The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Gananoque Reporter (Gananonque, ON), Nov. 17, 1883

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Last Sunday was as fine a day as anyone could desire. The River was as smooth as glass, not a breath of wind stirring to ripple its surface; and the air was warm and balmy as in early Summer. But towards evening a change occurred; a North-west wind arose that increased in violence as the evening wore on, and about ten o'clock a tremendous squall came on, accompanied by vivid flashes of lightning and a thick downfall of soft hail. The squall lasted only a few minutes, when the sky cleared again and the moon shone out brightly; but the wind continued high, and a regular gale set in that lasted through the night and all day Monday. On Tuesday snow fell during most of the day, since which time the weather has been wintry, with brisk wind, and hard frost at night. The squall of Sunday evening seems to have extended over all of Ontario and the Western States; and much damage was done both on land and on water...

At Toronto, Belleville, Kingston, and other places West, some buildings were destroyed and great damage done to shutters, windows, chimnies, and other exposed property. Being late in the season, the Lakes were comparatively clear of vessels; but enough were afloat to make a pretty long list of casualties, as the following reports will show:-

A large steamship and consort, bound down, are at anchor abreast of here. The latter having parted her tow line was unable to proceed, and both are riding out the gale. Yesterday the tugs Rob Hackett and Swain, with a life boat and crew on board, made an unsuccessful attempt to reach the Colchester light-ship that foundered at her anchorage on Sunday night. Today she has entirely succumbed to the force of the wind and waves, and not a vestige of her is to be seen, while all hopes for the captain's safety are abandoned, unless he succeeded in launching his boat and reaching some of the islands.

Southampton, Nov. 13th - The steamers Quebec and Manitoba during Sunday night parted their lines and were forced to lie at anchor. They parted their cables and both captains deemed it advisable to run their steamer's bows on the North-east corner of the island, where they now lie comfortable on a gravel bottom and can be easily released. The tug John Martin, which left Sarnia at four o'clock this afternoon, is expected to arrive here during the night, and on her arrival will release the vessels, when they will proceed on their respective routes. The passengers speak in the highest terms of the kindness shown them by the crews of the respective boats, and the able manner in which both Captain Moore and Morrison handled their vessels.

Port Huron, Mich., Nov. 13th - The steamship Escanaba, from Chicago to Sarnia with grain, arrived here at noon today. She shifted her cargo so that the rail was almost under water. Had she been outside one hour longer Captain Owen thinks she would have gone to the bottom. The Merrimac, her consort, parted from her at 8 a.m. off the Point. She drifted to the Canadian shore. The tug John Owen took the Merrimac's hawser from the Escanaba, and went in search of her towards the Canada shore. Telegrams to all points were sent, but no information can be learned of the vessel.

Grand Haven, Nov. 13th - The name of the schooner on the beach South of here is not yet ascertained. She is loaded with coal, and her men are all in the rigging. She is too far out to be reached by the mortar and rope, and the life-saving crew have had to send for the large surf boat, which left here by a double team this afternoon.

Mackinaw City, Mich., Nov. 13th - The schooner Lucy Clark was hauled off the bar by a tug yesterday, but as she was being towed to a safe harbour a heavy wind sprung up and the towline parted. Her anchors were put out, but she dragged, and soon capsized. Her crew took to the lifeboat, which capsized three times. Five men succeeded in getting ashore; but three - the first mate, the engineer of the steam pumps, and the cook - were drowned. The schooner sank almost immediately.

Oswego, Nov. 13th - The schooner Lewis Ross went ashore last night on Ford's Shoals. When discovered this morning she was a half a mile out, and the sea making a clean break over her. This morning it was snowing so hard that it was impossible to tell whether any of the crew were aboard. The surf-boat capsized twice while being launched, and the crew narrowyly narrowly escaped. A tug has gone to the rescue.

Petoskey, Mich., Nov. 13th - A schooner was wrecked off this port, and two men trying to reach shore in the life-boat were drowned. At midnight on Sunday night the new Petoskey dock, and what was left of the old one, went to pieces, also what remained of the old Bay View dock. The shore is lined for miles around the bay with household goods, merchandise, and other wreckage from the warehouses on Petoskey dock. The loss to the village is about $10,000.

Collingwood, Nov. 13th - No word has been received at the Sault of the Frances Smith or Magnet on the down trip.

Saugatuck, Nov. 13th - The schooner Clara Parker is reported ashore nine miles souh of Grand Haven.

Grand Rapids, Nov. 13th - The crew of the tug Protection, captain and nine men, have been rescued by a life-saving crew.

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Nov. 17, 1883
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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), Nov. 17, 1883