CASSADAGA BOATING ACCIDENT - 1852

This poem was written in 1852 about a boating accident on Cassadaga Lakes, in Chautauqua County NY in which several young people lost their lives. I thought it worth sharing. The names may be recognized by someone. It's quite long but I will not edit it.


ELEGIAC STANZAS BY W.W. FISHER

HARK, Hear the sound, the solemn sound,
Salutes the ears of all around;
We start and shudder at the news,
And weep for these unhappy youths.

The fair, the virtuous and the young
Become the subject of our song,
Of birth and education good,
All in the heart of youthful blood.

In the prime of life twenty six or more
Assembled there upon the shore;
To cross the lake they did design,
And thus enjoy a friendly time.

Methinks their enterprise looks dark,
But, not withstanding, all embarked
In two small scows, by far to small
For to accommodate them all.

They left the beach and pleasant shore,
And sailed full forty rods or more,
When suddenly an oar pin breaks,
Which caused the boat a turn to make.

As it turned the waves dashed in,
Which caused the boat to soon careen,
And fill with water and capsize,
All those on board, with doleful sight.

As it sank it caused a sigh,
Upon the other boat near by;
And then in haste they now were seen
to cause the boat to much careen.

And then by rocking right and left;
They were of all bereft;
Into the lake they all did slide
Which must have humbled all their pride.

What human heart can help but melt,
To think how those young people felt?
Bound in their robes they strive to swim
Struggling for life they sigh and scream.

When this was seen upon the land,
A number lent a helping hand
To save the drowning from their fate---
But Oh, Alas ! they were to late.

Fair Mary sank to rise no more,
While many swam and got to shore;
J. WILCOX labored hard to save,
Til buried in his watery grave.

Among the first were brought on shore
Was Mary H. and Charlotte MOORE.
Where numerous friends collected were
To bring to life those ladies fair.

No medic power or art of man
Could e'er restore their lives again;
They're gone Alas! Forever gone,
And left their friends to sigh and mourn!

Miss Mary STURGESS 'bout this time
Was saved by help almost divine
With kindness by her friends was saved,
When almost gone to a watery grave.

Who, filled with water, racked with pain,
Was emptied and revived again
And was again to health restored;
O may she live to serve the Lord.

And spend the remnant of her days
In the redeemers worthy praise
And never sink in shades of Woe
But rise His Heavenly bliss to know

And when those heavy tidings spread,
That many in the lake were dead
From North and South the people run
From East and West in haste they come.

They gathered around upon the beach
With trembling limbs and faltering speech;
They soon prepared and ventured on,
To rake the deep and search the pond.

Furnished with tools, they did it sound
Til Lucy LAZELL thus was found
Who had no parents near to mourn
The loss of her who is now gone.

The numerous souls resolved with care
To seek until they found the fair
And thus their object did obtain
And two more bodies found again.

On the misfortunes and death of several respectable youths , who perished by drowning in the Cassadaga Lake, on the 3rd of September, 1852, while attempting to cross to participate in a Pic Nic party.
The following named were drowned.
Miss Lucy Lazell, aged 23
Miss Celia Lazell, aged 18
Miss Alice J. Wilkins, aged 17
Miss Augusta Harrison, aged 14, All of Stockton, NY
[ In Chautauqua Co, neighboring Cassadaga]
Miss Charlotte Moore, aged 18
Miss Elizabeth Goodrich, aged 26 of Ithaca NY
Miss Philena Sadler aged 17 of Randolph NY
And Mr. Jarvis Wilcox, aged 55, the pilot of the larger boat.
Those saved, Miss Martha Wilkins, Ellen Goodrich, Myra Grant, Louise Ely,
Mary Sturgess, All of Stockton, Messrs. J.W. Warren, Delevan G Morgan,
Flavius Ely, Mortimer Ely, Hiram D. Hart, Henry Grant, Philip Phillips, and
William Shepard., George E.Harrison, , Henry Goodrich, and Misses Louisa
Bump, and Phebe Hoag, and the pilot, W.Wilcox.


SOURCE: Respectfully submitted by Dolores Pratt Davidson, 2001