This paragraph is taken from page 9 of George Salomon's "John Maynard of Lake Erie: The Genesis of a Legend":
The helmsman's success in rescuing everyone on shipboard except himself also seems to have been suggested by a printed source: an anonymous book entitled Steamboat Disasters and Railroad Accidents in the United States. In this gruesome work a detailed report on the Erie, including a long elegiac poem, is directly preceded by a narrative headed: "Conflagration of the Phoenix, on Lake Champlain, on the Night of September 5, 1819; wherein, owing to the Commander, not a Soul was Lost." To a writer with any imagination, the dramatic possibilities of merging the two incidents must have been plain.
The link below takes you to an item in the Making of America collection at the Cornell University Library. It is a description of the "Conflagration of the Phoenix, Sept. 5, 1819" found in a book by John Warner Barber entitled Historical collections of the state of New York : being a general collection of the most interesting facts, biographical sketches, varied descriptions, &c. relating to the past and present : with geographical descriptions of the counties, cities, and principal villages throughout the state, published by Clark, Austin & Co. in New York in 1851.
Conflagration of the Phoenix