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FRONTENAC BURNS TO WATER’S EDGE NEAR TO UNION SPRINGS
Reported That Five Persons Were Drowned and Seven Burned or Otherwise Injured, Several of Whom Will Die Details Meager
[from front page, Ithaca Daily News, Saturday Evening, July 27, 1907]
The steamer Frontenac, of the Brown Transportation Company of Syracuse, commanded by Captain M. P. BROWN, the oldest and largest craft on Cayuga Lake still in service, is now a total wreck off Union Springs, about 22 miles north of this city on the east shore of the lake.
The boat is an old one, having been built in 1866 by Captain T. D. WILCOX and having been in continuous service ever since, and its woodwork blazed up almost instantly and burned like tinder.
The lake was rough and there was a smart breeze blowing at the time which quickly spread the flames throughout the superstructure. Captain BROWN, finding that all efforts to fight the flames were in vain, headed the boat for shore and beached her opposite the dock shortly after 1 o’clock. Although the lake was so rough and it was impossible to reach the shore, the life boats were launched and the majority of those on board were landed safely. Dispatches to this city state that five were drowned and seven injured, a number of whom will die, and that in the circumstances the coolness of the passengers was remarkable.
The last report was to the effect that the upper works of the steamer were almost completely gone and that the fire could be seen for a dozen miles in either direction along the opposite shore.
The Frontenac was completely repaired during the past summer, a new boiler and engines being installed and other repairs to the hull and bow made. It is believed that the loss will be fully $150,000.
Another report is positive that the accident occurred at Farley’s and that nine are dead. It is said that one person has died since the boat was beached.
Additional Details: When the boat left Sheldrake 250 passengers were on board, with a heavy cargo of freight. About a dozen passengers were landed at intermediate points.
It is known that four women and two children were burned to death and that another has died subsequently. The wires being crowded, details and names cannot be learned.
It is reported that nine others are so seriously injured that several will die, while another rumor has it that there are five bodies in the lake who fell over when the steamer was beached. It is reported that three of the dead are Ithacans.
It was a picnic party from the other end of the lake. The boat went to Cayuga at 4 p.m. yesterday.
It was coming back from Sheldrake to Cayuga Lake Park when the boiler blew up between Levanna and Union Springs, firing the boat at once.
BOTH HEROISM AND RANK COWARDICE ARE DISPLAYED
Some Passengers Show Brutal Egotism of Those Who Think Only of Themselves; Others Do Their Best
[from front page, Ithaca Daily News, Monday Evening, July 29, 1907]
Although the officials from Auburn, Union Springs and vicinity, accompanied by hundreds of visitors from every point on the lake, searched all nooks and corners for two miles north and south of Dill’s Cove near Farley’s yesterday, the beach where, Saturday afternoon the steamer Frontenac burned to the water’s edge, for the bodies of more passengers who were assumed to have perished, they found nothing. There were several parties that kept watch over the remains of the charred steamer throughout the night in an endeavor to locate anyone who might have been caught in the mass of iron wreckage, which is all that is left of the craft.
During the long night launches and motor boats arrived at the several docks nearby with friends of the injured and yesterday morning the vicinity was covered with them. The boats from this city down the lake yesterday were jammed with sightseers, although it was feared that only a few would take the trip after the appalling disaster.
As far as is known at the present time, the following is a complete list of the dead and injured:
List of Dead: Mrs. Homer GENUNG of Freeville and son Carl; Miss Stella CLINTON of 111 Utica Street, this city; Miss Lida BENNETT of Frankfort, New York, student at the Prang Art School at Glenwood; Grace ABEL of Trumansburg, aged six years; Miss Celia McCREARY of Cohoes, New York, summer school student at Cornell and head of the kindergarten department in her home schools; Miss Eva MOTT of Port Allegheny, Pennsylvania, summer student at Cornell; and Miss Armetta SULLIVAN of Syracuse.
