The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Oct. 4, 1848

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[Huron Gazette Extra]

Probably All Hands Perished!

Goderich, Tuesday Morning, Sept. 26th.

We have to announce the occurrence of a melancholy and distressing shipwreck on Lake Huron, and one which there is too sad reason to fear has been attended with a calamitous loss of life. We anticipate our usual day of publication, in forwarding the meagre details that are yet known, of this deplorable event, in the hope of obtaining some information that may lead to the discovery of the name of the unfortunate vessel.

The charred upper works of a large steamer or propeller, was driven ashore at Pine Point above Goderich on Wednesday last, the 20th inst., the circumference of the mast being described to us as about the circumference of a flour barrel, the mast itself coming ashore at Kincardine - the deck and mast of the vessel being burnt black, the topmast was about 18 or 20 feet long and painted white - many of the wooden hoops by which the sails are run up and down the mast have drifted ashore and appear to have been cut away with an axe. The Yawl which is about 18 feet in the keel, painted lead color inside, and white with a green stripe outside, but without any name whatever on it, was not at all burnt but is now in the possession of Mr. John McGregor, of Ashfield, who found her at Pine Point, where she had drifted ashore - the burnt parts, also of another small boat, have been picked up. Amongst the various articles that the north west wind has driven in, are between 200 and 300 barrels of flour and Indian corn, picked up by various parties, between Kincardine and Goderich - a vast number of boxes of candles and raisins, etc.and also an immense quantity of lucifer matches in round boxes. Many of the flour barrels are marked "City Mills, D. Harvey" and other of the goods recovered from the wreck are directed to the Sault Ste. Mary and the Midea Bay Mining Company.

There appeared to have been a great deal of dried apples on board, as the beach is strewed with them half burnt and black; and charred barrel staves and other parts of the wreck have been washed ashore until last evening, when the wind chopped round to the N.E.

Many other things have also been recovered from the wreck, but nothing that has thrown any light on the name of the unfortunate vessel. From a box, containing 7 kegs of Blasting Powder packed in oats, and, indeed from other circumstances, there is but little doubt she was bound up the lake to one of the Mining Districts.

There is too much reason to fear that the unfortunate vessel first caught fire and then blew up; for the various parts of the wreck, that we have seen, indicate that the timbers have been riven asunder by explosion. No bodies have been yet discovered, which leaves us the faint hope that as these vessels generally hug the American shore, the men may have saved themselves by taking to the boats. At a special meeting of Magistrates here yesterday, it was determined to send constables along the coast to protect the recovered property, which we sincerely hope will be carefully preserved for the owners, and that the farmers on the Huron Coast will never aim at that most unamiable name of wreckers.

We shall be obliged to any of our contemporaries who can throw light on this dreadful catastrophe.


Dreadful Explosion and Loss of Life.

A Correspondent of the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, writing from Detroit, under date September 23rd, says that rumors have been brought down from Mackinac, that the propeller Goliath, loaded with provisions, hay, powder, etc., for the Sault, took fire on Saginaw Bay, and was blown to pieces. These rumors have since been confirmed by the Detroit papers; and the statement which we publish in another part of this day's paper, from an extra of the Huron Gazette, has references no doubt to the ill-fated Goliath.

