The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Erie Packet (Schooner), 1796

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NAVIGATION OF LAKE ERIE.---A fine large schooner, built and owned by Wilkeson & Sons, of Buffalo, was a short time since launched into the waters of lake Erie. She is called the JOHN C, SPENCER. The Buffalo Journal gives the following compendium of the navigation of the lake.

The first vessel navigating Lake Erie under the American flag was the sloop DETROIT, purchased by the government of the British North West Company, in 1796. She was about 70 tons burthen, but was old and scarcely sea-worthy when purchased, and soon after was condemned and laid up at the River Rouge.

In the same 1796, a small schooner called the ERIE PACKET was built in Canada, to run between Fort Erie and Presque Isle. She was lost in 1798 by drifting out of Erie harbor. In 1797, the schr. WILKINSON of 80 tons was built at Detroit by Abbots & Connelly, and sailed for two years by Connelly, as master. In 1810, she was thoroughly repaired and her name changed to the AMELIA; and in 1812, was purchased by the government and armed, and had the honor of belonging to Perry's squadron, and of participating in his glorious

The GOOD INTENT, of 35 tons, was built by Capt.Lee in 1799 and navigated the lake till 1806, when she ran on Point Abino and was lost, together with her cargo and crew.

The same year 1799 the brig ADAMS and schr. TRACY were built by the government. The former was captured by the British the first year of the war, afterwards retaken at Fort Erie and run upon Squaw Island and burnt.

The latter was sold to Portor Barton & Co. and afterwards lost at Fort Erie. In 1805, the War Department, possessing, it would seem, no very accurate notion of our localities, directed the commanding officer at Fort Niagara to construct at the post a vessel of suitable size to transport Indian presents from Niagara to Fort Wayne.

The commanding officer anticipating some difficulty in navigating up the Falls, ventured to depart so far from his instructions as to cause the vessel to be built at Black Rock---she was called the NANCY, and was of about 50 tons burthen. The CONTRACTOR, a fine vessel of about 80 tons burthen, was built at Black Rock in 1806 by Portor, Barton & Co. and was
sold to the government in 1812.

The CATHARINE, another line schooner, was built by Sheldon Thompson and other at Black Rock in 1808. Several other vessels were built about this time at different places on the lake, but recollections does not serve to give their names.
      Monroe Evening News
      February 1, 1834

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William R. McNeil
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Erie Packet (Schooner), 1796