The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Dec. 1, 1880

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The year has been sadly fruitful of calamity, as well as business on the lake. It is doubtful whether any season in the history of lake navigation has closed with such a terrible whirl of fatalities. The weather during the season was very mild and favourable up to September. The whole of November was marked by rapid changes of weather and terrible cyclones. The summary of loss, wreck, misery and death reaches an aggregate truly appalling. Excluding all the casualties on the Gulf, the Canadian seaboard, and the Nfld. coast, there were since the 9th of November 20 cases of total wreck, and a loss of no less than 56 lives. Besides these 30 vessels are reported damaged, some very slightly, others nearly to the extent of wrecking, and of these fully one-half sustained their injury from being driven ashore. It is probable that another 30 can be added to the number of vessels damaged in the gale. The damages by ice are remarkable: 104 vessels are reported as blocked up by the ice while in the Erie Canal alone 800 boats are still frozen up, all laden with grain which is estimated at over 6,000,000 bushels. In other canals and in the St. Lawrence there are probably 200 more boats in a similar predicament. Many valuable rafts, one or two noted as having contained $40,000 worth of timber, have been scattered along the beaches of the lakes, making the total loss sustained during these gales impossible at present to estimate.

The following is a catalogue of the disasters so far known, with the statements of actual loss given in only a few cases:

Actual Losses - sch. David Andrews, on beach 3 miles east of Oswego, crew saved, April 10.

- sch. Northman, foundered 10 miles off Port Credit, all hands perished, April 16.

sch. Fellowcraft, ashore at Leamington, damage $2500, got off.

sch. Emery, ashore at Leamington, damages $1000, got off.

sch. Jennie Graham, of St. Catharines, sunk at Duck Island, Lake Michigan, April 21.

- schrs. G.C. Thompson & Mary E. Perew, ashore at Port Rowan, got off, April 21. A large number of minor mishaps to vessels happened at Long Point about this date.

- sch. Restless ashore at Leith, Georgian Bay, got off, April 30.

- sch. Margaret A. Muir, dismasted in a squall on Lake Huron, May 7th.

- sch. Guelph, aground in Fairport harbour, got off, May 30.

- sch. Sligo, ashore on Magnetic reef, Lake Huron, got off, June 3rd.

- sch. Hyderabad sank at Manitowac, raised, June 12.

- prop. St. Catharines, sunk, crew saved, July 18.

- tug D.E. McFarlane, sunk off Port Colborne, one boy drowned, Aug 18.

- prop. Lake Erie, ashore at Club Island, Georgian Bay, got off, September 28.

- sch. Olive Branch, foundered between Main Duck and False Ducks, Lake Ontario, all hands lost, Sept. 30.

- sch. Guelph, grounded at Burlington pier, got off Oct. 2.

- prop. Jane Miller, ashore in Michael's Bay, Georgian Bay, Oct.14.

- A gale on Oct. 16 on Lake Michigan, terrible.

- sch. Two Friends, wrecked at North Bay, Oct. 16.

- sch. B.W. Folger, ashore on the Ducks, Lake Ontario, got off, October 24.

- sch. Tranchemontagne, struck Oswego pier, total loss, crew saved, Nov. 1.

November Gales - In the first of the November gales the following casualties were reported between the 8th and 25th:

- sch. Belle Sheridan was beached in Weller's Bay; 6 of the crew lost, vessel total wreck.

- sch. Norway, wrecked on the lake, 8 of the crew lost, vessel towed to Kingston.

- prop. Zealand, lost on the Lake with all hands, 16 in number.

- sch. Blanche, ashore near Cobourg, got off.

- sch. Hannah Butler, ashore near Cobourg, got off.

- sch. Dundee, ashore in the river near Brockville, got off, damage $700.

- sch. Baltic, loss of main-boom.

- sch. Twilight, loss of sails.

- sch. Wave Crest, loss of anchor and other outfit.

- sch. A.G. Ryan, ashore on Wolfe Island, got off.

- sch. Maumee Valley, ashore in the river near Brockville, got off.

