Niagara Falls Hydro Plant Casualties

Dalton References to Hydro Plant Construction Accidents

William Dalton was sexton at Drummond Hill Cemetery for many decades. The following are excerpts from his diary as they relate to incidents during the construction of the hydro plants. Not all are, definitively, as a result of a construction incident and some are accompanied by other notes such as obituaries. They are organized chronologically.

January 17, 1897 – first reference to hydro

“Henry Sidney’s daughter’s child 7 months old died on the American side and was buried on the north side of its grandmother, Mrs. Sidney. The father is tunnel boss at the Falls on the NY side...”

1901 January 25 

Henry Mason, coloured, 38 years old living at 1124 Buffalo Avenue was fatally injured in an explosion in the new tunnel that it being constructed by the Niagara Falls Power Co. and died of his injuries on the 24th and was buried in his father-in-law’s lot, Henry Sidney. [lived next to Burr Plato]. There was a nice funeral attended. Miller and Brundage Coaches and nice flowers. Dozens. 4 inches of snow on ground. Not much frost in ground. Minister from NF NY. Undertaker – Cark & Corr.

1901 March 15   

Obituary-H.C. Symmes (P 195-6); engineer, prominent in railways, “and the development of power at Niagara Falls are among the undertakings in which he was interested...” “...lived in the house in Drummondville once belonging to Gen.  Murray and used as officers’ quarters during the war of 1812...”

1902 August 14  

TS Scott’s little baby...“He was an engineer in tunnel and lived at the center...”

1903 May 16

Joseph Phillippo, a Pole, was killed at the Ontario Power Company’s works and was taken to Morse Undertaking Rooms and was buried from there at Loretto Convent Yard at the west end. There was a nice turn out. All was well dressed and said a prayer at the grave. William White collard helped to dig the grave. Priest at the auspice. Undertaker - Geo. Morse and  Joe Hamilton ...”

Black and white image from 1904 of the construction of the forebays of the Ontario Power Company. Large construction site, 16 rectangular intakes span the length of the forebay, scaffolding above these intakes. Two people are in the centre of the image; they are blurry due to the exposure time of the camera. The intakes are each about 20 foot by 20 foot.
1904 - Ontario Niagara Power Company construction site

No date (between May 18 & June 6, 1903)

“Beverly Value’s son Jerome was buried in half lot west of Cropley lot. The father was president of the Ontario Power Company. Its died at the Lafell Hotell. Its parents had just come to the Falls from New York.  A Private funeral....”

1903 November 17

“A polelock [John Pole] was killed under Table Rock at the Falls one of the Ontario Power Company’s men and was buried at Loretto Convent Yard at the west end on the north side of the Hungarian men who was killed last week. He was buried from M.  Morse & Sons Undertaking rooms. A large lot of men turned out at the funeral. A very wet day digging the grave on the 16th. The Polanders did not sing at the grave like the Hungarians. Rev. Father Jerome held mass in the church...” 

1904 February 28

William Flynn who was killed down at Jenckes Machine Works at the Tunnel by the boom, came down and struck the Iron Tubing and sent him up and came down on his head, 30 feet.  Broke his neck and cut his scalp bad. He was buried on hill back of shed on north side of Mrs. Starks’ grave. A fine time out. He was buried from Morse’s Undertaking Rooms. Rev. Mr. Findley preached sermon in church. Fine Flowers...” 

1904 April 29        

“Killed by a Fly-wheel-Tony Casanto Met a terrible death at the Ontario Power Plant–(Special Dispatch to the Evening News). [NF, NY]

NIAGARA FALLS, April 27–Tony Casanto, an employee of the Ontario Power Company on the Canadian side of the river was fatally injured yesterday afternoon. He died at midnight at the Memorial Hospital in this city.

Casanto was standing in the air compressor house near the machinery when his clothes became entangled in a huge fly wheel and he was whirled about the room a number of times before the machinery could be stopped. His body was battered against the ceiling and the wall and when released he was unconscious. Nearly every bone in his body was broken. He was 30 years old.” 

