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Lake Erie to Lake Ontario 


One Hundred and Fifty-three Original Etchings 




Edited iiv JAMES W. WARD, Librarian Grosvenor Library 



Art-Printing Works ok Matthews, Nortiirui- & Co 

"MUI OF J III "buffalo morning EXPRESS." 





No. i. 















French Creek. No. 27. 

Calm — Tow on Lake Erie. " 28. 

First Sail on Lake Erie. Scene from mouth of Buffalo " 29. 

Creek in the year 1679. " 3°- 

Revolving Light at Entrance to Niagara River. " 31. 

Buoy in Niagara River. " 3 2 - 

Life-boat Coming in from Wreck — Lake Erie. " 33. 

A Quiet Spot — Above Village of Fort Erie. ' 34- 

Old Fort Erie Ruins — South End. " 35- 

Looking down the River from Old Fort Erie. " 36. 

Old Wind Mill. (Now removed.) " 37- 

Patience. " 3^- 

Ruins of Old Fort Porter— North Side. " 39- 

" ' —South Side. " 40. 

Episcopal Church — Fort Erie. Built of Stones from Old ' 4 1 - 

Fort Erie. 

River Bank — Near Fort Erie. " 42. 

The River Road — Canada. " 43- 

Elevator — Buffalo Harbor. " 44- 

Squaw Island — American Side. " 45- 

Old Bridge — River Road — Canada. " 4^. 

Garrison Road to the River — Canada, " 47- 

A Glimpse of Lake Erie from Fort Porter. " 48. 

A View of Strawberry Island — American Side. " 49- 

River Road, below International Bridge — Canada, " 5°' 

The Beginning of Niagara — Ice Period. " 5'- 

A Point of Tonawanda Island. " 5 2 - 

Beaver Creek in i860, Grand Island. " 53 

Tonawanda Harbor. 

Tonawanda Island, Looking Towards the Falls. 

River Bank, Tonawanda, 

North End Grand Island. 

A Glimpse of American Shore from Tonawanda Island. 

Fisherman's Cottage, Black Rock, American Side. 

Under The Willow, Niagara River. 

Black Creek, Canada. 

Mouth Chippewa Creek, opposite La Salle. 

Catholic Seminary, above Horse-shoe Falls Canada. 

A Mile above the Falls, American Shore. 

Chippewa Harbor, after a Fire, Canada. 

A Relic of the Past, Canada Shore. 

Old Mill Race in the Rapids, American Side. 

The Road to the Sulphur Spring, above Horse-shoe Falls, 

Niagara Park, Canada. 
A Walk Through Goat Island. 
Terrepin Point. Horse-shoe Falls. 
A Relic of Old Fort Schlosser, 
Under the Cliff, Goat Island. 
Cascade, below Terrapin Point. 

A Glimpse of the Falls from Maid of the Mist Landing. 
Old Mill Race above the American Falls. 
The Wreck in the Rapids. 

A Glimpse of the American Falls from Goat Island. 
The Canada Shore near Chippewa. 

A Glimpse of the Horse-shoe Falls from Sister Island. 
A Quiet Spot above American Falls. 


I3b petmfsslon 

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Tfie Horn iurover ^IcvcluniJ 

president of tbe Tnniteo States 

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Tfie clrtist. 


OF THE WORK OF ART here presented to the public, little need be said. Nothing 
in the way of apology, not much in explanation. It may as well be left to speak for 
itself. It simply offers to the lovers of nature, and to students of art, a selection of original 
etchings, all by the same hand, of the splendid scenery of Niagara River. Pictorial illustrations 
of this beautiful and wonderful River, it may be thought, and truly enough, are no novelty. 
Pictures and descriptions of its marvelous scenery, its mystic legends, and its historic memorials, 
are undoubtedly — I might be excused for saying, unfortunately — numerous enough, and quite 
familiar to the world. 

By pen and pencil, by brush and graver, by canvas and photograph, its more prominent and 
best known attributes and prospects, especially those in the neighborhood of the Great Cataract, 
have been often narrated and delineated ; and its many features of sublimity and loveliness have 
been from time to time the inspiration of poets and artists, and the bewilderment of impetuous 
enthusiasts, since that distant day when its first-known civilized discoverer tell on his knees, in 
speechless emotion, before the unparalleled magnificence and loveliness of the awful torrent. 

But "a thing of beauty" is fascinating, certainly in great part, because its varying charms, 
like those of the moon, or like the group of cloud pictures heliographed in tints of flame around. 
the setting sun, are diversified and revived by constantly occurring changes and surprises. It is 
true that the fame of Niagara, Queen of Waterfalls, has been made known, in all tongues, to all 
people. Poets and painters of every measure of audacity, and of various degrees of fitness and 
fidelity, have ventured on the task of representing, intelligently, its most popularly attractive, 
and therefore best known, features. But, nevertheless, it is surprisingly true that the pictorial 
literature of this unparalleled River is meagre and defective. Scarcely excepting so much of it, 
the greater part, in fact, as is devoted to the Cataract itself and its surrounding or associated 

But were it not so, the present work could exhibit a substantial reason for its existence, 
and stand upon its originality, inasmuch as it is the only one ever yet attempted, strange as 
it may appear, possessing its especial characteristics; that is, it is the only one that embraces 

in its scope the entire River from Lake to Lake, or that presents the views selected for 
reproduction, in the effective form of etchings — a form of the graphic arts that secures to 
the artist capable of making use of it a vitality and freedom of spirit and expression obtainable 
by no other method. 

Niagara River, or Falls, is a theme of which no one will grow weary; considered, even, 
in its most usual and familiar aspects. It is a story that never will be fully told; a panorama 
never to be quite unrolled. Its beauty is so luxuriant and affluent, it can be seen only in 
parts, and described in parts. Few can comprehend it in its entirety. The eye of the observer, 
wearied with the magnitude and profusion of its allurements, soon comes to rest upon some- 
minor picturesque detail, and he enthusiastically exclaims, " How beautiful ! " Hut another 
feature of equal fascination soon captures his attention, and of that also his instant impression 
is, How beautiful I But he can rarely give an account of his impressions. In fact, a view 
may be equally beautiful to different observers, but for quite different reasons ; depending 
not only upon personal mood and temperament, but also upon actual changes of appearance, 
due to changes in the angles of observation, to the ever-varying conditions of sky, and 
cloud, and atmosphere, to the frequent temporary intrusions of unusual objects, and also to 
variations of a more permanent character, so often occurring, in the direction and quantity of 
water, and in the positions and aspects of the River's overhanging rocks and banks. To 
detect and properly estimate, pictorially, such subtle effects as these, is the province of the 
experienced artist, whose trained eye is capable of selecting the best features, at the most 
favorable moments; who knows that the Book of Nature is not to be read hastily and super- 
ficially; and whose fidelity to truth restrains his fancy ; and obliges him to authenticate his 
impressions by repeated observations. It is only the artist that is able to discern that this 
erratic and wonderful River, though it maintains a characteristic constancy and unity, never- 
theless, develops its diversified scenery in ever-recurring and unexpected variety. Many an 
admired touch of an artist's hand is due to the fascination and inspiration of a casual glance; 
like a meteor's burst, 

" Ere we have said 
Look! look! how beautiful! — 'tis fled." 

But the artist seizes the effect in its flight, and his pencil gives it similitude and duration. 

He gives expression and form, simply, to a momentary conception. He cannot, if he would, 

prevent so much of his personality from entering into his work. Some writer, somewhere, 

speaks of the "sympathetic absorption 1 ' -I should rather say revelation — "of an artist in his 

subject." There is more of an artist than his tablets and pencil. Touches of ravishing 

beauty, harmonious associations, abrupt and surprising contrasts, light in darkness; all such 

effects, that excite our admiration and delight, are the artist's thoughts vivifying and illuminating 

his work. What we admire in the sketch is the artist's idea; what he felt when he drew it. 

The satirist says truly: 

" He ne'er will as an artist shine 
Who copies Nature line by line." 

