The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Tues., Dec. 2, 1879

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A Deadly Fall.
A Sailor Plunges from the Cross Trees of the Schooner Bentley, Eighty-five Feet to the Deck - A Rotten Rope.

About 8 o'clock last evening, Andrew Skillin, of West Eighth street between Seneca and Schuyler, a sailor on the schooner J. Bentley, was assisting to strip the vessel, lying near the Northwestern elevator. He was on the fore cross trees, lowering the lifts, when the gatlin,' which was rotten, broke, and he fell to the deck, 85 feet, striking on his right side on the fore hatch. His right hip was dislocated and he was fatally injured internally.

Skillin was removed to Mrs. Hickey's house, Water street, and Drs. Macfarlane and DeWitt were called. They regarded the injuries fatal. He died at 9 P.M., retaining consciousness till a short time before his death. The body was removed to the house of his brother, Andrew Skillin. Deceased was 23 years old and unmarried. He shipped on the Bentley in Toronto. There will be a meeting of the seamen's union at 8 o'clock this evening to make arrangements to attend the funeral, at 2 P.M. tomorrow.

Thomas Harrison of Kingston, seaman on the Bentley, testified before a jury called by coroner Barnes this morning, that about 4:30 yesterday the mate gave orders to go aloft and send down the lifts. Skillin went to send the fore lifts down and witness went to the aft lifts. Skillin had to go just below the cross trees, 50 or 60 feet from the deck. He took up a rope end to send the lift; he bent the rope on the lift, reeved it over the cross trees and was hauling it tight to lift the block so he could unhook it, and the rope broke.

He fell and caught a rope in the descent that broke his fall some, so that he fell on his side. The rope he took up was not a good one. He could have taken any rope that was there. There was a good rope there. The one he used was used for a squaresail lift. The other end of the rope is good, but the end that broke is rotten. There were two men that the captain had hired on deck helping, but the witness did not know whether they were pulling the rope when it broke.

Dr. DeWitt certified that Skillin came to his death from internal injuries caused by a fall, and the jury, consisting of B. DeWitt, G.S. Brown, G.W. Vickery Jr., C.P. Barber, Loren Barnes, T, Gilmour and Owen Donlin, returned a verdict that deceased came to his death by the breaking of a rotten rope while he was aloft on the schooner J.R. Bentley, which caused him to fall some sixty feet to the deck, dislocating his hip, injuring his spine and producing internal injuries.

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Tues., Dec. 2, 1879
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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.
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Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Tues., Dec. 2, 1879