1904 June 27    

Joe Ovalie, [Georgio Pore] a Roumanian, fell 75 feet in wheel pit and was killed. He had only been on work 8 hours and was killed. He came up in the bucket with the other men and got in the way of the bucket and was knocked down in the pit again.  He was buried from Morse Undertaking Rooms. There was a nice funeral. He was buried at grave yard at Falls View at the west end with all the others. His brother cried and went on.  He took it hard. They sang while the grave was being filled up. They had mass in the church ...” 

1904 September 24

Joseph Pitt [Emido Petrangelo] an Italian, was killed at the Power Works by a bucket slipping a cog when 45 feet up, and he was filling the other bucket and it came down and killed him instantly, and he was taken to Morses Undertaking Rooms, and fixed up and buried from there. A nice funeral. Very rainy morning. Blew very hard just before they started at half past  9 in morning. They held mass over him. He was buried at the Southwest corner of the yard and close to Victoria Work’s monument 10 feet north. Priest from monastery, Thomas Hill and Wm. Dalton dug the grave on Friday afternoon 23rd. It was hard. Took us all the afternoon.” 

1904 October 11 

Bengiman Bagordes [Bogardes] died at Hamilton Hospital. He had an operation performed on his head. Age 59. They lived at the Center and he worked for the Power Company two years ago and got hurt and never got over it. He was a member of the Baptist church and was a good singer. He left 4 children and a wife. He worked in the Park a long time driving team and James McGuire took his place. There was a large funeral.  He had lots of relatives. Mrs. Henry DeWitt and daughter and sons attended... Casket came from Hamilton...” 

1905 January 18 

Charles Kostok, a polack killed by a descending bucket on the Toronto & Niagara Power Co. Works on Saturday Jan. 24 in morning and was buried at Falls View Cemetery on the North west end of the yard in a double grave for two. Homer Swackhamer dug the grave  for the two. Paid him $4.00 and Wm. Dalton helped all he could, having the lumbago in back at the time. A lot of men turned out and two women. Father Pall Ryan and Father Best officiated...” 

1905 January 18 

Joseph Stelano, the Hungarian who was fatally injured in Dec. 1904 by falling ice in the tunnel and was taking to the Memorial Hospital on the American side died from the effect.  Was buried at Falls View Cemetery in the same grave with Charles Kostok and same time Stelano was lowered down first. He was buried in a fine casket and Kostok in plain coffin. Father Pall Ryan officiated to both men a the same time. Stelano was buried on the south side of Kostok. Good sleighing. Very cold...” 

1905 November 21

James J. Haley instantly killed by a dummy engine down at the Power Works. He was a fireman and the engine gave a lurch going around a curve and he fell off and was killed. He was taken to Morse Undertaker Rooms and prepared for to be taken to his home at Falls View where his father and mother lived. She kept borders and the son James was the only child and it was a hard blow for her. He was buried on the south side of his aunt who was buried in June last. Father Warner held mass. A large funeral and beautiful flowers. He belonged to a club and they turned out. He was a smart boy and well liked by all. His mother had the lid taken off at the grave and she kissed him. ...”


Fatality at Power Works James J Haley Instantly killed by dummy engine.

A distressing fatality occurred on Saturday afternoon about 3 o’clock down in the park at the works of the Toronto Electrical Development Company, when a youth named James Joseph Haley, aged 17 years, employed as a fireman on a dummy engine, was instantly killed.

The unfortunate young man was thrown from the engine which was running backwards quite rapidly around a curve on the tramway near the upper forebay. He fell alongside the wheels and was dragged some distance.

The body was taken to Morse & Son’s undertaking rooms and Dr.E.T. Kellam, the coroner is investigating the facts surrounding the accident.

The young man lived at Falls View with his parents and intended to work only one week longer and then resume his studies at the Collegiate Institute.

The funeral will take place tomorrow at 9 o’clock a.m. from his late home to Falls View Cemetery.

Powerhouse during construction, large cranes and scaffolding surround and are on top of the neo-classical structure. Large bay area (looks like an apse) is at the near side to the photographer, numerous columns seem to support the exterior all around the building. Two train tracks are in the fore-ground, there are people walking as well, but they are blurry due to exposure time, also telegraph poles along the train tracks. Sepia toned image with
1906-Electrical Development Company construction, aka Toronto Power Station

1907 July 2     

James Dennis was killed by the falling of a derrick at the Electrical Development Works and was buried on Drummond Hill in their lot in new part, in center of lot... they held an inquest but could not place the blame on the company...


