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Title: C. Hobson, New York to his neice, [Richhill, Co. Armagh?].
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileHobson, C/51
SenderHobson, C
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationemployed at Mercantile Agency, clerk?
Sender Religionunknown
OriginNiagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
DestinationCo. Armagh, N.Ireland
Recipientprob. Jane
Recipient Genderfemale
SourceT 1795/2: Copied by Permission of Miss M. McDevitt, 14 Allworthy Drive, Belfast.
ArchiveThe Public Record Office, Northern Ireland.
Doc. No.8903151
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by JM 22:10:1993.
Word Count2278
TranscriptDec 10/93 [1893?]
Topography of Niagra [Niagara?] Falls &c
The Falls of Niagra [Niagara?]

Have been associated with my earliest memory
& readings of wonders of the world it being classed among them & a most
worthy object for the place. I never had anticipated in early years that
I would ever have the pleasure of looking upon the wonderful sight & in
attempt to describe it to you, I can only make a feeble attempt as others
have written upon it with a more masterly & scientific [pen?] & yet have
failed to describe it. It stands indescribable as one of the most wonderful
works of the Creator & must be seen to be thoroughly appreciated.
The following attempt at description is my observations made in less
than two hours time, had I not been delayed at Paris Canada for two hours,
would have allowed me four hours time here. Returning I reached Niagra
[Niagara?] Village about 6 P.M. walked through the station, walked out onto
the street, looked right & left to see which way to turn, so seeing the
crowd going to the right I followed & soon was on the bank of the river,
you can walk down this street right into the water below the falls. Some
people do, but they dont walk out again, as I reach the river I saw the
people swerve to the right & I followed & this landed us on the river bank
overlooking the rapids as shown on the face of the sheet & marked in red (2)
these rapids as you will observe are divided in two parts by Goat Island
from the placid river above marked (1) on Diagram to the verge of the final
plunge is 3/4 of a mile, with a descent of 60 feet & this incline causes the
rapids above the falls. These raging hurrying, scurrying waters were the
first thing I saw & certainly to me they were a wonderful sight, pumping,
plunging, tearing along the bottom seemed to be full of great rocks though
you could not see them they would throw the waves back & in this way they
would cause falls of some 2 - 3 to 5 feet & then pass on to be interrupted
in the same manner & this is what gives the troubled appearance to the
rapids, yet I was not satisfied with this scene & I says is this all, in
itself it was wonderful, I had not yet seen the Falls & a thunderstorm was
coming up & it began to rain & the lightning flashed vividly & wickedly.
I said to myself Im here to see & It [St?] the storm, fortunately it was
more of a thunder & lightning storm than rain though enough to wet you well.
I looked down the river from where I was standing & saw the bridge marked<
(10) about 100 yds [yards?] below. I knew now I had got an outlet or inlet,
so I started for the bridge & found a keeper at the entrance & asked if
there was toll to pay here, he answered no, it is perfectly free go right on, I
passed through the enterance [entrance?] & on to the centre of the
bridge & stood gazing down on these madly rushing waters, It was blowing a
stiff breeze & raining quite smart. I had to carry my hat in my hand & let
the rain pelt down on my bald head I thought it might make my hair grow, but
it didnt, At last I crossed this bridge 300 feet long & met an old Irishman
coming towards me with a dinner pail in his hand & I knew he had been
working on the Island, I told him I had come a long distance to see this
wonderful place & that my time was limited & if he would be good enough as
to direct me to the most interesting points in the shortest possible time &
he replies & be gorra I will Sor [Sir?] you just go up those steps you saw
me come down & keep to the right & the path will bring you to all points of
interest. I followed his directions & found he was right, The storm by this
time had ceased & the sun was commencing to peep out & then the roar of
Niagara was to be heard as the sound of many waters, as yet, I had seen no
water since crossing the rapids but just now I merge out of the thick
foliage & the pool at the foot of the falls appears in view (marked 5 on
diagram) with the steamboat (Maid of Mists) this pool is several acres in
extent & of unknown depth & in a most agitated state of commotion, as both
falls plung [plunge?] into it & keep it always agitated & over these
troubles waters the Maid of the Mist carries tourists at 50 cents for the
pleasure of a trip on these troubles waters, I had not time to take a sail,
sometimes the boat will go so close to the falling waters that the spray
will fall on her deck, this I consider foolhardy & would not allow her to be
driven so close to certain destruction were an uncertain wave to carry her a
little close, at the waters falling over the falls are 20 feet deep &
thousands of tons would be on her in a moment & she could not bear up
against it but I am told the men in charge of her are vy [very?] careful &
do not run any risks with her, one thing struck me very forcibly how she
ever got there as she could not sail up the River under the bridge, I was
told she was built there, but she might get away from there by sailing down
the river but no boats are ever seen on this section of the river on account
of its rapidly running waters, which is about 27 miles an hour & no boats
are made that could steam against this force. The place where I am now
standing is in the enclosure at the north end of Goat Island right over the
perpendicular rock marked (3) in diagram 280 to 300 feet above that marked
4 on diagram, which is loose rocks & sand where folk can walk around just at