List of Injured: Mrs. J. A. GENUNG of this city, burned in face and head scalded; Mrs. John J. ABEL of Trumansburg, burned about arms and shoulders; Miss Edna ABEL of Trumansburg, burned in face and bruised on body; Miss Charlotte BRIGHAM of Syracuse, burned in face and shoulders; Mrs. TUTHILL of Middletown, New York, bruised about hips and body; Miss Eliza TUTHILL of Middletown, New York, summer student at Cornell, suffering from exhaustion; Miss Elizabeth RYAN of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, summer student at Cornell, badly burned about the face and head; Mrs. M. P. BROWN, wife of Captain BROWN, shocked and bruised; and Miss Florence EAKINS of Philadelphia, summer student at Cornell, scalp wound severe.
The steamer ran barely a quarter of a mile after the fight against the fire began, the power being applied to the pumps. She was, perhaps, 200 feet from shore and in seven feet from shore when she grounded. The northwest wind tended to wash the passengers ashore, but there was a strong undertow at the beach.
Story of Accident: The Frontenac left Cayuga Lake Park Saturday morning at about 9 o’clock for Sheldrake, where she met the Mohawk and started on the return trip. At Sheldrake the passengers from this vicinity who were drowned or injured, transferred from the up-lake boat and continued their ride toward the end of the lake, even though the wind was blowing a gale and the waves were almost mountain high.
For some reason the big steamer was about a half hour late. The boat went across the lake in the usual way, and then at about 1 o’clock started for Aurora where 62 passengers from Cayuga were to have boarded her.
On account of the shallow water at that place the wind shipped the waves to such a height that landing was impossible and those there fortunately were left behind. This was undoubtedly the means of saving many lives. The number on board was about 70.
As the boat put out into the lake, Captain Clarence BROWN, of the steamer Iroquois, who was acting as mate on his father’s vessel, thought he smelled smoke and immediately made an investigation. The steamer was then midway between Levanna and Farley’s point.
Mr. BROWN went to the companionway, and opening the dining room door was met with a volume of smoke, and perceived a good-sized blaze already eating its way into the woodwork. Summoning the assistance of a few of the deck hands nearby, an endeavor was made to extinguish the flames with fire buckets while BROWN, himself, gave orders to start the fire pumps and then laid the lines of hose.
Their efforts at first seemed likely to succeed, but the gale, sweeping 30 miles an hour between the decks, fanned the blaze faster than before, till it mounted in a seething mass up the funnel-like companionway.
Passengers Alarmed: Passengers by this time had learned of the vessel being on fire and were in a panic, making their way to either extreme of the boat to escape the smoke and flames. Fearing that the Frontenac was already doomed, Captain M. P. BROWN ordered Pilot Al SMITH to beach the boat and take no chances of getting to dock. The vessel was about 500 feet from shore at that time.
Orders were also issued for all passengers to make their way to the lower forward deck, where the crew was to distribute the 400 life preservers. The greater part of the cork preservers could not be reached, being enveloped in flames, and the life rafts -- boards about six feet in length, a foot wide and two inches in thickness, with rope handles – were then pressed into service.
By the time these were given out, the crew had abandoned all hope of saving the craft which was a furnace inside. The passengers on board made their way cautiously to the lower deck and a majority of the women were forced to provide for themselves, some of the men looking out for their own safety to the exclusion of everyone else.
Right here it may be said that, although the burning of the Frontenac will always be associated in the memories of those who witnessed the disaster with stirring deeds of heroism, signal feats of bravery and noble acts of self-sacrifice, it must still be recorded that here and there in that gathering was a cowardly heart, and souls which today must be cringing in self-abasement. For there were men on the steamer who, thinking only of their own safety, not only refused to assist the helpless women and children who pleased piteously to be rescued from a watery or fiery grave, but also thrust them ruthlessly aside in a mad rush over the sides of the steamer in an effort to save themselves.
Acts of Cowards: Survivors of the disaster tell of several such disgraceful actions. It is known that one man with three life preservers buckled about him, cried out, "Five hundred dollars to anyone who will save my wife!" and then jumped overboard, leaving his life companion alone on the deck near the raging flames. The man would have drowned but for assistance from shore.
His wife was rescued by Howard BARKMAN, the engineer, who swam valiantly under the vessel’s side and took her to shore in safety.