Fatal Accident-James Dennis, of Epworth Circle, Fatally injured by a derrick at Power Works –died in the hospital– Inquest held.

On Saturday afternoon a fatal accident occurred at the Electrical Development Works by which James Dennis a young married man who lived at Epworth Circle was injured so badly that he died at the city hospital a short time afterwards

Workmen were engaged in dismantling a derrick when a board fell, crushing Dennis on the side and limbs. He was at once removed to the hospital in an ambulance, but lived only a short time. He leaves a wife and small family.

Inquest Held

Last evening coroner Dr. Kellam called for an inquest at Morse’s undertaking establishment in the matter of the death of James Dennis and the following jury was sworn in: A. E. Dell, Thos. Histrop, Geo. Murray, W.F. Ross, Jno. England, V. H. Robinson, Thos Priestman, W. Ross, M. P. Fralick, N. Ferris, Otto Morse S. E. Boulter.

After viewing the remains the inquest was adjourned until tonight at 8 p.m. at Morse & Son’s Undertaking Rooms. 

1910 March 17   

Ernest Robert Buchner, home in Port Robinson in lived at George S. Chown’s W 42 North Main St., Niagara Falls South was killed on the Pipe Line of the Niagara Ontario power Co.  while fixing a derrick. Was fetched to Morses Undertaking Rooms and cared for then to where he boarded at G. S. Chown’s, cor[ner] Main and Summer St. He was liked by all persons. Was buried on Hill in Chown lot north west corner.  His brothers and sister came to the funeral. He had a large turn out. Beautiful flowers. No frost in ground. Snow nearly all gone. Minister-Re[v]. Mr. Ferguson, Methodist. Lavell in England trip... Power Co. to pay bill of burying him. Paid. 

1910 March 20   

Mr. Crown’s child died down at the north end called the Circle. Was buried on Hill at 4 o’clock in new lot north end. A nice funeral. A fine afternoon. In morning rained hard at half past 5 in morning. Lightning struck power house off Street R.R. and put them out of business... 

1910 June 2     

Fredrick Egerter was electrocuted on Pole near Skinner Corner on June 2. Was a lineman in the employ of the Ontario Power Company. Was working on a dead wire and a man at Thorold turned on the current and killed him so they took him to the Russell Stone House on Ferry St. where he boarded at his brother in law’s John Higgins and was buried in new lot bought by him North End. A large funeral. All the linemen turned out... 

1910 June 17    

Twelve Foreigners who were burnt to death at Falls View on the morning of the 15th of June was taken to Mr. Geo. Morses and kept on ice. Was buried from there on the 17th in the morning at 11 o’clock. Was carried to the Cemetery on trays draped in black and came in by Mackenzie Lane and was buried in two lots 16' by 18 in the southwest corner of the yard. There was a large lot turned out to the funeral. There was not a hitch in the burying of them. A very warm day. All was over by 12 o’clock. John Billing (Fles Dell Joshua Henderson & David Metler helped to dig the graves and fill them in and Layfield Hill finished it up. No minister) Father O’Neall said mass on Monday June the 20th at 8 o’clock in morning The township of Stamford had to foot the bill. All the Council attended. James DePew, Mr. Marsh, Dept. Reeve Boulter and Reeve Thomas Bevvman & George Welstead. The men had 2 weeks work of money coming to them and it was to apply on the expenses. They worked for the Ontario Power Company putting in the large pipe. Geo. Morse Undertaker. ... We were levelling old cemetery at the time for Park Commissioners. Opening two lots 12 graves $36.00. 

1910 August  7  

Mr. Bruce who was electrocuted with two other men down at the Power Works was buried in single grave in single lot on Hill. Was buried second from south end of lot. The Power workers turned out. A nice wreath of flowers...

Newspaper clipping: Niagara Falls, Ont., 1912, March 5: The Queen Victoria Niagara Falls Park Commissioners have taken over the new part of Drummond Hill Cemetery from the Mackenzie estate, comprising about two acres.