- sch. Lily Hamilton, ashore at Kingston, got off, damages $2000.

- sch. T.C. Street, ashore on beach near Wellington, on Prince Edward Island (sic), abandoned for the present.

- sch. Woodduck, aground below Oswego, crew saved, vessel total loss.

- sch. Amsden, beached at Southampton, Lake Huron, crew saved.

- sch. Canadian wrecked on a shoal west of Cap Robert, Georgian Bay, total loss, crew saved.

- prop Georgian, ashore at Point Albino, Lake Erie.

- sch. Snow Bird, ashore at Oswego, crew saved, cargo scattered.

- sch. Morning Star, foundered off Long Point, Lake Erie, crew of 8 lost, vessel total loss, valued at $20,000, cargo 10,000 bush. wheat.

- sch. Kingfisher, stranded near Port Stanley, not got off yet.

- sch. Carrington, capsized in Lake Michigan, 4 men and cook supposed to be lost.

- sch. Bessie Barwick, dismasted.

Later Accidents - The following have been reported from the 25th till the close of the month:

- sch. Wave Crest, ashore near Frenchman's Bay, got off with some damage.

- sch. Guelph, ashore near same place, being got off, captain injured.

- sch. Falmouth, of Oswego, struck near Buffalo, and went to pieces, cargo lost.

- prop. Jarvis (Lord?), ashore on Turtle Island, released with damage.

- man lost off barge Fulton.

- sch. Flora Carveth, ashore on shoal near Brothers, got off.

- sch. Scotia, stranded and sprung a leak, got off.

- tug Oneida, sunk near Buffalo.

- sch. Queen of the Lakes and Margaret McCrea narrowly escaped wreck.

- prop. Waverly struck on Lime Kilns, got off with damage.

- sch. W.R. Taylor, total loss at South Manitou, valued at $22,000, cargo $12,000.

- sch. J.C. Clarke, sunk at Sydney embankment, near Wallaceburg, from collision with ice.

- sch. Garibaldi, ashore near Weller's Bay, not off yet, mate frozen to death.

- sch. Fitzhugh, of Oswego, disabled, reaching Buffalo.

- prop. New York, sunk in Detroit River.

- sch. Camelia, ashore at Sacketts Harbour.

- barge Shawasse, total loss near Port Huron.

- sch. George Murray, ashore near Port Edward, will probably be got off.

- sch. Cordelia, on the beach at Sacketts Harbour.

- sch. W. Wallace, sunk at Goderich by collision with ice.

- sch. Lincoln Dall ? cargo of coal, wrecked at Tawas, one boy drowned.

- prop. Fletcher, ashore on South Fox Island, crew saved, vessel said to be lost, value $35,000.

- sch. Albatross, ashore at Wellington, part cargo saved.

- str. Simcoe, lost in Georgian Bay, value $24,000, cargo 19,000 bushels of corn, crew of 10 not heard of.

- sch. Enterprise, ashore South Bay, not much damage yet.

- sch. G.H. Warmington, ashore near Green Bay, and will probably go to pieces.

- sch. Cortez, ashore near Oswego, cargo wheat scattered along shore.

- tug Wm. Hall, sank Port Stanley, but lifted.

- the Wesley, the Eldorado and the Bay City: reported ashore near Erie; and in Lake Erie also the following vessels were reported damaged more or less: Lewis Ross, J.B. Merrill, Aconitas, Sam Cook, Tim Baker, Hoboken, H.M. Scove, Bigles, and Evely.

- 3 barges, names not reported, sank in Lake Erie.

- on Lake Ontario other vessels besides these mentioned were reported damaged, such as the China, Caroline Marsh, Suffle, Undine, Erie Stewart, and Speedwell.

- in Lake Erie 74 vessels were reported stuck in the ice at the upper end, and about 30 on the river between there and Lake Huron. - a number of casualties reported in St. Lawrence, among other ships Boyne dismasted.

- str. Ottawa, ashore at Cap la Roch and went to pieces. Insured for $47,000.