As the passengers leaped or were shoved off the boat by Captain M. P. BROWN, principally on the windward side, the high waves washed them forward the burning boat under the projection of the side. Here they were brushed against the hull, which was crackling with the heat. Not a few were partially stunned by the blows which they received in this manner, and Miss MOTT lost her life as a result of striking the boat.
Miss McCREARY was drowned in plain view of the onlookers, although she appeared to be in safety. In jumping from the windward side with a life preserver fastened about her waist, she was unable to battle with the waves, and the preserver slipping down below her hips, her head was immersed and she was drowned.
Child Dies in Arms: One of the most pathetic spectacles was the saving of the life of Mrs. J. J. ABEL, who leaped from the side of the boat with her granddaughter, Grace ABEL, clasped tightly to her breast. Holding to a raft, Mrs. ABEL was finally rescued just in time to prevent her drowning. The little girl was taken from her grasp, and as they reached shore she exclaimed, "I’m so glad the baby has been saved!" The child had been dead for some time.
Mrs. M. P. BROWN was towed ashore by her 12-year-old grandson, Frank ALCOTT. They were watched with anxiety by all on shore, some of whom feared the trip would never be accomplished in safety. The lad said upon being questioned: "I paddled my hardest to save my grandma, because she was alone and couldn’t swim."
Another Brave Lad: Another stirring feat of bravery was that of Roland GENUNG, the young son of Sheriff John A. GENUNG of this city, who would not leave the boat until his mother went with him. The youngster climbed over the side of the second deck and reached the first by a swinging jump.
He took the four-year-old son of Mrs. Homer GENUNG down in safety. Mrs. J. A. GENUNG followed by climbing down the davit-railing. She then let herself down into the water by means of a tie-rope, after her son had fastened a preserver to her body. Mrs. GENUNG would have drowned had it not been for some person on shore carrying her in. Roland reached shore by swimming, but Mrs. Homer GENUNG, with her son, Carl, clasped to her breast jumped from the deck, and both were drowned.
The Misses VEEDER and PURDEN, after tying life preservers on panic-stricken companions jumped in, and with strong and powerful strokes, swam to shore. Many compliments of their bravery were heard along the shore.
After seeing that everyone on board had been got off, Captain M. P. BROWN made his way to the pilot house where he remained until the boat was ready to collapse and then jumped into the heavy sea and made for land.
Caught in Propeller: At 9 o’clock in the evening A. W. POST’s launch failed to work as a party was searching near the wreck. The boat was towed to Union Springs, where upon examination it was found that the propeller wheel had become clogged with hair from the head of Miss MOTT, whose body had been picked up en route by the wheel. The head was badly mutilated and the face hardly recognizable.
When the regular evening train of the Lehigh Valley from Auburn reached Ithaca at 8 p.m. Saturday night with a carload of injured, survivors and witnesses of the disaster, a large crowd of friends and relatives of those who were supposed to have been passengers on the ill-fated Frontenac rushed to the platform. As soon as some who had been on the boat was recognized, there was a shout of welcome coupled with tears of joy and fervent expressions of thanksgiving.
Those who had been injured by fire were tenderly cared for and taken home in carriages, while several of the most severe cases were removed to the Infirmary.
To Care For Injured: Parties from the hill were also on hand to look after the Cornell people who had been in the disaster. W. D. CAMPBELL, Director of the Prang School of Art, which has just closed its session at Glenwood, was there to aid any of the students who had been studying under his direction this summer.
About 10 or a dozen of the survivors who reached this city were hurt, but in only a few cases were the injuries very severe. Most of those hurt received burns about the head and shoulders, or were bruised by being dashed against the boat by the waves after they had jumped overboard.
Miss RYAN of Philadelphia, a student in the Cornell summer school, was the most seriously injured, having been badly burned about the head and shoulders. She was taken to the Infirmary.
Meet Their Dead: Along with the joy of meeting those feared to have been lost or hurt, there was grief for those who had gone. Several in the crowd had no words of thanksgiving, joy and relief. Their hearts were bowed down with grief, for they were there to meet the bodies of those who had left them only a few short hours before filled with life and hope.
