The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Gazette (Detroit, MI), 8 Aug. 1823, page 2

Full Text
From the Upper Canada Weekly Register.

Natural History.--Sir.--I beg leave to send you the following account of a very extraordinary phenomenon which lately occurred in the waters of Lake Erie, which you are at liberty to use in any way you think proper. I am &c.


Port Talbot, June 20th 1823.

On or about the 30th May last, a little after sunset, Lake Erie was observed to take a sudden and extraordinary rise, the weather being fine and clear, and the lake calm and smooth. It was principally noticed at the mouths of Otter and kettle creeks which are 20 miles apart. At Otter creek it came in without the least previous intimation, in a swell of nine feet perpendicular height, as was afterwards ascertained, rushed violently up the channel, and drove a schooner of 35 tons burthen from her moorings, threw her upon high ground; and rolled over the ordinary beach into the woods, completely inundating all the adjacent flats. This was followed by two others of equal height, which caused the creek to retrograde a mile and a half, and to overflow its banks where water was never before seen by seven feet. The noise occasioned by its rushing with such rapidity along the winding channel, was truly astonishing.--It was witnessed by a number of persons.

At Kettle creek several men were drawing a fish net in the lake, when suddenly they saw the water coming upon them in the manner above mentioned; and, letting go their net, they ran for their lives. The swell overtook them before they could reach the high bank, and swept them forward with great force; but, being expert swimmers, they escaped unhurt. The man who was in the skiff, putting in the new line, was drove with it a considerable distance over a flat, and grounded upon a small eminence, until the water subsided. There were three successive swells, as at Otter creek, and the effects up the creek were the same, with this difference, the water full [?] rose 7 feet. In both cases, the lakes, after these swells had spent their force, gradually, subsided, and in about twenty minutes was at its usual might and tranquillity. It was observed at other places along shore, that the high banks did not admit of the same observation. In all, however, there was a general correspondence as to the height of the rise.

Conjecture will doubtless be [ ] as to the cause of this most remarkable phenomenon, but it must only be conjecture, for it was unattended with any circumstance that could remotely hint at a probable cause.

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8 Aug. 1823
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Dave Swayze
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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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Detroit Gazette (Detroit, MI), 8 Aug. 1823, page 2