The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Sept. 15, 1882

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A Day Of Terror On The Lakes.

The gale of yesterday caused many accidents and much damage. In the early morning the wind blew moderately from the sou-south west and such was predicted by the Meteorological Department; but before many hours it developed into a perfect hurricane. After dinner the wind veered to westward, then to nor west. Between 4 and 5 o'clock its velocity was at its height. "It was the worst gale of which I can remember, in twenty years," was the observation of one Captain; but he evidently forgot the "cyclone" of November 1880, when houses were demolished, and vessels dismasted, and bereft of their canvass or sunk. It was bad enough, however, and the damage has been very great as we are able to chronicle. Various Captains were personally interrogated by a Whig representative.

Terrible Rough Sea.

Capt. Saxie Brooks, of the schooner J.R. Benson, carrying 23,400 bushels of wheat, Toledo to Portsmouth, left Port Dalhousie yesterday morning at seven o'clock. He was out in all the blow, and said the waves rolled mountains high, frequently sweeping over and engulphing his vessel. The water was two feet deep on deck, and the cabin was filled. It rushed in faster than it could run out. The passage was a bad one. A gib was split, and no doubt the cargo is considerably injured. Capt. Brooks noted a protest.

Schr. Oliver Mowat's Trip.

Capt. Saunders reported that he saw numerous vessels, lumber laden, off Snake Island, bound for Oswego. Some of them lost their deck loads. The schr. Mary Ann Lydon, from Port Hope, was carrying only a staysail and jib when she lurched over, dumping her entire deck load. She righted up at once, but had her cargo been other than lumber a disaster would have happened. The Captain, speaking of his own vessel, the Oliver Mowat, says she left port on Wednesday evening with iron ore for Big Sodus. Wednesday night was a rough one, but "yesterday was a fright." The craft was about 50 miles out on the lake, and bobbed up and down like a cork. Had she not been staunch she would not be in Kingston today. After plunging around for a long time, making no headway, he started for Kingston, arriving here late last night. He lost his foresail, fore boom and fore gaff, and split his jibs. He will have repairs made at once, and start out again tomorrow.

Carrying Away The Sail.

The schr. T.R. Merritt left Port Dalhousie at 5 o'clock, the wind being very light. Before she reached Kingston the Captain said he had all he wanted. It ripped his canvass, carried away his fore and main gaff, and square sail yard. He was equal to the occasion. He unbent the mizzen, made it into a foresail, and successfully ran the vessel into this harbour. His experience during yesterday on the lake was very trying.

Mystic Star In Distress.

The schr. Mystic Star, with 22,300 bush. of corn, Chicago to Ogdensburg, had a terrible time off Walcott, 18 miles from Niagara River. The gale struck the vessel in all its fury. The mizzen mast snapped and came crashing down, taking the main mast with it. Both went overboard. The only alternative was to cut it away. This the sailors did with alacrity, of course. The canvass went with the masts. The Captain of the prop. Nashua, seeing the accident, went to the assistance of the dismasted vessel, and towed her from two until six o'clock. The line parted and she made her way to Kingston. She looked a wreck. This afternoon a tug of the Dominion Wrecking Company towed her to Ogdensburg. Capt. Saxie Brooks, who saw the disaster, says that Capt. W.S. Shay, of the propeller Nashua, "is a game un." With the gale howling terrifically, and at the peril of the propeller, he turned her around and went to the schooner. "I can take my oath," said the speaker, "that when the propeller changed course her wheel house touched the water. Had the steering gear broken the Captain of the propeller would not have known what struck him. After he picked up the Mystic Star I watched him with a glass for three solid hours, and at times you couldn't tell which was on top. They both seemed to be all mixed up. Some times nothing but spray and foam was visible, the vessels being buried beneath it. The Captain of the Nashua is a plucky fellow, and you can't give it to him too loud."

Lost Her Anchors.

