The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Gananoque Reporter (Gananonque, ON), Sept. 17, 1881 p.3

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Frankfort, Mich., Sept. 11th - The steamer Columbia, of the Collingwood and Chicago Line, foundered off Frankfort last night at eleven o'clock, and fifteen persons were drowned. Among the number missing are Captain Malcolmson, Second Mate Rob't Malcolmson, First Engineer Wm. Crosbie, Second Engineer Wm. Muffin, Fireman George Benton, William Shannon, Harriet Simmons, Miss Fitzgerald, a passenger said to be from Chicago, and seven others, names unknown. The bodies of the captain, second engineer, Miss Fitzgerald, and a young man unknown have come ashore. The steamer was bound from Chicago to Collingwood, laden with grain. She shifted her cargo about quarter to eleven, and sank within fifteen minutes after. The passengers and crew got away from the steamer in small boats, but the boats containing the captain and engineers were capsized. The saved were John Moore, James Wright, Daniel McFee, James Bakie, John Fagan, Thomas Lee, and Frank Harraman.

The news in Hamilton of the loss of the propellor Columbia, of the New England Transportation Company, has been the topic of conversation on the streets during the day. The majority of the crew and passengers are known in the city. The Columbia was running her regular trip between Chicago and Collingwood, with a cargo of grain, having left the former place on Friday night. On Saturday she encountered a severe gale, weathering the storm nobly till Sunday forenoon a few minutes before 11 o'clock, when she listed badly and shifted cargo. The vessel then began to fill, sinking in a few minutes, in about 100 feet of water, on the east side of Lake Michigan off Frankfort Lighthouse about six miles, and about 100 miles from the Straits of Mackinac.

The Malcolmsons are a seafaring family and all experienced mariners. Of the brothers there were four. One survives Captain James lost in this disaster. Capt. George Malcolmson was drowned while bathing in Port Dalhousie harbor, and Capt. John Malcolmson at Montreal by falling between two vessels. Mr. Samuel Malcolmson, engineer on the Armenia, of the Toronto and Ogdensburg line, Captain S.C. Malcolmson, of the Jessie Scarth, and Capt. S. Malcolmson, of the propellor Acadia, both of this city, are cousins of the unfortunate master of the Columbia.

The Columbia was a propellor of about 600 tons burden. She was built by Robertson, of Hamilton, in 1873, and was owned by John and Hugh Fairgrieve, of this city. She was thoroughly overhauled last winter, and was in every respect staunch and seaworthy.

Collingwood, Sept. 11th - An unfortunate woman, whose husband was on the ill-fated steamer, on hearing the news and seeing no mention of her husband's name among those saved, rushed for the lake and jumped into the water, determined to follow the fate of her husband. By the strenuous efforts of those at hand, she was rescued. The sight that followed at one o'clock, when a full report was received, was most pitiful and heartrending. Men, women, and children, who had gathered around the telegraph office eagerly waiting the news, fell back and burst into tears on not hearing the names of their dearly loved ones among the saved. The weeping and moaning of heartbroken women was something that will long be remembered by those who heard it. The report received from Frankfort says that fifteen persons found a watery grave, while the following were saved:-

John Moore, James Wright, Daniel McPhee, Jas. Bakie, John Fagan, Thomas Lee, and Frank Haranon. The names of those drowned are not all known.

Owen Sound, Sept. 12th - Mr. P. Larkin's No. 4 and the tug Erie Belle arrived here from Southampton, where they have been lying some days for shelter. Captain Canan reports that the schooner Regina, laden with salt, from Goderich, and bound for Owen Sound, foundered off Cove Island on Saturday night in the gale and went down with all on board. The Regina was owned by Mr. Wm. Foster, of this place, and was not insured. The following are the names of the lost crew:- Captain Amos Tripp, Collingwood; John Young, Collingwood; Wm. Lawrence, Collingwood; John Oaks, Port Huron; and one man whose name is unknown. He shipped from Owen Sound in the vessels last trip.

Later - The ill-fated schooner Regina was towed out of Southampton on Saturday morning, and when the tug Erie Belle passed her she was sailing with a fair wind, and a direct course for Cove Island. A clock which was picked up by some fishermen on shore belonging to the Regina, had stopped at 1 a.m. When it was freed from the water that was inside, the clock started going which shows it was at that hour the schooner went down. Capt. Canan is of the opinion that she foundered in the gale Saturday night, and immediately sank stem first. She now lies in about seven fathoms of water with her top-masts visible. The Regina was a small schooner of about 118 tons, classed B-2, built in St. Catharines in 1866, and owned until this spring by Mr. George E. Smith, of Southampton, from whom she was purchased by Mr. William Foster, of this place. She was valued at $2,000, and uninsured. Mr. Foster left this afternoon by the Jane Miller, to see if anything can be done with the wreck. There is no doubt whatever that the entire crew, numbering five persons, are all lost, and that the vessel is an entire wreck and her cargo destroyed.

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Sept. 17, 1881 p.3
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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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Gananoque Reporter (Gananonque, ON), Sept. 17, 1881 p.3