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Oswegatchie Steamer Model


The name of Harold Storie, the first Town Historian to occupy the 'Manse as a Museum' appears a lot in the Music Room where many of the radio items on display were gifts from him and his family. Harold's father and uncle, Arthur and Theodore Storie owned a radio shop on John's Street in Gouverneur. Harold had made a name for himself as a young man by building and operating radios.


Among the Music Room's phones, phonographs, radios, sheet music and player piano, is a model boat - what is a boat doing in the Music Room? Once you learn more about it, you realize this steamboat model is also very much belongs in this room. This boat is well connected to Mr. Storie and his family.

Click the image to magnify.

The steamer, Oswegatchie, was the last to operate on Black Lake. She was built by Arthur K. Storie in 1905 near Rossie. The boat was 60 feet long, flat bottomed, with a Mississippi wheel that allowed navigation into shallow waters. It ran the waters from Rossie to Heuvelton, with stops along the way for both business and pleasure.

This service helped to support the farms and industries of the area and, at the same time, provided something fun to do - picnic excursions on the lake! Mr. Storie describes an excursion day like this: "One day a week was excursion day. Starting from Heuvelton in the morning, we arrived in at Rossie at noon in time for dinner at the hotel, and returned in the afternoon. This was about a 60 mile trip." (Harold Storie)


He goes on to describe the steamer's service to the cheese farmers and factories:

Monday was cheese day. Stops were made at all the factories down the lake. Loading points were Rossie, Hutton's Landing for the Brasie Corners' Factory, Rollway's Bay for the Ruby Factory and Pope MIlls. From there we went across the lake to Morse's and Edwardsville. The cheese was taken into Heuvelton to be shipped by rail to its destination. Feed and freight of all kinds was taken back. (Harold Storie)


Click here to read the entire article, "Steamboats on Black Lake," by Harold Storie...


The Oswegatchie Steamer sunk in a 1908 storm. The following letter describes the details of the event. The connection between the museum's first curator and the steamer Oswegetchie, certainly explains why there is a model boat in the Music Room.

Letter to the editor... Sinking of the Oswegatchie-told by one who was there. 

Dear Sir:

There have been several articles in the papers the past year about the sinking of the Steamer "Oswegatchie" on Black Lake in 1908. I thought that I, being one who was there, should tell the true story and correct some of the statements made.

First, I want to correct the size of the boat. It was 60 feet long with a 12 foot beam instead of 9 foot as stated in some articles. It was flat bottom with a Mississippi wheel to better operate on the shallow waters of Black Lake. It was built at Rossie in 1905 by Arthur K. Storie and Edward Bogardus. Mr. Storie look over Mr. Bogardus' share the next year. She carried freight and passengers between Rossie and Heuvelton serving Pope Mills and Edwardsville in between. Monday was cheese day, picking up the cheese from all of the factories along the lake to be taken to the railroad at Heuvelton. 


The day of the sinking, she had feed, coal and other freight destined for Pope MIlls and Rossie. There were also some passengers who got off at Edwardsville. The wind was blowing quite a gale and the seas were very high above the bridge. Mr. Stone was warned about goings on, but the boat had weathered these blows before and he wasn't worried. Mr. and Mrs. Storie and as well as Bismarck Turner.


The engineers were living on the boat and were aboard. As she got above the bridge turning to go behind Bigge Island on the way to Pope Mills, she received the full force of the wind and began to ship some water over the back gunwale which was quite low. The engineer could not start the steam pump and called to Captain Storie for help. He in turn called his young son, who had steered in good weather, to take the wheel and head for Horse Pasture point, which was directly into the wind. Being flat bottom with water rushing from one side to the other, she became unmanageable, As soon as she came broadside to the wind, she turned over. The son left the wheel house and managed to reach the stairs leading to the deck, followed by his mother. Then climbing to the side as she went over, Captain Storie followed them. Bismarck Turner was caught in the cabin and came up through a window. 


Dr. Coe, a Dentist from Watertown was fishing on the back of Woods Island. Captain Storie swam to shore where he managed to attract the Doctor's attention, he taking the rest off and landed them on the shore where they walked through the woods to Pope Mills. 


The boat was raised and towed to Marsh's Bay, now Seakers, where she eventually went to pieces. In 1912, Arthur Storie and his brother Theodore Storie, purchased a store on John Street In Gouverneur. They recovered the boiler from the boat and used It to heat the store until it gave out.

This is the true and complete story on the sinking of the "Oswegatchie" as I remember it.

I am that son. 

Harold A. Storie

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