July 17, 1853
Niagara Falls
Joseph Avery plummets over the Falls after an 18-hour-log battle against the current

The day before, Avery and two others had been on a boat when the Niagara River’s strong current seized the boat. The two others were immediately swept from the boat and over the falls to their deaths, but Avery managed to hold onto a log which lodged between two rocks. His screams couldn’t be heard over the sound of the water, though the next morning tourists saw his plight and a rescue mission was put into effect. A boat attached to a heavy rope was guided to him and Avery was able to climb into it, but it immediately capsized sending Avery back into the water and over the Falls to his death.

(Daguerreotype from the Library of Congress)

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