Of the principles to which I have here incidentally referred, these drawings by Mr. 
Sangster, now for the first time brought to the notice of the lovers of art and nature, may 
be regarded as at once the suggestion and the illustration. They are artistic productions that will, 
I think, find eager acceptance as the conscientious and sympathetic work of a true and patient 
searcher after Nature's spontaneous and unembellishcd beauty; and their attractiveness has been 
further enhanced by the elegant method he has adopted for their reproduction. For it must 


be remembered that all the views presented in this superb collection have been drawn and 
etched from Nature by Mr. Sangs tor's unaided hand; to whom, indeed, the art-world is 
indebted not only for the original drawings and the engraving of the prints, but, as well, for 
the entire conception of the whole plan of the work. In fact, the production of these lovely 
views of the Beautiful River has been his cherished dream and hope for many years; to the 
realization of which hope he has devoted days and nights of laborious but alluring exploration. 
He has wandered along its shores from Lake to Lake, drifted upon its restless waters, scaled 
its precipices, and dreamed in the shadows that lie upon its spray-sprinkled slopes. He has, 
in a word, studied Niagara, in all seasons and under all conditions; selecting points touched 
with ideal beauty, and rejecting what was common-place and trivial. The result, there is 
reason to believe it will be conceded, has been as successful in execution as the plan was 
felicitous in conception. To all familiar with the varied scenery of Niagara, the spirit and 
fidelity of these sketches will require no confirmation but their own recollections. To those 
to whom the wonders of Niagara are still to be revealed, I can only offer the assurance that 
these charming pictures are actual views of the points and places intended to be represented. 
To all, the work will have especial merit as a really charming collection of specimens of the 
effective and popular art of the etcher; an art comparatively new in America, and hitherto 
unapplied to Niagara. This work will also pleasantly serve to introduce to those to whom he 
may be still unknown, the name and work of an artist whose versatile ability has already 
obtained wide-spread acknowledgment. 

It should be added, in conclusion, with reference to the press-work of these sheets, that the 
etchings were entrusted by Mr. Sangster to the tried and skillful hand of Mr. J. H. Daniels, of 
Boston, the leading plate-printer of the United States. The letter-press work is from the well- 
known art-printing house of Matthews, Northrup & Co., of Buffalo, and exhibits the high 
degree of perfection already attained by the printer's art in this City. 


Grosvenor Library, 

Buffalo, N. V'.. Sept. l. l886. 


THE SCENERY of the low-lying belt of shore land that bounds the lower portion of 
Lake Eric where its rapidly descending waters, flowing between the visibly 
approaching shores of the United States and Canada, become the Strait, or River, or 
Niagara, makes no pretension to boldness or sublimity ot feature, and has even been 
described as devoid ot any picturesque interest or beauty; a reproach, however, that will 
scarcely be conceded. Indeed, many really charming effects can be pointed out in the 
prospect; many pleasing nooks discovered; groups of trees, concealing beneath their 
shadows the limpid waters of the coves and pools that indent the boulder-strewn shore ; 
green patches of brush overhanging billow- washed beaches; sandy knolls and rocky dykes, 
against which the rippling surf of the Lake beats and splashes continually; tranquil and 
misty byways veiled in soft combinations of light and obscurity; the whole forming a con- 
nected series of agreeable and harmonious pictures, stretching across the distant horizon, as 
seen from either bank of the broad and rapidly flowing River; embracing in its graceful 
sweep many objects and features of a local nature, that add essentially to the variety and 
picturesqueness of the general landscape. 

With the pleasure inspired by the view of a wide expanse of water, lying in repose, 
there is always associated a placid and soothing sentiment of beauty peculiar to itself, and 
to which all minds are confessedly susceptible; broken and agitated water, irrespective ot its 
surroundings, possesses, transcendently, a spirit-stirring charm, the influence of which no frank 
soul can resist. 

In fact, the view of Lake Erie from any point in the vicinity of Buffalo will always be 
found impressive and pleasing. The shadow-dropping clouds that skirt the distant horizon — 
the spray and sparkle of the laughing ripples, skipping over the rocks and breaking musically 
upon the shelving beaches — the gray undulating hills, just visible in the misty distance — 
the towering light-houses and beacons that assure the storm-driven mariner of refuge and 


security — the ceaseless 
shifting and drifting 
hither and thither of in- 
numerable sail-boats and 
steamers — the hazy blue 
of the visible atmos- 
phere that veils and 
softens the distant in- 
land slopes and downs 
— the curious display 
of soaring spires and 
tower-like stacks that 
silhouette the smoking 
city on the clear gray 
sky, especially at even- 
ing — the lovely reflec- 
tions in the gently- 
ruffled water of the 
many-tinted and ever-varying cloudlights, that stream over the surface in vanishing and 
rapidly interchanging glimpses of blue and green and golden yellow bands — surely phenomena 
and occurrences like these must produce pictures of unwearying variety and charm; awaken- 
ing in the observer a sense of quiet and restful beauty that swells at moments into 
admiration and delight. 

And under ruder aspects — for the Lake has its humors and does not conceal its irasci- 
bility, and the winds are not always gentle with it — and when the storm and the tempest 
assail it, and the wind-burdened clouds sweep down impetuously upon the terrified water, 
and the wild gale, cracking its whips of spray, plunges into the vainly wrestling billows, 
tearing their snowy crests into strings and flocks of foam, then old Erie leaps and roars 
for joy, and resumes her traditional majesty and glory, terrific to encounter, but exhilarating 
to witness. The tattered waves hurled by the riotous gale against the rocky walls of the 
beacon in the outer bay, spring in showers of spray entirely over the lantern, and further 
on break in long lines of bubbling cascades against the protecting break- waters of the 
inner harbor. Standing upon one of the city piers, if one will make sure of his head, 
in a tempestuous hour like this, the Lake on its rollicking revels is a sight worth seeing. 

And it is fraught with dangers as well. Dangers imminent and insidious; as thou- 
sands of wrecked "toilers of the sea" could testify. The bottom of the Lake is strewn with 
the relics and debris of many a deplorable disaster, destructive alike to life and property. 
Many a shattered hulk lies muttering its 
weird dirge of warning, and bleached and 
fractured spars stalk like spectral sentinels 
all along the shore. 

In view of the many hazards that 
attend the navigation of die Great Amer- 
ican Lakes, and moved with sympathy for 
the oft-imperilled mariner, much interest 
of an organized nature has been awakened 
in behalf of all such as may be exposed 


from day to day to these frequently recurring dangers. In the prosecution of this humane 
work individual enterprise has happily received the support and co-operative assistance of the 
General Government, and storm-signal posts and life-saving stations, equipped and manned 
in the most efficient manner, and supplied with every requisite, and with all approved 
expedients, are stretched, at convenient and carefully-chosen distances apart, along the whole 
line of the Lake coast. 

In these ever-ready and philanthropic measures for the safety and rescue of the shipwrecked 
mariner the City of Buffalo has also had its share; it is one of the National life-stations, 
of the first-class, and Capt. D. P. Dobbins, one of its honored citizens, and inventor of the 
justly celebrated life-boat that bears his name, himself highly experienced in all coasting and 
maritime matters, is Superintendent of the Ninth United States Life-Saving District, which 
includes the shores of Lake Erie in its widely extended jurisdiction. The ingeniously-con- 
structed boat which Capt. Dobbins has contributed to this important service is considered, by 
experts familiar with its peculiar merits, to be one of the most perfect of its kind. In the 
confident words of its designer, it is "self-righting, self-bailing, and insubmergible." It is 
strong, portable, easily managed, and may be speedily launched through the most violent surf, 
carrying with easy control fifty or more persons. Having been successfully tested upon 
occasions of great severity of weather, and under conditions of extreme peril, this unrivalled 
boat has been pronounced by competent official authority, superior to all others with which 
it has been brought in competition. No higher commendation can be conferred upon any 
invention designed for practical service in the affairs of life, than the assurance, from actual 
experience, that it will thoroughly perform its duty. This testimony has been frequently 
bestowed upon Capt. Dobbins' life-boat, by persons quite competent to estimate properly the 
difficulties and dangers to which it has on several occasions been exposed ; always proving 

itself staunch and trustworth 



TO ONE taking only a hasty glance over the eventful history of the eastern end of 
Lake Erie, there will appear, with marked prominence, three graphic occurrences, dis- 
tantly consecutive, it is true, but locally related, and of notable interest in connection with the 
romantic annals of Buffalo. They would seem to be entitled to brief mention here. Of 
but slight mention indeed, anywhere, heretofore. 

There was a time, long passed out of present recollection, when these shore-lines of 
the Lake and the low head-lands of the River presented a very different appearance from 
what they do now. When the astonished gaze of the early explorers of these mysterious 
and unknown waters first fell upon the amazing scene, these hillsides and banks were 
covered to the water's edge with a dense and almost impenetrable forest: the gnarled and 
rocking branches of majestic oaks, beeches, and tall lindens and maples, were tangled 
together in an intricate mass by the cable-like stems of the grape, the celastrus, the 
ampelopsis, and other woody climbers, beneath the shadowy shelter of which prowled the 
bear and the wolf and the catamount and other predaceous animals. The whole prospect 
was wild and treacherous. Birds of prey hovered over the breezy tree-tops, and innumer- 
able water-fowl swam unconcernedly in the reedy marshes of the coves and bayous of the 
Lake. But for fuel and food, for security and shelter, and other needs and conveniences 
of man, all this has long since disappeared. 

