Heavy rains early in 1854 left the James River and the treacherous Balcony Falls, south of this site, in full flood. One 21 January the towrope of the canal boat, Clinton, snapped. Washed over the Mountain Dam and through successive falls, its passengers became stranded in the raging waters. Braving the dangerous river, Frank Padget, an enslaved boatman, skillfully led a crew of five rescuers who successfully saved dozens of the stranded passengers. While he was attempting to rescue the last passenger, Padget’s craft was broken on the rocks. Unable to fight the rushing current, Padget drowned.
Year On Marker: 2007
Geographic Location: Amherst County
Physical Description of Location: Big Island, VA 24526. Located on Elon Road (Rt. 501), 4.5 miles northwest of the intersection of Elon Road (Rt. 501) and Lee Jackson Hwy (Rt. 501). Marker is on the left when traveling northwest on Elon Road (Rt. 501).
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