The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Black Rock Gazette (Buffalo, NY), 13 July 1826, page 2

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Steam Boat Matters.-- The Journal of Thesday contains a "Card" from the passengers of the Superior, to Capt. Sherman, complimenting him for his good conduct during the bad weather which he and his boat had to encounter during her last trip to Detroit. If our testimony to the skill, energy, and gentlemanly deportment of Capt. S. as a commander, would add any thing to his reputation, we would cheerfully give it. We were, nevertheless, sorry to see the publicaiton of this "Card," because the effect, (we will not say the object,) of it, although not avowed, evidently is, not to bolster up Capt. S. for he does not need it, but to give a factitious [sic] reputation abroad to the Superior, at the expense of the other Boats on the Lake. The Superior and Henry Clay, although they sail in concert, are rivals for public favor and patronage. Our partialities, are of course, for the Black Rock Boat; but, although we have been perfectly aware of her superiority, we have abstained, in delicacy to Capt. S. from making comparisons. The publication of this "Card" will, we think, justify us in stating the performance of the Clay, during the same bad weather, and comparing it with that of the Superior. From the 27th June, (the day appointed for the sailing of the Superior from Buffalo, and of the Clay from Detroit,) to the 2d of July, inclusive, there was a stiff and incessant breeze from the west. The Clay, however, sailed at the appointed time, and arrived at Black Rock on the morning of the 29th. The Superior, deterred by the weather, did not leave Buffalo until the morning of the 29th, and was followed, two days after by the Clay, from Black Rock. The Clay arrived at Detroit on the 3d July, an hour and a half before the Superior--thus performing the voyage in half the time, and gallantly surmounting "the delay which, (according to the Card,) occurred on the voyage of the Superior, and which no earthly means could have prevented." In short, (and we know of no good reason why the fact should be concealed from the public,) the Henry Clay is not only a much more staunch and powerful Boat than the Superior, but surpasses her is speed at the rate of at least three miles an hour in calm weather, and still more considerably in bad. The passengers of of [sic] the Clay tendered to Capt. Norton, which he modestly declined, a "Card" expressive of their high opinion of his Boat, and not less, (and surely it ought not to be less,) complimentary to him personally than the one given to Capt. Sherman.

The Superior arrived at Buffalo last evening and will sail again to-morrow which is her regular day.

The Pioneer will sail this morning from Black Rock for Detroit, between which ports she will, hereafter, ply. She is a well built boat with a very powerful engine, and will unquestionably be one of the two swiftest boats on the lake. Whether she will equal or surpass the Clay in speed, remains yet to be ascertained.


On Friday last, the schooner Prudence, from Cleaveland, bound to Black Rock, grounded on a reef of rocks in the Lake, from which she was got off in a short time without the slightest injury.

This accident, too trivial in itself to deserve a public annunciation, we should not have noticed but for the blustering which our editorial brethern of Buffalo have made about it, and their unworthy attempt to charge it to the account of their old and dreaded enemy, the Black Rock Harbor. The small and well known reef on which the Prudence struck has no more connexion with the Black Rock Harbor than it has with Buffalo. It is situated about half a mile from the eastern shore of the lake, in a line between the mouth of the two harbors, and almost exactly equi-distant from each; & a vessel on its direct course down the lake, bound to either harbor would not sail within three quarters of a mile of it. It rises so near the surface that it can always be discovered by the breaking surf whenever the lake is in the least agitated by wind; and its situation is so well known that this is the first instance we recollect of a vessel's striking on it. The whole secret of this accident is that the Prudence was a new vessel, just fitted out, and was navigated by its owner, who pretended to no knowledge of the lakes, and who on his arrival at Black Rock, employed a Captain to sail her, as it had been his intention to do when he left Cleaveland. The Comments of the Journal were such as we expected from that paper; but we confess that we were mortified as well as surprized to see the Patriot, lending its columns to this petty warfare.

Media Type:
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Column 6
Date of Original:
13 July 1826
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Language of Item:
Richard Palmer
Copyright Statement:
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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Black Rock Gazette (Buffalo, NY), 13 July 1826, page 2