But two hundred years ago, this dark leafy curtain of the primeval forest still cast its 
shadows over the sandy flats that obstructed the mouth of Buffalo Creek, warning the too 
adventurous pioneer of the perils and infections it so sombrely concealed. With such sur- 
roundings, one day in August, in 1679, an Indian, of the confederated tribes that then had 
possession of this wild region of the Lakes, stood upon a hillock of sand, in a sunlit clearing 
near the mouth of the sluggish Creek, leaning upon a dilapidated French fire-arm, gazing 
fixedly at an object that held him motionless with surprise and wonder. White caps were 
gamboling gaily over the wind-broken surface of the water; rabbits were burrowing under 
the fallen leaves, and squirrels were frisking over the swaying branches of the adjacent 
trees, beneath which, on a lichen-covered log, a red fox, with his nose upon his paws, lay 
crouching in similated slumber. The man's figure, dressed in the scanty costume of his 

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people, was inclined forward in the eager attitude of curiosity and astonishment. And, 
indeed, what he saw there, would have compelled the attention of a much more experi- 
enced observer, had one been there to witness the strange event then taking place. 

It was Robert La Salle's great day; the day of his triumph over accumulated disasters 
and discouragements; a triumph over difficulties and oppositions that only a brave and 
patient heart could have survived. What the genius of the intelligent and energetic adven- 
turer had devised, his perseverance had finally accomplished. Indian canoes, and such trivial 
craft as he had discovered paddling about the shores of the Lake, he saw clearly enough 
could be of no service in any serious attempt at navigation, and he determined to construct 
a small schooner for the purpose. Procuring with much difficulty, and after many dis- 
couraging delays, the requisite material, and hauling it, by aid of some sailors and Indians, 
to a point a few miles above the Falls, about, as seems most probable, where the village 
stands that now bears his name, he set his men to work; and after many days of incredible 
patience and labor, the vessel was finished and launched into the swift current of the 
River. Here new difficulties and delays awaited the enterprise, for the little schooner's sails 
we're no match for the descending force of the rapids. Tow lines manned by stout arms 
came to the rescue, and succeeded in dragging her to a point, where, finally, the approving 
winds from the west filled her white sails and bore her, in triumph, upon the unfriendly 
waters of the Lake. Truly was it a day of wonder. The event then disclosed was one 
of far-reaching significance; the fore-runner of results impossible to have been imagined by 
the simple savage who stood there in sullen amazement, muttering his monotonous croak of 
wonder and distrust. 

The comely and trimly-rigged little schooner, with her fair suit of sails filled with the 
freshening breeze, sped gallantly upon her adventurous course. Pennants fluttered from her 
foretop — banners waved from her prow — and the roar of cannon and musketry pealed from 
her careening deck, arousing old Erie's astonished echoes from their primeval slumbers. And 


• a "'i)W illy 

so began the navigation and commerce of the Great American Lakes. Not, it is sadly 
necessary to add, without disaster. Infuriated Erie resented the intrusion. "La Griffon" 
reached Green Bay in safety, but on her return voyage was lost; as was supposed, in a 
storm; but there was no man left to tell the tale. 

A little over a hundred years brings us to another interesting event, in the stirring 
history of Buffalo Creek. It was in 1791; time had wrought its whirl of chances and 
changes, and many things had happened. The influences of the new civilization were mak- 
ing themselves felt in various ways, not always exemplary. The march of improvement 
had penetrated the wilderness. Much of the primeval forest had disappeared; the clearing 
about the Creek had been greatly extended; and a goodly and cultivable land was begin- 
ning to attract speculation and enterprise. And one day, and upon the same spot upon 
which the Iroquois had stood and watched the progress of the booming "Griffon" speeding 
to its deplorable fate, stood now another and quite different figure. It was that of a man 
as different in character as in figure. He stood there with an eye to business inducements, 
and being a man of foresight and decision, and captivated by the encouraging prospect of 
navigable waters and broad pastures, and weary with his tedious and adventurous journey 
from the sterile and pixy-haunted crags of the Hudson, he determined, with honest Dutch 
assurance, to plant himself and his potential fortunes, then and there, upon the wretched 
sand-bank upon which he stood pondering. The outlook was not exhilarating ; concurrent 
probabilities were not in the ascendant. But everything must have a beginning, even 
Buffalo; and having made up his mind, and deliberately sketched his plans, he sent East 
for the needed material, and dug out his boulders and hewed his timber, and soon saw 
completed a good and sufficient house, with a roomy shop for trading purposes attached — 
the first structure in the resemblance of a house erected by a white man on the site of the 
present goodly City of Buffalo. Around him, relieved here and there by a few not very 
extensive clearings and a passable road or two, was the wilderness, and his only neighbors 
were some nomadic families of Seneca Indians, constituents of the Great Sachem of the 
Wolves, the renowned and really princely Red Jacket; a "wide-awake" man, but whose 
territorial rights do not seem, in those early days, to have been of that self-evident sort that 
the too rapaciously enterprising pale-faced land-jobbers of the period felt under very urgent 

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obligation to respect. But there was peace in the land, and recognized rights of domain, 
and possession, of some definable sort; and it came to pass, at all events, about a hundred 
years ago, that one Cornelius Winne, a sturdy and responsible adventurer from the region of 
the Catskills, quietly established his abode and his business on the banks of Buffalo Creek, 
with all needed papers, and the possibilities and potencies of the future City of Buffalo, in 
the capacious pockets of his "bulbous-bottomed" breeches. 

One hundred and eleven years, of memorable import in the chronicles of nations, 
intervened between the passage of the first sail-boat across the mouth of Buffalo Creek and 
the erection of the first white man's dwelling upon its wind-swept bluffs. Subsequent 
events moved more rapidly. The village of the Creek began soon to assume an air of 
pretension and importance ; houses and inhabitants multiplied, roads began to be called streets, 
and neighbors talked encouragingly about the prospects of trade and crops; evidently Cor- 
nelius had done a good thing. But prosperity did not come at a bound ; it was a day of 
small things for a while, and progress was still slow. But there was pluck and confidence, 
and encouraging results began to appear, when war came, and with it confusion and trouble. 
And there was mustering of men, and marching to battle in defence of the frontier; 130 
men from the heroic little village, old and young, went out upon the war-path. And the 
invaders came upon the defenceless town, and there was terror and flight, and bloody con- 
flict, for miles around, with Indians and English; and the vision of "a lieutenant with a 
squad of men" rushing about in the midst of the shrieking panic and terror with flaming 
fire-brands, which soon laid the town in ashes — only half a dozen houses escaping the con- 
flagration. The disaster was cruelly disheartening, and the loss seriously crippling. But the 
courage and energy of the inhabitants did not fail them. Though war was still devastating 
the frontier in all directions, they took friendly counsel together, swept up the ashes, and 
joined hands and means for the rebuilding of the town, and, as usual, on a better and 
broader scale. And when, after another year of calamity and bloodshed, peace was pro- 
claimed in the land, Buffalo was visibly once more on the road to assured prosperity. 

Three years after these occurrences, and about twenty-eight from the day the judicious 
Winne, building wiser than he knew, laid in solitude the foundation of the City of Buffalo, 
and upon the same spot upon which he had stood, enveloped in smoke, forecasting the 
probabilities of his project, one day in August, a little flaxen-haired boy, apparently in 
charge of a buxom Indian girl, who squatted by his side in the warm sand, sat upon the 
end of a storm-splintered log that lay half buried in the sand, watching, with more than 


childish interest, the slow and labored motion of a small steamboat struggling up the rapid 
current of the River, which, for many hours, so feeble was the power of the little craft's 
over-taxed energies, resisted and delayed its passage into the Lake. But the boat, the 
"Walk-in-the- Water," the first vessel moved by steam to engage in the already active and 
thrifty commerce of the Lakes, possessed a special attraction for the boy, as he sat there 
watching its approach, less interested in its spasmodic efforts to overcome the refractory 
current of the River than in the bold and curious figure-head it bore at its prow. It was 
an object he had seen before, as appeared by the piece of paper that lay upon his knees, 
upon which, as the astonished group of villagers that stood around him had slyly discovered, he 
had drawn, with the stump of a pencil, a rude but really obvious sketch of the figure-head 
that had so absorbed his attention. This incident of the infant artist, associated as it is with 
three memorable epochs in the eventful annals of Lake Erie — the first sail-boat on its 
waters, the first house on the site of Buffalo, and the first steamboat at its dock — gains an 
additional interest in the fact that this historical boy, born in Buffalo in the midst of the 
calamities and desolations of war, was James H. Beard, whose natural tendency to art, thus 
precociously exhibited, and cultivated and expanded in after life with that patience and energy 
of purpose that characterizes true genius, brought him at last the honor and fortune due 
to an artist, whose acknowledged ability has so largely contributed to the advancement of 
American art. 

