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Caught Between the Gunwales

Milestones Vol 25. No. 1

On last Sabbath the excursion boat Chesapeake, chartered by a number of young men of Rochester, started about noon on a pleasure trip to Steubenville and return, all for the small sum of 50 cents. Over one hundred persons were on board. Beer was sold and drank, and drunkenness and disorder reigned supreme.

The boat returned between 8 and 9 o'clock in the evening. As it approached the wharf; and was yet some distance out, Will Oatman, who was on board, attempted to leap therefrom to the wharf boat. Others on the boat tried to restrain him. He made the leap, but fell short of the wharf boat, and into the water. He sank twice, and as he came up the last time was seized by Charlie Stiles, who reached down over the gunwale of the Chesapeake.

Another party upon the wharf boat caught hold of him, and between them he was drawn partly out of the water. Before, however, he could be dragged clear out upon either boat, they came together, catching him at the waist with great force, and crushing him in a manner that renders his recovery doubtful.

That he was near the stern of the boat was a circumstance in his favor. He was taken home and medical aid summoned. It is believed that no bones are broken, but perhaps internal injuries have been received.

As to this disgraceful excursion trip there can be but one opinion among decent people. The sale of liquor was clearly illegal, and those so doing rendered themselves liable to prosecution, not, however, before the Court of this county, as it has no jurisdiction in such cases, but before the U.S. Court.

It is gratifying to know that public sentiment condemns the affair, not only upon account of the disgraceful conduct of many on board, but on account of the desecration of the Sabbath included. There is such a thing as being too strict, but the tendency of the age is in the opposite direction. A slight infusion of the much derided Puritanical spirit of "Our grandfather's days," and a reenactment of certain of the mythical "Blue Laws," though it might cause the American eagle to spread his tail feathers and screech a discordant protest, would operate as a wholesome sedative upon the entirely too liberal views of a great many persons. The "greatest good of the greatest number" cannot be more certainly ensured than by the proper observance of the Sabbath enjoined by the Law of God and the law of our being.

From The Beaver Countian