The Detroit Free Press, of Monday, says that "One master of a schooner that sailed in company with the Goliath until driven in a different direction by the severity of the gale, saw the light in the course of the propeller, and the explosion was so great as to arouse the crew from their berths in the forecastle. People on the shore gave nearly the same version of the story, and locate the burning light in about the same directions. There are a thousand rumors afloat of every character; and after a careful investigation of them all, we must say that from the fact that several vessels have passed in the course of the propeller, which have seen no traces of her, the probabilities are strong that there is some truth in the report, however much we may wish it may not prove true. From the light combustible materials comprising her load between decks, fire would spread with great rapidity, but it would take a great while for it to reach the powder, that was in the extreme bow of the vessel. We have no means of ascertaining the exact number of persons on board the propeller; from what information we can gather, there was probably not far from twenty-five, who have doubtless perished in the ill-fated wreck, as it would have been impossible for any of them to have saved themselves by taking to the water, the storm being one of the most severe that has occurred in some time, and such that no open boat or raft could withstand for a moment. The propeller being under charge of the mate, Cootell, the Captain, Perry Palmer, having left at China, on account of sickness in his family. John E. Swartz, son of the Adjutant General, was the clerk, and ___ Dodge and Edward Cook, of this city, were both passengers, together with eight miners, on their way to the Minestota and Ontonagon locations. The crew consisted of some ten more persons, most of them from this city, but whose names we are unable to learn. The second mate's name was Alvah McNeil, and the cook's ___ Cooley. The propeller was owned by D.N. Barney ?, of Buffalo, and we are informed was fully insured. The cargo was mostly shipped from Buffalo and this city, and belonged to the different mining companies in the copper country, consisting of flour, pork, hams, groceries of all kinds, paints, oils, lumber, powder, hay, and the usual stores wanted for mining operations. It was a large load and a general assortment, belonging principally to C.C. Cashman, Quebec and Lake Superior Company, H.B. Chamberlin of Eagle River, and S.A. Knapp, of Ontonagon. These arre the owners of the goods shipped from here, and we are unable to give those of the Buffalo shipments. There is an insurance of over $6000 on the bills of lading from here, about 100 tons bulk.

The Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, of Wednesday, adds to the above:-

"About 80 kegs of powder were put on board the Goliath here, and one hundred and twenty-five at Detroit, which were stowed carefully in the extreme bow of the vessel, farthest from the fire, and covered with merchandise. There were 60,000 shingles, 30,000 feet of lumber, and about 30 tons of hay stowed away between decks and on the promenade deck - forming, altogether, a highly combustible cargo. The Free Press mentions a report that the cook had come ashore in a small boat near Lexington. He saw the fire making its way to the powder, when he lowered the small boat and made his escape. When a short distance from the vessel it blew up with a tremendous explosion, and he was the only one left to tell the sad tale. The Cleveland Herald, of Monday, says, that Capt. Sweet, of the propeller Republic, who arrived in that city, on the day previous, conversed with Capt. Fuller, of the schooner Spartan, who says she was within five miles of the Goliath at the time of the fire - distinctly saw it and heard the explosion - the force of which was so intense as to shake every timber of his vessel, but from the force of the wind was unable to reach her.

Another Steamboat Accident - We learn that the steamer Oldfield, plying between Carillon and Lachine, ran foul of a Barge at the entrance of the St. Ann's Locks on her upward trip on Thursday morning last. The Steamer went down in ten feet water. The Passengers were taken up by the Lord Stanley. Another steamer from Kingston has been despatched to take the place of the Oldfield.

p.3 Brockville, Oct. 2nd, 7:30 p.m. - Steamer Comet sunk at the Gallops with 3000 bbls of flour on board.

Kingston Marine List.

Vessels Arrived In Port.

Sept. 25th - Schr. Queen Victoria, Grand River, 96 pcs. timber, Calvin, Cook & Co.

Schr. Colborne, Port Nelson, 2864 bush. wheat, J.H. Greer & Co.

26th - Schr. Royal Tar, Toronto, 5310 bush. wheat, H. & S. Jones & Co.

Brig Woodman, Oswego, 120 tons plaster, Wellington; 156 bbls. salt, J. Pierson.

27th - Str. City of Toronto, Toronto, 721 kegs butter, H. & S. Jones; 659 bbls. flour, McPherson & Crane.

28th - Str. Scotland, Port Stanley, 7530 bush. wheat, 896 kegs butter, 28 bbls. ashes, 9 bags mentioned.

Schr. Sovereign, Hamilton, 610 bbls. flour, J.H. Greer & Co.; 985 bbls. flour, McCuaig & Co.

Schr. N.G., Port Dover, 1353 bbls. flour, H. Greer & Co.

Str. Niagara, French Creek.

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Oct. 4, 1848
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Rick Neilson
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), Oct. 4, 1848