The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Kingston Chronicle (Kingston, ON), Nov. 3, 1820

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Wreck of the Asp

(Letter dated Richland, N. Y. , Oct. 16, 1820, from James F. Wright, Oswego, county coroner and district attorney, to Thomas Racey of Niagara, owner of the vessel).

Dear Sir: The schooner Asp, commanded by Capt. Prosser, was wrecked near the mouth of Salmon River at this place on Thursday morning last. All on board perished except one seaman named James Young and a lady (a passenger) about 24 years of age from whom I learnt the vessel belonged to you. An inquest was held on the bodies found (7 in number) before me, as Coroner of this county: and by law of this state it becomes my duty to take possession of the wreck which I found in a most deplorable condition. Her masts and spars hung by the rigging around her sides - her deck completely swept of everything - her hull split nearly from stem to stern - the planks off her sides in many places - the cabin completely broke. I fear the vessel is worth no more than her irons. I have saved the greatest part of the rigging, with the anchor and cable. The sails are torn to pieces and of no manner of use. The staves that were in the hold have been got on shore, and secured in a convenient place for reloading on board another vessel; and the principle part of the deck freight has been picked up along shore.

About 20 dollars in money has been found in the captain's pocket; also his watch - his trunk, which was washed out of the cabin before the vessel went ashore; and almost everything else.

From what I can learn, the vessel on Wednesday sprung a leak and nearly filled, then capsized and lay on her beam end, until she twisted off her masts, and then righted. During this time, a gentleman, his wife and little girl, were drowned in the cabin and a young man was washed from the deck soon after she righted. The vessel at this time lay off Long Point, about 20 miles from the Ducks, the sea making a complete breach over her during the night.

Five persons perished on deck. The captain died after day break, and was washed off deck after the vessel struck shore. She drifted onto this shore about 10 a. m. The dead were decently interred. The little girl and young man who were washed from the deck have not yet been found.

I believe that everything has been done for the benefit of the owners and the comfort of the survivors. " (Copied from the Niagara Argus and Spectator).

LINES (Written to the tune "The Cruel Mother-in-Law")
Composed on the Ship-wreck of the Schooner ASP,
Driven on the Bar, near the Mouth of Salmon River, (L. Ontario) - 12th Oct, 1820 BY LEVI TRYON.

1. From Queenstown we set sail,
With merry hearts;
'Twas with a pleasant gale
We then did start;
For Kingston we did steer,
Had nothing then to fear,
Our hearts it then would cheer
To gain that port.

2. We had not sailed long,
In this our pride -
There'll be a dreadful storm,
The Captain cri'd: -
And we our sails must reef,
To save us from the deep;
If we expect relief,
Our deck must be clear.

3. The winds began to blow,
The swell did arise,
Which fill'd each heart with woe
And great surprise;
Soon death will be our fate,
And shocking to relate -
Now of our future state,
God only knows.

4. Our vessel springs a leak,
While on the swell;
Such horror does bespeak,
As none can tell: -
Such crying in distress,
As no one can express -
Each one did then address,
The Throne of Grace.

5 With sorrow we relate,
Three of them fell,
All victims to the fate,
While on the swell: -
A husband and his wife,
And child deprived of life,
Have left a world of strife,
And friends to mourn.

6 For death let us prepare,
Said Henry Wales,
For this will be our share,
And without fail
Our vessel will capsize,
And we shall lose our lives;
And these were still our cries,
Lord save our souls.

7 Then to our great surprise,
As we did ride,
The vessel did capsize,
Down on her side;
And then she righted up,
To face the storm.

8 And thus, in solemn prayer;
Young Wales did speak;
Lord, let us be thy care,
While on this wreck -
And guide us safe to port,
Into the holy court,
Where mercy reigns.

9 Farewell my parents dear,
He then did say;
For me shed not a tear,
Though long I stay; -
For I shall be at peace,
Where all my troubles cease;
In a better world than this,
At God's right hand.

10 Farewell my sister too,
For me don't mourn;
I bid you both adieu,
Ne'er to return; -
But may we meet again,
Where we with Christ shall reign,
To praise God's holy name
In worlds above.

11 Of Wales, this was his last,
That we did hear;
Into the lake was cast,
As doth appear: -
Jane Gibson he did save,
Twice from the raging wave,
And in a watery grave,
Himself was lost.

12 And all one stormy night,
No help could find;
We drove till morning light
By chilly winds: -
The Captain did reply,
I feel I must die,
And heav'd a parting sigh
And left the world.

13 Two of eleven left,
Who did arrive -
Were found upon the wreck,
But just alive: -
Jane Gibson and James Young.
Outrode the raging storm;
Assistance then did come,
To their relief.

14 Six men with courage bold,
Their lives did risk,
To save them from the main,
Three times they tried in vain,
And then return'd again,
And took them off.

15 By Salmon river's side,
Those drowned lie -
Besmear'd with sand and blood,
W**d can't deny; -
No sermon, nor a prayer,
From W**d, who had the care,
The truth we do declare,
To his disgrace.

16 Come all you young and old,
Who sail the lake,
Seek mercy for your souls,
Before too late; -
Repent, is the command,
As we do understand,
To all sea or land,
Or sink to woe.

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Date of Original:
Nov. 3, 1820
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Richard Palmer
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
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Kingston Chronicle (Kingston, ON), Nov. 3, 1820