The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), May 20, 1889

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The Schooner Merrick Sunk By The Propeller Ranney.

Port Huron, May 18th - The steamer R.P. Ranney, which arrived down this afternoon, reports having been in collision with the schooner M.F. Merrick off Presque Isle, resulting in the sinking of the schooner with the loss of all her crew excepting the captain and one man. The Ranney proceeded down the river with the Captain of the Merrick, who will land at Detroit.

Following are the names of the lost:

Martin Johnson, of Detroit, mate.

John Charlevoix, of Detroit, seaman.

Wm. Ours, of Ashtabula, seaman.

Patrick Kanaly, of Clayton, N.Y., seaman.

Mrs. Cole, of Cleveland, cook.

The Merrick had a cargo of about 400 tons of sand and was bound for Lake Linden.

The following is the story of the disaster as told by William Goodfriend, the only survivor besides the captain:

"The Merrick had a cargo of furnace sand and was bound from Port Austin to Portage. We left Port Austin with a free wind, the weather thick and smoky. When about fifteen miles off Presque Isle, at 12:30 Friday morning, we heard three blasts from a steamer's whistle. About half an hour later the mate ordered me to put the wheel over and let her come up in the wind. I then saw the steamer about fifteen feet from us. She struck us just aft the forerigging. The schooner sunk under her bow. The crew on deck took to the rigging and went down with the vessel. I was saved by being picked up by a yawl from the Ranney. The captain was saved by a line being thrown to him by the Ranney's crew. Mrs. Cole, the cook, stood aft, holding on the schooner's wheel, when the schooner sunk. Every possible effort was made by the Ranney's crew to save us. The steamer's engines were backing when we came together. The weather was so thick we could only see a short distance. I think the schooner sunk in from twenty to thirty seconds after being struck. She went down head first, our main boom going over the Ranney's bows as she went down. We were blowing our fog horn all the time, giving proper signals, which were understood by the steamer. Three of the crew were below when the vessel sunk."

The Merrick was owned by Cash P. Taylor and G. Maitland of Detroit. She was valued at $7,500 and insured for $5,000. She was one of the old Merrick fleet, was built at Clayton, N.Y., in 1863 and rebuilt in 1877.



Arrivals: schr. Erie Belle, Sandusky, 550 tons coal; schr. Cornelia, Charlotte, 200 tons coal.

The owner of the str. Khartoum intends fixing her so as to make her a first class pleasure boat.

Cleared: tug Thompson, four barges, grain laden; Jessie Hall, three barges, grain laden; both tows for Montreal.

The props. Persia and Ocean called at Swift's wharf, on their way to Montreal and St. Catharines respectively, yesterday.

The schr. B.W. Folger arrived this morning. She was down lightening the schr. Watertown, ashore at Refugee Island.

The schr. Julia arrived on Saturday with 250 tons coal from Oswego. She was just forty-eight hours taking a load of lumber to Oswego and bringing back a load of coal.

The yacht Victoria, owned by Mr. Offord, was launched on Saturday from the Portsmouth marine slip. She has been entirely rebuilt and painted and looks well. She was launched without any difficulty.

The steam yacht Vivid, belonging to A.W. Morris, arrived from Toronto yesterday having on board Mr. Morris and a party of gentlemen. The Vivid is one of the most beautiful and best equipped yachts on the lake, and is capable of making very fast time. She went on to Montreal.

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May 20, 1889
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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.
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), May 20, 1889