of Theodore Fontane
Theodor Fontane



The Poem

The Huberman Story

News stories

Research Articles

Origin of the Ship's Name

Prose Versions of the Story

Other Poetic Ver- sions of the Story

Relevant German Poems & Analyses

Norman's Cooper Corner

More Essays by Norman Barry

Other Related Materials





Bibliography and Links


Miscellaneous Items


Norman Barry, a retired Gymnasium teacher from Bad Schussenried, Germany, has unearthed many interesting items that relate to "John Maynard" directly or peripherally. Follow the links below to see a sampling of them.


Transcription of "How I Came to Write "John Maynard" by Horatio Alger, Jr., from The Writer (Boston, Mass.), Volume 8, 1895, pp. 182-183 and scan of the original Writer article

Biographical information about Horatio Alger, Jr., in Wikipedia.

A report of an 1872 recitation of "John Maynard"

A 1920 newspaper inquiry about Alger's poem.

"Philosopher of Folly's Column" reporting on the words of Alger's poem. Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 3, 1946, p10.

An article in "Everybody's Corner" of the Philadelphia Inquirer of June 26, 1921, reporting the verses of Alger's "John Maynard," but attributing them to "anonymous."

An article about a woman who is trying to remember the words to old Vermont folk songs. "John Maynard" in the form of Alger's verse is one of them. The Springfield Sunday Union and Republican, Dec. 4, 1932.

An article from The Omaha World Herald, September 12, 1909, p. 14: Fond memories of reciting "John Maynard, A Ballad of Lake Erie," by Horatio Alger, Jr.


TWO Heroic Helmsmen: John Bartholomew Gough's prose version of "Brave John Maynard!" alongside an anonymous prose version of "Brave James Maxwell." The FIRST John Maynard ballad by "Josephine." And an unusual portrayal of Maynard on the bridge, and not at the helm -- all found in The British Workman, No. 107, November, 1863

A report of a lecture on John Maynard by John Gough (see below) in The Living Age, Volume 67, Issue 856, October 27, 1860, held at Cornell University Library.

Remarks to be read at the memorial service for John Gough, "Distinctive Traits of John B. Gough," 1886

A report of a lecture on John Maynard by John Gough (see below) in The Living Age, Volume 67, Issue 856, October 27, 1860, held at Cornell University Library.

"The Power of Habit," a story with a moral, about a trip by John Gough from Buffalo to Niagara Falls published in The Royal Gallery of Poetry and Art: An Illustrated Book of the Favorite Poetic Gems of the English Language, the Choicest Productions of Authors, Living and Dead, for the Uncrowned Kings and Queens of American Homes, (New York : N. D. Thompson Publishing Co., 1886), including images of the cover of the book, the dedication page, and the title page.

"The Labors of Mr. John B. Gough," the story John Gough's extensive travels in 1847, published in New London Democrat of New London, Connecticut, Saturday, February 12, 1848, Vol. III, No. 48, Whole No. 152, p. 1, c. 3.

"John B. Gough in England," John Gough on the virtues of water, published in The Portage County Advocate, Wednesday, September 13, 1854, Ravenna, Ohio, New Series: Vol. I, No. 24, First page.


Lexikon deutscher Frauen der Feder contains information about Luise Förster, the poet who, under the pseudonym Ada Linden, wrote a poem about John Maynard in German. See the title page of this book, the Linden/Förster bibliography in this book, and the Luise Förster biography in this book,

Norman Barry's translation of the title page and the Luise Förster biography in Lexikon deutscher Frauen der Feder.

The preface to Aus der Stille, a book of poetry by Ada Linden -- a transcription of the original German and Norman Barry's translation into English.

Information about Luise Förster from the Municipal Archives in Mönchengladbach in the original German and Norman Barry's translation into English.

Ada Linden's poem "Das Gebet der Mutter" or "The Mother's Prayer," as transcribed, collated, and translated by Norman Barry. English. German.


Who Wrote "The Helmsman of Lake Erie?" An Examination of Two Candidates: Charles Dickens and James Fenimore Cooper

An article from Cleveland's Plain Dealer (June 9, 1963, pp. 10, 12, 13) that starts with an anecdote about Dickens's impressions of Lake Erie before turning to a scientific discussion of the lake.

Charles Dickens, who has been considered as a possible author of "The Helmsman of Lake Erie," writes about his visit to Niagara Falls in 1842


"John Maynard - Lake Erie Hero," by Marvin A. Rapp, published in Inland Seas, a journal of the Great Lakes Historical Society, in the spring of 1956 (Vol. 12, pp. 3-15).

Norman Barry's transcription of "John Maynard - Lake Erie Hero," by Marvin A. Rapp, published in Inland Seas, a journal of the Great Lakes Historical Society, in the spring of 1956 (Vol. 12, pp. 3-15).

Norman Barry's comments on the Rapp article: "John Maynard Research in 1956: A Review of 'John Maynard - Lake Erie Hero' by Marvin A. Rapp."

A newspaper article entitled "Great Lakes Hero Lives on in American Folklore," published in The Herald Express (Saint Joseph, Michigan) in 1956 summarizing an article written by Marvin A. Rapp in the spring 1956 issue of the journal Inland Seas.

Marvin A. Rapp's obituary from the Buffalo News.


This is Chapter VI, "Burning of the Erie," from A Twentieth Century History of Erie County, Pennsylvania: a narrative account of its historic progress, its people, and its principal interests by John Miller, published in 1909 by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago.

"A Steamer of Four Seasons: The Short, Precarious Life of the Steamboat Erie" in which Norman Barry comments on newspaper articles that mention the Erie between 1838 and 1841.

A painting of the Steamship Erie held by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.


