The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), 12 Nov, 1868

Full Text

THE LOSS OF THE SCHOONER JAMES NAVAGH. - The last number of the Manitowoc Pilot contains the following highly interesting particulars of the loss of the schooner James Navagh on Two Rivers Point on the night of the 30th ult.:

"The crew of the Navagh consisted of Captain Griffin, two mates, five seamen, and Mrs. Margaret Miles, a widow woman who was employed as cook. As soon as the vessel struck, her stern was carried away, taking her yawl boat with it, and her cabin commenced filling with water. The sea making a clean breach over her, the crew went into the forecastle and attempted to build a fire, but the forecastle commenced to fill, they were compelled to leave that also, the water coming in so rapidly that the last man out had to be pulled out with ropes. The vessel was now nearly submerged, and the unfortunate crew were compelled to crawl out upon the bowsprit and jibboom for ten (some of them twelve) hours, suffering everything but death. Every stitch of clothing upon them was saturated with water, the night was dark and intensely cold, and they were benumbed and nearly exhausted. After daybreak, finding that they were not observed from shore, it became evident that something must be done to obtain succor, or all would soon perish. Michael O'Brien, a sailor before the mast, of whose courage Capt. Griffin speaks in the highest terms of praise, volunteered to make the perilous attempt. He stripped off his clothing, and plunging into the lake, struck out bravely for the shore, which was about a quarter of a mile distant. A stiff current, setting down the lake, carried him about two miles to the northward before he succeeded in reaching land. When he did get ashore, he was so thoroughly chilled and exhausted that he had barely strength to crawl into an unoccupied shanty near at hand, where he covered himself with some hay until he regained a little warmth and strength, and then proceeded in quest of relief for his suffering friends.

"In the meantime Mr. Joe Gagnon, of Two Rivers, had discovered the perilous situation of the crew of the wrecked vessel, and hastened to the village for assistance. As soon as possible, two Mackinaw boats were brought down to the beach, opposite the wreck. The first one was speedily manned, and started for the vessel. A tremendous sea was rolling in to the shore at the time, and the gale had not abated in violence; but no sense of personal danger, nor the certainty of death itself, could deter the noble hearted men from making the attempt to rescue the hapless people who were dying by inches in plain sight. The boat succeeded in reaching the vessel, and taking off the two mates, two of the seamen and Mrs. Miles, attempted to return to shore. This was about noon on Saturday [31st]. The boat was twice overturned by the waves in returning, the last time in the surf near the beach when those ashore waded out and rescued the crew and passengers. Mrs. Miles, who had endured every hardship during the night without a murmur, was utterly exhausted and chilled through, and half drowned by the capsizing of the boat. Dry clothing was wrapped about her, and she was placed in a wagon and driven to Two Rivers as rapidly as possible, but died immediately afterward. She was about fifty-five years of age, and the captain speaks of her as a worthy woman, who was the only support of a widowed daughter and three grandchildren, who live in Chicago.

"Capt. Griffin and two seamen still remained on the ill-fated vessel. The other Mackinaw was launched into the seething waters, and brave hearts and sturdy arms were not wanting to complete the work so nobly begun. No mishap attended this second trip, which was made between two and three o'clock, and the three men were brought safely ashore. The officers and crew of the Navagh express their warmest gratitude to and admiration for the noble, self-sacrificing men, through whose superhuman exertions alone they were rescued from a terrible death. Two Rivers has reason to be proud of this heroic achievement of her citizens. The following is the roll of honor, as furnished us my Captain Griffin, being the names of the crews of the two boats, and those who were foremost in aiding them: Joseph Gagnon, Tim Harrington, Dennis Battee, Frank Leffawn, Godfray Leffawn, Alfred Leffawn, Frank St. Peter, Nezen Borneau, Teleafor St. Peter, Dolf Gokie."

Media Type:
Item Type:
Date of Original:
12 Nov, 1868
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Dave Swayze
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
WWW address
Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit

My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.

Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), 12 Nov, 1868