The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Jefferson County Journal (Adams, NY), February 13, 1884

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John Oats Killed. - The old war ship, New Orleans, a relic of 1812, which is being taken down at Sacketts Harbor, N.Y., was the scene of a sad and fatal accident to-day (Saturday). The workmen went to work as usual this morning, but a number of them expressed a fear that it was unsafe, as it was found upon examination that she had slipped back upon her blockings about four inches during the night, but others laughed away their fears and the work progressed safely until about half past ten o'clock. They were engaged in sawing off a section of the ship when a crashing was heard and she began to slide back, she kept on until she had moved about ten feet; when she broke, falling and carrying the men who were at work on her down with her. The falling timbers struck one of the workmen, H. Godfrey, and threw him over and over, strange to say, with but little injury. Another, E. Jeffrey, who was on a ladder when the alarm was given, tried to come down and got partly down when he fell about fifteen feet and was caught in such a manner that the beams covered without touching him. He escaped with a severe blow on the head which dazed him. He walked across the ice for a short distance to his home, but had no rememberance of anything that had transpired for some little time, but at the present writing is better. Mr. Emmons, one of the owners, was at work with Mr. Godfrey, a young man by the name of Oats and a young man by the name of Hess. When Hess felt the jar before she started, he ran and jumped, escaping with but slight bruises, Mr. Emmons and Oats fell with the ship, Mr. E. is badly hurt, was at first somewhat fearful that his injuries would prove fatal, but he is more comfortable now and his recovery is hopeful. John Oats, aged 29 years, an unmarried man, was killed. One of the falling timbers containing a a square two-inch bolt, fell across the body piercing the bowels and coming out the back, and a large spike was driven into his head, death was instantaneous. Mr. Wilkinson, of Syracuse, the other owner, telegraphed here to do all that was necessary, to provide everything needed and he would defray all expenses of funeral, &c. Mr. E. is somewhat censured as he was warned yesterday by an old and experienced Captain that she was in an unsafe condition and he should use precautions to preserve the lives of his workmen. He replied that he "would stand all the damage;" so nothing further was said, but to-day his words have been more than verified. The old ship is a thing of the past; she lies a mass of ruins which was once of such massive proportions and gazed at with so many curious eyes. She was erected in 1812 in 29 days from standing timber. She has been covered with a house, but from decay and want of repair, it fell about two years since, and last year the old ship was sold at acution by the government. Thus passes away and old land-mark, regretted by all that its last days should be marked by such a scene of horror.

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February 13, 1884
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Richard Palmer
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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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Jefferson County Journal (Adams, NY), February 13, 1884