City Island, NY Boat Capsizes, May 1897


George Steffen Went Out for Eels Saturday Night and Is Missing---His Companion's Story.

Two men called on Andrew J. Horton at his hotel on City Island Saturday night at 10 o'clock and asked to hire a boat to catch eels. They gave their names as Arthur Lehr, twenty-six years old, of 253 East Eightieth Street, and George Steffen, twenty-seven years old, of 305 East Eighty-first Street. Mr. Horton agreed to let the boat, and gave them the key to his boat-house, telling them where it was, about three blocks from the hotel, and telling them to take the small boat. They went away, and between 11 and 12 o'clock Lehr returned alone. He was wet up to his armpits and hysterical.

Mr. Horton called Dr. Lawrence of City Island, who pumped a large quantity of water and some whiskey out of Lehr. When he was able to tell his story, he said that after they put out from shore they attempted to exchange places. This capsized the boat, Lehr claims, and both were thrown into the water. He seized one of the oars, and with it as a help, he managed to reach the shore. Then he looked back, but could see neither Steffen nor the boat.

That is the last known of Steffen. The boat was found yesterday about 200 feet from shore, near where it is said to have capsized. It was bottom up.

Steffen had a wife and three children, but when and effort was made last night to see her it was found that she had left home Friday to visit some friends in Brooklyn, and had not yet heard of her husband's death.

One peculiar thing about the incident is the statement of Mr. Horton, the owner of the boat into the water, that when Lehr came to him from the water, he was only wet to his shoulders. He wants to know how a man could be thrown from a boat into the water, and not get thoroughly wet.

Efforts are making to find Steffen's body.

The New York Times, New York, NY 10 May 1897