The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Merchant (Schooner), sunk, 13 Jun 1847

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Schooner MERCHANT, lost on Lake Superior.
      Buffalo Courier ( 1847 casualty list)
      March 17, 1848

      . . . . .

      The Lake Superior News Says:- We have for some time purposely abstained from
mentioning the fears that have for two or three weeks been entertained for the Schooner MERCHANT, on Lake Superior, which left this port for L'Anse on June 12th, and since which no tidings whatever have been heard of her. But as all hope seems now given up by our citizens, we regret we are compelled to announce that she has undoubtedly been lost, and that all on board have found a watery grave, having probably gone down on the night of the 13th., at which time it is known that a severe storm raged on the Lake. She had on board seven passengers and seven in crew. Captain Robert Brown, of the SWALLOW, having command at the time, in consequence of the illness of Captain Moore, who was detained on shore. Among the passengers were J. H. Woods, and E. Gregory, of Pontiac, Mich., and L. C. Smith and Geo. Howard of Norwalk, Ohio., all of whom had been employed by the National Mining Company, and were on their way to it's location. The names of the other passengers we are unable to give, or those of the crew, until the return of Captain Moore, who has gone up the Lake with a view of visiting the Caribou Islands, in the hope of finding some trace of his vessel, as she must have been somewhere in that vicinity at the time the gale occurred. The owners of the MERCHANT, we understand were Messrs. Coe & Coit, of Detroit.
      The Buffalo Courier
      Monday, July 26, 1847

      . . . . .

List of vessels lost since the discovery of copper in the Upper Peninsula, in 1845, and the commencement of the Lake Superior steamer and vessel trade, many craft engaged in the trade have been lost. Previous to the discovery of copper, there was no other trade but that of furs, and one of the fur trading vessels was lost - the JOHN JACOB ASTOR. We have compiled the following table, which will be found of interest to those connected with the Lake Superior copper trade:
Name of vessel lost Value Value cargo Year Lives lost
* Schooner MERCHANT $4,000 $2,000 1847 18
Propeller GOLIATH $18,000 $18,000 1847
Steamer BEN FRANK $15,000 $4,000 1850
Propeller MONTICELL $30,000 $10,000 1851
Schooner SISKOWIT $1,000 $500 -- (Siskavet 37.39 tons)
Schooner SELBY $500 $500 --
Propeller INDEPENDENCE $12,000 $19,000 1853 3
Steamer ALBANY $30,000 $2,500 1853
Propeller PENINSULA $18,000 $12,000 1854
Steamer E.K. COLLINS $100,000 $1,500 1854 20
Steamer BALTIMORE $15,000 $4,000 1855
Steamer SUPERIOR $15,000 $10,000 1856 54
Propeller B.L. WEBB $50,000 $15,000 1856
Propeller CITY OF SUPERIOR $50,000 $25,000 1857
Propeller INDIANA $8,000 $2,500 1858
      ---------- ----------- -----
      $366,500 $125,500 95
      ---------- ----------- -----
      Making a grand total of $492,000. - (Detroit Advertiser)
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      Saturday, December 11, 1858

      . . . . .
      SCHOONER MERCHANT. -- The Detroit Free Press says:-- It will be recollected by some of our readers, that this vessel mysteriously disappeared from Lake Superior, five years ago. She left Sault Ste. Marie for L'Anse, with a valuable cargo, and about thirteen persons on board, including crew and passengers. Among the latter were some agents of mining companies, having with them $5,000, belonging to the different companies. Her non-arrival excited fears for her safety, and the lake was searched in every direction, but nothing of her could be found -- not even a floating spar; and up to the present time her fate has remained unknown. A few days ago while some persons were coming down the lake in a small craft, they discovered the top-masts of the long lost schooner, standing erect in the water, some thirty feet below the surface. The locality has been marked, and measures will be taken to procure the specie on board, if nothing else.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Monday, September 6, 1852

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Reason: sunk
Lives: 14
Remarks: Total loss
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 48.830555 Longitude: -88.043055
William R. McNeil
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Merchant (Schooner), sunk, 13 Jun 1847