The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), Nov. 6, 1855

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p.2 Marine Disasters - Schr. Ralph Campbell struck on White Shoals, Michigan, got off leaky; prop. Niagara in collision off Point Abino with some large vessel, stern and starboard bow stove; Little Belle ashore high and dry at Point au Sable; schr. Stanley with cargo of wheat, sprung a leak on the 29th, got into Port Burwell; schr. Petrel had part of her cargo damaged; the schr. North Star is a complete wreck; prop. Republic, which left Dunkirk on Tuesday night, has not been heard of since; the prop. Illinois is in a bad situation, and an effort is being made to get her off. The Waterwitch and other schooners are reported ashore at Stony Island; the Duncan Romer ashore above Goderich; the Sam Strong at Pier Marquette, and the Marshfield dismasted.

Canadian Ships - a late number of the London Illustrated News has a picture of Ocean Monarch, built at Quebec last year.

Loss of the Propeller Charter Oak - We went to Girard, Pa.on Tuesday, off which place, as a despatch to the Buffalo Express announced, the Charter Oak was wrecked. Through the kindness of Mr. James E. Pettihone, we were enabled to gather the few following facts.

He says that on Saturday night, the most tremendous gale ever known in that quarter, prevailed. Trees were uprooted and felled, and along the bank of the lake numerous heavy land slides had occurred from the powerful action of the swollen waves. The next morning Mr. P. was drove to the lake, and saw an immense mass of staves and pieces of broken wreck coming in, while the beach for a mile or two was strewn with staves and fragments of the vessel.

About noon a trunk was seen floating in, which Mr. P. secured, and found it almost broken to pieces. Inside of it he found a number of articles, among which was a miniature, two inches square, which we have, and which can be seen at this office; a letter dated Lockport, February 7, 1855, directed to Wm. Stillman, and signed by Geo. Requale; naturalization papers, issued Dec. 5th, 1851, to Wm. Stillman; four shirts marked with the same name; several memorandum books, one labelled on the outside, "Propeller Montgomery in account with George Worthington," inside of which, however, was the caption "Wm. Stillman in account with Propeller Charter Oak," containing a list of her trips in 1855, the last one dated Oct. 12th, 1855, the day the Propeller Charter Oak left Buffalo on her last trip.

We went down to the beach with Mr. P. and saw there evidences of a most terrific storm. The shores were lined with the fragments of a wrecked vessel and with thousands of staves as far as could be seen every way. Very near all her upper works had floated on shore in fragments, and among them was the wheel and a part of the pilot house. On many of the painted pieces was written with pencil, "Charter Oak," and at last by putting painted red and blue fragments together, we made out "Charter O," the balance of the word "Oak," being missing.

About fifty feet of the hurricane deck, with hatches and doors, are also on the beach. There can be no doubt but that the wrecked vessel was the Charter Oak, and the whole crew, to a man, went down in the darkness, the cold, and the tempest. The only names in our possesssion, of those on board, are Captain James Jeffords of Ashtabula; George A.

C. Wood of this city, who went up on a pleasure trip, being very ill in health, and William Stillman, who was the engineer. No bodies have been washed ashore, and it is next to impossible that any upward bound vessel could have picked any of them up in such a fearful storm. Even if the vessel had been beached, the crew would have perished, in all probability, as the shores are exceedingly bluff, in some places being a hundred feet high. This is the point where the Mayflower struck some years ago in the middle of the night.

p.S. Since writing the above, we have seen Captain Jeffords, whom we supposed to have went down with the Charter Oak. He had been left at his home in Ashtabula, in consequence of a severe renewal attack of fever and ague, and he told us that Mr. Geo. Wood was in command of the vessel when she left Ashtabula. She undoubtedly foundered about three miles off Girard, and went down with every soul on board. The vessel was a miserable old craft in her hull, and we hear since the wreck, that her engine was as worthless for any emergency as her timbers. Portions of her hull which we picked up on the beach were rotten and worm eaten, and those who examined them with us, said that she was entirely unfit to make a trip anywhere, even in fine weather. The bridge tender at Girard says that the storm commenced at 12 o'clock last Saturday, and in a moment blew a perfect hurricane. No vessel, perhaps, could have outlived this storm off the lee shore, when the Charter Oak went down. The bodies, of which nothing has been heard as yet, will probably come ashore next week. [Buffalo Republic]

Destructive Fire at Toronto - in wooden building erected over grain elevator, at end of Mr. Jarvis' wharf, schooner Atlantic had sails burnt. [Leader]

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Nov. 6, 1855
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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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Daily News (Kingston, ON), Nov. 6, 1855