The Daily Courier
Saturday Morning, July 21, 1855
The Sea Serpent Astray
APPEARANCE OF THE SEA SERPENT IN SILVER LAKE
- THE TESTIMONY OF FIVE CREDIBLE WITNESSES
- GREAT EXCITEMENT - NARROW ESCAPE, ETC.
From the Wyoming Times, July 18.
The beauties of Silver Lake, half a mile from
this village, have been recorded in prose and
verse time and again. It is a splendid sheet of
water, about four miles long, and from one-half to
three-fourths of a mile wide. Its outlet, which,
after coursing through a deep gorge, empties into
Genesee river, contains sites for sixteen or eighteen
milling privileges, about half of which are improved.
The lake is a great place of resort for
fishing, parties. Muscalung, pickerel and bass
are caught there with live bait, in the. Summer,
and speared through the. ice in the winter. Cat
fish or bull-heads are as thick as grasshoppers in
a wheat field. There is said to be a (no?) place in this
where the lead has been dropped in vain. No
sounding has been obtained— hence the presumption,
and we admit it as a presumption—that it
connects, by some subterranean.passage with lake-
Erie or Ontario—and to draw the figure still greater,
with the vast Atlantic. Yet it always displays,
at least on the surface an even temperature
—it is never 'alf'-and-'alf—salt water has never
been discovered there. Fresh water, pure and
clear from the springs which supply it, is the only
element with which it has ever been filled.and
the memory of man runneth not to the contrary.
It is the resort of pleasure parties from the village
and from a road, and seldom has anything
occurred by which the fair fame of Silver Lake
has been tarnished, nor has it acquired any other
than an honest reputation of being one of the
most beautiful, safe and desirable places of resort
in tho State, either for fishing, or in its season,
hunting. But to our story.
Friday evening last, as a party, of which we
formed one, Were disembarking from a trip up the
lake, with a hundred pounds or less of.dressed
cat fish, Messrs. Charles Hall, Joseph R. Mc-
Knight, Charles Scribner, and Alonzo Scribner,
accompanied by two boys named George Hall
and John Scribner, were just leaving the landing
.in an evening's fishing excursion. The story of
their voyage and its incident is theirs as-related
to us in all sincerity, and we give it with the remark
that the party had no liquor in the boat,nor
was there any in or about the party.
They left the landing near Mr. How's Pump.
Factory about eight o'clock P. M., Friday, and
rowed up to the narrows of the outlet, where two
of the party got out and dragged the boat thro'.
As the channel became wider, they took seats in
the boat and we rowed steadily up to the lake.
We anchored about the center of the lake, near
tho north-east end, and commenced fishing. The
evening was not dark: Both shores were in view,
and stars and clouds appeared alternately. At
about nine o'clock, as the entire party was; fishing,
McKnight, who sat in the stern of the boat,
called attention to what had the appearance though
much larger, of a long tree trimmed off lying on
the surface of the water, north of their boat, and
a dozen yards off- All looked at it, and various
suggestions were made regarding it. It appeared
to be 80 or 100 feet long.
However, the party continued fishing, the thing
they saw, be it tree, log. or what-not—remaining
in the same position for twenty minutes or half
an hour. At about 9 1/2 o'clock it had disappeared
when or how, the party had not observed. In
about ten minutes. McKnight called attention to
the same object between the boat the party occupied
and the old sail boat- 'Frolic' which lies
aground on the east shore. The center of the log,
tree, or whatever it was, was in a direct line from
the stern of the boat, and not more than four rods
off. After watching it a few minutes, McKnight ,
who was nearest it, exclaimed, "Boys, that thing
is moving!" all looked at it , but having seen, continued
pulling up cat fish. A few minutes passed,
and Hall noticing that it had and was changing
its position, exclaimed , "See, it is bowing around!"
and true enough, so it was. all looked and saw
the same movement. Its head, it could no longer
be called a log, was now within three rods of the
boat, and as it approached, the waves parted on
either side, as if a boat were leisurely approaching.
Scribner, in an attempt to cut the rope, attached
to the anchor and boat, lost his knife, and
pulled up the anchor. hall grasped the oars and
commenced pulling vigorously for the west shore.
McKnight steering the boat. Scribner took seat
with Hall and assisted in rowing. all this was
the work of an instant, and their mysterious and
unwelcome guest disappeared while it was going
forward, to the great joy of the party.
But they were not clear of their visitor. The
boat had not propelled more than 40 rods
when the strange customer was again visible on
the surface for the third time, to the north east
of them, and between the boat and the outlet.
This time the visitor was within one rod of the
boat, and the party were making rapid progress
towards the inlet. All in the boat saw the creature.
It again disappeared.
For the fourth time, when the party were within
35 to 40 rods from their proposed and now
nearest landing point the south side of the inlet,
the serpent, for now there was no mistaking its
character, darted from the water about four feet
from the stern of the boat, close to the rudder
paddle, the head and forward part of the monster
rising from the surface of the water eight or
twelve feet in an oblique direction from the boat!
All in the boat had a fair view of the
creature, and concur in representing it as a most
horrid and repulsive looking monster. McKnight
has no doubt that the portion of the body above
water was as large in circumference as a flour
barrel, while hall, one of the oarsmen, thinks in
circumference it was the of a butter firkin.
Both agree as to the length exposed to view. On
the opposite side of the boat, about a rod and a
half to the north east, the other extremity of the
Serpent was in full view, lashing the water with
its tail. When the forward part descended upon
the water, it created waves that nearly capsized
the boat, and suspended regular operations at the oars.
the party reached shore in safety; but frightened
most out of their senses. they left the
boat on the side of the lake farthest from home,
and footed home some two miles, rather than
venture down the outlet, not more than half a
mile in length. It is almost needless to say that
they slept little that night or next.
We will add for the benefit of the incredulous,
that these men are persons of character. They
would be believed in this community in any
ordinary matter as between man and man. We
admit it is a large story, but it is about a large
serpent. He would be a monster at half the size.
But here is the affidavit of tow of the party.
Joseph R. McKnight, and Charles Hall, both
being duly sworn, say that they have read
the article published in the Wyoming Times, in
relation to the serpent in Silver Lake, and that
the statements there made are true of their own
Subscribed and sworn this 16th day of July,
1855 before me, Enos W. Frost
Justice of the Peace.
One dollar a foot has been offered for the skin
of the serpent, if over 60 feet long. where's
Barnum? what will he give for the serpent,
dead or alive.?
We learn form the editor of the Times that the
serpent was seen again on Saturday last, and that
a party of gentlemen who have not the fear of
snaked before their eyes are making arrangements
to capture the 'beast."