William Edgar Dove
Captain, United States Army
"Martinburg, Bristol Station, Brandy Station,
Locust Grove, Mine Run, Gettysburg, Wilderness, Andersonville.
It is reported that he drowned in the Niagara River in New York in 1884.
His wife, Julia Egbert Dove, who died on June
17, 1903, is buried with him. Her brother, Harry
Clay Egbert, lies buried in an adjacent plot.
AN ARMY OFFICER PROBABLY LOST
NIAGARA, Ontario - May 29, 1884 - Captain William
E. Dove, Twelfth Regiment, UnitedStates Army, started in a boat from Fort
Niagara, New York, last night at 8:30 o'clock, intending to cross over
to this town. His boat was found bottom up this afternoon about twomiles
out in the lake. He is supposed to have been drowned.
THE DROWNING OF CAPTAIN DOVE
His Rash Venture In TheNiagara And How His Body Was Found
YOUNGSTOWN, New York - June 7, 1884 - The tragic fate of Captain William E. Dove, Twelfth United States Infantry, who was drowned off FortNiagara on the eveningof May 28, is still the subject o fmuch public comment in this locality. Captain Dove was in the prime of life, and had an excelltnt record as a military man, having passed through most of the War of Rebellion in an Ohio VolunteerRegiment, and subsequently joined theRegular Army when the volunteers were no longer required. He was fond of outdoor sports and exerciseand during the 18 months that he had been stationed at Fort Niagara he had become as familiar with boating on the river as any person can in that time. With him, at the pleasant officer's quarters outside the Fort, were his wife and two children.
On Wednesday evening, May 28, Mrs. Dove needed some medicine which could not be furnished by the Medical Officer at the Fort, and the Captain started to cross the river to the Canadian Village of Niagara, opposite, to procure it. From the open window by which I writea single glance takes in the Fort, the Village, the broad embouchure of the river, and the great expanseof Lake Ontario beyond. The great stretch of water is today as smooth as a mirror. With a sound boat and a good pair of oars any boy could safely navigate theNiagara today; but with a fierce wind from the lake he must either be rash or an experienced boatman who would venture to cross. This was the situation on Wednesday evening about 8 o'clock, when Captain Dove went down to the landing by the Fort and ordered his boat. His boat,by the way, was a little cockle shell affair, round bottomed and without keel. It seemed very much like certain death to use such a boat, and the soldier who brought it from theboat-house told the Captain as plainly as he dared that he had better not risk his life in it on that night, but have himself rowed over in one of the larger boats. Captain Dove treated the caution lightly; he was confident of his ability to cross,and he pushed off into thedarkness. He was never seen again alive.
Thesoldier observed thatCaptain Dove rowed up the river, as if intending to cross at Youngstown. This was moredangerous than to have attempted to row directly across, as theaction of the high wind on the current for the whole mile intervening would make a more chopping sea than near the lake. Those at the Fort were quickly appraised of his distress and of his probable fate. Several pistol shots were head from the middle of the river - probably the last signal of distress that the ill-fated man was able to make. A woman living below the bank and near the water between Youngstown and the Fort heard loud cries from the river in the darkness. About this time two of the most experienced boatmen about here, with a large and seaworthy boat, started from Youngstown for Niagara, and they both declared, upon reaching thelatter place that it was with thegreatest difficulty that they were able to make the passage.
Little or nothing could be done that night either in the way of rescue or discovery. OnThursday morning boats were dispatched in several directions, and several cannon were brought down from the Fort to the landing in the hope that their discharge might raise the body. Their heavy booming echoed all themorning over the river and the lake and shook thebuildings in Youngstown, sounding like the martial dirge of the lost officer. It was expected, almost as a matter of course, that the body would soon be discovered, but that its discovery would be attended by the shocking circunstances that did accompany it was not foreseen by anyone.
Duringt he day the oars that Captain Dove had used were found on the lake beach, six miles east of the Fort. The boat was found a mile from the Fort in the opposite direction, on the beach, bottom upward, around the Canadian point, where river and lake unite. A brief examination showed the plainmarks on its side where the paint had been scratched off by the fingers of the drowning man. His little boat capsized in the middle of the river that night and he had frantically clutched to it as he and it were hurried out into the open lake, firing hos revolvernd shouting in vain for help.
It is the customof the fishermen of this vicinity to set long nightlines int he lake about threemiles from shore. These lines are attached at each end to a buoy, andsmaller lines attached to them terminate in large hooks on which are caught large sturgeon and other fish of the lakes. On Thursday night two fishermen had set a line about two miles east of the Fort and at least threemiles out;and early on Friday morning, long before daylight,they started out to examine their catch. Reaching theirline, they pulled upsome fish and presently one of the men found so much resistence to his efforts to raise one of his lines that hecalled to his companion for assistance. The laborof both showed this catch to be unusually heavy, and oneof the fishermen called to the other to reach the gaf. Two human hands suddenly appeared out of the water. The horrified fishers let go theburder and such was their fright at this apparition that it was some time before they found courage for another pull. Then they raised the body of Captain Dove out of the water. It had drifted directly across the linesand two of the great hooks had become firmly fixed in the clothing.
On Sunday, June1, Captain Dove was buried in
the ancient cemeteryon theGovernment Reservation adjoining the Fort, after
funeral services atSt. John's Episcopal Church, Youngstown, and all the
pomp of a military funeral. The two companies at Fort Niagara, McCollum
Post,G. A. R, of which the deceased was a member, and a Canadian military
company,made up the cortege. Rarely had so solemn a spectacle been seen
in the vicinity as the march oft his procession and its attendant martial
dirges and ceremonies. Thevillageof Youngstown was filled with 3,000 spectators
who came from the surrounding countryand Canada to witness it. The place
is one of historic interest. In it are buried Frenchmen who died
at Fort Niagara while the Frendh held it; English soldiers whodied here
during theRevolutionary War, and officers of both the British and American
Armies who fell in the War of 1812.
DOVE, JULIA E. W/O WM E
Research continues regading this relative who is thier son:
Wilbur Egbert Dove
DOVE, R LOUISE W/O WILBUR EGBERT
DOVE, WILBUR E
Photo By: M. R. Patterson, July 2002
Updated: 18 November 2000 Updated: 19 January 2002 Updated: 9 July 2002 Updated: 12 October 2002 Updated: 9 August 2003 Updated: 8 September 2004 Updated: 8 December 2005 Updated: 24 August 2007
Updated: 2 October 2007
Photo By M. R. Patterson, 28 June 2003