The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), Nov. 18, 1852

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p.2 Gale on Lake Erie - The storm of Friday last appears to have been much more destructive on Lake Erie than on Lake Ontario. The only injury to vessels on the latter, that we have yet heard of, are those given in yesterday's issue. The following account of its effects on the upper lake is extracted from the Buffalo papers: -

About twelve o'clock night before last, it commenced raining, together with threatening indications of a heavy storm. About two o'clock old Boreas seemed fully awake and piped his leather lungs with almost unexampled fury. After daylight it lulled somewhat, and commenced snowing, a sort of drizzly, disagreeable amalgamation, part rain and part snow. The thoughts of our citizens naturally enough reverted to the Lake, for we knew several vessels had cleared from port the day before. At 11 o'clock the wind was blowing fiercely, and the weather to windward had thickened so as to render objects on the Lake invisible. Early in the morning the steamer Mayflower ran down the river to Black Rock, and the Newbould, owned in Chicago, went on the pier of the Erie Basin, where she will be unable to survive the gale. None of her crew were lost, however.

About eleven o'clock the brig C.A. Bemis, of Sandusky, came in flying light. As she rounded the pier, a heavy sea, which struck on her quarter, lifted her stern out of water, and for a moment, as she refused to answer her helm, it was thought she would broach to, and she would have gone foul of the pier outside the Erie Basin. But she was down in a moment, obeyed her helm, and having nothing on but her topsail, came in in fine style and let go her anchor immediately above the Michigan Central dock. At the same time a vessel, with no canvass on but her jib, was seen struggling to leeward, about six miles up, and perhaps three miles from the south shore. She was apparently standing directly for the harbor, but the impossibility of her making it without canvass was apparent. It was thought she would drift ashore above the harbor by two o'clock. About the same time a vessel was seen running down the river, and another one, a small craft, was beating the rocks on the north shore a couple of miles below point Abino. Early in the morning the steamer Hendrik Hudson came in, and reported several vessels passed outside, light. The water had risen to an unusual height, and in the canal was level with the dock. It alternately rose and fell all day, that is up to the hour of writing - noon. The excitement on the dock was intense, and hundreds at the end of the pier, where the barque Morgan was lying, when the brig Bemis came in. There was a rumor that the steamboats Empire and Keystone State had come in collision somewhere near Erie, but it was impossible to judge how much reliance could be placed on the reports, they were so numerous and contradictory. A propeller run down the river in the morning also, but we were unable to ascertain what she was. The vessels in the harbor were lying loose around, though the channel was clear for vessels or boats which might be coming in. The weather was growing cold, and no doubt exists but it will freeze before nightfall. The little Canadian schooner Mary was at anchor at not more than half a cable's length from shore, but inside the Erie Basin, where she was evidently secure from the fury of the storm as she certainly was from the fury of the sea.

Later - The steamer Northern Indiana came in about noon, and reports having passed three or four vessels this side of Erie. She came in in fine style, though she carried away one of the wheel houses in the row. The propeller Samson, owned by Mr. Sterling, of Monroe, Michigan, and loaded with flour, 800 barrels of which was consigned to E. Weed & Co., and about 400 barrels to Holley & Johnson - all of which was insured - has gone ashore about a mile up the bay, or immediately opposite Bidwell & Banta's shipyard. It is supposed that she will be a complete wreck, as at last accounts the sea was breaking over her. It will be remembered that she was disabled on her way down, threw 500 barrels of flour overboard, and went into Erie to repair. This is her last movement since that occurrence. The schooner we mentioned as lying under bare poles in the bay was the E.K. Brace owned by Wm. Buckley of this city. She went out night before last, about ten o'clock, flying light, and now lies high and dry on the beach a few rods from the Samson. She will not be seriously damaged. She was insured in the Buffalo Mutual Co. in the sum of $6,000. The brig Flora came in about three o'clock, minus her small boat, and when inside the lighthouse, and in about the middle of the creek, disobeyed her helm, and ran her bow upon the stone pier, on the west side of the creek, and lurched to leeward so that her larboard bulwarks were under water, though she proceeded thence at a flying rate up the creek. She was deeply laden, and the probability is that she was not very much injured.

The schooners Margret, Jenny and another, the name of which has escaped us, all lie near the end of the wharf, the Jenny afoul and outside of the others, with her larboard quarter smashing fearfully, with every heave of the sea, upon the railroad iron. They were making unavailing efforts to heave her off when we left, and the probability is that before this morning she is under water. The vessel reported ashore near Point Abino, on the north shore, must have been a mirage, no such thing being visible after the storm had cleared away. It stopped snowing about three o'clock in the afternoon, and the wind was not so violent. We have not heard of any lives being lost as yet, and God grant we may not, though it is hardly possible that some should not have fallen victims to the fury of the storm. The brig. Robt Hollister came in in the morning in a disabled state. The schooner W.L. Manning came about the same time safely. We learn by a telegraph message from Detroit, that the brig F.G. Clark went ashore on Middle Island with four thousand bushels of wheat, which they threw overboard. The steamer Northerner tried to get her off but did not succeed.

We take the following particulars from the Commercial, believing this to be the most important matter which we can give to our readers.

The schooner Newbould, Capt. Ballantyne, left this port last evening about eleven o'clock, without any cargo for Fairport. During the night she was compelled to return, and on nearing the mouth of the creek, she perceived another vessel lying across the creek by the Light House, and being unable to get in, came to anchor about 2 o'clock this morning. The Captain and two of the hands then came ashore in the small boat with a line which they fastened to the pier. Having secured the line, they returned to the vessel to make it fast to her, but she had dragged her anchor and was bumping on the breakwater. She soon broke a hole in her and began to bilge. The Captain being unable to reach her, went to the breakwater to endeavor to save the first mate and crew who were on board. The breakers were beating with such violence, however, that he was unable to do anything.

The first mate, who was on the vessel, secured a rope round his body and jumped in the water and was thrown up on the breakwater and saved; with this line all on board were drawn ashore, and all saved. The vessel has since entirely disappeared. We understand she belonged to Mr. Tremain, of Chicago, and was insured in the North Western for $3000.

Three schooners, the Hamlet of Cleveland, Lady Bagot and England, were blown ashore at the mouth of the Grand River, on the morning of Friday the 12th inst. The spot where they ran aground is 24 rods east of the Eastern pier, at Port Maitland.

Nov. 19, 1852


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Nov. 18, 1852
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Rick Neilson
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Daily News (Kingston, ON), Nov. 18, 1852