapids, or water equally as rough, is by no means a new one. A few years ago a man came here from Georgian Bay, bringing with him a finely constructed boat, but had not the courage to pilot it through the rapids, and so sent it down alone. It turned over several times but did very nicely until going out of the Whirlpool towards Lewiston, it struck some rocks and was dashed to pieces. It has remained for a citizen of Suspension Bridge to accomplish this feat successfully.
Charles Alexander Percy, a well known resident of Suspension Bridge, a wagon maker by trade, has been for the past two months spending all his spare hours building the boat. The work was done in the barn of Nicholas Eberhardt in the rear of the United States Hotel. The work was finished last week and early yesterday morning
the little craft was launched upon the bosom of Niagara at the old Maid of the Mist landing. The boat is seventeen feet long and four feet ten inches wide, entirely covered with canvass, water proof. It has sixty-four ribs on the bottom, and has two air chambers, each six feet six inches long, with five stout ribs supporting the roof from the inside. It has also an open space in the middle four feet square, with a seat raised about two inches above the bottom, and in which a man can fasten himself with a belt around the waist if he wishes to travel on the outside. To this belt five straps are connected, each with a snap hook, with which they can be fastened to iron ring in the seat. The belt also fastens with a snap hook. By means of this arrangement the occupant is free to ply a pair of oars with which the boat is equipped, and which, when not in use, are strapped to the sides. The oarlocks are made of the best Norway iron, and the ten foot oars are made of the toughest white ash. Each of the air chambers is capable of holding two grown people, and can be closed so as to be impervious to water. Under the keel of the boat and running nearly its entire length, is a large plate of iron weighing about 240 pounds, and in addition to this weight are 12 bags of sand each weighing from twenty to twenty-five pounds, making it impossible for it to tip over, but in such an event the boat will instantly right itself every time. It is also so constructed that it will empty itself from the inside, having apertures in the sides of the four foot space between the air chambers, where no water can possibly remain. The whole weight of the
apparatus is over 900 pounds, and on twelve feet of it's length has eleven inch sweep. Held by two strips of canvass a third oar is carried on the outside of the forward air chamber. Access is gained to each chamber by means of a small opening, about 9 x12 inches, and having a door to which is attached a cleat for the purpose of properly closing it during the trip. There are also plugs for closing a couple of air holes during the trip.
Attached to the stern by a rope about ten feet long is an iron weight of about thirty pounds. This Mr. Percy explained it, was his intention to throw overboard as soon as he started on his journey, on the theory that there is in the river an upper and a lower current, the former being the most rapid. The use of this weight in the manner described would, he believed, prevent the boat from being whirled around in the rapids ahead.
No announcement having been made of the intended trip, but very few of the excursionists in town knew anything of it, and but few saw it. The citizens of both villages were more or less interested in the boat, and many walked down the long hill to see it. A brother of the builder spent a portion of the forenoon rowing around near the landing, showing how easily the boat could be handled. Shortly after two o'clock, Percy strolled down to the landing, and began preparations for his trip by adjusting his ballast, etc. Changing the clothes he wore down for a coarse and loose suit, he placed the extra suit in a valise and stowed it away in the
forward air chamber. At 3:15 he stepped aboard and shipping the oars pulled up the eddy towards the point and across the river to near the Canadian shore, where he retrapped the oars and flung the steering weight overboard, and with a wave of his hand to those on shore, he entered the stern air chamber, closed the door, and the little craft was left to battle with the waves. The trip differed but very little from the passage of several crafts heretofore sent down. Taking very nearly the center of the river, it was sometimes covered by the huge waves and again seen upon the crest of the highest. The drag seemed to have no effect, whatever, as the boat turned around several times, but did not turn over. The open space in the center was frequently filled with water, but as quickly emptied when the craft came to the top of the waves. Just before entering the Whirlpool the boat was thrown very near the American shore, into almost still water, and Percy thinking the Whirlpool was reached opened his air chamber and put out his head. Seeing his situation he quickly drew back closing the door just in time to save a drenching, as a huge breaker dashed over the boat.
