Niagara Falls



    Niagara Falls seems to hold a certain fascination for people and has all through history. Daredevils have gone over the falls in assorted barrels and other contraptions. Some survived, some didn't. Many couples have married there. Others have honeymooned there.



    Daredevils


    NameDateMethodResults
    Hill, Red Jr6 Aug 1951Contraption of 13 inner tubes connected with fish net and canvas strapsContraption started to fall apart before it reached the falls. Next day the battered body was recovered
    Leach, Bobby25 Jul 1911All Steel BarrelSpent 23 weeks in hospital recovering from numerous fractures and other injuries. Fifteen years later, slipped on an orange peel in New Zealand, broke his leg and died from complications.
    Lussier, Jean4 Jul 19286-ft rubber ball made up of 32 innertubes with a steel frame.His trip over the falls was perfect and an hour after getting in, he walked ashore with no difficulties. He displayed his ball for many years and sold small pieces of inner tubes for souvenirs at 50 cents a piece.
    Stathakis, George4 Jul 1931Contraption of wood and steel weighing a tonSurvived the plunge over the Falls, but became trapped behind the water curtain for 22 hours. He only had enough oxygen for three hours.
    Stephens, Charles11 Jul 1920Heavy oak barrelHe went out the bottom of the barrel when it hit the water. Only one arm was recovered.
    Taylor, Annie24 Oct 1901Special Harness in a BarrelSurvived the trip slightly dazed. This 63-year-old schoolteacher thought this would give her the fame and fortune she craved. She died destituted 20 years later.


    Stunters on the Niagara River Rapids


    NameDateMethod/Result
    Flack, Robert4 Jul 1888In a boat named "Phantom" which was bouyant with a special filling of excelsior and wood shavings, drowned when the boat overturned and remained upside down while being pulled around and around in a whirlpool.
    Graham, Carlisle D11 Jul 1886Navigated whirlpool rapids in a seven-foot hand-made oak barrel. After first successful trip, made three more successful trips later.
    Hazlett, George8 Aug 1886With William Potts made first double barrel ride through the rapids
    Kendall, William22 Aug 1886Successfully swam the rapids with the help of a good life preserver
    Nissen, Peter12 Oct 1901In his boat "The Fool Killer", the smallest steamboat, made the trip without steam since his smokestack was carried off. His claim to fame was that his stunt was the first to be recorded on movie film by the Edison Movie Co.
    Percy, Charles A28 Aug 1887Designed a specail seventeen-foot boat with floatation tanks fore and aft. Made three more trips through the rapids and on the last, lost his boat.
    Potts, William8 Aug 1886With George Hazlett made first double barrel ride through the rapids
    Robinson, Capt Joel E6 Jun 1861Captained the second Maid of the Mist when it was sold by auction and deliver it to Queenston successfully.
    Webb, Capt Matthew2 Jul 1883As the first man to swim the English Channel, he decided to swim the Niagara Rivver. His body was recovered four days later downriver near Lewiston, New York


    Tightrope Walkers Over the Niagara Gorge


    NameDateDetails
    Calverley, Clifford12 Oct 1892This Toronto steeplejack crossed several times on a 3/4" steel cable. On one crossing, he set a record by making the trip in 6 minutes, 32 1/2 seconds.
    Dixon, Samuel6 Sep 1890This Toronto photographer crossed on the same cable used by stephen Peer, performed a number of crossings and performing various stunts.
    Gravelet, Jean Francois30 Jun 1859Also known as "The Great Blondin", He performed his feat many times, successfully crossing the rope on a bicycle, walking blindfolded, pushing a wheelbarrow, cooking an omelet in the middle and making the trip with his hands and feet manacled. His last successful trip included carrying his manager, Harry Colcord, on his back. He died in England at age 73.
    Hardy, JamesJul 1896The youngest person to cross on a wire, at 21, Hardy was also the last person permitted to to tightrope walk across the Niagara Gorge.
    Hunt, William Leonard5 Sep 1860Also known as Signor Farini, Hunt, from Port Hope, Ontario, duplicated most of Blondin's stunts. On this date, Hunt strapped an Empire Washing Machine to his back, carried it to the center, drew water from the river with a pail and washed handkerchiefs provided by several ladies in the audience. After hanging the linens on the crossbars of the machine, he adjusted his load and returned.
    Jenkins, Andrew24 Aug 1869Crossed riding a velocipede.
    Leslie, Harry15 Jun 1865Also known as "The American Blondin", Leslie crossed the gorge without mishap.
    Peer, Stephen25 Jun 1887From Niagara Falls, Ontario, Peer made several crossings, but a few days afterwards, his body was found on the rocks below. It has been assumed that he fell when attempting a night crossing wearing street shoes.
    Spelterina, Maria1867This 23-year-old Italian was the only woman to cross the Niagara gorge on a tightrope. She walked backwards, put a paper bag over her head and wore peach baskets on her feet.


    Marriages at the Falls


    Coming soon....can you help???





    Return to Home Page


    2013 - Present Ancestral Trackers & Jeanne Hicks This site may be freely linked, but not duplicated without consent. All rights reserved. Commercial use of material within this site is prohibited. The copyright(s) Ancestral Trackers, on this page must appear on all copied and/or printed material - when used with the permission of host.