bottom of rock marked (3) & close to American falls. Now I retrace my steps
& walk on path along right hand side of Goat Island towards house like
structure, but before I reach there a bare place in the shrubbery shows me
that I am walking within a few feet of the edge of the pricipice
[precipice?] 300 feet below & my knees almost fail me at the sight, it is
now getting exciting I can hear the roar of falling waters at my feet &
think I almost feel the ground whereon I stand quaking. I stand still
unable to move but I press forward about 200 feet more I stand again the
sight that now meets my gaze is beyond description the Canadian falls are
full in view in my utter insignificance & in the emotion of the moment I
find myself instinctively exclaiming Almighty & Everlasting God no power in
heaven or on the earth could place such a wonder there but thine own
creative power, many are the exclamations of strangers on first beholding
these waters & the above were mine, without a forethought, away to the right
to the canadian shore some 3/4 of a mile nothing is to be seen but falling
waters, you are transfixed to the spot & find it hard to turn yourself away
from the scene, the spray from the plunge of waters of 160 feet or more
straight down & 20 feet thick rises away above the brink of the cataract &
somewhat spoils the view, so after lingering as long as time would permit I
walked right on until I came directly opposite them & then I had a clear &
full view between the falling water & the spray at this moment a rainbow,
settled on the spray & caused the waters to run green, & yellow & purple,
the transformation was grand beyond description, I noticed when the wind
would raise a wave just off the brink of the fall & before it had time to
settle again it would be over the brink & the ever repeating occurrence
would hold you no matter how strong your inclinations to leave was. The
little house on the right hand of Goat Island is where you can get full Oil
Skin Suits to protect you when you go down to the Cave of the Wind which is
under the Canadian falls, you can also get a guide there, you will not be
allowed to go without one, I do not know that there is a Cave under the
American falls, but I think not the Oil Suit costs one dollar for the time
you are down, I had not time to go down you can go down by inclined
railroad or walk down several hundred steps, about 4 hours before I reached
there a family of strangers were taking in this sight & intending to take in
the cave of the winds one of these children a boy of 4 yrs [years?] ran
ahead of them and into this little house, the shute [chute?] being open he
plunged through & fell some 300 feet & was taken up off the rocks a lifeless
& shapeless mass, many accidents occur here through peoples own
carelessness. As I was leaving Goat Island I picked up a number of pebbles
as mementos one of which I enclose you, as they last longer than leaves,
they are mememtos even here as I was almost compelled to give them all away
but two, you will notice on the illusterated [illustrated?] guide I send you
that I numbered all the illusterations [illustrations?] but my time will not
permit. Now I am safely on tera [terra?] firma again & away from the fall &
now am back to Suspension Bridge & Niagra [Niagara?] River. Next to the
falls this is the next wonderful sight I ever saw. The Bridge is 800 feet
long, 300 feet above the river, the banks are almost perpendicular on each
side & run from the falls for several miles varying in height from 200 to
350 feet & the water beneath the bridge is said to be 300 feet deep, the
river bed falls 100 feet in 2 miles & thus gives the waters of the river a
petuosity of about 27 or 30 miles an hour & thus makes the river non
navigable indeed I may say either way - figure 6 on diagram shows the river
coming out of the pool under the falls & as you stand in the train & look
down upon the river it is one of the most awful position to find yourself
if an accident occurred. It appears to come down under the river like a
race horse without its rider or guide & no hand can stop it. The river
flows north into Lake Ontario some 12 miles distant, but before it reaches
there 6 or 7 miles it become a tranquil peaceful river again & it is
usually away down here that most bodies that are drowned at Niagara are
found. About 1/2 mile below the Suspension Bridge is the noted whirlpools
this is caused by a turn in the river to the left & as the water comes
madly on its rushes against the bank & looks as if it had come to a stand
still, but it rolls over in great waves & dashes to the opposite shore
& the same thing is repeated & by his proceedure [procedure?] the river at
this point is 15 feet higher in the centre than at the sides. Standing on
the bank at the rapids & looking up at the river before it commences the
descent of the rapids the River is three miles wide & narrows down at the
falls including Goat Island to about 1 mile wide & after it passes over the
falls & is crowded into a channel about 600 feet wide, then you can have an
idea of its debth [depth?], at first sight when I saw it coming down to the
rapids above the falls I thought it was the northern end of Lake Erie
emptying itself at that point, but I found I was mistaken because Lake Erie
empties itself into it some 22 miles above, also many other lakes empty
into it before it reaches the rapids. A very singular thing in connection
with this river is that no drought or flood ever affects the volume of its
waters, the rain of winter or the thawing snows of spring neither adds nor
diminishes, raises or lowers its stream,
Toronto is only 44 miles from the falls, but it is over 200 miles by
rail & you go so far round that you only see the lake at one or two places.
The old City of Hamilton is on Lake Ontario, after that you see it no more,
at least I did not, It is said that at some seasons the roar of Niagara
can be heard at Toronto - I now bid Niagara & its wonders adieu & I am off
for home. It is now 1/2 past 10 next morning & I am at home safe & sound