It would have gratified a pleasant fancy, ii I could have left it on record here, that 
the distinguished painter I have alluded to was the first resident artist to exercise his talents 
in the, then nascent, but auspicious, held of Buffalo fine arts. But it is quite clear that he 
will have to share the honor with the unknown, but doubtless very respectable, sculptor 
whose dexterous hand chiseled the shapely figure-head that first inspired his awakened genius. 
What a curious coincidence of relationship is here presented to one's imagination. Genius 
and steamboat ; both started together on their respective and unrevealed careers ; and they 
had a parallel and cotemporaneous development; keeping pace in historic importance, and, 
though by distinct and special paths, winning high places in the world's esteem. One expands 
into a splendid fleet of steamships, transporting the produce and wealth of nearly half the 
American continent, from end to end of our great inland water system — and the other, with 
concurrent ambition, and intent only on its own alluring inspirations, attaining the goal of 
success and recognition towards which it struggled. 

The short-winded " Walk-in-the- Water," for the prospective needs of steam-navigation, 
was scarcely more capable than the inexpert child for the work of an artist; but the immense 
enginery and traffic of the Lakes was the outgrowth of that unpromising beginning, as the 
accomplished artist was evolved from the artless boy. 


AS WE MUSINGLY SAUNTER along the gravelly banks of the Wonderful River, it is impos- 
iV sible to put aside the reflection, that the interest we feel in its amazing annals, written and 
unwritten, recent and retrospective, is inseparably connected with by-gone and archaic times and 
occurrences, which seem to supersede all the more prosy and local considerations that first invoke 
our interest, and carry us back in fancy to far-off prehistoric eras and conditions, that charm and 
bewilder us, as if by some occcult and irresistible spell. To this subtle influence, we willingly yield 
ourselves captive, until we stand, in imagination, in a world of the past; awe-struck, in the presence 

of the grand and gorgeous reality of a fully developed and exuberant life; so far distant on time's 
appalling track, that our knowledge of it is derived only from unearthed vestiges, and the self- 
impressed records and memorials concealed in stony tablets that lie beneath the soil that now 
supports a floral and animal existence of quite another and feebler character. 

Of the presence of a vast and wide-spread ocean of ice, that for many long ages sub- 
merged and devastated 
the entire northern half 
of our continent, I have 
already pointed to the 
unmistakable evidences. 
But we may also know 
if we read aright the 
same unimpeachable re- 
cord, that long before 
these invading moun- 
tains of ice crept from 
their arctic beds and 
ground their irresisti- 
ble and destructive way 
down the gentle decliv- 
ity of the continent, the 
entire region thus for 
untold ages smothered 
and overwhelmed in 
this crystal mantle, was 
basking in a genial cli- 
mate, and exulting in a 
vitality so luxuriant and 
glorious that the entire 
northern territory was 
profusely covered with a 
rank and gigantic vege- 
tation ; consisting ot de- 
ciduous trees of immense 
growth, rugged vines and 
flowering plants of lavish 
variety, generally of spe- 
cies known now, with 
a few significant ex- 
ceptions, only by their 
buried and transformed 
remains; or still more 
unmistakably, by the 
perfect and beautiful 
impressions of their leaves and seeds stamped upon the shaley rocks and compressed clays, that 
then formed the rich soil in which they grew. All this splendor of arborial growth is not only 
quite unknown in the same region now, — grand and luxuriant as we know the vast forests of 
the north and west to be — but is unsurpassed in profusion and beauty by that of any existing 
richness of forest growth on the face of the globe. 

Impressed with the startling thought that the spot upon which we now stand, and all the 
vast territory north of us, was once and for many resplendent ages, thus arrayed in the glory 
of this gigantic vegetation, till the ice torrents and arctic glaciers poured down upon it and 
swept it from existence, have we only a smile for the homely Hans-Breitian question, where is 
that forest now? And still more astounding, where are the superb and stately creatures that 
roamed and ruled beneath its verdant shelter? And before what human eyes was all this majesty 
of beauty and vigor displayed? The dead past has buried its dead well; some silicified relics and 
crumbling bones, some cave-preserved skulls, and teeth, some exquisite impressions in the rocks 

and solidified sands — these alone tell the marvellous story of the vanished pageant; so utterly 
has all this transcendent glory departed. And when was this, will it further be asked? He 
who attempts to measure time-distance, in the ever receding direction of such mighty phenomena 
as these, with the delusive methods of historical chronology, will find, when wearied with his 
trivial computations, that he has but stepped beneath the outlving shadows of the impenetrable 
wilderness, whose majestic mystery still baffles and restrains his temerity. 

But we must leave these far-ofT periods. We cannot tarry to see these ice-crags melt away, 
nor wait till the dismantled earth re-clothes itself in its garments of green; nor shall we linger 
to watch the infant Niagara plunge over its craggy barrier into the slowly sinking Ontario, some- 
where about the present site of Lewiston. These are interesting epochs in Niagara's ancient records, 
and the last one brings us down to within twenty thousand years of our own time, and may 
be regarded as comparatively recent. As we hasten on we get glimpses now of nomadic hordes 
of stone-chipping savages, wandering beneath the newly grown forests, and along the reed and 
fern covered banks of turbid streams, hunting the mastodon and the bison, and gigantic stags 
and bears, that then roamed in herds over this whole northern land. We must speed down the 
centuries; making no attempt to count them, until we reach the period when our proud and 
ancient River, had excavated inch by inch its long deep canon, back through its massive bed of 
limestone and grit, to about its present position between the two Lakes. On the way we hear 
of the Eries and the Hurons, and the Algonquins and Iroquois, and other invading clans of the 
aboriginal inhabitants of the North, endeavoring to exterminate each other in their long and bloody 
struggle for supremacy, and for the possession of the vast Canadian Wilderness. Further down the 
stream of time, we find at last more peacefully disposed tribes occupying the lands bordering on the 

«**?- , , ; - 

River; and then we meet with European 
missionaries and explorers, with their allies 
and satellites the traders and fortune-hunters, 
traversing the wilderness in pursuit, not sig- 
nally successful, of mineral and territorial 
wealth, and the subjugation of the confiding 
and defenseless inhabitants. Following in the 
wake of these intrepid adventurers, we dis- 
cover also thrifty bands of British traders and 
m\ trappers, bringing merchandise of various 

sorts; trinkets and blankets, powder and 

whiskey, and other civilizing agencies for the 

I' \\ I moral suasion of the aboriginal intelligence. 

tLW Knavery and strife follow in due time; and the 

interposition of military protection becomes 
necessary; and block-houses are erected and 
garrisoned, and picketed posts are established 
along the principal roads and water-courses, 
as places of shelter and refuge, alike for tra- 
ders and explorers, and armed troops. 

It was under such prudential necessity 
as this, that at length Fort Erie came to be 
established on the thickly-wooded banks of 
the Lake that gives it its name. There 
seems to be no definite mention of this ill-starred Fort at an earlier date than 1764; though there 
are intimations and traditions of an earlier origin; indeed, there is a probability of its having 
been in existence in some ambiguous state, at the period of Pouchot's visit to Canada in 1761. 
It was at first a very insignificant affair; a rough wooden structure built by the English as a trading 
post, and a place of refuge when too hotly pursued by their enemies the French and their Indian 
allies. Accessible accounts of its subsequent history are singularly meagre, and very contradictory, 
but none the less, traditionally and anecdotically, interesting. There are reasons for the belief that 
it has not always occupied its present site; a probability 
that in a measure helps to explain the otherwise quite 
unaccountable discrepancies that occur in the few maps 
and narratives that remain as records of its early history. 
Near the close of the last century we find it described, 
wherever it may have stood at that period, as a con- 
struction so weak and unserviceable, that the military 
authorities determined to remove it "some distance" up 
the Lake. It was doubtless in this inefficient condition, 
when the Duke de la Rochefoucault saw it, who described 
it as merely *' some roughly formed wooden houses, sur- 
rounded with tottering palisades," and without ramparts 
or any other protective works. "The term 'Fort/" he 
adds, "cannot with any correctness be applied to the 
place." The American Colonel Procter, then recon- 
noitring in this portion of the frontier, in a despatch to 
the Secretary of War, in 1791, informs him that the 
British had already, at that date, "laid the foundations 



T£j : / ^^^Br-- * 


SHHBhP' 1 ■ 


BPP^ ; 


for a new fortress some distance higher up the Lake, beyond the reach of thirteen-inch shells; 
not being able to maintain their present position." It would seem to be a fact, therefore, that 
the "quadrangular walls of stone," of which we still see the decayed remains, and the other 
"strong works" which the British, in 1806, certainly constructed somewhere, were erected on the 
"new foundations" referred to by Colonel Procter. But the evidence obtainable on this point 
lacks definiteness and is somewhat conflicting. The most interesting events connected with the 
chronicles of the Fort, however, are those that illustrate the important part it played in the 
military operations on the northern frontier during the war of 18 12. When President Madison's 
flying ponies carried to the alarmed backwoodsmen, the unwelcome news of the declaration of 
war against Great Britain, the Fort was in possession of a small British garrison. But its 
supplies being quite inadequate for its defence, and the British commander of the frontier forces 
fearing an attack from the American side, and needing the men elsewhere, in the spring of 18 13, 
ordered its abandonment and destruction. The magazines and other important portions of the 
structure were accordingly blown up and demolished. Soon after its evacuation it was taken 
possession of by an effective body of American troops who crossed the River from Buffalo and 
Black Rock, under command of Colonel Preston. The new occupants immediately set about 
the work of repair, and soon had the shattered structures restored, and the whole position strength- 
ened and enlarged. But the Americans could not long spare the men required for its defence, 
and in a few months it was again abandoned. Not long after, a small British garrison resumed 
possession, and held it without molestation until the beginning of July 18 14, when Major-General 
Brown, then in command of the troops at Bufralo and Black Rock, acting under direction of the 
Secretary of war, and aided by Generals Scott and Porter and the regiments under their com- 
mand, crossed the River with a force of 3,000 men, and by a well devised maneuvre, and under 
cover of the night, captured it without the necessity of firing a shot; the garrison surrendering 
on summons. Thus like a foot-ball, on the Niagara campus, was this stranded waif of fortune, 

■*# * m-i jU wu 

subject to the chance claim of every new comer, tossed back and forth between the contending 

parties engaged in the brief struggle for the control of the Canada frontier. It was the scene 

and the occasion of many a bloody conflict, and was witness to the prowess and valor of 

many a gallant heart, 

"that found on Erie's gore-stained beach, 
An honored bed." 

