The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
The Coburn Disaster
Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), 21 Oct 1871, p. 1, column 8

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Latest News from the Survivors.

Captain Ever Ward yesterday morning received a telegram giving the names of those survivors who had reached Mackinac, and last evening the steamer Magnet, which brought the news, arrived here, bringing more particulars. The reality is less cheering than the report which was received by the propeller Brooklyn on Thursday, for instead of two boats reported picked up, and eighteen people rescued, only one, containing eight persons was found. The following are the names of the men in that one boat: W. L. Hance second mate; H. M. Rhodes, trader; Martin Maharing and James Warwick, watchmen; R. Kelly, of Buffalo, a passenger, who got on at Marquette; F. Mumford, Chas. Miller and James Turner, coloured deck hands.

This boat was picked up about four o'clock Sunday afternoon, about the same time as the other one, by the bark Zack Chandler, of Detroit, which transferred them to the Caldwell the following day. They were left at Mackinac. Captain Drake, of the Magnet, offered to bring them down on his boat, but two passenger boats were expected there hourly, and they thought they could get here sooner by taking one of them, as the Magnet was going to tow a vessel down.

Some of the men on the Magnet, who talked with the rescued men, say that the second mate told them he saw Captain Demont on the hurricane deck after the boat went down. The first report was that he had been washed off some time before. They also say that Mr. Westcott and his wife had resigned themselves to their fate, and at the time the boat went down were in the captain's room, with the little son of Captain Demont. The hopes are very slight that any of those in the other boat will ever be heard from, and in all probability the eighteen now known to be saved will prove to be the only survivors leaving about thirty victims for the sea.

Besides Lieut. Atwood, Indian Agent, R. M. Smith and wife, Mr. Major, the clerk, J. J. Rhodes, of the Garrison House, previously reported as among those on board. Robert W. Hutchings, brother of John Hutchings of this city, was also on board and among the lost. it is reported that two men are aboard of the Coburn at L'Anse, who were connected with the Houghton & Ontonagon Railroad, one of them a conductor engaged in the construction of the road. H. M. Rhodes is certain that his brother went down with the boat.

A dispatch to Captain Ward from Kincardine, Ontario, says that boxes marked "Coburn" have come ashore at that place, probably some of the deck load or trader's stores.

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Date of Publication:
21 Oct 1871
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  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 44.3501256340195 Longitude: -83.040419296875
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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The Coburn Disaster