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Daredevils Come to Life at Oakwood Cemetery | Arts & Culture

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Daredevils Come to Life at Oakwood Cemetery
Daredevils Come to Life at Oakwood Cemetery

*Note: On October 21, Oakwood Cemetery in Niagara Falls, N.Y., along with Niagara Falls Paranormal will host a spiritual connection event with the “Queen of the Falls,” Annie Edson Taylor. This event will commemorate the 110th Anniversary of her trip over Niagara Falls. There will be limited seating, so purchase of tickets prior to the event is encouraged. Tickets will be available online at our website www.myoakwoodcemetery.com in the near future.

Niagara Falls, N.Y.- The most famous residents of Oakwood Cemetery have legends deeply-rooted in the daredevil lore of Niagara USA.

While Annie Edson Taylor may be permanently interred in the history and folklore of Niagara USA as being the first person to survive a plunge over the mighty Falls in a barrel, few visitors to the region realize that Taylor’s gravestone, along with those of many other daredevils can be found in the “Stunters” section of Oakwood Cemetery.

Taylor, certainly one of the most famous of Niagara Falls’ daredevils rode in a barrel made of oak and padded with a mattress over the Horseshoe Falls in October 1901. She survived the plunge with little more than a small gash to her head. Following her feat she told the press:

“If it was with my dying breath, I would caution anyone against attempting the feat... I would sooner walk up to the mouth of a cannon, knowing it was going to blow me to pieces than make another trip over the Fall(s)”

Following her feat, Taylor attempted to cash in on her daredevil fame and would pose with tourists near the brink of the Falls and sought to speak about her brush with death, but ended up dying in poverty.

While Taylor's legend still remains today and her title as "Queen of the Falls" has survived more than a century, her gravestone and that of other daredevils and founding fathers of Niagara can be found at Oakwood Cemetery, 763 Portage Rd., Niagara Falls, N.Y.,14301.

Here she is buried amongst the likes of:

Matthew Webb: The first person to swim the English Channel. In July 1883, Webb attempted to swim through the Niagara River Rapids, an attempt many considered suicide. According to accounts, he survived the first portion of the swim, but likely died in the section near the whirlpool.

Capt. Joel Robinson: In June 1861, Robinson drove the famed Maid of the Mist Boat north from their docks near Niagara Falls through the Niagara River Rapids. The boat journeyed through the waves at thirty nine miles per hour, something neither the boat nor the crew had experienced.  Eyewitness, Thomas McKnight said, "The boat plowed through the rapids and was wrenched and tossed by the great waves that at times sank her almost from sight, but she got through all right." The boat made it through the class V and VI rapids almost unscathed losing on its smokestack.

Carlisle D. Graham: Was one the few daredevils of Niagara who found repeated fame. A Philadelphia cooper, Graham in 1886, 1887, 1889 and 1901 rode in his own custom-made barrels through the Niagara Rapids. His gravestone is located between that of Taylor and Webb.

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