Having thus secured possession of the Fort, on the following day, General Brown, re- 
garding this invasion as the first effectual step in the then proposed "conquest of Canada," 
with 3,000 men, commenced his adventurous and eventful march down the River towards 
Fort George; the momentous consequences of which movement he could in no wise have 
conjectured. He did not reach the British stronghold at the mouth of the River; but the 
ghastly and decisive occurrences at Chippewa Creek, Lundy's Lane, and finally at Fort Erie 
again, rendered the accomplishment of that purpose unnecessary. As is too well known to 
justify the repetition of the narrative in detail here, on this march, and at the points just 
named, took place in that fearful summer of 18 14, the pluckiest and most intrepidly sus- 
tained struggles of the war. Although shattered and disordered by the bravery and severity 
of the American attack, the British commander, General Drummond, was tempted by the 
arrival of reinforcements to rally his retreating troops for another attempt to recover the ground 
lost at Lundy's Lane; but again, and finally, were his weary veterans repulsed. Fortified by 
nerve and resolution, writes Mr. Holley, Niagara's poetic and trusty historian, the grim in- 
spiration of English obstinacy and Scotch tenacity, rallied for this last attack. "It was made 
with desperate energy with both bullets and bayonets, the latter being often crossed under 
the ghastly sheets of flame that fitfully illumined the thick darkness that enveloped them. 
But neither obstinate courage, nor tenacious endurance availed. The fierceness of the struggle 

- - bl - i^'ai 


made it short; and when it ceased, our war-grimed soldiers, after twelve hours of incessant 
fighting, found themselves masters of the field; it being midnight when the din of battle 
ceased. The hour was made still more impressive by the deep diapason of the Great Cat- 
aract, which sounded its ghostly dirge for the dead, and its solemn chorus to the groans of 
the wounded and dying." 

Both sides suffered severe and about equal losses. It was probably the most appalling 
and obstinate engagement of any recorded in history. The American Generals, Brown and 
Scottj were seriously wounded, and the troops were ordered to retire to Fort Erie. General 
Drummond followed with a strong force soon after, and laid the place under siege, taking 
his position two miles below the Fort, and behind a thick shelter of trees; under conceal- 
ment of which he erected his batteries and planted his siege guns, in active preparation for 
an early and sharp attack; to which, after numerous irritating and annoying skirmishes with 
the American pickets and reconnoitering parties, he finally advanced, on the 14th of August, 
and towards midnight commenced the assault with deadly impetuosity. A fierce and disas- 
trous conflict, lasting throughout the night, fitfully illuminated by the incessant blaze of cannon 
and the flashing of musketry, resulted in driving back the distracted and frustrated assailants; 

both parties suffering fearful losses. For 
the combatants were equally matched in 
bravery and endurance. In the narrow 
space, "a dreadful interval," the contend- 
ing lines, 

" * * front to front presented, 
Stood in terrible array." 

The Fort at this time was in com- 
mand of General Gaines, supported by 
the brigades of Generals Ripley and Peter 
B. Porter. The vigor and determination 
of the assailants, led by General Drum- 
mond in person, was appalling. Again 
and again forced back into the woods by 
the unyielding energy of the besieged, four 
times the British regulars rushed upon the 
blazing wall of fire that held them at bay. 
The deafening reports of muskets and ar- 
tillery, writes Major Douglas in his reminiscences, "were blended in one continuous roar;" 
not unlike the rattling "double-drag of a drum-corps." The unrelieved horror of the wild 
havoc was suddenly intensified, in the very height of the tumult, by the accidental explosion of 
one of the magazines adjoining a stone bastion temporarily in possession of the besiegers. The 
effect of this startling disaster was tremendous and decisive; being fatal to a large number of 
the British assailants. The on-rushing troops, thus suddenly arrested and thrown into disorder, 
were with little difficulty driven from the field by the promptly renewed activity of the Amer- 
ican batteries. After the necessary attention to the dead and wounded, the Americans were soon 
engaged in the work of re-constructing the battered and demolished batteries and walls of the 
Fort; for the British commander had by no means abandoned his intention to retake it at all 
hazards. During three weeks following this repulse, he several times renewed the attempt, and 
with such energy and determination that by the first week in September, his battalions were well 
advanced towards the walls of the Fort, and obstinately handled night and day. To its brave 
and imperilled defenders, the situation became alarming. Its weak defences were rapidly giving 
way under the terrific bombardment to which the place was exposed. The destruction of the 
garrison seemed inevitable. In this emergency, the engineering skill and military genius of 
of General Peter B. Porter came to the rescue. A plan of action, previously devised by him 
was now accepted by the council of officers to whom it was submitted and energetically carried 
out. Under the General's direction it was determined to make a sally in force upon the as- 
sailants, capture their numerous batteries, and by a sudden and simultaneous charge upon 
the several divisions of their really formidable lines, drive them from their position. Every 
detail of the movement was carried out, with such precision and promptness, that the besiegers, 
taken by surprise, and overwhelmed by the celerity and impetuosity of the attack, gave way, and 
were forced back to their encampment. The strife was hot and deadly, but of brief duration; 
and the achievement one of the most splendid in the history of modern warfare. Three days 
after the British troops were marched to Fort George, and the Americans remained in possession 
of their prize. The following month the troops were removed to winter quarters at Buffalo, and 
the Fort torn to pieces and demolished; and in this useless condition it fell again into the hands 
of its rightful proprietors. And thus ends, told here with compulsory brevity, 

"this strange eventful history." 

UPON a prominent rock-supported, though not very steep, bluff, that rises quite a fair 
height above the Niagara shore, and stretches like a green ridge along the south- 
western corner of the city, stand the unpicturesque ruins or Fort Porter; a place of far 
more importance, topographically, and of greater capabilities as a post of defence, than 
would be supposed from a view of its present abandoned and dilapidated condition; a con- 
dition, happily, soon to be remedied; the Secretary or War having ordered its immediate 
restoration and enlargement, with a view to its permanent and efficient occupancy, by a 
competent body of U. S. Troops. 

Naturally, and especially since the beautiful green esplanade adjoining it on the east 
has been attached to the City Park System, the position is very attractive and pleasing; 
affording a charming variety of beautiful prospects, and many far-reaching views of both 
Lake and River. It is the one chief point of picturesque interest to which all visitors to 
the City are taken by their resident friends. And its many beauties justify the surprised 
exclamations of del ight and admiration bestowed upon it by complaisant strangers. In 
whatever direction the eye of the sympathetic observer turns, over land or over water, there 
springs to view a succession of pictures of singularly diversified attractiveness and brightness. 
It is a glorious place for the loiterer and dreamer; for there is a lavish supply of such stuff 
as dreams are made of associated with the surrounding region, which, as far as the view 
extends, in almost any direction, is fertile in reminiscences of exploration and adventure, 
and prolific in traditional and provincial lore. Vestiges of vanished generations; memories 
of heroic deeds; ever green chronicles of illustrious and honored names; the wonder- waking 
trail of the spectral past; such are the inspirations that come to us from every bank and 
rock, and grove and pathway, that enters so pleasingly into the composition of the tranquil 
landscape. But occurrences and activities of more recent dates have also left here their 
impress, and equally invite our attention and contribute to our enjoyment. We see, at 
this moment, the broad stream before us enlivened by passing water-craft, of different de- 
scriptions; ferry boats, sailing yachts, and small row-boats, scudding and paddling and 
steaming about in considerable numbers. The small boats and sculls, just here, have a 
pretty hard and struggling time of it, as the current of the River at this point begins 
to move with increased rapidity; rushing down its impatient and perilous course, in fact, 

at the rate of over seven miles an hour; though before it reaches Grand Island, some ten 
miles below, its velocity becomes reduced to only two and a half miles an hour; and there 
the small boats have a more comfortable crossing. 

