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Historic EVENTS in and around Welland

SUICIDE OF A HORSE AT THE FALLS

[Welland Tribune, 30 July 1897]

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y., July 25- Hundreds of people visiting her today witnessed what seemed to have been the deliberate suicide of a fine looking chestnut colored horse, which swam out into the rapids and over the Horseshoe Falls. The incident occurred about 5 o’clock this afternoon.

The horse had been out in a field not far from Port Day, where the Schoelkopf canal starts from the river, and had been fastened by a long rope to prevent it from wandering away. Shortly before 5 o’clock the horse wandered on the railroad tracks and across them, the rope being long enough to allow this, and then a passing train cut the rope and freed the animal. It immediately began running out toward Port Day, crossing on to the new loop drive of the reservation. Then to the surprise of everyone the animal leaped into the river and swan deliberately out and away from the shore.

WALKED OVER SHALLOWS

Many saw the horse and followed it excitedly. He continued his course, occasionally walking over it, and swimming in the deeper portions of the river.

He never stopped a moment, but steadily pursued his way toward the Canadian shore, passing the head of Goat island and reaching a point nearly half way between there and the Canadian side of Goat island.

When this distance had been covered the animal was seen to turn and face the rapids just as they broke from the upper river, and then he began his journey downstream, toward the Horseshoe Falls.

TOSSED LIKE AN EGG SHELL

At first the horse kept his balance fairly well, but the turbulent waters soon told and the unfortunate beast was tossed about like an egg shell. Now and then his body would be seen passing clearly up in view on some rock or boulder, and then it would be swallowed up in the spray of the foaming rapids whenever he was seen.

Life was visible as he struggled and tried to get on his feet. When half way down the rapids, and nearing the brink of the falls, the animal began to show signs of exhaustion and his struggles were feebler, so that by the time the body swept over the falls it was apparently motionless and probably lifeless. Many tried to see the remains below the falls, but could not after they passed over the brink.

CASE OF SUICIDE

The actions of the horse are considered remarkable and almost unexplainable. He was owned by an Italian baker in the tunnel district and was regarded as pretty steady sort of an animal, and his death was taken by many as a suicide pure and simple.

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