The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), Dec. 16, 1876

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p.2 Ten schooners, five barges, a scow and four dredges are laid up at Goderich for the winter.


Damage In The Harbour

Last evening, about six o'clock, a heavy gale began to blow from the south-west, which continued with increasing power during the whole night. The gale was accompanied by snow, and the wind was very cold. It blew with great velocity, and the average rate of the wind for the eight hours ending at 7:37 this morning was 31 1/2 hours per hour. During the night the wind changed to the west, and ultimately went round to about north-west, which quickly brought down the temperature. With the exception of a few fences and gates blown down, we have at present writing not heard of any damage done in the city, but in the harbour a considerable amount of damage has occurred.

In the lower harbour Messrs. G.M. Millar & Co. have three barges broken loose, one of them, the America, being sunk, with six feet of water in her hold. The other two, the Rapid and Alice Pacy, dragged their anchors, but they did not go ashore on the other side of the harbour, although they had a narrow escape.

The St. Lawrence & Chicago Forwarding Company have also three barges out, one of them, the Lion, being ashore at the Dockyard in a somewhat dangerous position. The other two are comparatively safe.

The Montreal Transportation Company have escaped scot free, their barges, both below and above the bridge, being all right. The only loss they sustain is the breaking of a hawser. Their dock is pretty much exposed, but they were evidently prepared for contingencies.

That portion of the harbour lying between the M.T. Co.'s wharf and Holcomb & Stewart's escaped without damage, but only by careful watching. At the latter place the schooner B.W. Folger had her quarter nearly torn out, and all the barges lost something, posts and ribbons being carried away by the gale. The wharf itself was in great danger, and two very heavy sticks of timber were moved for some distance, and but for being strongly chained, would have gone. The dock is a perfect mass of ice, and water having got into the office, it is also filled with ice.

There was a heavy sea on all the morning, and steam was rising thickly from the water. Sailors say that last night's gale was one of the severest ever experienced on the lake. At Cape Vincent the water was dashing over the dock, and we have heard of a rumour of a vessel being lost on Lake Erie. We have no definite information, however.

p.4 Vessel Lost On Lake Erie

The Port Stanley correspondent of the St. Thomas Times says: The schooner S.F. Gale arrived here from Cleveland on the 13th Nov. last with a cargo of coal. While here the captain was robbed of $150 in U.S. currency, the money being abstracted from a pocket book in his coat, which was hanging in his state room, suspicion rested on one of the crew. It being difficult to obtain proof, the captain decided he would search his vessel when again at sea, desiring not to raise any suspicion while in harbour for fear the money might be secreted ashore. The schooner left here on the 23rd November for Marble Head to load stone for Erie, the captain having obtained a charter through Messrs. Brown & Johnson, of Cleveland, for $2.85 per cord, U.S. currency. Nothing more has been heard or seen of the schooner since her departure from this place. At the time the vessel sailed a gale of wind was blowing from the north-west, which afterwards backed into the westward, and blew a hurricane. Some suppose she foundered riding at anchor, while the prevailing opinion is that a mutiny occurred amongst the crew in the event of a search having taken place. The captain was well armed and appeared to be a determined man, and judging from his conversation while here, he would use his weapons should his men resist being searched for the lost money. Taking all this into consideration it may be the men refused to work the ship and they all met a watery grave. No particulars have reached here beyond a short communication from Erie, stating that the schooner had not reached that port, and that all on board were lost.

The crew consisted of Andrew Hilson, master; the captain's brother was mate. One of the sailors was known here as Dick Taylor, whose family resides at Cobourg. Taylor said he belonged to London, Ont., and during the time Capt. Wm. Boyd commanded the schooner Starling, he sailed with her under the name of A. Carson. Thomas Browning and his brother John, who live near Algonic, in the state of Michigan, were two more of the crew belonging to the Gale, beside a man from Ludington, name not known. The cook was a woman who resides in Chicago. The vessel was not insured. Captain Hilson was a vessel broker in Chicago until the spring of 1875, when he took charge of the schooner. He was a very moral and temperate man, and bore the character of being honourable in all his dealings while residing in Chicago.

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Dec. 16, 1876
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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), Dec. 16, 1876