DR. Homer GENUNG and his cousin, the sheriff, waited anxiously, one for a wife and child whose bodies only were brought back to him, and the other for a wife and child who had escaped from the fiery furnace and reached the shore successfully. The grief of the GENUNG's was heart rending.
The aged mother of Miss Estelle CLINTON of 111 Utica Street, was too much affected by the shock of her daughter’s death to come to the station, but friends cared for the body.
All three bodies were removed to the undertaking establishment of Clark N. BALDWIN. The bodies of the GENUNGs were embalmed and shipped to Freeville by Undertaker DAVIS, while Miss CLINTON’s remains were later taken to the family home.
Passengers Reticent: Most of those who had been passengers on the doomed steamer were too frightened and shaken to speak and begged to be allowed to go home immediately. Captain M. P. BROWN, president and manager of the company and captain of the ill-fated craft, was terribly broken up and no one of all the throng felt worse than he. The tears were rolling down his cheeks and he could say little.
His theory of the fire was that it came from some extraneous cause, probably a cigarette or match. He told of the difficulty he experienced in getting the passengers to jump overboard, and said that he had to push many of them into the water. The loss of the boat was a mere trifle to the captain, compared to the cost of human lives.
Two passengers who asked that their names be not disclosed laid the blame for the disaster on what they called the tinder box character of the upper works of the steamer, but declared that, in the circumstances, the crew could not have acted with greater quickness, coolness and bravery. They said that they smelled the fire before it was discovered and began to look about for life preservers.
They also stated that, in the excitement of the moment, men as well as women lost their heads and many preservers were not properly adjusted, thereby causing the needless loss of several lives.
Miss McCREARY’s life belt was not high enough on her body and hence threw her head under water, instead of keeping it above. Several of the women students who escaped were talking with Miss McCREARY and Miss MOTT just before they jumped, and gave them directions what to do.
One of them saw Miss McCREARY after entering the water and noticed her hesitating. In another moment she jumped to the windward, and was drowned in a few moments.
Miss MOTT’s body, according to those who saw her jump, was carried under the boat and she was drowned in that way. Too much haste in jumping and too little judgment as to just where to jump, seem to have been the cause for most of the deaths.
Special Train Run: Learning that Miss McCREARY’s body was at Union Springs, and that another body, said to be Miss MOTT’s was unidentified, Professor George P. BRISTOL, Director of the summer school, communicated with District Passenger Agent Paul S. MILLSPAUGH of the Lehigh and secured a special train, Mr. MILLSPAUGH himself making the arrangements. At 10:30 p.m. a baggage car and coach left for Union Springs.
In the party were Professor BRISTOL, Dr. WILLIAMS of the Medical School; Mr. MILLSPAUGH; Traveling Passenger Agent Frank WINGERT; W. D. CAMPBELL of the Prang School of Art; L. D. VAN RENSSELAER, at whose home Miss McCREARY lived; Miss WILCOX, a summer student and roommate of Miss McCREARY; a representative of the News; and the train crew.
The run was made in an hour, and the party went immediately to the office of Oscar J. SPENCER, an undertaker of Union Springs, where the remains were. Three bodies were there, those of Miss McCREARY, Miss MOTT and little Grace ABEL.
Then came a long wait due to red tape until the coroner could be interviewed, then the County Clerk, and finally a few other officials. Permits had to be obtained and numerous papers signed with painstaking care. Professor BRISTOL attended to these matters, while the others waited.
The party then went back to SPENCER’s and, after DR. WILLIAMS had identified the bodies of Miss McCREARY and Miss MOTT, the party left for Ithaca, arriving here at 4:00 a.m. The train failed to wait for head reporter HUESTIS of the Ithaca Daily Journal and he was left behind.
The bodies were taken to BALDWIN’s undertaking establishment.
Hartman CARR, Fireman SAUNDERS and Robert DILL are credited with making heroic rescues and saving many lives.
While Louis White FEHR, a Journal reporter, was on his way to the scene of the accident, being driven in Julian FORD’s Renault racer, the auto became ditched and the occupants were forced to return to Ithaca.
