The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Kingston Chronicle (Kingston, ON), Nov 24, 1820

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The following more particular account of the late wrecks on Lake Ontario is taken from the Sackets Harbour Gazette.

The Schooner Triumph, Capt. Davis, with 153 barrels Salt, was driven on the Genessee bar, - vessel and cargo totally lost.

The Schooner Swallow, Capt. Pond, in ballast, on shore in Braddock's Bay, - vessel bilged and will be lost.

The Schooner Minerva, Capt. Hugunin, threw overboard 130 bbls salt, and afterwards struck on Oswego bar in attempting to make that harbour, and we are informed since receiving the following communication, that she got off with the loss of her cargo, in all about 400 bbls salt.

The Schooner Wolcott, Capt. Statson? rode out the gale, and kept the lake with the loss of 10 bbls. flour, washed from her deck, with her boat and galley stove. The water which covered her, formed such a bond as alone secured the remainder of her deck load.

The Schooner Ontario, Capt. Hugunin, left Genessee river on Saturday afternoon, in company with the Wolcott, with a heavy deck load, and we have yet no reports from her.

The Schooners Morning Star, Julia, and Java, from Sackett's Harbor, bound to Niagara, sailed on Saturday previous to the storm, and we feel anxious for their safety.

The crew of the Triumph was taken from the wreck, by a boat from the Steam Boat Ontario, which lay at the mouth of Genessee river, and as yet we have heard on no lives lost. We shall doubtless hear more of the effects of this dreadful storm.

The Schooner Lavantia, with a cargo of about 300 bbls. of salt, was lost at Little Sodus, and the Schooner Phoenix at the four mile Creek, in ballast, a few days before the gale.

In addition to all these disasters, we have further intelligence of the loss of several other vessels during the storm of the 12th instant. The schooners called the Kingston Packet, and the York Packet (late the Comet) are driven on the beach at Niagara, and the latter very much injured, if not rendered wholly irreparable. The old schooner Wellington is totally wrecked near Stony Creek, and three American vessels (perhaps those alluded to in the Sacket's Harbour Gazette) are said to be on shore at the Head of the Lake. The Schooner Catherine, in ballast, belonging to Mr. Lyons, of Presque Isle, went on the rocks near Pultneyville, during the night of the 11th, and is completely wrecked. Our fears for the Commodore Owen are unhappily realized. That schooner passed the Ducks about seven o'clock at night, with very little canvas on, and before day break struck the ground near Oak Orchard, on the American side, about 40 miles below Niagara. The Captain immediately let go his Anchors, but finding his Cabin fast filling with water, and seeing the futility of attempting to save the vessel, he slipped his cables and got as near the shore as possible, for the purpose of preserving the lives of the crew and passengers, as well as the cargo. The storm was so violent that no landing could be effected until Monday afternoon. The interim was spent by the people on board, thirteen in number, in a state of much anxiety and suffering. They were exposed to every surf which broke over the vessel, and one or two persons had their extremities touched by the frost. At the last accounts the crew and passengers had got safely on shore, and were employed in landing the goods, all of which are damaged, and the greater part will be totally ruined, as there is no shelter near at hand. - The Captain, who is one of the most attentive and cautious on the Lake, cannot account for the manner of his wreck.

He was on deck himself the whole night, and almost continually looking at the compass, and directing the helmsman to steer the vessel towards York. He attributes the error in his course to a circumstance commonly believed by the seamen on the Lake, viz. that a compass will not traverse when exposed to a snow storm. Whether this opinion be founded in fact, and can be maintained on philosophical grounds, we profess not to decide, but it appears to us to be more reasonable to attribute the misfortune to the faulty construction of the instrument itself rather than to any effect which the snow could have on the action of the needle.

Thus have twelve or thirteen vessels been wrecked on the shore of this Lake within a very few weeks -forming altogether an aggregate of loss unprecedented in any former year.

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Nov 24, 1820
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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.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Kingston Chronicle (Kingston, ON), Nov 24, 1820