John Maynard. "Who is John Maynard?" "John Maynard, he was our helmsman who held out till he brought us safely through, saved us and wears a hero's crown above. For us he died, and his reward our love, John Maynard." The Buffalo-Dortmund Sister City Committee honors the legend of John Maynard, immortalized in a poem by Theodor Fontane 1819 - 1898. Translated from the German language by Burt Erickson Nelson. Across Lake Erie the "swallow" wings, foam like snow the ship's bow rins, Detroit to Buffalo she makes her way, All hearts aboard feel free and gay, And passengers with kith and kin, Can see the shore in the twilight dim, And chatering to John Maynard say, "Helmsman, how mush further away?" He looks ahead, then around and explains, "Still thirty minutes...half an hour remains."Every heart is cheerful and very heart feels free, When from below a cry suddenly: "Fire!" was the awful shout, As smoke from cabin and hatch oured out. First smoke, then flames, a blazing glow. And still twenty minutes to Buffalo. And passengers crowd around the bow, The colorful mass pressed together now; At the bowsprit there's still air and light: But at the helm the smoke's grip is tight; A moan is heard, "Where are we? Do you know?" And still fifteen minutes to Buffalo. The wind increases but the smoke cloud says. Towards the helm the captain turns his gaze, He can discern his helmsman no more, But through the speaking tube implores: "Still there, John Maynard?" "Yes, sir, I am." "Head to the beach! Into the surf!" "Yes, sir. I'll ram." And the people cheer on: "Please don't let go!" And still ten mnutes to Buffalo. "Still there, John Maynard?" Then this reply, with a dying man's voice, "Yes, sir, I'll try." And into the surf among rocks and stone, he guides the "Swallow" steering alone; Should rescue come it will only come so. Rescue: the beach of Buffalo. The vessel's broken, it smolders like coal. All have been saved, all save one soul. All the city bells peel, then woes upswell, To heaven from each church and chapel, A ringing and tolling, all else is silent. Just one goal on which all will bear: Ten thousand or more make up the train, And none in the crowd the tears can restrain. The coffin's lowered upon flowers laid, With flowers they then close the grave, And out in the marble in letters of gold, The city's debt of thanks is old" "Here rests John Maynard, in smoke and flame, He held onto the rudder with might and main...Saved us and wears a hero's crown above. For us he died, and his reward our love. John Maynard" [Above paragraph repeated in German.] This poem celebrates an actual event: The burning of the Paddle-wheel steamer "ERIE" on August 9, 1841 with Luther (Augustus) Fuller at the helm.