Just below us, on the River, and drifting towards the International Bridge, that spans 
the River so gracefully and lightly, about a mile farther down, we see a fine sight; a 
fleet of five large and shapely barques heavily-laded with sawn lumber. The vessels move 
easily with the current, but they are attached by long tow-lines to each other, and from 
the bow of the leader to the bustling, smoke-enveloped little tug, that keeps them in line 
and aids their progress. If we turn to the left, towards the Lake, we shall see, just enter- 
ing the head of the River, another smoking tug, dragging into the current, three other 
similar vessels, also deeply loaded with lumber, the broad piles of which completely cover 
the decks. These indications of business activity, and especially of the enormous trade in 
lumber of which this short River is the principal channel, are but instances of similar 
spectacles to be seen on these waters, and even, at times, of still greater magnitude, almost 
every day, for six months of the year. These vessels are on their way to Tonawanda, a 

1 • ■■ MtA 


c+j-.-ft. inj. 

busy town of rapidly advancing importance, situated on the River bank at the mouth of 
Tonawanda Creek, about ten miles below our present position. This stirring place, is the 
great lumber mart of the State, from which is annually distributed, by water and rail, over 
500,000,000 feet of lumber, chiefly pine in the shape of heavy timber and rough planks 
and boards; though a large proportion of it first goes through the local manufacturing 
establishments. This remarkable town, already distinguished for its enterprise, and for the 
large capital and shrewd intelligence engaged in the management of its immense annual 
business, is one of the surprises and commercial curiosities of our beautiful River, and 
well repays the visitor's inspection of its massive piles and heaps of sweet-smelling wood, 
and its humming saw mills, and huge rattling factories of boxes and shingles, and planed 
flooring. This is an activity in which, of course Buffalo takes a hand, and much of 
the business is under the management of men who have their residence in that city. 
The fleet of barques that attracted our notice a few moments since, are now approaching 
the Bridge, the revolving girder, or draw of which, is, as we see, already turning on its 
central pivot pier to admit them. It is worth noting how smoothly and firmly the draw, 

362 feet in length, swings on its turn-table, without sag 
or deflection of any kind. The whole structure is an 
unusually perfect example of the Pratt quadrangular Truss 
Bridge; a superstructure of riveted wrought iron, resting 
on heavy cut stone piers. There are six of these piers, 
and two massive abutments for the shore ends. The 
entire length of the roadway of the bridge is 3,652 feet, 
about one third of which is by embankment across Squaw 
Island. This fine Bridge, the only entrance into Canada 
of the immense transportation business of the Grand 
Trunk Railroad, was built by English capital, under the 
supervision of the principal contractor, Col. C. S. Gzowski 
of Toronto, aided by an able staff of Engineers, of 
which Mr. E. P. Hannaford was chief. The structure 
has been much, and very deservedly, admired, for its plain 
but elegant simplicity, no less than for its thoroughly 
tested strength and stability. Its erection was determined 
on, and even commenced, under the most discouraging 
difficulties, and in spite of much openly declared and 
persistently urged opposition. But there was a will en- 
listed in the enterprise, that could only be deterred by 
the impossible; and the genius and energy of the prin- 
cipal promoter and contractor of the undertaking, Col. 
Gzowski, finally triumphed over all obstacles, both natu- 
rul and frivolous, and in less than three years from the 
removal of the first barrow of earth, the work was ac- 
complished; and on the 27 th day of October 1873, the 
first locomotive, under direction of an engineer of the 
Grand Trunk Railroad of Canada, crossed the bridge 
without a throb or tremor. 

Returning to our point of view upon the green and 
breezy escarpment of the Fort terrace, we observe still 
other, and equally interesting evidences of affluence and 
business thrift and enterprise, that invite inquiry, and 
testify to the vast amount of energy and shrewdly direct- 
ed tact, that for so many busy years has been engaged 
in devising and directing the various industries by which 
all this solid and splendid prosperity has been achieved. 
A village of one or two thousand pioneer settlers, how- 
ever industrious, however high and hopeful in their ex- 
pectations, could never lave become, in the period of 
two generations, an influential city of two hundred and 
fifty thousand people, without the co-operation of saga- 
cious heads with willing and dexterous hands. Skillful 
labor was needed, truly enough; not much can be ac- 
complished, in this world, without that; but the nimble 
functions of foresight and push were quite as indispen- 
sable, to enable any community to bring into existence 
such mighty agencies as are to be discerned even within 
the limited scope of our present range of observation. 
We see steamboats of every capacity hurrying to and 
fro on Lake and River ; and bustling and screaming 
tug-boats, dragging out of the city harbor half a score 
of heavily freighted vessels, of all burdens, varying from 


300 tons to 3000, which are soon to be 
delivered over to the treacherous, but 
generally favorable, gales of the open 
Lake; while at our feet flow the quiet 
waters of the broad and world-renowned 
Erie Canal, the broadest, longest, deepest, 
and most commercially serviceable, artifi- 
cial water-way on this continent, consider- 
ing only the part it has performed, 
during the 60 years of its life, in the 
eastward transportation of the annual 
produce of the vast grain fields and 
timber forests of the West. Reflect- 
ing on the drowsy plodding toil of this 
lowly ally of human enterprise it may 
be allowed to have fulfilled the promises 
of its projectors, and to have well earned, 
at last, its freedom: freedom, as at pre- 
sent, for whoever chooses to navigate its 
peaceful current; the freedom of a public 


Its great rival, the splendid steel-linked, knightly Railroad, that runs by its side for over 
350 miles, whose echoing trumpet-blasts of warning and defiance hourly proclaim it the 
master of the situation, and champion of the road, claims our notice also, as a feature of 
some consequence in the circuit of our present survey. The New York Central Railroad 
beyond all cavil, deserves its world-wide celebrity. In strength of construction, and in per- 
fection of appliances, as well as in methods for effecting security and speed, and comfort of 
travel, this superb road has no superior on this continent. It has four steel tracks, reaching 
from Buffalo to the Hudson River, two for freight transportation and two for the exclusive 
use of passenger trains; a provision which insures safety from collisions, and greatly expe- 
dites the transit. The high position attained, and the conceded success of this grand high- 
way, which connects the Great Rivers and Lakes of the western half of our country with 
the sea-ports of the Atlantic, are commensurate with the thoroughness of its organization and 
the excellence of its management. The portion of the road here seen, is only its special 
diversion to Niagara Falls; to which place the Erie Railroad, which skirts the city along 


.. , 

its eastern and northern boundary, and the Grand Trunk Road of Canada, which, with the 
popular Canada Southern, crosses the International Bridge from Black Rock to the quiet 
little village of Victoria, on the opposite bank of the River, also run frequent daily trains 
to and from Buffalo. Travel by railroad between these two points began, it should be 
mentioned, in 1836, which was eleven years after the arrival at Buffalo of the first boat to 
reach the city by the Erie Canal; an event duly celebrated by powder and banners and 
speeches. The general aspect or the whole surrounding landscape as viewed from the 
River, or from our present position upon this fine bluff, was quite different, fifty years 
ago, from what it is now. And there was no Fort here at that time; not even a battery; 
though the eligibility of the situation for the purposes of a National military post, had 
already attracted the attention of Col. Jos. G. Totten, Chief of U. S. Engineers; but it 
was not until the spring of 1841, after a more thorough and careful survey of the site, 
that its purchase was recommended by the War Department, and authorized by an act of 
Congress, which appropriated for the purpose the sum of $50,000. The land was held by 
several private owners, citizens of Buffalo, and was sold to the Government in parcels, 
at an aggregate cost of about $20,000, including the two story embattled stone residence 
of Col. James Mackaye to whom about two thirds of the tract purchased by the U. S. 
had belonged. The final transfers of the whole tract of about 28 acres to the possession 
of the United States, including the title acquired by patent from the State of New 
York, of the portion it held under its original Canal reservations, were not completed 
till the fall of 184.2. Work upon the construction of the Fort was commenced the 
following year, under the personal supervision of Capt. W. D. Eraser of the U. S. 
Engineers, who, after many retarding vexations, delivered the structure ready for occu- 
pancy, to the War Department, in the fall of 1846; the stone mansion of Col. 
Mackaye, becoming, with some few alterations, the residence and head-quarters of the 
commandant of the Post, as it still continues to be. 

