Auburnian Was One of First Daredevils at Niagara Falls

NIAGARA FALLS -- Nik Wallenda's walk over the Horsehoe Falls, at Niagara Falls, on Friday night was a huge success. But prior to Wallenda's tightrope walk, one of the best known-daredevils at the Falls was Annie Taylor. 

She was born Annie Edson, in Auburn, on October 24th, 1838 -- one of four children born to flour mill owner Merrick Edson. Annie was also the first person to ever make it over the Horsehoe Falls in barrel, to live to tell about it. Here's Niagara Falls historian Paul Gromosiak ...

Gromosiak said weather delays caused Taylor to make the trip down the Falls later than she had planned.


Taylor was later cheated out of her money, as she tried to cash in on her exploits, by two unscrupulous managers. Gromosiak says Taylor and her friends tried to cushion her fall as much as they could.  


When asked by reporters whether she would ever try again, Taylor's answer came quickly, Gromosiak said.


Gromosiak is the author of "Daring Niagara: 50 Death-Defying Stunts at the Falls," and he was a recent guest on "Talk of Cayuga County." He says Taylor never got the money she deserved for risking her life.



Gromosiak says Annie Edson Taylor died in 1921, at the age of 82, at the Niagara County Infirmary in Lockport.

                                                     Gravesite at Oakwood Cemetery in Buffalo

                                                                                           Photo courtesy of Oakwood Cemetery

Of all the stunt people he's written about and studied, Gromosiak says Taylor will always be his favorite.

As for Nik Wallenda, he says his next challenge will be to walk across the Grand Canyon, and he says he's already got the permits in place to do so. The ratings for Friday's walk over the Horseshoe Falls were thru the roof -- the best ratings for a non-sports summer program, on any network, in the past six years, and the best ratings ABC has gotten -- for any show -- since November 2007.

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