The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Montreal Gazette (Montreal, QC), Sept. 27, 1827

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Saturday Evening, September 8th.

The day fixed on for the passage of the Schooner Michigan, with a cargo of "ferocious" quadrupeds and feathered bipeds, over the NIAGARA CATARACT, has passed away, and the scene has, we dare say, highly gratified many thousands, and disappointed perhaps, as many more, in proportion, as the "splendor" of the exhibition exceeded, or fell below, their respective anticipations. The day was as favourable as could have been expected, or desired; and, during the whole of the early part of it, the roads in every direction, by land and by water, leading to the great centre of attraction, were covered with vehicles and vessels laden with living lumber - with equestrians and with pedestrians of every "kindred and tongue," until the "congregated multitude" on "both sides of the way," amounted perhaps, to "ten thousand souls."

Among the vessels which made their appearance during the morning in the Niagara River, were the Steam-boats Canada, Niagara and Queenston, the Ontario and Martha Ogden - all from Lake Ontario, and the Chippewa, William Penn, Niagara, Pioneer, and Henry Clay from Lake Erie. The three former laden with subjects of the "Sea Girt Isle" and the seven latter with a far more numerous deputation from the family of "brother Jonathan." - it was about three o'clock when the Michigan, having a crew of four or five persons - with 1 or 2 Bears, a Buffalo, and other quadrapeds, an Eagle and a Goose - the former made fast to the vessel - and some other of the "feathered tribe" - made her appearance in company with the Chippewa, who escorted her below the Island, nearly opposite the Chippewa village; when the crew put off in their boat, and after towing her to within about half a mile of the rapids, made for, and soon arrived safe on the Canada shore.

The Michigan approached the rapids in very good style, with her head inclined to the Canada shore, and reached the first ledge in about twenty minutes after the Steam-Boat left her - this was a moment of the most intense interest, and attracted the undivided attention of the multitude, who had separated into groups, and taken their stations on the banks of the river, and on the Islands - on the house tops and on the balconies - on the table rock above - and on the rocky banks below - the Cataract. Every eye which could command a view of it, was rivetted on the Michigan at this moment - and when she made the first plunge into the rapids, there was a simultaneous shout of applause - the shock was evidently a severe one, and its effect was visible upon her heterogeneous ship's crew, who now began to bestir themselves - his Buffaloship was evidently in uneasy quarters - the Eagle vainly essayed to soar from the "troubled waters" around him, to a more congenial element, and even Bruin exhibited signs of uneasiness, and began to look out for more comfortable quarters. Before arriving at the second ledge of rapids, the vessel struck apparently between two rocks, for a few seconds; but the violence of the current drove her round, and she went stern foremost over the second ledge - pitched on her starboard side, and before righting, both her masts were carried away, the Buffalo and several other animals were thrown overboard, while Bruin, after taking an observation from the bowsprit head, committed himself to the waters, in search of less perilous apartments. After this shock the vessel became waterlogged, and floating down the rapids, without further obstruction, to the brink of the precipice, plunged into the 'roaring abyss' and, in an instant, was shattered to atoms. A Goose - the only animal which went over the Falls and remained alive - was picked up, in a state of exhaustion, and is now in possession of a gentleman at York (Mr. Duggan) - the Buffalo - apparently quite dead - floated in the wake of the ship, and went over the Falls a few moments after it. The Bears (we believe there are two of them) after making every exertion, and stemming the violence of the current, for several minutes, reached a small Island near the Canada shore, and one of them was afterwards purchased - and shown to the company at Ontario House - by Capt. Mosier.

After the Exhibition, a very numerous company partook of a "Splendid Entertainment" - that is, a VERY SHABBY DINNER, at a dollar each - at the ONTARIO HOUSE and at the PAVILION - after which the multitude dispersed toward their respective domiciles. And thus terminated the "splendid exhibition" which had excited so much curiosity and such intense interest throughout the American continent, during the last two or three months. [Gore Gazette]

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Sept. 27, 1827
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Rick Neilson
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Montreal Gazette (Montreal, QC), Sept. 27, 1827