Mother Prostrated by News: Robert J. McCREARY of Cohoes, a brother of Miss Celia McCREARY, one of the victims of the disaster, arrived in this city at 7:10 this morning and immediately assumed charge of the funeral arrangements.
There will be no services of any kind in Ithaca, but the remains will be shipped to Cohoes on the noon train tomorrow and will be taken immediately to the cemetery.
There will be no church services there on account of the precarious condition of Miss McCREARY’s mother, who was prostrated by the shock of her daughter’s death. Simple services will be held in the chapel at the cemetery in Cohoes. Miss Elsie McCREARY, Cornell ’04 and E. J. McCREARY, Cornell ’04, were brother and sister to Miss McCREARY.
Body Sent Home: The body of Miss Eva MOTT was shipped yesterday to her home in Port Allegheny. Arrangements were made by telephone and telegraph with her relatives and friends at home. The funeral will be held in her native town tomorrow.
Double Funeral: A double funeral will be held in the GENUNG residence at Freeville tomorrow, when the bodies of Mrs. Homer GENUNG and her son, Carl, will be laid at rest. The Rev. Harry ROBERTS of the Methodist Church of that town will officiate and interment will be made in the Willow Glen Cemetery. [Also included with the article was a picture of the two.]
A very large crowd will attend the services as the entire community is desirous to expressing its deep sympathy for Dr. Homer GENUNG in his affliction.
Hoped to Meet Next Year: A large party of girls from the Cornell summer school left Ithaca Saturday morning for a trip down the lake. A number of them left the boat at Taughannock and several more got off at Sheldrake.
About seven or eight, however, including Miss McCREARY, Miss MOTT, Miss RYAN, Miss TUTHILL and Miss EAKIN thought that the trip to Cayuga would be a pleasant one, and journeyed to Cayuga Lake Park where they were transferred to the Frontenac. Two of them were later drowned and nearly all of the others more or less injured.
Miss BENNET of Utica, the student in the Prang School of Art at Glenwood left for the foot of the lake on the early boat. Quite a party started from Glenwood, but many stopped off at Sheldrake and Cayuga Lake Park.
A large party gathered on the Glenwood pier to give them a hearty send-off and cheers and songs bade those who left good-bye, accompanied by expressions of hope that they would all meet again next year.
Fiancee Takes Body: One of the touching incidents of the disaster was the identification of the body of Miss Marietta SULLIVAN of Syracuse. She was on her way to Cayuga where she was to meet her fiancee, W. H. MITCHELL of Syracuse
While in Auburn, Mr. MITCHELL heard some one talk of a disaster on the Frontenac and immediately rushed to some friends, E. W. LAWTON and party, who were touring in an automobile, and asked them to take him to the scene.
He was rushed to the DILL farm at Farley’s and there, stretched on a blanket, was the body of his fiancee. He fell back in a faint and it was some time before he revived. He was cared for by lookers on and left in the evening, taking the body back to Syracuse.
Strange Presentiment: A peculiar incident in reference to the burning of the Frontenac was told by Dr. J. W. JUDD. About four weeks ago he had a weird and fantastic dream. For two successive nights he saw pictured before him while asleep, a burning steamer bearing the name of the Frontenac.
He recognized it as the one belonging on Cayuga Lake. He saw the flames and heard the women and children crying for help as they jumped into the water on all sides. Both nights he remembered that he was busy aiding the injured and looking for the dead.
This dream was so vivid and impressed itself with so much reality on the doctor’s mind that the next morning he related it to a friend. Last Saturday she called up the doctor and reminded him of the incident.
Grace ABEL’s Funeral: The funeral of little Grace ABEL will be held tomorrow afternoon at 2 o’clock from the home near Jacksonville, the Rev. J. E. NILES of the Presbyterian Church of Trumansburg officiating. Burial will be made in the Grove Cemetery at Trumansburg.
The ABEL family, up to the time the News went to press, had heard nothing from Mrs. J. J. ABEL or daughter, Edna, who are still at the DILL cottage near Farley’s Point. However, it is learned from other sources that both will be taken home this afternoon, being greatly improved in condition.
