The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Most Daring Feat
Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), 7 Dec 1897

Full Text
Capt. Packer, of the Pennington Saved a Life

The rescue of a lumber shover at Duluth, Sunday, November 28, a brief mention of which has been made, entitles Capt. William Packer, of Cleveland, to some distinction. Capt. Packer, who is the only survivor of a wreck that occurred six years ago*, is master of the schooner Pennington. Those who witnessed the captain's brave act express surprise that he is still alive.

At Duluth, William Barnes, of Cleveland, a lumber shover, weighing 250 pounds, fell and was precipitated something like twenty-five feet into the icy waters of a slip. Barnes struck on his side, but immediately came to the surface and clutched in vain at the floating ice cakes for support.

All was excitement when Capt. Parker came rushing up from the stern. He had his overcoat on and without a moment's hesitation and without removing his overcoat leaped down twenty feet between the icy walls of the boat and the face of the lumber pile.

The daring man struck a projecting board in his flight and was turned over. He alighted on his back, but was uninjured, and immediately took possession of the gigantic form of the drowning lumber shover. The latter was absolutely helpless by this time and had assistance come a few minutes later, it would have been too late. With a few powerful strokes the lifesaver reached a pile in the face of the dock and succeeded in assisting Barnes to get the latter's arms around it, where they almost immediately froze stiff to the wood.

A rope and ladder were procured on board the vessel. Capt. Packer succeeded in getting the rope about the almost inanimate form of Barnes. The ladder was shoved down to Capt. Packer, who climbed slowly up the rounds while strong hands held it securely at the top. At the same time other hands were pulling up the form of Barnes, for he was too far gone from the effects of cold to assist himself.

Capt. Packer, as he slowly climbed the ladder, steadied the form of Barnes and prevented it from striking face toward the rough, icy side of the boat. In ten minutes after the captain and his rescued lumber shover were on deck, the former had reappeared in a dry suit of clothes, remarking that he felt none the worse for his icy bath.

Media Type:
Item Type:
*This was the loss of the schooner MINNEHAHA (US#91220) October 14, 1893, on Lake Michigan. Capt. Packer put the schooner on the beach near Onekama, Mich. in a 90-mph gale in an attempt to save her, but she broke up quickly and he was the only survivor of a crew of 7.
Date of Publication:
7 Dec 1897
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Minnesota, United States
    Latitude: 46.773397623073 Longitude: -92.0975046115927
Creative Commons licence:
pd [more details]
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
WWW address
Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit

My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.

Most Daring Feat