Through the generosity of Gloria Bradbury Cruppi,
an article from 1925,
found in her grandmother's (Florence Poole Cadieux) papers
Body discovered Monday afternoon near Dark Island.
With Brother attempts to cross river--caught in ice floe with disabled engine
Brother saved at Indian Camp
Local Men ardent in efforts to recover body.
Joseph Cirtwell, age 32, who resides on LaRue Island, a short distance above Rockport on the Canadian side of the River, lost his life and his brother Thomas Cirtwell was miraculously rescued from the icey waters of the River last Thursday afternoon.
The sad accident occurred in the afternnon when the two brothers left the home of Joseph bound for Alexandria Bay where they were to purchase lumber to build a trapping boat. They first went to Rockport and at about twelve o'clock left that port for the Bay. When about half way across their propeller struck a cake of ice and tore the shaft loose from the coupling and it was while attempting to repair the accident befallen the motor, and trying to stop the flow of water, that they were caught in the ice jammed water.
They drifted until they were down near the Sister Light and it was here that their plight was observed by George Heffron who operated Captain S. B. Massey's Farm on Grenadier Island. Immediately he realized that to attempt a rescue in a small boat would be ridiculous, and he set about to put the disabled telephone lines on the Island to repair as they were damaged by the high winds and within a short time word was sent to Capt. Massey.
The brothers were working meanwhile to save their lives. In the meantime the boat neared Pilot Island and when within a short distance, the brothers thought they had their chance, and getting out on the ice started for shore. The ice would not hold them and Thomas started back with Joseph following. Thomas succeeded in making the launch but the ice gave way under his ill fated brother and he fell in the icy waters. He managed to surface and got on a small cake of heavy ice. The ice and boat, each bearing a brother rapidly separated, owing to the swift current and heavy winds.
About 3:45 the boat was near Indian Camp where several of the Bay boys were camping, who with the aid of a line brought Tom to shore. He was nearly exhausted from exposure but was able to explain the perilous position of his brother. The party immediatly produced their field glasses and when he was at a point opposite them they put out in a boat but the waves and ice immediately taught them they would lose their lives if any further attempt was made. The figure was watched until he came within a short distance from Dark Island and them it seemed as though he disappeared from view, and their opinion is that he thought he could make Dark Island by swimming and he slipped into the waters to get to shore, and in his efforts, lost his life.
At the time, word was sent to the Bay, the Thousand Islands Estate was notified and the Squab, a tug boat, was not in shape to go, but the men at once started the installation of the necessary parts of the engine and after tirelessly working, at 11:00 at night in a gale and a mass of floating ice, the Squab with Capt. Earnest Porter at the wheel plowed her way through the dangerous waters for the place the man was last seen. In the party was Chauncy Yerden, Charles Gore, Ross Visger and Carl Miller, besides Capt. Porter who was familar with eith every point of the River in that section. These men are deserving of much credit, spending most of the entire night in search of the missing men until the grey dawn revealed nothing but the barren shores. In the morning the I Wonder belonging to contractor J.B.Reid, left with a party of men but within a short time the party on the Squab had learned the story and both boats returned without any traces of the missing brother.
Among the ardent searchers for the body were his brothers, who kept up a constant effort to drag the body from the waters, and on Monday morning a large searching party left with skiffs and the boat I Wonder for the neighborhoold of Dark Island. About 2:00 in the afternoon Fred Ivey and Henry Hunt who were in one skiff grappled the body from the icey waters and the remains were taken to the undertaking parlors of N.A. Houghton here, and later removed to the home of his brother, William Cirtwell of Rockwell Street.
Joseph Cirtwell was well known in this vicinity, being a man everyone admired, and held a position of caretaker and Captain for Andrew McNalley Co. of Evanston, IN. In his spare time he he conducted a small farm on LaRue Island and bore a reputation of ambition and thriftiness. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Cirtwell of Ash Island and was married, his wife being Miss Mabel Hanley before marriage.He is survived also by Dorothy age 4, Marion age 2 and Joseph Jr. age 1. He is also survived by three brothers, William of this place, Frank of Clayton and Thomas who resides with his parents at Ash Island. There are also two sisters Mrs. constance F. Kehoe who is now in Florida and Carmell Cirtwell who resides at home with her parents. The funeral was held Wednesday morning at 10:00 at the Catholic Church at Rockport, Rev. Father Scott officiating and interment was made at the Rockport Cemetery.
Singular enough was the feeling expressed by the surviving brothers when told that the remains probably never be reclaimed but with a brotherly feeling and instinct went about their efforts with a confident spirit and through the days that intervened between the time of the tragedy and the day when the body was found, never lost hope but that the body would be found. And singular enough, as expressed by the older residents is the act that never has a person been drowned here but their body has been recovered.
The sympathy of the entire community is extended to those who are left in their bereavement, and especially to the widow and the children of a tender age who need their father's care and protection, but fate in it's cruel way seemed to mark the path that led to death of a man in the morning of his day.
Return to Jefferson County NYGenWeb page
Return to Jefferson County Civil War Index page
Return to Jefferson County Tidbits
Copyright 2016 Jefferson County NYGenWeb — a member of the NYGenWeb Project
If you have any questions or comments about this page, please contact,
County Co-Coordinator Nancy Dixon or
Co-Coordinator Bruce Coyne.
Return to Jefferson County Genweb Page