The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Nov. 3, 1887

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The Story Of The Sole Survivor Of A Wreck.

Sturgeon Bay, Mich., Nov. 2nd - Up to the arrival of the schr. Pomeroy from Chicago it was supposed that not a single survivor was left of the 40 or 50 people on board of the prop. Vernon. It is now known that at least one man lives to tell the tale of that terrible night. The Pomeroy has on board the only survivor of that awful disaster. The name of this man is Alfred Stone, of Chicago, one of the Vernon's crew. He had been in the water sixty hours, without a bite to eat. When the Pomeroy discovered him on a raft, about eight miles from Sheboygan, he was so helpless that he could scarcely move. His statement as finally obtained is:

"I was awakened in the middle of the night by the cries of the passengers and crew that the vessel was sinking. I sprang out of the window and found myself on a life raft with six other persons. I cannot say now who my companions were. A part of them were members of the crew and part were passengers. It seemed only a moment before the vessel had gone down, and I believe that all but a few of those on board went down with her. I do not know just how many people were aboard at the time, but the number could not have been far from 50. We passed through an awful night. I think I never saw such a sea as that which tossed our little raft at its mercy. When daylight came we hoisted a signal of distress, using a coat tied to an oar. Two vessels passed so near us on Saturday that they must have seen our signal; yet for some reason they apparently made no effort to reach us. The storm still raged and it may be that they had all they could do to save themselves. One after another of my companions perished with the cold, or were washed off the raft when they became too numb to hold on any longer. We never saw any others from the sunken steamer. I don't believe any of them survived. The vessel went down so suddenly that the crew hadn't time to man the boats."

When Stone was picked up there was the corpse of one man on the raft with him, the other four having perished several hours before. Stone says this man was one of the crew, whose name he doesn't know.



The props. Celtic and Canada were expected to arrive today with grain from the west.

The schr. Jessie H. Breck, discharging coal screenings at Mooers' dock, is resting on the bottom.

F. Burke, purser on the prop. Vernon, drowned in Lake Superior, was a distant relative of Capt. Theo Allen.

Mr. Mooers is loading 12,500 bushels of grain on the schrs. Clara White and Julia at Millhaven and Amherst Island.

The sloop Minnie is discharging 6,000 bushels of barley from Wolfe Island at Richardson & Son's elevator.

The daily trips of the steamer Princess Louis will be discontinued on Saturday. The steamer will take the place of Pierrepont, which will be hauled out for repairs.

The prop. Tilley and barges Neelon, Merritt and Benson cleared today. All the vessels, excepting the Benson, will go to Port Arthur and load grain for Kingston. The Benson will be rebuilt.

Yesterday the steamer Princess Louise brought 500 boxes of cheese from Alexandria Bay to the city. Capt. Rothwell states that the islands look pretty. He found the current in the river very strong.

Arrivals: schr. A.M. Foster, Oswego, 152 tons coal; prop. Cuba, Hamilton, light; prop. Acadia, Hamilton, light; schr. W.R. Taylor, Chicago, 20,000 bush. wheat.

Capt. James Dix, of the schr. W.R. Taylor, says he had a pleasant trip down the lakes, and that there was no cause for apprehension as to the safety of himself and crew.

The steamer Khartoum, with a cargo of cheese and 900 bushels of rye, arrived from Westport. She had in tow the sloop Highland Lassie, laden with wood. On the way up the boats came through nine miles of ice. The hull of the Khartoum is badly hacked, which was done by the ice.

A new propeller - to eclipse all others in speed, capacity, and elegance - is to be put on the Kingston and Lake Superior route in April next. She is being built on the Clyde for a Port Arthur merchant, who claims that she will be the finest vessel on the American inland waters.

At Toronto yesterday the schr. Oliver Mowat was unloading coal. The fore hatch was emptied and a tug went to reverse her when the schr. Lady Macdonald slipped in and took the wharf. Of course there was fun. The Globe says: "If Sir John cannot get the inner track on Oliver Mowat at least Lady Macdonald has done it."

Richardson & Son have on hand at the elevator 80,000 bushels of grain, which they would ship to Oswego if boats to carry it could be secured. The majority of the schooners are engaged carrying coal out of Oswego to Toronto and other ports. The freight paid on coal between these ports is 70 cents. The highest freight paid the year past for the same trip was 35 cents.

The prop. Cuba passed down the river this morning with one hand less than usual. One of the men, named McGuire, had been arrested at Port Hope for collaring a commercial traveller's valise. The thief wanted it sent to Ogdensburg by express, but the terms were too great. Then he took it to the Cuba and hid it on board. The officers found it.

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Date of Original:
Nov. 3, 1887
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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. 3, 1887