Sheriff Hears the News: When Sheriff John A. GENUNG of this city first learned of the burning of the Frontenac he was near DeRuyter on the E. C. & N. TRAIN OF THE Auburn division coming from Oneida.
He heard that the steamer was tied up at the Union Springs dock and the passengers had been taken off alive. At that time he feared nothing because he supposed that his wife and son had taken the trip with Mrs. Homer GENUNG and son, Carl, on Friday.
It was but a few moments before he learned that Mrs. Homer GENUNG and son had perished. He was set into a most frantic state of mind, fearing the death of his family.
He continued on the train, until Freeville was reached, where he met his cousin, Dr. Homer GENUNG, of that place. Both were brought to this city post haste in "Boss John" DWIGHT’s Franklin touring car, which was very kindly sent over to Freeville from Mr. DWIGHT’s home in Dryden. The trip to this city was made in a little over 20 minutes.
Before leaving Freeville, Dr. Homer GENUNG was of the opinion that the auto should carry them to Auburn where the bodies had been taken, but was convinced by a telegram from Mrs. J. A. GENUNG that they were coming to Ithaca.
Service in Abeyance: The Brown Transportation Company has not yet made arrangements for a re-organization of its service, and it will probably be several days before a new schedule is arranged. It is not known yet whether a new boat will be put in commission, but it is thought that company will try to get one for the rest of the summer to work with the boats that are left.
The Frontenac was valued at about $25,000, although on account of its age and depreciation due to usage, it may not have been worth even as much as that. The steamer carried only about $5,000 insurance, and it was said this morning that the company spent that amount in repairs this spring.
Miss BRUYN Recovering: Miss Mary BRUYN of Syracuse, who was one of the passengers on the Frontenac, was utterly exhausted by her experiences in the water, and was taken to the home of H. G. GRANT, on the corner of Cayuga and Mill Streets immediately. Yesterday the party went down the lake. When Miss BRUYN recovers she will return to her home in Syracuse.
Miss BRUYN, who had been visiting with the GRANTS, had started to return home Saturday. She had a trunk with her, containing valuable jewels and some money. The trunk was lost with all of its contents.
FUNERAL SERVICES OF MISS CLINTON
[included a picture of her]
Held on Her Mother’s Birthday – Had Left Gift for Aged Parent
[from Monday Evening, July 29, 1907 Ithaca Daily News]
The funeral services over the remains of Miss Estella T. CLINTON, the only resident of Ithaca to lose her life in the Frontenac disaster, were held at 4 o’clock this afternoon from her late residence in Utica Street. The Rev. R. T. JONES of the First Baptist Church officiated. The pall bearers were: O. L. DEAN, B. BRUCE, W. BLACKMER, Dean COLE, R. WILSON and P. LAWTON.
There was a large crowd at the services, the clerks of SAWYER’s store, where Miss CLINTON had been employed, were present, the store being closed. The services were simple and the body was then taken to the City Cemetery for interment.
Miss CLINTON had been employed as head of the millinery department in the store of A. R. SAWYER and Company of E. State Street. She came there about 10 years ago, when Mr. SAWYER first went into the business, and by her capable management the business was a success from the start. She was very popular with the clerks and as well known about town.
Sole Support of Mother: Miss CLINTON was 48 years old and resided with her mother at 111 Utica Street. She was an only child, her father having died about eight years ago, and she was the sole support of her mother.
Miss CLINTON left her home Saturday morning for a two-weeks vacation. This was her first rest in three years, and the doctors had told her that unless she let up she would break down from over work. She had planned to spend several weeks at Union Springs.
Just before leaving she remarked that there might be a fire here and she had better take her insurance papers and other private documents along. They were lost in the wreck.
When the fire broke out Miss CLINTON was very calm and collected. She stood by the side of Mrs. KEITH of West Hill, and as they put on their life preservers, she asked Mrs. KEITH to tell a little girl who stood near her not to cry as nothing could happen to her.
She then jumped. Her life preserver was not fastened correctly and slipped down, making her body turn with her head and feet in the water. It is said that she also carried her traveling bag with her when she jumped.
Engineer BARKMAN found what he thought was a bundle of clothes, but upon investigation discovered that it was the doubled up body of Miss CLINTON.
