The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily Free Press (Detroit, MI), Tuesday, June 15, 1847

Full Text
From the Lake Superior News
Saut de Ste Marie, June 12, 1847

One of the most distressing accidents that ever occurred at the Saut. Ste Marie, and which it becomes our duty to record, took place Thursday afternoon, carrying gloom and dismay to every heart. A party of citizens and persons from abroad had agreed to descend the Falls of the Ste Marie River, situated immediately above this village, and with that view proceeded to the head of the Portage - where they procured a yawl boat with which to make the descent, a feat at times considered hazardous, and yet, strange to say, in its frequent performance hitherto, no accident ever occurred, ending in the loss of life. The party on this occasion were nine in number, consisting of Capt. John Stannard, Capt. Robert Brown, Messrs. E. G. Seymour, Thomas Riches, John Parker and William Flynn, of this place; Dr. Hugh Prouty, of Monroeville, Ohio; and Mr. Wales, Clerk of the steamboat "St. Clair." With this company the boat started on its perilous voyage. When about halfway down the rapids, it shipped a breaker, that filled her nearly half full of water - at this time bailing was commenced - but, a moment more, the boat having reached what is called the 'big leap,' (being some eight or ten feet in descent) was by a re-action thrown on end after descending, and all precipitated into the foaming rapids. This catastrophy was witnessed by many of our citizens who were watching the voyage from the shore - boats were immediately procured, and put out to render assistance to those who should survive the struggle of the dashing waters and reach the foot of the rapids. Messrs. Stannard, Brown, Wales, Spafford* and Parker, succeeded in sustaining themselves until picked up by the boats which went out, or by the Indians who were fishing from their canoes. By the Chief of the latter, Mr. Seymour was discovered floating at the bottom of the river, and was rescued only by means of a spear which the Chief succeeded in entangling in his coat, and thus raising him to the surface. - So completely was Mr. S. exhausted when taken, that for some time resuscitation was considered doubtful; but by proper applications and incessant rubbing for hours; animation was finally restored - although at the writing of this, (Saturday morning) he is still considered in a critical situation.

The other three, Dr. Prouty and Messrs. Riches and Flynn, we are pained to say, were drowned - and their bodies have not yet been discovered. Dr. P. was one of a pleasure party, who, with his wife, were on an excursion to this place. In Huron County, Ohio, of which he was a resident, he had been a practicing Physician for twenty years - possessing, we are told by those who knew him best, all the traits of character that adorn a noble heart; and that for public usefulness, private worth, and warm esteem, no man stood higher in that section of the State. Besides his amiable bereaved wife, he has left four children to mourn his unfortunate death.

Mr. Riches was formerly of Detroit - for the last two seasons, had been engaged as the Engineer of the Propeller "Independence," in which situation he had won the warm regard of his brother officers - and by is urbanity and kindness, the confidence and respect of the entire community. Wm. Flynn was an exemplary young man, of about nineteen years of age, residing in this village, and in the employment of Messrs. Stevens and Cornwall.

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*not mentioned on the list of those aboard
Date of Original:
Tuesday, June 15, 1847
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Dave Swayze
Copyright Statement:
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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Daily Free Press (Detroit, MI), Tuesday, June 15, 1847