The added portion will be levelled and sodden uniformly with the old portion. New walks and water mains will be laid and the whole beautified in conformity with the rest of the grounds.

1912 April 3

George Leister Steele had his back broken by falling down a hatchway at the Transformer Building Falls View where he worked January 17th 1906, and he lived to April 1st 1912 where he died at his father’s home at Falls View. It cost all of his father’s money he could raise. Power Co. gave $12,000 and the Odd Fellows Cataract Lodge 103 cost them a lot. He was a wonder to all the doctors and Dr. Thompson was his doctor all the way through his sickness and his poor mother waited on him till lately and then she died with a broken heart. He was buried at All Saints Church Yard on the south side of his mother. The Odd Fellows of Cataract Lodge 103 turned out 37 strong.... We marched to the house at Falls View and viewed the body. He looked well for laying so long. A large turn out. A fine afternoon. Ice on the trees and they sparkled with the sun. North west wind and cold. ... Lot of water to dip out of grave. 

1912 August 8   

Frank Howey age 52 died at the Hospital NF NY. Cause of death: fracture of face of skull from a fall at the Canadian Niagara Power Co. Plant. He was a carpenter and was knocking a board off with a bar. Missed his blow and fell 20 feet and struck on his head. They rushed him to the Hospital on the American Side but he died soon after and Mr. Morse went and brought him home and took care of the body. He was a fine fellow and a large lot turned out to his funeral. The Firemen of which he belonged and Carpenters Union and a lot of men turned out and had service at the grave. A beautiful lot of flowers covered the grave. He was buried in the north half of Lot 391 bought off James Johnson August 8, 1912 for $10.00. A fine afternoon. Buried at 3 o’clock p.m....

Canadian Niagara Power Company Construction. Black and white image which has aged and is now sepia. Cranes and scaffolding surround the build site. The natural rock strata is visible above a smooth strata has been made with concrete. The smooth strata demarks the trench extending from below the photographer to beyond the vision of the camera. A walkway is at mid-frame which stretches over the trench.
1904-Canadian Niagara Power Company Project construction site

1912 September 22    

William Grubb Stewart, age 24 years 3 months & 8 days, son of Daniel Stewart or Big Dan as he was called, was killed down at the Toronto Power House while working on a derrick lifting a heavy stone. The leg flew out and threw him down 60 feet on stones and killed him. He was a good worker and was well liked. They turned out a lot of people and the Fireman of which he belonged at Falls View. He was buried in the centre of Lot 270 and buried down 6 feet by their order. They had a large lot of flowers and Edith England took a picture of them. Fine afternoon. Buried at 4 p.m. Rev. Wm. Bevan officiated.

Obituary: Accident Victim Buried Yesterday

Niagara Falls, Ont. Sept. 23 – Yesterday afternoon at 2:30 o’clock the funeral of the late William Stewart, who was killed at the Toronto Electrical Development Company’s plant on Wednesday took place from the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Stewart, Dunn Street, Falls View, to Drummond Hill Cemetery.

Reverend Canon Bevan, Rector of All Saint’s church, was the officiating clergyman at the house and graveside.

The funeral arrangements were carried out under the auspices of the Falls View fire brigade, with Captain Thomas Skinner in charge, the deceased having been an active member of that organization. Both Rescue companies from Niagara Falls South turned out in a body and there were large representatives in line from the Bender and West Side hose companies, the Alert H. & L. Company and the Hose and Steamer company from the north end in charge of Chief Newman and Assistant Chief  Didemus. Many carriages containing relatives and friends of the deceased were in the funeral cortege and the route taken was from Dunn Street to Portage Road and Main Street to Lundy’s Lane thence to Drummond Hill Cemetery.

Five stalwart brothers of the dead fireman, Joseph, James, Richard, George and James and a cousin, George of Stamford acted as pallbearers.

Many beautiful floral pieces from relatives, friends and the firemen were placed upon the casket as tokens of love and respect.

Besides the parents, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Stewart, the deceased leaves six brothers and eight sisters, all of whom were endeared to the son and brother by the ties of tenderest affection.

© 2022 City of Niagara Falls