What People Say
Some more Centennial reminiscences from the west
Milan, Ohio Aug. 18, 1876
To the Editor of the Palladium
Sir- The paper asked for is received, and wishing to express thanks for the favor, I embrace this occasion to add some early impressions, which advancing age renders more vivid as days and moths and years pass onward-"our anchors drop where first life's pennon's flew.: It is now many years since I revisited the scenes of my boyhood, and know not distinctly what changes time and improvements may have made in the formation of your harbor, but presume it is much easier of access now than it was in the times long ago of which I write. Since my note to you of the 10th instant, I have though that the present generation might not perhaps understand readily why it required time and considerable exertion on the part of the pioneer steamboats to enter the harbor.
The points of Gravelly Beach then mentioned, as forming a curve on either side of the river at its mouth, served to make the outlet quite narrow with a rapid current, which was felt as far out as Garrison Point, with force enough to tax the power of an eight or nine knot steamer. Between the point last named and the entrance to the harbor, the channel was, and I suppose still is, narrow and rather crooked, though I presume the same necessity does not now exist of getting the bearing s and land marks exactly, and overcoming the sheer of the current, or else bring up on the east or west bar, a result of frequent occurrence to shipping of an early period.
The steamboat Ontario went ashore there at one time in a northwestern gale, and it was rare sport for small boys to see the passengers, men women and children landed in a tub slung from a hawser which was stretched from the vessel to the shore above the surf, and the impromptu life preserver hauled back and forth by means of a smaller line, all reached the shore safely.
The "Lady of the Lake" also grounded there in a bad time, and threw overboard a large quantity of cannon balls, and pig iron ballast, diving for which years thereafter was a source of amusement and profit for the largo boys. The "Lady" was a clipper built schooner rigged, naval vessel of unmatched speed in those days. After the war she with other vessels was sold into the merchant service, and in 1825 was employed as a packet between Niagara and Little York (Toronto) owned and commanded by Capt. John Rodgers, whose home was Oswego, for which place he cleared from New York on the 24th of November, of the year above written, from which time nothing was ever heard of the beautiful and historic "Lady" or her genial commander.
The date is impressed upon the memory of the writer, from the fact that he spend the fearful night of that day, worthy of a month's later date, on the schooner Hiram, under bare poles between Genesee river and Sackets Harbor.