The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Nov. 9, 1880

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Disastrous Gale.

Trenton Nov. 8th - Another vessel is sunk off Brighton, name unknown; all hands lost.

Napanee Nov. 8th - The steam-barge Norman left Oswego light on Saturday for Adolphustown. It is feared she may have foundered.

Rough Passage - Oswego Nov. 8th - The Ariel, which arrived yesterday with barley and shingles, had a rough time. She had 150,000 shingles on deck, of which she lost 100,000. She shipped terrible seas, which filled the cabin and forecastle and the crew had to knock out the bulwarks so that she would clear herself. The Olive from the Bay had a very rough passage, the sea filling her forecastle and cabin and probably wetting part of her cargo aft. The Annandale lost her jib topsail and split her fore gaff topsail.

River Cases - Between 4 & 5 o'clock on Sunday morning the sch. Dundee, Capt. Kelly, which cleared from Brockville on Saturday afternoon for Toronto, went ashore near the entrance to Water's Bay, above the Narrows. Both anchor chains, one 1 1/8 inches in thickness and the other 1/8?, were snapped like twine. She went on with considerable force, but sustained no particular damage.

The sch. Wave Crest, another vessel of about the same tonnage as the Dundee, left Brockville on Saturday, but only got as far as the the Five Mile Light, when she dropped her anchors. The waves dashed completely over her, but she managed to stand it all right.

A Sorrowful Story.

Consecon Nov. 8th - The boy McSherry says his father and brother Edward perished on board about 1 o'clock on Sunday afternoon from the cold and exposure to the heavy breakers that were washing completely over the vessel from the moment she struck. The vessel went ashore broadside, heading to the north. The father and son Edward died both together, the latter in his brother James' arms, and both bodies washed overboard. The then survivors clung to the shrouds of the foremast all together until about 4 o'clock, when James left the group and worked his way along the rail to the mainmast where he secured a plank and then leaped into the water. After being washed around for about 15 minutes he was picked up by the boat sent out from shore. Had the others done the same thing they might have been rescued, as the small boat could not get to the vessel for the breakers. About 5 o'clock the mainmast went, and a portion of the deck broke away, the remaining 4 men still clinging to the forward rigging. They remained there until about 7 o'clock the same evening, when the vessel parted and the foremast fell, carrying to death the poor fellows who were clinging to the wreck. The body of John Hamilton was picked up along the shore about half a mile below the wreck, with his skull smashed, in fact the whole top of the head gone. The heart and lungs of another of the victims were picked up on the shore. The other bodies must have been lashed to the rigging and torn to atoms. Scarcely a vestige of the wreck is to be seen today. The beach is strewn with the debris for miles. The boy McSherry is still here, and will remain until tomorrow.

Toronto Nov. 8th - Capt. McSherry was about 60 years of age, and was born in Newry, Ireland. He came to this country in the year 1842, and for a time was employed as a wagonmaker and wire-worker. For the past 30 years he has been a navigator. He leaves a wife and 5 children, 2 girls and 3 boys. Of his sons who were drowned with him, John was aged 21, Thomas 17, and Edward 13, and all resided with him. The deceased formerly sailed the sch. Echo, and last year the West Wind. Just before the close of navigation he mistook the lights at Cobourg harbour and she went ashore during a storm, becoming a total wreck. The mate, John Hamilton, resided at 76 1/2 Victoria Street, and John Boyd, at the corner of Front and Sherry Streets. So far as can be learned, there was no insurance on the cargo, but the vessel was valued at $4000 and insured for $2667 in the Merchants Marine.


Marine Notes.

The sch. Wave Crest, during the storm, lost her anchor, chains, horsechalk? and pipes.

The wind blew very light from the west today. There was a beautiful calm after the storm.

Various are the surmises regarding the dismasted vessel. The cargo of timber prevents her from sinking.

M.T. Co. - Arrivals: schrs. T.R. Merritt, Toledo, 22,920 bush corn; Jessie Drummond, Toledo, 19,037 bush wheat.

The str. Chieftain left this morning with pumps and lighter to assist in getting the stranded sch. T.C. Street off.

The sch. B.W. Folger has gone as a lighter to the wrecked sch. T.C. Street, whose cargo belonged to the M.T. Co.

A telegram from Oswego says: A lot of flour has been floating in the lake; also a yawl with the name "Prop. Zealand" upon it. The flour was branded "Garden City."

The captain of a vessel, lying at Portsmouth, has accused the commander of another craft with having stolen a hawser. The case may be the subject of magisterial enquiry.

Swifts - Steamers Passing - Algerian from Hamilton; Africa from Montreal; Cuba from Toronto; Picton from Prescott; City of Belleville from Ogdensburg; D.C. West from Westport.

The sch. John Wesley, from Millpoint for Kingston with timber, is ashore at the foot of Amherst Island. It is supposed that the shingles and lumber found on the Cataraqui shore are part of her cargo.

