The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily Palladium (Oswego, NY), Wed. July 30, 1873

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A Perilous Voyage

From Oswego to Chicago in a Row Boat -- A Resident of Oswego undertakes the Job on a Forfeit of $500 Will He Win the Ducats?

The spirit of daring that seems to take possession of man at certain times, causing him to do foolhardy things, is again abroad, and luring frail humanity to feats dangerous and devoid of benefit to the race. Open boats have crossed the Atlantic; the Red, White and Blue, not larger than a good sized yawl, received ducats and the attention of dukes for having successfully crossed the pond; the "Raft" made the passage across, and was the observed of the Europeans for month; Macgregor made the tour of the continent of Europe in the canoe Rob Roy, and was the hero of the hour; Sam Patch leaped from the top of the Genesee Falls, and although he leap was into the jaws of death, history has his name inscribed on its pages. With such precedents, it is not strange that one of our citizens should desire to do some deed of daring, that will cause him to be remembered, even if for but one brief hour.

At one of our principal hotels, aquatics have been the topic of conversation, although the beverage is not aqua, and feats of daring on water are nightly talked of and the heroes worshiped. The best time made by yachts and oarsmen is at the tongue's end of one of the party, a gentleman from Troy, and by his constant "chaffing" he has aroused a former boating man to a trip such as was never undertaken before by man, being no less than a voyage from Oswego to Chicago in a row boat. It is stipulated that the Oswego gentleman, whose name we are not at liberty to give at present, shall start from Oswego Sunday, August 17th, at 5.p.m. in a row boat 20 feet long, 3 feet beam and 15 inches deep, with provisions and extra oars, and row to Chicago, taking the course taken by propellers. He is to row through the Welland canal and up the Detroit river, and under no circumstances is he to take a tow from any passing craft but to "paddle his own canoe" without assistance from other parties Th only limit to time is that the rower shall get to Chicago before the close of navigation and in case he succeeds he receives $500.

In case of storms or head wind, the rower is to run, but the stem it out, and only make port when he is short of provisions. The prevailing winds on the lakes are from the westward, and it will be seen at a glance by referring to a man that for nearly fifteen hundred miles the lonely oarsman will have wind and tide to contend with. There will be no one to watch the solitary marine, so that the contest is an affair of honor, he making affidavit when re arrives at Chicago, if he every arrives that he rowed the whole assistance.

The boat is nearly in readiness, having been scraped oiled and greased, stiffened with an extra and fitted by a standing keel. A band of music will be on the West pier the nigh off the departure, to cheer the lonely traveler on the perilous voyage and give him a send off, inspiriting.

The voyager is a man of nerve and daring and it would seem at though he could go through the lakes safely, but time will tell whether he has reckoned without is host, and over estimated his strength and endurance, He says the only thing he fears is in crossing Saginaw Bay, and if he passes that in safety, the money is as good as in his pocket.

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Wed. July 30, 1873
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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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Daily Palladium (Oswego, NY), Wed. July 30, 1873