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Death at Niagara.

Two more names were to-day added to the already large list of those who have lost their lives boating on the river jnst above Niagara Falls. Two yoong men named “Jocko” Walker and Frank Davy, who had spent a portion of the morning about the saloons of the village, went early in the afternoon to Port Day, where theyborrowed a pair of oars of Mr Trnesdale. These were put into a boat owned by Walker, which was already fitted with one pair of oars, and the young men started out upon the river with the announced intention of crossing to Chippewa, the small Canadian town immediately opposite. It was about half past two o’clock when they pulled out, and friends on the bank watched their progress for a part of the distance, with but little interest, for both men had left the dock many times before and crossed to Chippewa. The interest of the watchers deepened, however, when the occupants of the boat passed midstream, for there the oarsmen were seen to turn the head of the little craft down stream, as though they had changed their minds and were about to venture the daring trip to the bead of Goat Island, which Walker bad made before. It was this mistake that cost them their lives, Although they pulled with all their force tn make the wishedjor landing, their efforts were fruitless. When they turned the bow of the boat down stream the excitement pf the lookers-on became intense, and eager eyes watched their every moye, at first not realising that the men were going down tp death as fast as the rapid current could carry them. But it was to be so. They had gone top. far toward the Canadian shore before heading down toward the island, and they were carried past it quite a distance from shore* The hope prevailed that they yonld in a landing on one of the Three Bister Islands, but this was not to be, for the current, about which they had for years sported at lost had them in a, grasp that was unrelenting. Policeman Monohan, of the Twenty-first Precinct police, New York, and wife were spectators from the third Sister Island. The officer afterwards told how he had noticed the boat and its occupants coming down stream, and how, as they neared the fall of about 10ft in height that runs off the island, one of them stood up in the boat and paddled with what appeared to be a dip net. This effort availed nothing. As they went over they were out of sight, and when the boat came up it seemed to be broken and the occupants were still not visible. They were quite a little distance out from the island when they passed, but after the boat bad gone below the island it swung in a little toward the shore.

William Crowe, a eigar-maker, who Urea in an alley off Cherry street, strolled over to Coat Island for a walk, and he was a witness to the thrilling sight from that on. “ The boat,” he said, in' telling his story, “ yjraa quite a distance up-stream when-I first saw it. The first thing tjiat attracfeq my attention was its being green, and as l had, a lew days'ago, seen a piece of a green boat lodged against Avery’s Rock on the other side of the island, I thought—welli here is another green boat going to destrho tlon. I little dreamed then of its* ein freighted with humanity. It seemed 11 awful time drifting down to where I could get a good view of it. I thought it surely bad come through the islands. It was drifting along right-side up, and 'did not appea!r to be broken. As it came nearer I noticed that the rowlocks were there, but 1 without the oars. 1 A cold chill ran through me as I saw, clasped to the sides of the boat, thh hands of a man who was evidently lying face down in the boat, with his head toward the falls. The boat drifted along, and the bow striking against a rook, its progress was stopped for an instant, and then it swung around at the upper end, and again went on its way toward the Horseshoe Falls, the occupant now being feet foremost. It was carried by the current straight down, and passed over the falls end first. During all the time the boat was visible to me I did not see any movement in it. The man just lay there flat on his stomach, with his hands holding to the sides.’'

Within an hoar after the boat went over pieces were picked up in the gorge below, and later on many persons carried away pieces in their pockets as relics of the tragedy of the afternoon, Frank was a son of Patrick Davy, of 'Unions strfeet. waA unmarried, and between twenty-five and thirty years old. To many the mention of “Jocko ’’ Walker’s name recalls a-pleasant time, for'daring the greater part of his life he had acted <aa oarsman for parties on the upper riven No man at Niagara Falls was more familiar with the \stream rand its dangers than . he. He was the son of John Walker, was unmarried, and about twentynine , years old. Ten years ago, the last Sunday in May, Piper Walker, .an nncle of “Jocko,” went over the American falls in a similar manner. Shortly after 'to-day’s tragedy, Mrs Walker, mother of the young man, was at Prospect Point, and threatened to throw herself into the river. Her boy, rough as he was, had been a good son to her, and she wanted to go with him. She was placed in a carriage and driven to her home. —Niagara Falls correspondent 'Chicago Herald,’June 9. • • . •

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890911.2.21

Bibliographic details

Death at Niagara., Issue 8009, 11 September 1889

Word Count
970

Death at Niagara. Issue 8009, 11 September 1889

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