Daredevils of Niagara Falls - A Comprehensive History of the Falls, the People & the Places
H O M E
Over The Falls
Annie Taylor
Bobbie Leach
Charles G. Stephens
Jean Albert Lussier
George A. Stathakis
Red Hill Jr.
William Fitzgerald aka Nathan Boya
Karel Soucek
Steve Trotter
John (Dave) Munday
Jeffrey (Clyde) Petkovich and Peter DeBernardi
Jessie Sharp
John (Dave) Munday (second trip)
Steve Trotter (a second time) and Lori Martin
Robert “Bob” Overacker
Kirk Jones


Tightrope Walkers
Clifford Calverly
Blondin
The Great Farini
Maria Spelterina
Steve Peere
Samuel John Dixon
Henry Balleni

Henri Rechatin

Shooting the Rapids
Carlisle Graham
Capt. Joel Robinson
George Hazlett & Sadie Allen
Martha E. Wagenfuhrer
Maud Willard
Red Hill Sr

Swimming the Rapids
Captain Matthew Webb
William Kendall

Stunters
Sam Patch

Lincoln Beachey

The Maid of the Mist
The History of the Maid of the Mist
The Legend of the Maid of the Mist

Miracles at the Falls
The Roger Woodward Story
The Old Scow

Ice Bridges
Tragedy at the Falls

Niagara Falls Bridges
The Early Bridges
Collapse of the Fallsview Bridge
The Second Fallsview Bridge
The Queenston-Lewiston Bridge
The Rainbow Bridge
The Whirlpool Bridge

Historical Niagara
The History of the Falls
The First Inhabitants
European Discovery
The War of 1812
Navy Island
The Early Tourist Trade
North America's First Museum
The Burning Springs
The Schooner Michigan

The Spanish Aerocar
Dufferin Islands

Incline Railways
Prospect Park Incline Railway
Whirlpool Rapids Incline
Falls Incline Railway

 



 


Bobby Leach
DAREDEVIL TWO

Bobby Leach sitting atop his barrel that carried him over the falls in 1911 making him the second person and first man to go over the falls in a barrel

An Englishman named Bobby Leach successfully made a trip over the falls in a steel barrel and was the first man to ever do so. Leach had been a performer with the Barnum and Bailey Circus and was no stranger to stunting. Prior to his trip over the falls he owned a restaurant on Bridge Street and would boast to customers that anything Annie could do…he could do better.

On July 25th, 1911 he took the plunge over the falls and spent the next six months recuperating in hospital from various fractures and contusions he suffered during his ordeal. After surviving the plunge he went on to make a good living by touring vaudeville theatres and lecture halls, recounting his harrowing experience, and displaying his barrel.

Leach returned to Niagara Falls, New York in 1920 and operated a pool hall. While in his sixties he attempted to swim the whirlpool rapids but failed after several attempts. During these aborted attempts, Bobbie Leach was rescued by Red Hill Sr., a riverman, who knew the Falls well. Red Hill Sr. would also become well known in the area for later rescues, and a son, Red Hill Jr. would also attempt a journey over the brink.

Unlike Annie Taylor before him, Bobby Leach attained some success from his endeavour. For several years he toured Canada, the United States and England, recounting his harrowing journey at vaudeville shows and lecture halls, exhibiting his barrel and posing for pictures.

Luck would run out for Bobby Leach fifteen years later, when he slipped on an orange peel and broke his leg while on a lecture tour in New Zealand. Unfortunately the first man to ever brave the Mighty Niagara and live to tell the tale succumbed to complications from his injury.

 

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