Daredevil. Originally from Pawtucket RI, this impoverished ex-factory laborer made his first public jump over the Passaic Falls in Patterson NJ in 1827 and was thereafter known as the "Jersey Leaper." He also jumped from buildings, bridges and ships' riggings but was particularly renowned for unprotected leaps over waterfalls. Shortly before his final appearance he became the first person to leap over Niagara Falls and survive. His final jump occurred over the 92 foot Genesee Falls in Rochester on Friday November 13th 1829. A huge crowd gathered to watch him jump from a platform constructed especially for the event. Some witnesses claimed that he appeared to trip on the platform; others that he had been drinking heavily immediately before the jump. Whatever the cause, he did not surface at the foot of the Falls: his body was not found until the Spring thaw of 1830, and it was discovered that he had apparently dislocated both shoulders in the fall, rendering him unable to swim. He was buried in a pauper's grave in Charlotte Cemetery near the spot where his body was found. His grave was marked by a wooden plank marked "Sam Patch - Such is Life," which soon disappeared and his grave remained unmarked until a group of students at Charlotte High School raised the funds to erect a proper monument in the mid-20th century.
Bio by: Mount Hope NY