Sprake records the normal version of NIAGARA, but does not record this version with the over-printing.
"I thought you might be interested to see the attached Niagara Stevengraph which is printed above and below the silk picture with words chosen by my maternal Great Grandfather John Davis. You already have recorded st62 - 'Called To The Rescue' which also features words by him.
John went to Canada twice, and I believe he purchased this Niagara picture as a gift for his son Charles who had emigrated to Canada. This was brought back to the UK by Charles' son with other memorabilia and given to me.
A little background to John Davis.
He was born in Meonstoke, Hants in 1839 and ran away to sea as a boy. He lived a life of debauchery and at age 22 was penniless in New York. The American Civil War had started and he joined the US Navy on the Union side. He served throughout the war becoming the youngest Naval Officer at the rank of Ensign.
He resigned his Commission in May, 1865, at the conclusion of the war, and after a number of years found work in the London Docklands.
Whilst there, he went to a religious meeting in the East End held by Moody. As a consequence, he contemplated his life and how he had survived the war, his amazing escape from death aboard the USS Tulip on 11th November, 1864, and other misfortunes, and turned his life around.
He become a Missionary for the London City Mission and his parish was Bermondsey, which was a very rough area at that time.
As can be seen from the printed wording on the st62 - 'Called To The Rescue' picture, he became Superintendent of the Bermondsey Ragged School.
The reference to "Rescue Lifeboat Crews" relates to the men and ladies who were divided up in groups to go out in the Parish and 'Save the lost Souls'. He and the crew wore a badge of a lifeboat, shown below.
John was also the driving force in forming 'The London Branch of Civil War Veterans' in 1910 and was member No.1. His work as a Missionary took him into the workhouses in Bermondsey and gave him contact with other veterans of the American Civil War. He worked hard to gain a pension from the US for their service and helped many veterans and the poor of the parish.
John died in 1917 and was buried in an unmarked 'common grave' in Nunhead, South London. In 2015 with the help of people in the UK and USA, Peter Collins applied to the US Veterans Administration for a headstone for him which they supplied, engraved and shipped to the UK free of charge.
A dedication service was held at Nunhead on 23rd July 2016, attended by the Commander in Chief of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Eugene Mortoff, who travelled from the USA, the US Embassy Naval Attache, the Deputy Mayor of Southwark, together with family and friends.
image of the badge worn by the Rescue Lifeboat Crews of the London City Mission
representing a lifeboat full of the lost souls saved by the Mission