What can I tell you; it’s all I got!

July 2023

Lake Erie gives up its dead and a bit of other stuff!

What can I tell you; it’s all I got!

This month’s “Bill’s Post” consist of old newspaper articles I found on-line.  It starts out rather morbid with stories of death in Lake Erie and along its shore. Then a robbery and finally a few bits of information where some 20th century government officials and local business men considered building the Welland Canal at Port Maitland.  

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The Buffalo Evening News October 28, 1884

A woman’s body and a y a w l boat drifted on the bench a t Port Maitland, yesterday, together. The woman appeared to be between 50 and 60. There was no vessel’s name on the yawl; and nothing could be found to identity the body.


Buffalo Evening News, Monday December 11, 1899

Buffalo Courier Express August 11, 1945

Missing Woman’s Body Is Found

The body of Mrs. Clara Erhardt, 73, of 638 Minnesota Ave., missing from the summer home of her son, William J. Erhardt, at Long Beach since the morning of July 29th, was found shortly after noon yesterday in a wood seven miles away. Paul Williams, gas well inspector, found the body on the farm of Blake Pew, near Lowbanks. It was still clad in the thin nightgown which Mrs. Erhardt wore when she left her son’s cottage. Mrs. Erhardt’s body was released yesterday afternoon to the family, but funeral arrangements had not been completed last night. Coroner Dr. R. J. Blott, Dunnville, Ont., said an inquest will be held at 11a.m. Friday at Dunnville Town Hall. No autopsy was performed.

Buffalo NY Courier Express August 11, 1945

Special to This Courier August 10, 1945

Inquest Into Death Of Woman Postponed

Port Colborne. Aug. 10—The inquest into the death of Mrs. Clara Ehrhardt. 73. of 638 Minnesota Ave., Buffalo, which was to have been held at Dunnville this morning, has been postponed until 2.30 p. m. Friday, August 17th, Coroner J. R. J. Blott of Dunnville, said today. Postponement was arranged when the crown attorney was unable to attend.  The body of Mrs. Erhardt, who disappeared from the summer residence of her son at Long Beach Sunday, July 29th, was found by Paul Williams, gas well inspector, on the farm of Blake Pew, near Lowbanks. Tuesday.

Buffalo NY Evening News August 18, 1945


PORT COLBORNE, Aug. 18.—A coroner’s jury late Friday afternoon returned a verdict of accidental death due to exposure, with no blame attached to anyone, in the case of Mrs. Clara Erhardt, 73, of 638 Minnesota Ave., Buffalo, whose body was found on the Blake Pew from near Lowbanks Aug. 7 after she bad been missing more than a week. 

Corp. Harry Peel of the Ontario Provincial Police testified that Mrs. Erhardt’s son, William, from whose summer home at Long Beach the elderly woman disappeared, made constant efforts to find her. Mr. and Mrs. William Erhardt testified that the woman was mentally confused and retired at 4 o’clock in the afternoon of the day before she disappeared. They said they saw her in bed at 12:30 o’clock in the morning, a few hours before her disappearance. 

Dr. W. J. Deadman of Hamilton, provincial pathologist, testified that an autopsy showed no marks of violence. Coroner R. J. Blott of Dunnville presided.

Author’s Note: Blake Pew or Blake Harrison Pew was the grandson of Moses Dodge.  I tell you this because while researching him on Ancestry I came across a note about Moses and since this note is already public i.e., on Ancestry I am going to share it here.

Moses Dodge joined the US Army in Porter, NY, when he was 17. He deserted on Nov 18, 1818. He was apprehended and subsequently imprisoned on Governors Island, which had a US Army post until fairly recently. He was tried for desertion on Feb 6, 1819. He was convicted and sentenced to make good the time lost, and be drummed out of service after expiration of his enlistment. On Feb 28, 1819, he was placed aboard a ship at Fort Columbus on Governors Island to be sent to New Orleans to do hard labor in balls and chains. He was returned on Mar 2, 1819 due to being discharged on Mar 1, 1819. The immediate discharge was a result of his parents intervening and requesting he be discharged due to: a) being a minor, and b) enlisting without their consent.


Buffalo Evening News Thursday April 19, 1956

Coast Guardsmen Seek to Identify Body Seen in Lake

Buffalo Coast Guardsmen are trying to learn whether a body spotted in Lake Erie today by a Canadian tug is that of either Gordon Pollock. 28 – year – old Broadway producer, or his wife, Norma. 

Commander Jonas T. Hagglove of the Buffalo Coast Guard Base dispatched a helicopter to Dunnville, Ont. to try to identify the body found by the tug Nava H floating about 12 miles south southwest of Port Maitland. Ont.  a port about 37 miles west of Buffalo. See the Silver Star award to Jonas T. Hagglove at the end of this article.

