The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Sept. 12, 1881

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Frankfort, Mich., Sept. 12th - The steamer Columbia, of the Northeastern line, was caught in the gale on Saturday night. The cargo shifted at a quarter to seven o'clock on Sunday morning, and the steamer floated only about fifteen minutes, allowing barely sufficient time to launch the boats. The passengers and crew got away in the small boats just as the steamer sank in deep water. A heavy sea was running and the boats were swamped. One, containing the Captain and engineer, was swamped almost before it got clear of the vessel. The following are known to be lost:

Capt. Mallen, Robt. Mountain, Second Mate; Wm. Crosby, First Engineer; Wm. Niffin, Second Engineer; Geo. Benton, fireman; Wm. Shannon, Harriet Simmons and Miss Fitzgerald; also a gentleman from Chicago and seven other passengers, unknown, in all sixteen.

The bodies of the Captain, First and Second Engineers, Miss Fitzgerald, and a young man, unknown, have been washed ashore. The steamer was bound from Chicago to Collingwood, Canada.

p.3 Oswego Yacht Races - Garfield, Emma and Katie Gray expected to participate as well as Ida and Ella from Oswego.


The new steam barge at Deseronto will be launched on Wednesday.

The steamer Varuna has discontinued her trips to the Thousand Island Park.

The steam barge Indian and consorts have been taken below the bridge and laid up for the season.

The schr. Minnie Blakely is still ashore at Point Ann. There will be considerable difficulty in releasing her.

Four new buoys have been set in the vicinity of Telegraph light to mark out the channel and the existence of bars in that locality.

The schr. Gearing must be high and dry upon the Gull Shoal, for the gale of Saturday night blew from a direction calculated to drive her hard on.

The following charters are reported: Schrs. Bangalore, staves, Port Huron to Kingston, $1,100 for the cargo; Fleetwing, lumber, Alpena to Kingston, $2.50.

The Canadian schooner Mary Merritt is ashore thirty miles east of Marquette, loaded with timber. She is owned by Murray, of St. Catharines, and is insured in the Phoenix.

In the absence of an erection upon which to hoist a storm signal, a blackboard will be provided and placed at Folger & Hanley's office, and the storm signals inscribed upon it.

This morning the stern part of the str. Campana arrived at Iroquois to which six tugs had been engaged in hauling the boat from Pillar's wharf, viz. the Chieftain, Hiram A. Calvin, Bronson, Champion, Wren, and one unknown.

Quite a trade is springing up in carrying walnut from Chicago to Quebec. Already six cargoes have passed down the river this season. The demand for walnut is large, and as the Canadian wood is all consumed it has to be imported from the Missouri valley.

The steamer Corsican, from Montreal, was detained Saturday for several hours on account of the smoke. She arrived at 2 o'clock on Sunday morning. The steamer Passport from Toronto was also very late owing to the severe gale on the lake on Saturday night.

The steamer Hero left Picton at 10 o'clock this morning, and, after making all the usual stops, arrived at Kingston at 1:30 o'clock. The boat is well patronized, owing, no doubt, to the kindness of the Captain and the other officers. She has no less than five excursion engagements this week.

The schr. William Elgin, loaded with iron ore for Cleveland, ran ashore on the Ducks on Saturday night owing to the fog or smoke. The tug Mixer and a lighter went to her rescue and the vessel will be got off today. It is not known whether she is damaged or not, but it is stated that there are four feet of water in her hold.


Schr. Marysburg, Hamilton, 11,000 bush. wheat.

Prop. City of Montreal, Toronto, 10,600 bush. corn.

Schr. VanAllan, Chicago, 3,000 ft. walnut logs.

Str. Corsican, Montreal, pass. and fgt.

Str. Passport, Hamilton, pass. and fgt.

Prop. Africa, Cleveland, pass. and fgt.

Prop. Dromedary, Montreal, pass. and fgt.

Str. Corinthian, Montreal, pass. and fgt.

Prop. Persia, Montreal, pass. and fgt.

Str. Armenia, Deseronto, pass. and fgt.

Prop. Cuba, Ogdensburg, pass. and fgt.

Prop. Ocean, Chicago, 4,600 bush. wheat.

Schr. Comanche, Milwaukee, 18,000 bush. wheat.

Schr. Pandora, Chatham, 16,000 bush. wheat.

Schr. M.L. Breck, Chatham, 14,000 bush. wheat.

Welland Canal - Bound Down.

M.L. Breck, Chatham, Kingston, wheat.

O.M. Bond, Chicago, Kingston, wheat.

A Vessel Sunk Yesterday.

The schooner Ontario, from Charlotte to Picton, with coal, sank yesterday morning 15 miles west of Point Peter light. The crew were saved. The Ontario left Charlotte about 12 o'clock on Saturday night, a heavy wind from the south blowing at the time and a big sea running. Everything went well till about daylight, when she commenced to leak and in spite of every effort of the crew the water kept gaining. Signals of distress were hoisted and noticed by Capt. Ostrander, of the Flora Carveth, who at once bore down to the relief. Meantime the crew took to their yawl, which was launched with great difficulty owing to the high sea. The task of transferring the men from the yawl to the deck of the Flora Carveth was perilous, but was successfully accomplished and all hands saved.

Three of the crew, Miss Swift, the cook, and John Fisher, a sailor, came down today on the Hero, from Picton, to which place they were taken by the schooner Flora Carveth. The crew, consisting of the Captain and owner, Daniel O'Hagan; John O'Hagan, the mate, the cook, and two sailors, were picked up in a very exhausted condition, very wet and cold.

Young Fisher says when it was found that the vessel was sinking the yawl was put out, but the painter broke and it went bobbing over the great waves. Our informant, at the peril of his life, jumped into the water and had to swim about half a mile before the yawl was reached. He took it back to the vessel, to the forward peak of which the remainder of the crew were clinging. They all entered the yawl and in about an hour were taken on the Flora Carveth and landed subsequently at Picton. The vessel sank midway between Fair Haven and Long Point. Her crew saved nothing but the clothing they wore.

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Sept. 12, 1881
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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), Sept. 12, 1881