The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Fred Mercur (Propeller), U120513, 20 Mar 1884

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Supervising Inspector Van Valkenburg, has revised the decision of the local inspectors in the prop. MERCUR case, and restored the commisions of the mates. The full text of his decision is as follows:
      On appeal of the matter under investigation of the cause of the stranding of the steamer FRED MERCUR, before the supervising inspectors of steam vessels, 9th District, Buffalo, N.Y.
      Upon investigation of the above case in accordance with section 4,452 revised statutes, I find that the stm. FRED MERCUR of the Lehigh Valley Line, while upon her last trip from Buffalo to Chicao, on the 15th day of November, 1883, about 4:45 P.M., stranded upon Erie Peninsula, between Presque Isle light and the entrance to Erie harbor. Said steamer was running back to Erie harbor for shelter at the time of the stranding, and sometime prior thereto the steamer was in heavy snow squalls, and I find that owing to said heavy weather it was an error of judgement on the part of the captain as to the location of his steamer, said vessel was out of her proper course, and thereby stranded.
      Owing to a conflict of testimony in relation to the heaving of the lead, and reports of the same to the captain, by the first and second mates, I do not deem the evidence positive enough to convict them of inattention to their duties, and therefore restore the license of Peter J. McKinnon as first mate and the license of William McCollum as second mate on steam vessels.
      Buffalo, New York, March 19, 1884
      Thos. N. Van Valkenburgh
      U.S. Supervising Inspector of steam vessels.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      March 20, 1884 3-2

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reversal of decision
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William R. McNeil
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Fred Mercur (Propeller), U120513, 20 Mar 1884