The Fort proper, or redoubt, rather — for it had neither the magnitude nor the strength 
of a fortress — consisted of a deeply sunk keep, or tower, sixty feet square, and over seventy 
feet in height, from the bottom of the excavation in which it stood. It was built 
of cut stone columns, and covered with six feet of earth, resting on a thick coating of 
mastic and gravel, its exposed surface smoothly finished with green sodded turf. This cen- 
tral tower, or redoubt, was surrounded on all sides by a quadrangular walled breast-work 
and parapet, provided with flagged traverse circles for carrying an intended armament of 32 
guns. Along the inner sides of this parapet, was laid a banquette, or covert-way, connected 
by draw-bridges to the central redoubt, which was two stories in construction, and its walls 

1*X X 


_ XL. 

pierced by loop-holes in each of its four sides, for the use of musketry. Within this tower 
were the men's quarters, and the magazines and store-rooms for a garrison of three hundred 
men. The whole work, but little more than a well constructed, casemated, bomb-proof 
battery, was designed for an armament of 39 guns; 13 on each of the two sides that 
commanded the Lake and the River, 3 on each of the other sides, 3 on its north-eastern 
angle, and one on each corner of the central tower, in connection with its bomb-proof 
roof. By this disposition of its armament, every approach to the Fort, by land or water, 
would have been guarded, securely enough, against the advance of infantry and light 
artillery; but under seige, or any serious and well-equipped attack, by land or water, no 
commander would be willing to expose his men to the destructive assaults of the missiles 
and appliances of modern warfare, in so insecure a shelter. Its defensive strength, however, 
was never put to trial ; nor were the guns supplied by the War Department for its 
armament, ever mounted. They lay piled up about the walls, and in other parts of 
the city, unused, till 1862, when they were removed to Washington, and were soon 
effectually heard from in the active part they afterward took in the defense of the Union. 

During the war the place remained simply a garri- 
soned rendezvous and recruiting station for the United 
States troops; while the open ground around it was utilized 
as a temporary drilling camp for State volunteers. By a 
fire, at night, which originated in some accident, in 
one of the storage rooms of the redoubt, on the 24-th 
of November 1863, it was burnt, and its usefulness, for 
any defensive purposes, quite destroyed; and it has 
remained a ruin ever since. After 1 5 years of disuse 
and abandonment — excepting the use of the barracks for 
temporarily quartering U. S. troops, withdrawn from active 
service at other posts, — the War Department has at last 
ordered the restoration and improvement of the place, 
a work, which is not, however, to include the recon- 
struction of the keep, or tower. It is quite probable, 
rather, that what remains of that structure, will be 
entirely removed, and the place put in condition to be 
maintained, with more suitable and sightly quarters, for 
officers and men, as a garrisoned post; but in a shape 
more effective and creditable than ever before, not with- 
standing the demolition of the so called Old Fort; the 
memory of which, and of its many pleasant associations, 
must long be perpetuated by its familiar and honorable 
name; which will, of course, still remain attached to 
the post, whatever destiny may attend it. 

But we must tarry no longer on this interesting 
spot, though much remains to be pointed out. We may 
take a parting glance, as we descend, at the two steam 
vessels about to pass through the gate of the bridge. 
One is quite large, and is over-crowded with its hilarious 
company of excursionists; the other, a small and hand- 
some craft, has apparently but few people on board. 
These boats are on their way to Grand Island, a 
green and beautiful spot, that lies in the middle of 
the River, just in the angle where it takes its sudden 
trend to the north, about four miles distant from this 
point. The larger boat is bound for the open groves of 
the Island, while the smaller and more graceful yacht 
is carrying its quieter party of members and visitors 
to the tasty and attractive house and grounds of the 
Falconwood Club, that beautify the southwestern corner 
of the Island. We shall have more to say of this 
Island in the next part. 

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CONTINUING our rambling glance at the many points of interest that present them- 
selves to view all along the pleasant banks of our resplendent and wayward River, 
we find that our reveries are more in harmony with the evidences it affords of present 
prosperity and industry, and with the sweet and salutary influences of its verdant and 
luxuriant natural aspect, diversified and enlivened, as we now view it, by a rapid succession 
of interposed objects, alternating with its more indigenous beauties; mill and hamlet, villa 
and meadow, creek and forest, river and railroad; — all these prove of more immediate in- 
terest to us than the stern and gory events, and ghostly recollections, of its turbulent and 
peril-haunted past. Deeds of prowess and devotion, and harrowing adventures of trial and 
triumph, are recalled, it is true, with impressive vividness, at every step of our way; but 
the beauties and activities of the life that surrounds us on every side, prove to us that 
Nature has still the strongest hold upon our sympathies, and contributes the most to our 
present enjoyment. Nature is so varied and complex in her attractions — so overflowing 
with ever-renewed delights — so abundant in resources — so spontaneous and inventive in sur- 
prises — so veracious and genuine — so generous and benignant — so ready and responsive to 
all demands upon her ingenuity, be it for dew-drop or cataract, — truly, when we consider 
it, the tiresome caprices and mischances of man and his doings disturb but little the pure 
and restful inspirations that come to all who yield confidingly to her benign persuasions. 

t '£<**\ 

But we are admonished by a peremptory persuasion of another and more practical sort, 
that other and more prosy considerations await our reluctant attention. The course of our 
life, like the diversified scenery that here surrounds us, is but an interlacing, if sometimes, 
alas, it be not rather a confusion, of facts and fancies; and to facts we must return, the 
most conspicuous one before us this moment being the beautiful Island, with a brief 
reference to which we closed our last number. 

About three miles below Black Rock, the River, greatly reduced in speed, widens 
out to more than double its width at Buffalo, and divides into two unequal streams, which 
form and enclose the sandy mound of table land known as Grand Island; the widest of 
the two streams and the main channel of the River, passing to the Canadian shore, leaving 
the Island separated only by the narrower branch from the American shore; on which ac- 
count, chiefly, it was conceded, by the British and American Boundary Commissioners, in 
1822, to belong by natural chance as well as by international usage, to the United States; 
and so the prize fell to the State of New York, and it is now rapidly gaining favor in 
general estimation, as the most desirable and attractive residence town within the boundaries 
of Erie County. All circumstances, and innumerable local advantages, indicate unmistakably 
the already dawning accomplishment of this high and not improbable expectation. The 
charm of its insular and salubrious position — its beautiful bird-enlivened groves, and green, 
undulating downs — its aquatic facilities — its proximity to the Falls — its exemption from the 

annoyances and disfigurements incidental to the trade and traffic of a business mart, which 
it never can become — the luxuriance of its vegetation — the space it affords for parks and 
gardens, and the convenience of local food supplies — the ready access assured to all desired 
Railroad facilities, — and its nearness, for all trading and commercial purposes to the City 
of Buffalo — all these influences point unerringly to the fulfilment at no distant day, of the 
destiny assured for it by Nature herself. 

This fine Island, which lies opposite Tonawanda with which it is connected by ferries, 
has an extent in area of about eight miles in length and a breadth averaging from five to 
six and an elevation, at its highest point, of over 50 feet above the River. It affords 
many delightfully picturesque views of both shores, and especially lovely ones of the River, 
which, after passing Buckhorn Island, a copsy little affair which lies near its northwestern 

**.$. a*\ 

corner, expands into the appearance of a small lake, whose smooth and quiet waters seem 
to attain here a breadth of over eight miles; after a gentle flow of about three miles in a 
northerly direction, they reach the rocky decline of the Grand Rapids, rushing down which, 
with swiftly accelerated velocity, they presently take their tremendous plunge over the pre- 
cipitous walls of the Horse-shoe cliffs, on their tumultuous and rollicking way to the 
Atlantic Ocean. 

In the early period of the settlement of this part of the State, this Island, then in 
possession of the Seneca Indians, was densely covered with a forest of valuable timber trees, 
the cutting and utilization of which by the pioneer settlers on the American margin of the 
River, occasioned many angry and dangerous contentions with the savage proprietors, which 
were only terminated by the purchase, by the State of New York, in 18 15, of the ad- 
mitted legal title to the property remaining in the aboriginal owners. Soon after this there 
were quite extensive clearings made, by enterprising white-oak cutters, in several parts of 
the Island, which came in the course of a year or two to be occupied by a lawless bandit 
sort of confederacy of American and Canadian Squatters, employed ostensibly in wood-cut- 
ting and shook-shaving, for which they had acquired no license, an industry that required 
but little capital, and found a ready market in the settlements. This illicit business was 
really prosecuted with considerable though rather intermittent activity, and with no littJe 
profit. The enterprise was winked at for a long time by the State authorities, but becom- 
ing more and more troublesome and disorderly, after numerous formal complaints, and several 

peaceful and therefore ineffectual movements for the suppression of the factious confederacy, 
more active measures were determined upon, and in 1819, an armed detachment of State 
troops, under command of the gallant Col. Benjamin Hodge of Buffalo, crossed the River 
in canoes and invaded the clearings. After a brief and feeble show of resistance they 
sacked and broke up the camps and drove the contumacious constituency from the Island, 
chiefly to the Canadian side of the River. It was three years after this, the stave shaving 
business having been resumed under more legal auspices, that the Boundary Commission 
confirmed the possession of the Island to the United States.. It has ever since proved an 
attractive place of resort for huntsmen and fishermen as well as for idlers and pleasure- 
seekers: being a capital place, in the words of Mr. L. F. Allen, one of its earliest and 
most widely known citizens, for that " listlessness and laziness so congenial to squatter and 
roving life;" especially during its wilderness period, when its thickets abounded in deer, 
rabbits, and squirrels, and were not infrequently visited by bears, foxes, and wolves, its sedgy 
shores swarmed with duck, and all the wild birds of this region, and its encircling waters 
also yielded an unlimited supply of the finest fresh water fish to be caught in the world. 
Truly was it a "paradise for sportsmen" and explorers, and a tempting free tramping ground 
for vagabonds and squatters. 

