The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Nov. 30, 1883

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Full Two Day's Hurricane on Lake Superior.

The str. Campana left Sault Ste. Marie for Port Arthur on the 10th instant having on board at that time 125 souls. At seven o'clock on Saturday evening she was abreast of the Whitefish Point Lighthouse. As the night wore on the wind increased. Long before midnight a big sea was running. This continued until 10 o'clock Sunday morning, when the wind increased and the waves fell like disturbed mountains on every side. An hour later Captain Anderson decided to make for the shelter of Michipicoten Island. About 50 miles had been made from the Point, and when the vessel turned in the trough of the sea and caught the wind broadside she laid over until her cross-trees fairly dipped in the receding wavepeaks. But she righted again in majestic defiance and was soon running before the gale. Snow now began to fall, and it soon became impossible to see 10 yards ahead. In consequence of this there was

Danger of Running Aground.

About 2 o'clock in the afternoon it was deemed prudent to again put about and face the storm. The ship was dexterously handled, and her position reversed with wonderful ease, considering the terrible force of the elements which opposed her. She went into the teeth of the storm with a determined bound, plunging and rolling in a perfect cloud of snow, travelling at a thirty mile velocity. It was an anxious time. But, although it was impossible to tell how it would end, all felt a security in watching the busy efforts of the officers and crew. At 4 o'clock, when the fury of the gale was still increasing, the rudder chain on the port side broke in two. Ready and willing hands had the fracture quickly repaired. Meanwhile the faithful vessel held straight to her course, and the danger of being thrown helplessly into the trough of the sea was passed. Darkness came on and many a prayer went up for a safe deliverance. During the afternoon sea after sea broke over the vessel's port bow, swamping the forward saloon and staterooms. At half-past six the starboard rudder-chain suddenly gave way, but still the vessel never deviated from her line until it was repaired. From that time till midnight the confusion in the state cabin was simply beyond description. Men, women and children, furniture and fixtures torn from their fastenings, and stateroom, glass and crockery were all thrown violently from side to side. The wind was

Now Blowing A Hurricane,

and as the remorseless sea struck the boat she shuddered from stem to stern with terrific violence. Capt. Anderson was washed from his feet across the promenade deck and carried with force against the side rails several times, and was bruised from head to foot. A little after midnight the storm seemed to reach the zenith of its fury. Heavy seas were crushing in quick succession over the ship's bows, every inch of rigging and every inch of the exterior of the good boat was thickly coated with ice, which was growing heavier and heavier as the water rushed over her. Capt. Anderson was standing like one solid mass of ice under the wheel-house awaiting the arrival of the first mate, Cameron. The latter had donned his oilskins, and was on the point of passing from the saloon to the deck, when a mountain wave, as if determined to rob the ship of her two best men, fell like an enraged deluge over the starboard bow. The brave Captain was washed like a straw down the port side of the deck and only saved from a watery grave by the open rails which surround the boat. In its course the sea split like matchwood every piece of timber which opposed it. The Captain's room, several state rooms adjoining it, and the entire front of the saloon went in with a thunderlike crash and was swept in one mass down the saloon, the first officer being helplessly carried along with the ruin. The tables were torn from their fastenings, and in less time than it takes to write it,

The Saloon Was A Perfect Wreck.

Cameron was injured to such an extent that he was unable to go on duty, and the Captain, to his credit be it ever recorded, stood firmly in his place. The force of this shock drove the vessel back into the sea, and as if to make the wreck complete a huge wave broke through the after saloon at the stern and completely deluged every stateroom. To give even a remote idea of the scene which followed is impossible. Above the tumult one female shriek alone was heard, from a young woman who fell fainting with fear and exhaustion. The ladies kept their presence of mind with wonderful composure, prepared for the worst, and prepared, if it was to be, to die bravely. In one room were congregated a family of seven, determined to be together to the last. In another lay an invalided English woman with her two young children, while her daughter, a girl not more than fourteen years of age, made heroic efforts to alleviate their distress and suffering. Kneeling side by side near the main stairway a man and his wife were engaged in earnest prayer. Women not half clad, and barefooted, were hurrying hither and thither without any apparent object, but although scarcely a voice was heard, the tempest without roared and each sea that struck the good ship seemed for a moment to mark the last

Act In That Terrible Scene.

At about three o'clock on Monday morning the rudder chain had frozen hard, and the vessel could not answer her helm; three men cleared the ice away, and in order to relieve the strain upon the hurricane deck, stood out and jettisoned some four tons of dressed beef and about 40 hogs which were stowed thereon. The engineers did much towards saving the ship. The pumps were kept going vigorously, and the fires were never allowed to want fuel. Chief Cameron declares that the storm was by far the worst he was ever in, although he has been crossing these lakes for more than eighteen years. Through the night the fury of the elements did not abate, the wind whistling through the rigging with frightful force. The long hours were like days, and the waiting for death or deliverance was indeed a momentous time. It seemed that the sun would never rise, but at length the black, disturbed clouds on the horizon received the first gray streaks of day, and only then did reassurance take the place of fear. At 11 o'clock on Monday the peak of Michipicoten Island was visible. Two days and two nights had been spent, yet the good ship was only about 40 miles from Whitefish Point. By 5 o'clock the same evening the Campana lay safely in Michipicoten harbor, having passed through the most terrific storm ever experienced by the oldest sailor on board. [Thunder Bay Sentinel]

p.2 A Disastrous Season - Today at noon the insurance on hulls expired, but special rates can be had for the next five days. The insurance on a cargo leaving port now, of course, continues until the cargo is delivered. If the craft should be compelled to put into any intermediate port and winter there the insurance on the cargo holds good until it is delivered at its destination in the spring. This has been a most disastrous season. The underwriters are heavy losers, and a great deal of tonnage has been swept out of existence - new, good tonnage as well as old worn-out vessels.

p.3 Here & There - The Hero will make her last trip to Picton tomorrow at 8:30 o'clock.

The schr. Watertown has been placed in winter quarters at Northport, Michigan.

Today is the first anniversary of the loss of the schr. Henry Folger, off South Bay Point.

Schooners Hanlan, Ocean Wave, Nellie Theresa, Sea Bird, Olivia and steamers Alexandria and Empress of India are all laid up at Picton for the winter.

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Nov. 30, 1883
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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), Nov. 30, 1883