The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily Journal (St. Catharines, ON), Wed., Oct. 7, 1868

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Fearful Disaster on Lake Ontario - Burning of the Welland R.R. Steamer
Perseverance -- Capt. FitzGibbons, son and 12 Others Lost - Two Mates, Two
Men and a Boy named Lynch saved.

Journal Office,
Oct. 6 -5:30 p.m.)

The Welland Railway steamer Perseverance, Capt. John Fitzgibbons, was burnt to the water's edge this morning off Pultneyville, about 70 miles above Oswego, on Lake Ontario.

Capt. Fitzgibbons, his son, and others lost their lives -- fourteen in all.

The two mates, two men, and a boy named Lynch were picked up by the steamer Enterprise, Capt. McGrath.

The Perseverance left Port Dalhousie yesterday afternoon with a load of wheat and a large barge in tow.

The Enterprise followed in a few hours afterwards, and coming up with the barge, picked up the parties saved.

Further particulars as soon as received


The Burning of the Perseverance.


Further Details Of The Awful Catastrophe.


She Burns To The Water's Edge In Less Than 15 Minutes.


The news of the frightful disaster to the Welland Railway's propeller Perseverance, announced in our extra of last evening, has been confirmed.

The origin of the fire is not as yet know, and it is probable will forever remain a mystery.

The following is the statement of one of the crew, named Arch. Graham:-

Oswego, October 6.

The account of the disaster, as given by Archie Graham, a deck hand, is as follows: -About one o'clock this morning, when about 2 o'clock this morning and burned to the water's edge. The fire was first discovered by the engineer, who showed it to the first mate, he being then on watch; and almost before they could realize the appalling fact the propeller was completely enveloped in flames. Two of her boats were on fire before they could be reached, but the third was launched and put off with the two mates, two men and a boy. There were 19 persons aboard, 14 of whom, including the captain, perished in the flames.

The propeller Enterprise, of the same line was about 15 miles astern of the Perseverance, and she picked up the boat containing the persons above named, and arrived with them at this port this afternoon. The Enterprise remained near the burning steamer until daylight, at which time the wreck was still float. The Captain's son, who was first mate, is among the saved.

The cargo of the Perseverance consisted of 10,146 bushels of corn for T.S. Mott, of Oswego, and boat boat and cargo were insured. The Perseverance was a first-class propeller, and was employed wholly in the grain trade between the Welland Railroad and Oswego. This is one of the most heart rendering accidents which has ever occurred on Lake Ontario and has cast a gloom over the whole community.

Captain Fitzgibbons formerly resided in this city, and was well known and much respected. The following are the names of those lost: - John Fitzgibbons, Captain; Michael Fitzgibbons, steward and son of the captain;

Alex. McArthur, first engineer; Charles Mason, second engineer; Alexander and James Patrick and H'y Scott, firemen; Dolf Bisnet, wheelsman; four deck hands with unknown French names; and Mrs. Davis and daughter. Survivors - Maurice Fitzgibbons, first mate, and son of the captain; Wm. Thorp, 2nd mate; Peter Legho, wheelsman; a deck hand, name unknown; and Patrick Lynch, the porter.


Still Further.

Statement of Maurice Fitzgibbons, One Of The Survivors.

Maurice Fitzgibbons, son of Captain Fitzgibbons, and one of the survivors of the Perseverance, arrived in town this morning and gives the following particulars: The fire broke out in the wooden casing around the smoke stack about 2 o'clock yesterday morning when about 15 miles off Pultneyville. Mason, 2nd engineer, discovered the fire and gave an alarm to the first mate, who was on watch, and immediately alarmed all hands and started for the yawl boats, but before they could be lowered they were a mass of fire. They succeeded in launching the lifeboat, into which Maurice Fitzgibbons and four others succeeded in making their way. While in this boat he saw his father, Captain Fitzgibbons busily engaged in lashing the remaining portion of the crew to gangway plank &c., and all were safely launched into the water. The captain was the last to leave the boat, being lashed to one of the gangways. Those in the lifeboat were picked up by the Enterprise, which was some miles astern. The barge which were astern was also secured by the Enterprise.

The propeller Buckeye passed up the Canal this morning from Oswego direct. She reports having passed the Enterprise cruising in the neighborhood of the disaster, looking after possible survivors. She also reports that one of the men saved is severely burned.

We have since learned the names of three of the crew, as follows: - Napoleon Tindelle, Patrick Moran, and F. Christie.

Up to the hour of going to press no further definite information has been received respecting this disaster. A rumor is current that the second engineer, Mason, is saved, but there is nothing certain about it. Capt. Neelon, of the firm of Norris & Neelon, proposes sending out a tug to cruise about in search of those reported lost. he is of opinion that as most if not all of them were lashed either to life preservers or planks, they may still be afloat.

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Wed., Oct. 7, 1868
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Richard Palmer
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
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Daily Journal (St. Catharines, ON), Wed., Oct. 7, 1868