“We cannot be sure now whether the body is that of a man or a woman,” said Commander Hagglove. “The tug hasn’t even picked the body out of the water It’s just standing by. And radio communication is so poor that we must wait.” Commander Hagglove said he had communicated with Canadian authorities who were co-operating in the identification. Meanwhile, the search for the missing flying couple continued along many fronts. Boats and planes continued to scour Lake Erie for the missing plane and its occupants. And at Warren. Pa. 50 National Guardsmen joined with 25 more from Kane to search south east of Warren near Chapman Dam where a fisherman reported having heard or seen a distressed airplane last week-end.


Buffalo Evening News April 20, 1956

Gordon Pollock

SIMCOE, Ont., July 31, 1956 (AP)–A body found on Lake Erie’s north shore Sunday was identified today as that of Gordon Pollock, 28 years old.

Lake Victim Identified

A body floating In Lake Erie Thursday about 12 miles southwest of Port Maitland, Ont., was identified as that of Victor Rockefeller, 23, of 124 West Ave., North, Hamilton, Ont. Mr. Rockefeller was drowned Nov. 23 while duck hunting. The body, at first suspected of being that of the missing Gordon Pollock, 28-years-old Broadway producer, or his wife, Norma, was spotted by the Canadian Tug Nava H. and identified in Port Maitland.

Pollock’s died when his plane crashed in April, some months earlier.


The Niagara Falls Gazette May 23, 1945

Investigate Report of Crowland Robbery

WELLAND, On May 23– Chief of Police Lockhart Trinnell, of Crowland today is investigating a report of a highway robbery made by Moses E. Minor, 40, of Lowbanks, Ont. who walked into Police headquarters last night to make a report.  He said he was driving his truck over Broadway in Crowland when three men jumped from a large sedan and shouted, “stick em up.”  They frisked him and took $50 from him, he said.  Minor said he had $700 in another wallet which he threw into the grass and which he later recovered.


Buffalo NY Evening News Feb. 27, 1919 1919

Buffalo Evening News Friday February 28,1919

Port Colborne Wants Terminal in Canal Route

Plan of Port Maitland for a New Waterway Strongly Opposed By Citizens.

Port Colborne. Ont., Feb 28.  The town will strenuously oppose the project born in Dunnville to have the terminal of the new $70,000,000 Welland ship canal at Port Maitland instead of Port Colborne.  The Dunnville businessmen claim it is a shorter route but on the other hand the present Welland canal is to be used as part of the ship canal and the cost would be much lighter than to divert the waterway to Port Maitland.

 Buffalo Evening News July 18, 1959

Canada Studies 2nd Canal, Port Maitland to Jordan

Ottawa, July 18., A proposal to duplicate the facilities of the Welland Canal with a second “big ditch” across the Niagara Peninsula from Port Maitland on Lake Erie to Jordon Harbour on Lake Ontario has been taken under advisement by Canada’s department of Transport and the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority.

U.S. critics of the Welland Canal have claimed that a brand-new canal is needed on the American side of the Niagara River. . .

Should the Canadian project be deemed economically feasible, a major development program would be in store for Port Maitland at the mouth of the Grand River.

It is emphasized in representations being made to the Canadian Government that the overland “cut” from Maitland, to Jordan would be through relatively inexpensive farmland.

This would eliminate the need for heavy blasting and rock excavation that would be required in a project closely paralleling the Welland.

Map if from the Buffalo Evening News July 18, 1959

Author’s note:  Regarding the above 1919 discussions about building the canal at Port Maitland I was told by both Earl Siddall and Carroll Kenney who were only children at the time, “that politicians and business men from the area took a boat tour off Port Maitland in which they were shown soundings of the lake bottom which showed that different then that at Port Colborne the lake bottom was sand.  At Port Colborne it is rock which would need considerable blasting to make a channel.”  In the end as we all know the Welland Canal entrance on Lake Erie remained at Port Colborne. Also, the above 1959 article is only in part.  I skipped a lot of information.


A note about 

Jonas Torgny Hagglove

Silver Star

World War II

Service: Coast Guard

Rank: Lieutenant Commander

Division: U.S.S. Callaway (APA-35)


Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 352 (July 1946)


The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Lieutenant Commander Jonas Torgny Hagglove, United States Coast Guard, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while serving on board the Transport Ship U.S.S. CALLAWAY (APA-35), Flagship of Transport Division TWENTY-SIX, when that vessel was struck by a Japanese plane in Lingayen Gulf, off the Coast of Luzon, in the Philippine Islands, on 8 January 1945. Although suffering from severe burns, Lieutenant Commander Hagglove led the damage control party and as result of his capable leadership much was done to control the damage to his ship, enabling her to perform his primary mission in the assault of Lingayen Gulf on the following day.