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Saturday, June 21, 2014


Again as decided yesterday, drove SPIA the final 5 miles into the city of ERIE, PENNSYLVANIA, where I spent some time in the ERIE MARITIME MUSEUM / LIBRARY, followed by a three hour walk in Town Central, especially the Park, in discussion with homeless folks.

Smaller of two Marinas in the ERIE Harbor area.

Small Boat Basin next to the Maritime Museum / Library.



 Please say HELLO to SUE JONES, Reference Librarian.  SUE spent considerable time researching my quest for background and documentation about Captain Maynard and the loss of his ship to fire.

All requested data was located, copied, and in my possession.  The story is factual.  Participants and chronology proves to be a bit different than I was informed 70 years ago while sitting on Grandpa LEO MAYNARD's knee...see narrative below.

Librarian SUE.


Flagship of Captain Oliver Perry, hero of the War of 1812 ...USA /vs/England in the Second Revolutionary War.

The USS NIAGARA was not at her dock, so no photograph.

City of ERIE skyline taken from the waterfront looking South.

Capt PERRY, War of 1812.

A Homeless Man in downtown ERIE Park, with whom I sat and chatted.  Says he has been promised his own apartment on Monday, two days hence.

I asked him what activity he is interested in, whereupon he said "...I Sing".

With that, he burst out in a good TENOR voice reaching into the surrounding streets, a complete semi-religious song.

I and others applauded him, wishing good fortune and his own apartment.

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70 years ago, I first learned of Captain John Maynard while sitting on my Grandpa Leo Maynard's knee.  I have since learned of John Maynard's Poem from three different European friends, each of whom memorized John Maynard's poem as Elementary students in their European school.  I was even given copies of the poem ... which I subsequently lost.

Today, SUE JONES found the historic truth...

In 1841, a  Paddle Wheeler, EYRIE, departed BUFFALO, New York, destained for "Eyre" Pennsylvania, did catch fire an hour or so after sailing.  the ship tried to reach the nearby shore, but failed to do so, and sank with loss of 170 passengers.  The helmsman, LUTHER FULLER, also apparently perished.,

A German Poet, Theodor Fontane wrote a Ballad in German about the incident.which became world famous, including being in the curriculum of European Elementary schools. Theodore Fontane changed the name of the "steersman" Luther Fuller, who became John Maynard.

Documents given to me leaves one thing clear...the real steersman was Luther Fontane.  John Maynard as the "steersman" did not exist.

For further details, please search:


Subsequent writers further enhanced the story

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The Park Man, using expressive gestures and a clear tenor voice drew several listeners.

1 comment:

Rodney Hess said...

Hey Bruce,

When I saw that majestic old Gannon building in today's blog, it reminded me of the old grain elevator in our small, local town. It was the Gannon Elevator, run by a father and his 3 sons, until it closed, and was purchased by a local farmer for his own grain storage.

It was in business for many, many years, serving a very large area. After farmers started trucking their own grain to the terminal, and the train quit stopping for grain cars, I am sure business went down rather quickly. That sort of thing is happening across the nation as farms get larger and farmers get fewer and fewer. It is a sad time for our small towns in America.