The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Ocean (Steamboat), 24 Nov 1849

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The New Steamer OCEAN.-- The Buffalo Express gives the following description of the Messrs. Ward's new steamer OCEAN, which has been launched from their yard; "For model, strength and finish, the OCEAN is much superior to any steamer upon the lakes. Her dimensions are as follows: Length 250 feet; 33 feet beam; 13 feet and 4 inches hold.
Her engine was built by Secor & Co., of New York, and is said by those who, have seen it to be much the finest finished engine upon the lakes. - Dimensions of engine, cylinder 55 inches; 11 feet stroke. The OCEAN is to take the place of the CANADA in the Michigan Central Railroad Line, and in connection with the ATLANTIC and MAY FLOWER. - - - Detroit Press.
      Daily True Democrat (Cleveland)
      Saturday, November 24, 1849

STEAMER OCEAN. - This boat was built by Capt. E.B. Ward, of Michigan, to run between this city and Detroit, in connection with the Central Railroad line. This completes the line to the fullest extent of public comfort and convenience so far as a passage across lake Erie is concerned. The Detroit Advertiser thus speaks of the OCEAN:
"Of her capacity for travellers, it is estimated that she can confortably accommodate 400 cabin and as many steerage passengers. her table ware is silver and china, of a new and imposing style. The ornamental painting is by Godfrey and Atkinson, whose talents with the pencil and the brush is universally acknowledged.
She was built at Newport, on the St. Clair River, and brought here for the finishing touches, and will cost about $120,000. She is propelled by a large and beautiful beam engine, manufactured by the old and celebrated firm of T. Secor & Co., of New York, whose names stand high as engine builders. Some of the largest Atlantic steamers and engines in New York, have been constructed by them, but this is their master-piece - having more power in proportion to its size, than any other on the lakes. - its dimensions are:
Diameter of cylinder, 61 inches; length of stroke, 11 feet; diameter of wheels 32 feet; length of bucket 10 1/2 feet: Two large boilers, 11 feet wide; length of boilers 30 feet. Her length on deck is 264 feet; breadth of beam, 33 1/2 feet; depth of hold 13 feet.
She is to be commanded by Capt. Willoughby, whose personal popularity, and nautical ability, is too well known to need any praise."
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Wednesday, May 29, 1850

      Trial of Speed - OCEAN and EMPIRE STATE
For the Free Press:-- Messrs. Editors: - The most thoroughly contested, exciting and spirited contest in a trial of speed between two steamboats which I ever witnessed on Lake Erie, terminated at Buffalo on Saturday morning last. The Messrs. Wards temporarily withdrew their unrivalled steamer Ocean, Capt. Willoughby, from the Michigan Central Railroad Line, and on Wednesday morning last, proceeded with her to Cleveland, for the avowed purpose of settling a mooted point, and testing her qualities for speed in a trial with the Empire State, Capt. Hazzard, which runs between Cleveland and Buffalo, and which hitherto claimed a superiority over every boat on the lakes. The Ocean made the run to Cleveland (120 miles) in six hours and thirty-five minutes, without whip or spur. The Empire State, though evidently eager for the contest, was coy, and blushing, and modest, and tremulous as a Miss of fifteen who has just stepped out of pantalettes and received the first kiss of an ardent admirer. None but very naughty steamboats would think of racing- the Herald and True Democrat thought so - and, it was feared, 'Mrs. Grundy'* entertained the same notions. However, these fears and scruples were finally overcome, and at about 7 p.m. the Empire State hurled a shrill note of defiance and dashed from the harbor into the lake. In four minutes the Ocean was in full chase, one mile astern. The Ocean gained upon her slowly for about thirty minutes, when she made an extra effort, and in four minutes was double her length ahead. A rocket illumined the heavens, the bell was tolled, she sped onward and arrived in Buffalo 29 minutes, or nearly nine miles, in advance of the Empire State. Ocean's time (200 miles) 11 hours, 15 minutes; Empire States 11 hours 44 minutes.
It was now contended by the officers and owners of the Empire State that this was not a fair test - that their boat was too much by the head - the Capt. Hazzard was not on board - that they didn't try to run anyhow - and that they could and would beat on another trial, or blow up the boat. Another run was agreed upon, and on Thursday evening both boats started fair, and kept nearly side by side for more than an hour. The Ocean, however, became impatient with restraint, caught the curb in her teeth, to tell the Cleveland folks that their favorite would be along there poko tiempo. She arrived in Cleveland 34 minutes, or ten miles, ahead of the Empire State. Ocean's time 10 hours, 58 minutes; Empire State's 11 hours, 32 minutes.
Still the Empire State was not satisfied. She wanted to be beaten "all de time." Capt. Hazzard had arrived, and was then on his post. A challenge was given to Captain Ward, the owner, and Capt. Willoughby, the commander, to make one more trial. It was accepted on the condition that the result should be final and conclusive. The day was spent in putting the Empire State in first rate running order - the bets were freely offered on the Empire State and as freely taken by the friends of the Ocean. The Empire State, as a south shore boat, was of course the favorite at Cleveland. At a few minutes past 7 p.m. the Empire State led off, and the Ocean followed about eighty rods astern. The shores for more than a mile were crowded with spectators, and the race for an hour was truly exciting and animated. The Ocean, however, passed her with ease at a quarter past eight, sent up two signal rockets to apprise Cleveland of her victory, and led on to Buffalo, where she arrived eighteen minutes, or about five miles in advance of the Empire State. She has thus won three successive victories over the boat which has claimed to be the fastest on the lakes. Ocean's time, 10 h, 48 m - Empire State's 11 h 3 m. The Empire State acknowledges herself fairly beaten, and admits that the Ocean can beat anything on the lakes. The Empire State is a noble craft, and the Ocean, in three successive triumphs over her, has won a victory worthy of herself.
      Detroit Free Press
      Tuesday, April 29, 1851
*Mrs. Grundy - . Any person who is too much concerned with being proper, modest, or righteous (Rogets II Thesaurus, 1995) Dave Swayze note

Steam paddle OCEAN. Of 1,052 tons. Built Newport, Mich. 1850. First home port, Detroit, Mich. DISPOSITION:-- Rig changed to Sloop Barge November 12, 1862.
      Merchant Steam Vessels of the U. S. A.
      The Lytle-Holdcamper List, 1790 to 1868

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new boat, Newport
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William R. McNeil
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Ocean (Steamboat), 24 Nov 1849