THE WHEELING SUSPENSION BRIDGE’S FIRST SUICIDE ATTEMPT 1854 by John Bowman

The First person to jump off the Wheeling Suspension Bridge.

January 25th 1854, Capt. J.C. Jelly master of the steamer Albemarle, having just slipped away from the Wheeling wharf, observed a person leap from the Wheeling Suspension Bridge.  He dispatched two crewmembers in a yawl to rescue the person, apparently still alive in the icy water.  The person was a young woman of eighteen, a “seamstress” and the first person to jump off the bridge.  The young woman lived and within a few days, a man named Lemuel Stanley ran a personal add in the Wheeling newspaper disclaiming any responsibility for the incident.

The Wheeling Suspension Bridge Booth Battelle & Co. Wharfboat and the Steamer Phil Sheridan at the Wheeling Wharf in 1866 Watercolor by George Storm
The Wheeling Suspension Bridge and a Steamboat at Wheeling’s Wharf Circa 1854 From the John Bowman Collection
Looking at the Waterfront from the Wheeling Suspension Bridge

What was last seen before she jumped into the river.

Source: Bowman, John “Wheeling The Birthplace of the American Steamboat” 2008

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