The schr. D.G. Fort had a rough passage, but did not suffer any damage to her canvass. Last night she slipped her anchor to avoid going ashore at the shipyard. It was a little anchor and attached to it was 30 fathoms of chain. He has offered $15 for its recovery. On the first of this week he lost his big 2,600 lb. anchor off Long Point, Lake Erie, the chain holding it being defective. The Fort yesterday made remarkably short time. She was only nine hours in going from Thirty Mile Point to Long Point, better time than that which the steamboats make.

The steamer Algerian left Port Hope yesterday at 8 o'clock, arriving here at 5 p.m. She had a rough voyage. Four men were required to handle the wheel. The steamer left for Montreal this morning at 5 o'clock. The steamers Spartan and Corinthian went west this morning.

Kept Her Cargo Intact.

On Wednesday night the schr. M. O'Gorman cleared from Kingston for Oswego with ties. She got within sight of Oswego and was driven backward. The Captain ran her as far as Four Mile Point, where he anchored. "The vessel's bow was under water the most of the time and the way the waves swept over the craft," says Capt. Malone, "was terrible. Even while sitting on the cabin we were sprinkled with water that flew over her lengthwise. Finally the anchor chain broke and the schooner scudded for Kingston, running into shelter at Gunn's wharf. She is a fine little craft. Strange to say her heavy deck load of cedars, piled tier upon tier, were not lost overboard. Only five are missing, and these were actually picked up by the wind and carried sixty feet before they struck the water." The weather, Capt. Malone adds, was exactly like that on the day when the prop. Columbia went down off Frankfort, Michigan. He was then sailing the schr. Alexander, and had it not been that he had cedar posts for a cargo his vessel would have gone down, for the hold was filled with water. On that occasion he finally found anchorage off the Manitous. She ran forty miles with the water in his hold.

The telegraph and telephone lines were broken in places by falling trees. There were several fine shade trees torn down in the city.

The Gale At Deseronto.

The wind blew a gale yesterday afternoon, doing considerable damage. One of the large smoke stacks on Rathbun & Son's cedar mill blew over. The telegraph wires were blown down and broken by trees in different places stopping all communication. The wind at one time reached nearly 50 miles an hour. The sea ran so high that some of the crew refused to go aboard one of the steamers on her regular trip.



Mr. A.W. Hepburn, of Picton, has exchanged his steam yacht Flora for the sailing yacht Gorilla, of Hamilton. The Gorilla is one of the finest yachts on our inland waters.

The tug Conqueror successfully rescued the schr. John F. Mott, ashore at Hinckley's Bar, and towed her to Ogdensburg. The Conqueror made 11 miles in an hour against the wind.

The schr. Grantham was out in yesterday's storm. She was laden with lumber for Collinsby and had three tiers of it on deck. Not a plank was lost. The tug Folger towed her to Collinsby this morning.

The schr. St. Andrews, which sank off Port Rowan, had her hull and cargo insured, the cargo in Toledo and the hull in Canadian companies. The loss on the cargo is about $20,000, and on the hull about $12,000. The freight list was insured in a Chicago agency for $650. Captain Murray was notified by telegraph last evening to forward protest and proof of loss, and the risk would be immediately paid.

Yesterday afternoon John Sullivan, master of the prop. Europe, was arrested in Montreal for having on the 12th inst., during a voyage of his vessel from Kingston to that port, and while in the locks of the Beauharnois Canal, assaulted and threatened to throw overboard a deck hand named Charles Evans. The captain subsequently paid off the complainant at the request of the latter, and having pleaded guilty to the charge of assault was fined $4 and costs.


Prop. St. Magnus, Toledo, 12,000 bush. wheat.

Schr. D.G. Fort, Chicago, 22,500 bush. wheat.

Prop. Nashua, Toledo, oil and grease.

Prop. Ocean, Chicago, 5,800 bush. wheat.

Schr. T.R. Merritt, Toledo, 22,936 bush. wheat.

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Sept. 15, 1882
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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. 15, 1882