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. From Heuvelton To Rossie .

. Author unknown .


The following story loaned us by Harold Storie, whose father was captain of the Steamer Oswegtchie, was written by an Ogdensburg reporter. It must have taken place around about 1907, as the steamer was built in 1906 & sank off Bigge Island in August of 1908.

"Much has been written of late of the enjoyment among the Thousand Islands & other favored lake resorts, but seldom is a prettier outing found or better enjoyed than was taken up Black Lake this week. A party from this city boarded the early morning train for Heuvelton & there went on board the flatbottom steamer, Oswegatchie for a run to Rossie. There were some misgivings to making the trip without accident or mismishap & wondering if the party should return on the same day as that on which it started, as the steamer is noted for for happenings of all kinds & these latter were fully able to say "I told you so" before the trip was finshed.

The Party boarded upon the deck of the steamer, which soon pulled out & off for the lake. It had been declared an ideal day many times & justly judged so, when a little bend in the river made the boat turn & a lot of drity smoke from the smoke stack descended to cover the faces & blouses of the party bring forth hearty laughts from the more fortunate ones. All tried to feel good-natured asserting that little things like that were of no moment.

On the run down the Oswegatchie River from Heuvelton to Black Lake the scenery is quite commonplace, the banks being low & the land most tillable to the water's edge. Here & there were cattle standing in the shallows places & then again a shaded little inlet where the tall trees threw there reflection & the stream looked black & deep.

The rapids where passed in safety. The first stop was at Devoys's Landing, where passengers were taken aboard. From that point to the mouth of the lake the river broadens & a current flows swift. The second rapids are reached, the engine is stopped & the steamer is alowed to drift, while the passingers watched the jagged, cruel looking rocks that lift there sharp points almost to the surface of the water. There is a moment in which all seem to hold their breath, then the engine commences to throb & you feel that another danger has been met & safely Passed.

As the boat left the shelter os the Delaney woods & swung her nose around into Black Lake, someone remarked that the wind was rising.

Just below the old pile bridge, the famous flat Peat Dredge was at anchor & another little steamer tied along side. We kept on our way passing beween broken & decaying piles, which extend across the lake, is all that that remains of the bridge that that but for a few years ago connected the Town of Oswegatchie with the Town of Depeyster. On the right to the entrance of the lake, & the land is gradually sloping & is a rich farming & grazing country. on the left are heavily timbered lands, low & marshy in most parts. On the shores are the cranberry marhes & the Peat lands, which such wonderful results are expected & where fortunes are to be made or sunk.

A stop was made at the Lord cottage for passingers, & by this time the wind which had been steadily increasing was blowing a gale. The steamer headed directly into it & made slow progress. Some of the party began to get timid & anxious.Some of the canvas awnings began to split & go to pieces & in spite of all efforts to the contary, it was whipped into ribbons & torn from the fastenings by the gale. Great waves now met us & dashed over the lower part of the steamer which did not seem to mind it much, but kept plowing away.

At Edwardsville, the smoke stack had to be lowered to pass under the new iron bridge. Not an object was seen to be stirring except a peddler's cart, so a stop was not made, the party concluding that business must be dead at the little town. Soon the steamer reached Broad Lake, which is four miles at its widest point, & the scenery there is romantic & picturesque, banks of rocks rising out straight out of the water to a great height tree-capped with dense shade. There are many beautiful islands, some of dotted with tents & cottages. The last stop was at Rollway to let off some passengers, & the boat left the bay around a great pile of rocks & out into the bosom of the lake again. After a long run against the wind & the waves the boat glided into the mouth of the Indian River,& a great calm fell over the party as they were completely sheltered from the wind. Large overhanging rocks & trees which could almost be touched from either side of the boat, the river being so narrow, met the delighted eyes & the blowing of the whistle announcing the arrival at the sleepy little hamlet of Rossie came almost too soon. Telegrams had been sent ahead for the dinner for a party, & a stamede was made by the hungry ones for the waiting meal.

Just as the steamer was swinging out from the dock for the return trip, one of the Ogdensburg ladies found that she had left umbrella at the hotel & the boat has to wait untill the missing umbrella was found & restored to its owner. It was long after schedule time for starting & the other Ogsdensburg people were getting anxious about reaching Heuvelton in time to catch the train for home. At last last after an hours delay, the steamer started the return trip, being made by a different channel afforded a view of the Black Lake Club house & other interesting places on the lake. The run down was being made in good time & at just 8 o'clock, the boat swung from the lake into the Oswegatchie, which meant twenty minutes to reach Heuvelton in time for the last train. A stop was made at the Devoy's Landing, the boat gliding gracefully up the shore. There was a snapping sound heard at the stern, & when the tiller was found to be useless. There was a great stir among the passingers at once & anxious speculation as what was to be done.

Capain Storie made an inspection & reported, "We will have to remain where we are untill morning gives us light enought to repair the damage". Then the passingers decided to try there luck on the shore for the remainder of the trip. All were safely landed & Willaim Mc Millan secured to take the crowd to Heuvelton. Farm wagons were prepaired with hayracks upon which straw was thickly scattered & the party joyfull climbed aboard. One of the ladies sat by the driver of the first team & carried a lantren which went out immediately after, leaving the party in the darkness. It was nearly ten O'Clock when Heuvelton was finally reached & livery rigs hired for the drive back to Ogsdensburg. The steamer did not reach Heuvelton untill the next day. Those attending will not soon forget their railroad, steamboat &excursion trip..

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