This parody is posted on the website of the Gesellschaft zur Stärkung der Verben (Society for the Strenghtening of Verbs). Norman Barry has translated it (but with normal English verbs) for those who don't read German. The German original. The English translation.


NEWLY REVISED! "A Question of Figures: New Material on Calculating the Erie's Lost and Saved" by Norman Barry.

NEW! An interesting story of a Coin found on the body of one of the painters on the Erie, contributed by his descendent, Rick Lux.


"The Loss of the George Washington Off Silver Creek in 1838." Certain "coincidences" demand our attention: for example, the conflagrations of the George Washington and the Erie. A compilation by Norman Barry of newspaper articles about the George Washington disaster.

"The Lessons of the Lexington." Captain Titus of the Erie testified that he thought of the Lexington as he decided what to do when the fire broke out. A compilation by Norman Barry of newspaper articles about the burning of the Lexington.

Originally published in the Buffalo Daily Journal, the July 15, 1840, article in the Wiskonsan Enquirer (Madison, WI) has a nice description of the Erie's "speed" back in 1840: "Three Hundred Miles a Day".

A steamboat schedule that gives us an idea of how long it took to cross the ocean in 1845, from Milwaukee Sentinel, May 2, 1845

An 1840 New-Yorker article that will help you get a "feel" for the state of steamship navigation around the time of the Erie disaster

A short book excerpt that provides a sense of train travel during the "John Maynard" era

A small 1840 New-Yorker article called "Steamboat Outrage"

An 1848 Scientific American article about the Great Lakes

A description of the "Conflagration of the Phoenix, Sept. 5, 1819"

An article about the sinking of the steamship Alabama in Lake Erie in The New York Times, August 30, 1854

An 1845 newspaper article about the development of the telegraph system

A silly poem illustrating the enterprising spirit of new German settlers moving in to tame the West, followed by an article about a steamboat in Cairo during a flood.

An article in the April 1893 issue of The New England Magazine (Boston), Vol. 14, Issue 2 (pp. 237-257), by Frederick J. Shepard entitled "The City of Buffalo."

"Navigation and Winter Ice on Lake Erie from 1821 to 1845, with References to Water Levels (With an Appendix of Newspaper Clippings dealing with Lake Erie and Buffalo Harbor)" -- an essay by Norman Barry.

A photo of a model of Walk-in-the-Water, the first steamboat on Lake Erie, and a story about it from the Buffalo News, contributed by William Paine.


Norman Barry has collected some articles about life preservers and related topics.

An 1845 newspaper article that demonstrates the value of life preservers at that time


Thirteen Years Afterwards: The Buffalo Democrat Remembers by Norman Barry

An 1845 newspaper article entitled "Ruins of the Steamer 'Erie.'"


NEW! A version of the story of John Maynard that won a prize from TIT-BITS. Published Sat, 12 Nov. 1881: TIT-BITS from all the most interesting Books, Periodicals and Newspapers in the World, p. 9, c. 1 (until 1886, located in Manchester; afterwards, London).


"A report of an inspiring talk given to children on Children's Day by Rev. Dr. Samuel P. Sprecher, who mentioned the story of John Maynard as an example of a good deed that will endure forever. It was published in the The Cleveland Plain Dealer, June 15, 1891.

A news report about a lecture on modern chivalry given by Rev. E. H. Chapin. It contains a reference to the Helmsman of Lake Erie. Syracuse Daily Standard, December 18, 1854.

A news report about a sermon on the immensity of human capacity given by Mr. Hepworth. It begins with a reference to the story of John Maynard. New York Herald, April 19, 1875.

An excerpt from "Devotion to Duty," a sermon by Rev. J. H. Dingle, found in Central Somerset Gazette, Dec. 31, 1915, p. 2, c. 2.

NEW! An excerpt from "Gap Men," a sermon by Rev. Dr. Cheever, found in The Congregationalist, June 6, 1856, p. 1, c. 4, published in Boston.


A newspaper report of a meeting of the Association of Elocutionists at which there was a recitation of "John Maynard" in The Irish Daily Independent (Dublin), Saturday, March 31, 1894.

A newspaper report of an oration of the story of John Maynard at a celebration by the Order of Red Men in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Thursday, May 13, 1869, page 2, column 3.


A 1903 article recounting the story of the wreck of the steamer Erie, with historical inaccuracies noted by Norman Barry.

A portrait of Emil Rittershaus, author of "Ein deutsches Herz"

Emil Rittershaus poster stamps advertising a soap factory!

An 1855 article about the death of Captain Titus, along with a related poem and article

A mention of the Erie disaster in Harper's New Monthly Magazine in 1871

A mention of John Maynard in a short biography of Gene Stratton-Porter

Rummagings, 4: John Maynard in Leacock's Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town by D.M.R. Bentley

A 1900 suggestion that John Maynard should be included in a "Hall of Fame"

"Ach! Wer ist John Maynard?" An article by George Condon about how few Americans know about John Maynard, Cleveland Plain Dealer, April 20, 1972, p17.

This is a follow-up to the article above, with more about "John Maynard," Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 3, 1972, p17.

"The Last of the 'Mascot'" by C. C. Converse -- another story about a helmsman on Lake Erie, with a transcription by Norman Barry. It was published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, December 17, 1893.

"The Wreck" -- another Lake Erie story by C. C. Converse. It was published in the The Inter Ocean Illustrated Supplement (Chicago, Illinois), Nov. 19, 1893, page 5, columns 2-4.

A failed attempt to link Jim Bludsoe and John Maynard, published in the The Sunday Herald (Boston), August 27, 1905, Magazine Section.

Vestiges of a long- forgotten tale that, somehow, just does not die....? A mention of John Maynard found in The Storm Lake Pilot (Storm Lake, Buena Vista County, Iowa), January 14, 1874.


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