Monday, March 26, 2018

Warren's Thrilling Escape

Ebenezer Burgess Warren was a Philadelphia capitalist, philanthropist, and art collector, who since 1875 had been making his summer residence at Lake George in upstate New York. Prior to 1882, he stayed at Mohican House where he grew to be friends with several other wealthy guests, who became his partner in the Green Island Improvement Co. and The Sagamore resort in Bolton Landing.

Ebenezer Burgess Warren; courtesy of The Warren,
Jackson, and Allied Families

In 1882, E. B. built Wapanak on Green Island, which became his permanent summer residence. He also owned Ellide, the fastest steam yacht on Lake George. Above all things, Warren loved to fish. According to William Preston Gates' book about the resort, "his friends often joked he hypnotized the bass." Warren was also a founding member of the Lake George (Yacht) Club. But not all his days spent on the Lake aboard the Ellide were pleasant ones, especially one in 1901. The following account appeared in several newspapers across the U.S. This particular one in The Daily Notes, 25 September 1901, page 3. The paper was published in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.

Steam yacht Ellide; courtesy of the Lake George Mirror

Warren's Thrilling Escape

In Forest and Stream A. M. Cheney, the well-known pisciculturist and writer, gives the following detailed account of the thrilling accident that befell E. Burgess Warren, of Philadelphia, at Lake George:

"The daily newspapers have had a more or less accurate account in brief of a fishing accident on Lake George July 18. Mr. E. Burgess Warren, of Philadelphia, owner of the fast steam yacht Ellide, has another steam yacht on Lake George named Cyric and both are used for fishing, the latter being about sixty feet long. Mr. Warren, his fisherman and pilot, Alec Taylor, his engineer and his valet were on board the Cyric fishing for lake trout.

Dinner was about to be served when a storm came up. The curtains on the sides of the boat were fastened down to keep out the rain, but the wind was so severe that it rolled the boat until the water came in and the steam had gotten so low that the boat could not be headed into the wind. After twice rolling the boat went down by the stern but a watertight compartment in the bow held the bow out of the water.

Mr. Warren and his valet in the stern of the boat were caught in a trap, but the valet cut the curtain and released Mr. Warren and himself and the valet and crew passed a line around Mr. Warren and held him on the bow. The men were washed off again and again, and were pounded against the boat by the wind and waves, and one of Mr. Warren's ribs was broken before men in small boats put out from the shore and rescued the entire party after they had been in the water nearly an hour. I understand Mr. Warren begged the men to let him go and save themselves, but all were saved and the boat afterward towed ashore. I cannot comprehend what Alec Taylor was doing without steam.

Mr. Warren was about to eat his dinner when the storm came, and he put his waistcoat, containing a valuable god repeater and a pocket knife, which he had carried nearly forty years, on one of the seats, where there was a quantity of fishing tackle. Everything that went out of the boat went down in more than one hundred feet of water, and the waistcoat and the contents went down.

Yesterday, the day after the accident, some fishermen saw some cork fishing floats on the water near where the yacht capsized, and they rowed there and secured them, and found they were attached to a fishing line or lines, for there was a mass of them; pulling them in, they found a weight on one, and this proved to be Mr. Warren's waistcoat, with the watch and the knife still in the pockets and they were promptly returned to him. The cloth of the waistcoat had caught in some hooks, to which were fastened lines with cork floats, and thus the watch and knife were saved. Real fishing stories are often more extraordinary than imaginary ones.


The Sagamore Investors: Ebenezer Burgess Warren (1833-1917)
Christmas Eve at the Sagamore

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