A pathetic incident in this tragedy is the fact that today is the birthday of Miss CLINTON’s aged mother, and that she had left a box containing a gift behind with a request that her mother should not open it until today.
CREW EXONERATED WITH HIGH PRAISE
Coroner Ends Investigation of the Frontenac Disaster No One to Blame for Deaths
Officers Behaved in Heroic Manner From First to Last
District Attorney Coincides in This Opinion
Boiler Inspector to Go Over Wreck of the Old Craft
[from page 5, Tuesday Evening, July 30, 1907 Ithaca Daily News]
At the conclusion of the inquest into the steamer Frontenac disaster, which was held in the town hall at Union Springs yesterday and lasted for many hours, Coroner L. F. O’NEILL of Auburn reported that he not only thought the crew of the ill-fated ship should be exonerated from all blame but that their bravery should be rewarded.
The coroner stated that he would render his official verdict some time today, and that it would comprise the following facts: That the victims of the catastrophe met their deaths by the burning of the Frontenac, the fire being from some unknown source, which could not be ascertained by any examination of passengers or of the crew. He also asserted that in his decision he should certainly commend Captain M. P. BROWN and the entire crew for bravery and gallant conduct.
By the inquest, no cause for the fire could be learned. It was discovered amidships, about 40 feet aft of the fire-box, flues and boilers on the promenade deck near the crank pit.
The coroner also found during the investigation that the life boats hung on the davits directly over the flames and could not have been launched in any event. One of the boats was found just south of Willets Station on the Auburn division of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, and the other boat was washed ashore near Levanna. Both were badly scorched and unfit for service.
The coroner further stated that the captain and crew were not criminally liable, and that they used, to his knowledge, every possible means to save the lives of the passengers. He also upheld the statement as printed in the News, that Captain BROWN and Pilot "Al" SMITH were the last to leave the boat.
From information gathered, Coroner O’NEILL thought that the wind was blowing at least 50 miles an hour, and that the boat was about 1,000 feet from the east shore when the flames were discovered.
Inspector at Work: State Boiler Inspector William S. VAN KEUREN of Albany will make a technical examination of the affair, either today or Wednesday, and his report will be filed with the coroner at Auburn. Inspectors VAN KEUREN and WELLING inspected the Frontenac in this city on June 11, and at that time pronounced it all right in every respect.
The craft was also licensed to carry 370 passengers, although the general public had placed the number at 400. Persons were heard to say on Sunday that at one time during the present season the Frontenac had carried at least 500 passengers.
District Attorney BURRITT of Auburn made the trip to the scene of the accident on the special train from Auburn Saturday night, and yesterday said that he would make no arrests for criminal negligence and thought that the crew and officers deserved only the highest praise for bravery.
Coroner O’NEILL examined the following persons in regard to the disaster: Captain M. P. BROWN, Engineer Howard G. BLACKMAN of Seneca Falls, Pilot Albert E. SMITH of this city, Fireman Rowland BROWN of Syracuse, and Wyland HOLLENBECK and Elwood J. SAUNDERS, also of this city, deck hands.
AFFLICTED FAMILY DEEPLY GRATEFUL
[from page 5, Wednesday Evening, July 31, 1907 Ithaca Daily News]
In this house of deepest affliction, we have found great comfort in the kindly sympathy expressed in so many ways by our fellow townsmen and so many other friends residing at greater distances. It has helped to dull the edge of the terrible tragedy which has nearly crushed us.
Although words can but feebly express our appreciation, it is the only thing we can do and comes from two hearts filled with gratitude. Dr. Homer GENUNG, Albert B. GENUNG, Freeville, NY, July 31, 1907
Carol Kammen wrote an article on the Frontenac disaster, "Then Suddenly There Was the Cry of Fire," which appeared on page 7, of Saturday, September 4, 1982, Ithaca Journal, which covered much of the same information as above.
Donald J. Stinson wrote a 109 page book, "The Burning of The Frontenac," in 1985, published by Heart of the Lakes Publishing, Interlaken, NY, which has more detailed information.
Thank you Senja Radcliffe for providing this information.
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