Yesterday and today several vessel men were in a state of unquiet regarding the safety of their vessels. The results of the recent gale have been very great, but it is a matter for congratulations that the loss of life has been so light.

Last evening the str. Hiram A. Calvin left for a trip up the lake in search of the sch. Norway, which was on the lake during the gale, and for the safety of which there is much anxiety. She had not reached the dismasted vessel when we went to press.

Spartan in Peril - One of the most exciting incidents of the late wind storm occurred on Lake St. Francis, when that bold vessel the Spartan, which has run the rapids with Royalty, Vice-Royalty, and in one case, at least, with an Emperor on board, had it not been for the fortunate circumstance that she had a good anchor chain, might have been swept down the Lake and perhaps over the rapids by the wind and current. When about 4 miles west of Coteau the Witness says a break in the Spartan's machinery rendered her engine useless, and the anchor having been thrown out it caught and the vessel was held. Signals of distress were hung out and the greatest alarm prevailed on board. The signal could not be responded to, however, for some time, as the wind and the waves were too violent for any tug to venture on the lake. Yesterday morning a tug reached the disabled vessel, and towed her into Montreal.

Schooner Norway

Found Dismasted & Without Her Crew Near the False Ducks.

Oswego Nov. 9th - Capt. Vanalstine, of the steambarge Saxon, just arrived, reports passing the sch. Norway, of Kingston, about 15 miles south of the False Ducks, dismasted and floating with her bows down. The stern is out of water. The tug Robb has just reached her and is trying to get a line around her stern. There is no one on board the vessel.

Belleville Nov. 9th - Capt. Wilson, of the sch. Marquis, reports that the sch. Norway, of Garden Island, foundered about 12 miles from the Ducks, loaded with timber and dismasted. All hands are lost. The W.T. Robb took her in tow this morning.

Capt. Abraham Malone, of the sch. Oriental, reported on Sunday that he saw the sch. Norway about 4 1/2 miles to windward at dark on Saturday. This was the last he saw of her. The Norway was sailing down the lake in good style. When last seen she was off Presque Isle. The crew was composed of Capt. Wm. O'Brien, whose parents reside on Garden Island. He is aged about 23 years and single. Alfred Joliffe, mate, was a resident of Wolfe Island, having a wife and daughter. He was about 60 years of age, robust and a first-class sailor. He was an uncle of Mr. W.H. Godwin, Principal of the Queen's Street School. Thomas and William Snell were the supporters of a father and mother on Garden Island. They were in poor circumstances. P. Crosby, 2nd mate, was the eldest of a family of that name on Garden Island. He was about 22 years of age. Jos. Bissonette was a Kingstonian and lived near Mortonwood. Francis Quinn had a sister on Garden Island. She is a schoolteacher. They resided together. Sarah Cottenden, the cook, is the daughter of a Garden Islander.

The Norway was built on Garden Island in April 1873 for Calvin & Breck by H. Rooney. She registers 410 tons, is valued at $12,000 and classed A 1 1/2. Messrs. Calvin & Son are the present owners. There was no insurance.

Enquiry is made for a young man named Peter Barns, of Little's Lane, who was believed to be on the Norway. A widowed mother, named Black, was also making enquiry at Calvin's office in the city regarding her son, who was on the vessel.

The Larceny Case - details on trial of Capt. Saunder's assailants.

Touching Scene - It is said that the McSherry family, who composed the crew of the sch. Belle Sheridan, wrecked off Consecon, perished under lamentable circumstances. One by one they sank exhausted into the sleep that knows no waking. The youngest son breathed his last in the arms of his aged father, whose own death followed so soon afterward. The lad was only 12 years of age.

Threatened To Shoot - Yesterday while 2 shovellers, employed by K. & M. Forwarding Co., were at work, one named Sullivan threw a scoop full of grain upon the other. The manager of the company was informed of the circumstance and ordered Sullivan to leave the vessel at once. Previous to going, however, Sullivan threatened to shoot Mr. Stewart, and for this offence he was lodged in the police cells. As soon as Sullivan became sobered he was released, Mr. Stewart not wishing to press charges.

The Stranded Barges - Yesterday afternoon pumps were set at work on the barge Minnie, ashore near Point Frederick, but their operations were futile. The barge was broken up so badly that its owners, the K. & M. Forwarding Co., has decided to abandon it. The loss will be about $3500; no insurance.

At 8 o'clock last evening the elevator Sparrow was towed along side the barge Princess, also ashore at the Point. A hole was cut in the deck, into which was inserted the elevator's leg. Work was then begun, about 38 men being employed in the unloading. For 2 hours $1 per hour was paid and over 8,500 bushels of grain were taken out of one hatchway and discharged into the M.T. Co's barge Toronto. The tug Lady Franklin this morning after a little exertion, hauled off the stranded barge and took her to the Marine Railway, where she will be put on the ways simply to satisfy the insurance companies interested. She has received no apparent damage.

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Nov. 9, 1880
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Rick Neilson
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), Nov. 9, 1880