The most curious and unique episode that attaches itself with some significance to the 
romantic history of the Island, relates to the ambitious but infelicitous undertaking of Mr. 
Mordecai M. Noah, a learned and upright Jewish citizen of New York, to secure its posses- 
sion for the establishment, beneath its breezy groves, of a new Hebrew Community, open to 
the faithful from every corner of the earth. He conceived the possibility of founding on 

this secluded spot, by purchase of as much 
territory as might be needed, and the ex- 
pected personal co-operation of his fellow- 
Israelites throughout the world, a broad city 
of residence and refuge, under the control 
of a central judicial government, of the 
ancient type; exclusively for the ownership 
and occupancy, of people of that faith from 
all lands. Infatuated with this pretentious 
project, he imagined that the scheme, if 
once properly authenticated and boldly pro- 
mulgated, and with the proposed city once 
fairly planted upon ostensibly consecrated 
foundations, would attract to its support by 
thousands, the people for whose benefit and 
solace its erection was intended. Perhaps, 
if the main conditions of the undertaking 
could have been fulfilled, it would have 
done so. The plan was not wholly un- 
reasonable, nor the hope of its really honest deviser wholly visionary. But the details and 
preliminaries of the project were incoherent and impracticable, and the measures adopted for 
its realization premature and ill-judged. He began at the wrong end. He dreamed of a 
city without a people; he should have collected a people who required a city. The scheme 
assumed at once that taint of vagueness and visionary speculation, which, however unjustly 
to the man and to the integrity of his really fraternal purpose, prevented and repulsed at 
once, the very authenticity and co-operation from within the borders of the Jewish told, 
which alone could have assured him that general concurrence which was essential for its 
success. It failed from inherent arrogance. As the specious sophistry of an excentric dream- 
er, an individual speculator, the guise it at once assumed, in the view of those most im- 
mediately interested, it was rejected without discussion. Its author had no affiliated co-labor- 
ators, no sanction excepting that of a few outsiders, not of his own religious persuasion, who 
could have had, and really had, no part or lot in the matter. What sincere concern could one 
whose daily prayer was for the conversion of "Jews and Turks," and all other "infidels," to 
a religion which they denied and rejected, have in a movement to endow a community whose 
vital purpose was to be the propagation and perpetuity of the Jewish faith and polity ex- 
clusively? Surely none. What Mr. Noah needed, to render possible the stability of the frail 
fabric of his imagined metropolis, was the patronage and counsel of his own people. But 
this utterly failed him, and his assumption of the functions of a "Judge in Israel," or even 
of that of a director, was impugned and derided throughout the world. Personally, Mr. 
Noah was a man of impressive bearing and cultivated and cordial manners, and was esteemed 
for his many excellent and generous qualities; he was a man of ability and sound impulses, 

■ ' ~_ Ll. 


kind-hearted, capable and trust-worthy, in all his relations with his fellow-men. He was 
educated to the law, and served his country creditably in the capacity of Consul at the 
city of Tunis, and afterwards held the office of Judge in one of the Criminal Courts of 
the City of New York; in which place he died, in 185 1, at the age of sixty, lamented 
by all who knew him, even by those who, excusably enough, had indulged in many a 
sly joke and jeer, over the inflated inscription sculptured upon his abandoned and paradox- 
ical "corner-stone," so ostentatiously and vainly consecrated, as the nucleus of his chimerical 
"City of Ararat," now, henceforth, and finally, to rest where it now does, among the 
curios in the museum of the Buffalo Historical Society. So true is it, as Grand Island 
will always hereafter remind us, that 

The wisest and the best of men 
Will fool a little, now and then. 

Grand Island, — once threatened with the appellation of White Haven, if the Post- 
master General had not, in 1839, refused to establish a Post-office upon it by that name, 
"because it was so near Tonawanda," — derives its more appropriate and now assured 
name, with a slight euphonic change, from that given to it by the Seneca Indians, who 
simply called it what it was, "the Great Island;" Tonawanda, lying opposite, being in 
their estimation, the "Little Island." Half a dozen other small islands lie scattered about 
in its neighborhood; Navy Island, — which is the English equivalent of its French designa- 
tion, "Isle de la Marine," they having utilized it for ship-building purposes, called also 
by the Senecas, "Big Canoe Island" — belongs to Canada: it lies at the north-western 
corner of its grander neighbor, and has been discreditably notorious as the sequestered 
rendezvous and skulking-ground for rebels against the Canadian Government, and their 
accomplices, such marauding tramps, as were found to be purchasable by copious allow- 
ance of whisky, and who could so be made available for almost any casual scrubby job 
of rascality and plunder. Some lawless Americans being detected in this fancy for taking 
a hand in promiscuous and disorderly enterprises of this sort, some fifty years ago, that 
alert and experienced frontiersman, and wary soldier, General Winfield Scott, got his vigi- 
lant eye upon them, and he marched down upon them one day, when they soon scattered 
beyond all chance of rally, or even of discovery. It is quite true, rarely, that the wicked 
flee when no man pursueth, but the wretched instance referred to demonstrated clearly 
enough that they fly well when a loyal defender of his country's honor gets after them. 
A vigorous cannonading from the Canadian shore swept through the Navy Island woods, and 
the "incident was closed." Of the other Islands referred to, Tonawanda, on the American 

side, at the mouth of the Creek of the same name, though small, is a place of consider- 
able and rapidly rising business importance; Beaver, a copsy little affair, near the south- 
western corner of the larger Island, in the Canadian branch of the River, is the pleasant 
seat of a small private club; Buckhorn and Strawberry are low grassy islets, of interest only 
as they add variety and delicate touches of prettiness to the gentle and peculiar beauty of 
the low scenery of this really attractive portion of the River. 

Wherever the eye turns it is arrested by some object revealing the locality of some 
spot of by-gone interest; some fading memorial of vanished times. For we here stand at 
the chief converging point, the fertile cradle and source, of the romantic though often con- 
jectural annals and traditions of the pioneer explorations and discoveries in the perilous 
solitudes of our northern frontier. On the bushy borders of these waters, and underneath 
the lofty forests of majestic oaks and pines that once adorned these circling shores, now 
covered with a vegetation of more recent growth, dwelt communities of peoples known to 
have become quite extinct before the appearance in this region of even the predecessors of 
the Indian tribes who were discovered here by the first European explorers of the American 
interior. Here, as we glance around, we encounter innumerable mementos of the presence 
and doings of those unshrinking and audacious adventurers. Here, we are reminded at every 
turn, what a blending and interweaving of romance and recollection, of mystery and con- 
jecture, as well as of struggle and disappointment, make up for us the glowing but only 
half told story of the opening and planting of this much coveted region of the Lakes; a 
story illustrated by many gallant personal exploits, and many chivalrous enterprises, as well 
as overshadowed by narrations of much personal suffering and many cruel wrongs and mis- 
fortunes. For our River was for a long period the principal and best know feature, the 
one grand geographical landmark, of all this vast northern wilderness, and formed the very 
outskirt of the rude and experimental civilization, that accompanied the slow and timid 
advance of the pioneer occupation of this portion of the country. On the western shore of 
the Lagoon, at the mouth of the Creek 
from which it derives its name, and a short 
distance below Navy Island, we note the 
manufacturing village of Chippewa, where 
our Gen. Scott won his epaulettes in the 
memorable struggle between the British and 
American forces in 1814, as before related. 
Nearly opposite, on the eastern shore, lies in 
poetic and dreamy repose, the unambitious 
little village of La Salle, whose name, of 
which more will be said in our next, like 
the fair face of the pretty maid in the story, 
is its fortune, which is not in riches, but in 
honor — and also its raison d'etre. 

Diagonally opposite Navy Island, on 
the American shore, lies what little there 
is now to be seen of what was once a 
place of some service to the early scouts 
and settlers along the then heavily wooded 
margin of the River, and known as Schlos- 
ser's store-house and dock, a landing-place 
for fishermen, and for ferry-boats crossing 
the River from Grand Island and the Can- 
adian shore. It is a place of slight impor- 
tance, mentionable now chiefly as the meet- 
ing ground for the Fenian bandits, on the 
occasion of the Navy Island fiasco before 
alluded to, and a hiding-place for supplies.