GOV'T RECOGNIZES A DARING LIFESAVER
AWARDS CAPT. PACKER A HANDSOME GOLD MEDAL
HE SAVED LIVES OF WHOLE CREW FOURTEEN YEARS AGO
At Cleveland, last Saturday afternoon, Capt. William Packer, of the steamer Henry J. Johnson, was presented with a handsome gold medal by Congressman T. E. Burton, on behalf of the government. The recognition of Capt. Packer was for one of the most daring pieces of rescue work in the history of the lakes, he having saved the lives of the crew of the schooner James F. Joy during a raging blizzard off Ashtabula, October 23, 1887.
At the time Capt. Packer was mate on the schooner M. R. Warner, of which his father was master. The Joy foundered and sank two miles off Ashatabula and the crew, first lashing the woman cook to the rigging, then took refuge there themselves, and it was not until several hours later that the Warner ame along, saw the plight of the shipwrecked sailors and the woman and captain, and Mate Packer took the yawl of the Warner and went to the rescue. He made two trips for the men and then went for the woman, and after a long job in the frozen rigging, succeeded in freeing the woman and taking her safely aboard his own boat.
It was for this daring act that he was recognized by the government after friends had brought the matter to the attention of Congressman Burton. Capt. Packer himself, to modest to make the request, denurred against the proceedings and insisted that he had simply done his duty and that he did not care for notoriety.
At one time Capt. Packer sailed the schooner Minnehaha and saved the lives of the entire crew after the tow line between the schooner and the steamer towing them had been severed. Later he was given command of the Helvetia, and is now in the Henry J. Johnson, which at present is in dry-dock at Cleveland making repairs to damages sustained by a recent grounding at Lime Kiln crossings.