At 8:40 o'clock the whirlpool basin was entered and the boat was carried across the surface safely, not being caught in the outer current or any of the frightful boils or swirls that mark that point. One minute later Percy came forth from his nest and found that he had at last reached comparatively quiet water. He once more shipped his oars snd pulled slowly along the Canadian shore, receiving and greeting hearty congratulations from those who were gathered there and to many of whom the sudden appearance of the life-boat and its occupant was a matter of "great surprise, as they had known nothing of Percy's intentions. Beaching the foot of the incline plane at Colt's elevator, at 3:48, Percy succeeded in grasping a rope that was thrown to him by
a young man named William Barge, and at 8:49 he jumped ashore, none the worse for the memorable voyage he had made through the rapids. When he left his friends at the landing it was to go through Lewiston and his entering the boat again was accepted by some as an evidence of his intention to continue his journey. He took off his coat and unstrapped the oars, and his brother joined him in the boat. He pulled out a short distance and coming back said that the changing current would prevent his gaining the channel again in his present condition; he would be compelled to row across the whirlpool,and there would not be sufficient time to strap up the oars and enter the air chamber before striking the lower rapids. The Lewiston trip being abandoned he entered a carriage that was in waiting, returned to Suspension Bridge where he was warmly greeted by those who awaited his coming. Questioned as to his experience during the trip, Percy said: "After I had gone into
the air chamber, when those first billows were struck, the sensation was like that experienced in riding into a heavy sea, and when I struck the breaker that rushes out from the shore near Brundage's incline railway the little boat keeled most fearfully. She did not rock much,but when she did rock, it was something awful. At one time she got a fearful slap from the waves,and I imagined that I was knocked about a hundred feet through the air, striking the water with such force that I felt certain a hole had been knocked in her side. There was some water in the air chamber when I started. We put it in to cool off the place. This was thrown over me and made me think that an accident had occurred. When the waves were crested I got it the worst. I did not mind
my experience in the whirlpool as I was not in the most violent part of it. "I would not hesitate to repeat my trip every day. It amounts to nothing in such a boat as I have built, and is just as safe as though you were in a life-boat on an open sea during a storm."' Asked when he would make another trip, he said he didn't know whether he ever would again. He had not made this one for money, but simply as an experiment to test the quality and reliability of his little vessel with a view of modeling a life-boat from it which he would undertake to patent. " My desire," said he, " has been to devise a life boat that in a time of danger can be thrown overboard from the deck of a vessel or steamer without the use of davits, and that will right itself as soon as it strikes the
Oakwood Cemetery Association
763 Portage Road
Niagara Falls, New York 14301
National Register of Historic Places
By the US Department of Interior
US Congressman Brian Higgins - 26th District Presenter
Whitney Mallam, President Oakwood Cemetery Association Board of Directors
October 25, 2014
E.B. Green designed Mausoleum
Open to the Public
Free On-site Parking
Light Refreshments will be served.
Niagara's History is at Oakwood.
NIAGARA FALLS, NY (Oakwood Cemetery) - It was only meant to be a joke, but it ended in the deaths of 2 young people. The following is a story from the Los Angeles Herald, December 4, 1887. The article has some main points wrong, but the gist is corrrect. The actual event was in 1849, and the girl's name was Antoinette, or Nettie, not Eva as suggested by this write up. I doubt very much that he was an Eye-Witness to these three events, so read with a wary eye:
Some Old Stories Retold By an Eye-Witness.
THREE HEARTRENDING SCENES
The Destruction of Charles Addington and Eva De Forrest ln 1858.
"I am going to Niagara Falls," said a middle-aged passenger on a Pennsylvania railroad train from Philadelphia yesterday, "and if you read in the papers in a day or so that some person, known or unknown, has been carried over the falls, you may be sure that I have reached my destination. No; it won't be me —not if I can help it. But I have never been to Niagara yet that some one did not go over the falls, either intentionally or accidentally, and nothing but a positive and important business engagement, such as compels me to go there now, could induce me to visit the spot which is associated in my mind with three terrible tragedies. I was a horrified spectator of two most heart rending Niagara tragedies, and on my third visit to the falls the other was enacted. I have been for six weeks trying to avoid this fourth trip, for my recollection of Niagara are sufficiently unpleasant without having a fourth one to be a perpetual shudder to me. "My first visit to Niagara was in the summer of 1858, and I had not been there more than an hour when I witnessed the agonizing scene of a young man and a beautiful, fair-haired child swept away by the swift current from Goat Island and dashed over the falls. The young man was Charles Addington and the child was little Eva De Forrest. The Addingtons and De Forrests were prominent Buffalo families. Young Charles Addington was engaged to be married to Ada De Forrest. The day that I paid my first visit to Niagara, Mrs. De Forrest, Ada and her little sister Eva, and young Addington, had come from Buffalo for a day's outing at the falls. They picnicked on Goat Island, and little Eva having strayed away from the group, her mother sent young Addington to find her and fetch her back. He discovered her not far away, standing on the shore, looking at the swift water. Thoughtlessly stealing up behind her, he grasped the child under the arms, and, lifting her up, held her out over the water. She threw up her arms and slipped from his hands into the river. Addington sprang in and caught her before she had been carried into the swift water. He succeeded; after a desperate struggle, in getting back near enough to the shore to throw the child up on the bank. She had not sufficient strength to hold on until her mother could grasp her and pull her to a safe place, and she fell back into the current. Addington again seized her, but he was too much exhausted to make way against the swift water, and the two were carried into the rapids and disappeared together over the falls. I was on Goat Island and saw the whole occurrence.