- vessel, name unknown, ashore at Consecon.

- a number of barges broken in river by ice and sunk.

- the gale of the 20th to 22nd, extending to Nfld. and Labrador coast, caused the wreck of about 30 vessels so far reported, 21 being reported at once from the Island alone.

p.2 The Simcoe's Loss - Toronto Dec. 1st - Definite news of the fate of the str. Simcoe has been obtained, and although all those aboard her were not lost, the tale is terrible enough. Five survivors out of her crew of 17 have been brought to Collingwood by the Northern Belle, and from them the story of her loss has been obtained. The ill-fated steamer foundered off Manitoulin Island, on Wednesday, the 24th inst., Captain Hill and 9 others, amongst them the ladies maid and cook, perishing.


Marine Notes.

The tug Franklin has entered into winter quarters.

A new tug, of considerable power, may be built for a Kingstonian in the near future. It will be used for wrecking purposes.

The sch. Flora Carveth reached Oswego safely last night. A number of bills have been presented to the captain for payment.

The Garden Island fleet have all settled for the winter. The new barge, in course of construction there, will be ready for service at the opening of next season.

During the past season of navigation 580 crafts called at the M.T. Co. wharf. Nearly all had cargoes, principally of grain, to be discharged.

Canadian vessels have not paid this year. During the Summer many of them were unable to get freights, and in consequence of the severe Fall weather, they were unable to do as much business as they desired. Accidents also carried away the profits that were made in many cases.

The sch. Anna M. Foster arrived back from Oswego last evening and went into winter quarters. The vessel has done a good season's work and that without a single accident. Since the 14th September 11 trips were made by the vessel across the lake between Canadian and American ports.

The sch. Manzanilla, of St. Catharines, left Kingston 6 weeks ago with a cargo of 500 tons of pig iron for Chicago. She had not been heard of for some time, but turned up all right a few days ago. Her master, Capt. Sheldon, was reported to have eloped with a young woman from St. Catharines. The long voyage of the vessel may possibly account for his non-appearance at home.

A Hamilton firm is negotiating for the building here of a steamer having a capacity of from 35,000 to 40,000 bush. of wheat. The proposed steamer will have an iron frame cased in wood. She will be of the full capacity of the new Welland Canal, namely 180 feet length of keel, 35' beam, and 16' hold. The engines and boilers will be of 400 horsepower. The iron frame must be bought in the old country, but the figures have not been found satisfactory. The new vessel will cost between $50,000 and $60,000 and will ply between Montreal and Chicago. She will be fitted up in the best style for both passengers and freight, and will be ready for sea about the end of next summer.

A Sailor's Narrative - Last evening a sailor named Green, off the sch. Oliver Mowat, arrived in the city and gave an account of his last trip. The vessel had a very severe trip from Chicago to Port Huron, where the vessel now lies. Mr. Green reports that on Wednesday 24th the ill-fated steamer Simcoe ran into the South Manitous, where the Mowat lay. The steamer threw out her anchor and remained in shelter for 2 or 3 hours. Towards evening she left and shortly afterwards a heavy snow storm set in. The steamer was seen no more and must have foundered during the gale. During the same storm the sch. W.R. Taylor also ran into the Manitous. The captain could not see where he was going and the schooner ran right upon the bar southwest of the entrance to the harbour. She knocked and pounded around for several days. When Green left there he was positive the Taylor had broken in two. The mizzen mast was also gone. The members of the crew were of coarse safely rescued.

Gonyeau, who fell from the cross-trees of the Oliver Mowat and broke his leg, was generously waited upon by the crew of the schr. He was placed in the Cheboygan Hospital, but has since been sent to Chicago. Subscriptions were taken up for the injured man. Each man on the vessel gave $5, the mate $10 and the captain $15, making in all the sum of $50, which, with $22 of wages due, placed him in a comfortable position financially.

Grain Market - prices of grain, receipts at Oswego from various Canadian ports -details.

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Date of Original:
Dec. 1, 1880
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Rick Neilson
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), Dec. 1, 1880