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OTD: 11-14-1909: Joshua Slocum Dies at Sea; Canadian Neighbor, Hero.

Captain Joshua Slocum’s story comes from Nova Scotia. Just what is it about Nova Scotia?–well, if Montreal ever seceded from Canada, Nova Scotia would almost over night turn into a northern New England state of our US union. Imagine that. They’re New Old England sod and reef.
The slam-dunk all-time sailor’s book is Nova Scotia’s own, Joshua Slocum’s Sailing Alone Around the World (1900). It is about his epic 75,000 km voyage around the globe in a 13 ton oyster sloop, the Spray, from 1895 to 1898.
Our local friend and world sailor, Buffalo school teacher Paul Schimert has work-sailed tall ships across the Atlantic Ocean many times; he’s in fact made sure his teen-age twin sons heard at night and slept with Slocum’s book before they could even read, so as to build up their seaworthy incentive.
Captain Slocum’s legend is great and real–his book auto-biographing his 16th year onward is found on every good boat that travels the waters; Joshua Slocum lived from 1844-to-1909. He died at sea On This Date, November 14, after long having been the ship’s captain, explorer, author, and the first man to sail solo around the world. Slocum was born at Wilmot Township, in Nova Scotia on Feb. 20, 1844. He went so valiantly to sea at age 16, and served in the merchant ships first to Europe and then he went to serve in the Far East.
As a marine surveyor of boats, I’ve looked, among other factors, for the potential of things like mold festering down below decks. But most of the times all that’s found in this condition is the musty copy of Slocum’s book settling somewhere in a sailor’s locker.
Captain Slocum, we’ll remember thee; we’ll always feed your cabin’s cats, oh Captain, ’till your return from sea.
Now. And since we’re already in Canada for today’s story…For the Second and different Half of today’s OTD article:let us say hello to actress Marie Dressler’s legacy—
It was On This Day the beautiful young Canadian Marie Dressler starred in the film version of her stage show, Tillie’s Punctured Romance, with Charlie Chaplin and Mabel Normand. She was from Cobourg, Ontario (a Buffalo nearby town which we’ll get to in a minute here).
The six-reel silent film is Canadian Mack Sennett’s first feature-length picture. On This Same Day, Chaplin left Sennett’s Keystone company to sign with the Essanay company at a whopping (and it was whopping, back then ) $1,250 a week!
But ten where is this Cobourg, Ontario (population 18,210)??? Well, It is a sweet parochial Canadian town some 110 kilometres (68 mi) east of Toronto in the Canadian province of Ontario. It’s the “largest” (small) town in and the seat of Northumberland County (like we know where that is either), in Ontario; and its nearest neighbour is Port Hope (where?), which is 7 km (4 mi) to the west.
Then to the south Cobourg borders Lake Ontario, and while to the north, east, and west, it is surrounded by Hamilton Township.— Hamilton? We know where that is! it’s to the left of the QEW when we’re driving to Toronto.
This series is always fascinated by the secrets above (to the west from Buffalo, and the north from the USA) the Canadian border—for it is indeed our growing-together region. Hear ye to that!
And– hear ye that Captain Joshua Slocum calls to say “Hail Ye” from On This Day from Buffalo’s World.

Written by Bill Zimmermann

Bill Zimmermann

Bill runs Seven Seas Sailing school, and is a staunch waterfront activist. He is also heavily involved with preserving, maintaining, and promoting the South Buffalo Lighthouse. When Bill first started writing for Buffalo Rising, he wrote an article a day for 365 days - each article coincided with a significant historic event that happened in Buffalo on that same day.

View All Articles by Bill Zimmermann
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