Transcribed by Gina Cappello from Scrapbook of Eddy C. Gilbert, Rushford NY

(unknown date)


A Horrible Experience on a Wrecked Yacht on Lake Erie

    Last Wednesday afternoon without a word of warning, the sad news was received here that Homer Adams was drowned in Lake Erie.  Nothing further was known until the following day, when the particulars given below were learned, which describes the most horrible sufferings and exposure—terrible in the extreme to cause the mental strain, which produced the fatal insanity.

    Homer was born in Milwaukee, Wis., in June 1861.  His parents moved to Brockport, NY, while he was an infant, and when he was 9 years of age, moved from there to Rushford, where they have since resided.  Homer has lived here the greater portion of the time, but has been employed the past few years at various places, always visiting his home every few months.  A year ago last February he was employed at Cuba, but was obliged to resign his position on account of his eyes, and he then went to Elmira for treatment.  He returned home about a year ago, his eyes improved, but his physician advised rest, and he remained at home until last April, when he left for Dunkirk and took the position he held at his death.

    As to his character, it is needless for us to say a word.  The fact that he was the most intimate friend of the writer speaks all that could be said by us in his praise.  He had no enemies and his life had been such as to command the respect of all who knew him.

    His father is in Chicago and could not reach here in time to attend the funeral.  The intense grief of his mother, to whom he had ever been a most dutiful and affectionate son, and his brother and sister, is greatly increased by the thoughts of the terrible sufferings he experienced.  They have the profound sympathy of the community in their deep sorrow.

    His remains reached here Thursday afternoon and the funeral services were held at his father’s residence at six o’clock the same day, Rev. Watkins, officiating.

    The Dunkirk correspondent of the Buffalo Courier gave the following account of the wreck and subsequent suffering of the crew:

    “Experiences as horrible as were ever related in fiction befell the crew of the Mary B. Bucher, a small sloop yacht of this place, which made a voyage to Canada and was wrecked on Monday night on its return.  She had on board Fred Bucher, her owner and two friends.  Stanley Gibson, a married man, a pattern-maker in the Brooks shop, and Homer B. Adams of Rushford, the shipping clerk at Barber, Scully & Company’s planning mill here.

    “The Mary B., with a sloop belonging to Frederic Fromm, which carried six people, sailed hence on Saturday night, reaching Port Colborne before the day.  They started to return on Monday afternoon.  In the calm and succeeding squalls they become separated, Bucher sailing further westward than Fromm.  At 11 o’clock at night Bucher was within sight of the Dunkirk light and the harbor-beacon above them.  Fromm was out of sight.  They struck the third heavy squall, and at quarter past eleven were lying in a great calm, which was probably the center of the storm.  Her jib was down and mainsail doubly reefed.  Suddenly a heavy squall struck her sail flat from the direction of the shore, in the pitchy darkness, and she was capsized.  She thus floated, with a little of one side out of water, until 6 o’clock the next day, or nineteen hours.

    “It was blackness itself; a howling wind was raging and a tremendous sea was up.  The waves would strike them from their hold on the boat, and they would get back with the greatest difficulty, even with the help of life-lines which Bucher rigged.  The labor of holding on, the knocks of the waves and the chill, exhausted them, and they grew weaker.  Bucher, the strongest of the three and the only one accustomed to the water, was the only survivor.

    “Adams was the first victim.  Toward dawn he began to act strangely and became restless.  He talked disconnectedly and soon showed that he had gone crazy.  Just before day-break he threw himself away from the boat and resisted three efforts to bring him back.  A life-preserver about his neck kept his head up, but he got into the breaking waves, and rolled and revolved about and was continually beaten under, and so was slowly drowned at a distance of a few feet from the boat, in the sight of his companions.  The corpse, buoyed up by the float, kept along close by the boat which drifted on.  Gibson complained of it, and finally fainted, soon after sunrise.  Bucher held him up, and the three, one dead, one insensible and one conscious, floated on.  Bucher was picked up at 6 o’clock in the evening off his water-logged and sinking craft, only a few miles off Port Colborne whither she had come again.  The Robbie, Mr. McCaig, owner of Silver Creek, picked them up, the corpse first, then Bucher and his insensible comrade.  The Robbie set sail for Silver Creek, and reached there at 5:30 o’clock this morning.  Gibson recovered consciousness at 4, sank back again and died at 9 o’clock.  Coroner Blood brought both bodies up from Sliver Creek.  Bucher is very ill from his long exposure, but will recover.”