February 4, 1912 by Jessie Clark

Ice Bridge at Niagara Falls, In Memory of Mr. and Mrs. Stanton and Burrell Hecock

‘Twas on a Sabbath morning,
    From distant homes they strayed,
To see our old Niagara
    In her mantle of white arrayed.

And with Jack Frost’s protection,
    The tourists thought how grand
To be on the noted ice bridge
    Anywhere to stand.

But the strength of Frost was feeble,
    Compared with mighty force
Of the rushing undercurrent
    Unchanging in its course.

For soon the ice was parted
    And, alas!  too quickly was seen
People on glassy islands
    Floating down the stream.

And there was Mrs. Stanton
    Just paralyzed with fear,
Saying to her husband
    Let us die right here. 

Poem Accompanying the Memorial Card

Near by a brave young laddie,
    Who was running his life to save,
Heard the call: “Come back and help us
    To escape a watery grave.”

And as he thus responded
    To try and save another
He said to his companion:
    “Don’t you tell my mother.”

But a message of mental telepathy
    To that mother quickly flashed,
While ropes were dangling here and there
    And the cruel waters splashed.

For she saw in a glass of water
    Ice and people, too,
Rushing about confusedly,
    Knowing not what to do.

Then she thought of the treacherous river,
    That water so fierce and wild,
And exclaimed: “I have a presentiment
    Something has happened to my child!”

Brave men worked hard to save
    The two who still remained
On that block of ice much smaller
    Than when it first was framed.

For, Oh, they were surrounded
    By Niagara’s silvery crest,
Which none were allowed to step on:
    Not even a noted guest.

Kneeling in prayer they were ushered,
    The time was very brief,
Until the Whirlpool caught them
    And gave them sweet relief.

Image and insert containing the poem by Jessie Clark courtesy of Niagara Falls Museums, accession number 2024.016.29. Many thanks to Assistant Curator Sara Byers for bringing this to my attention.

Read about the tragedy here.


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