The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
John Hancock (Brig), aground, 19 Nov 1846

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      Several Lives Lost
      Loss of the Steamer HELEN STRONG
      Loss of the Steamer INDIAN QUEEN
      EUROPE, SIZER and several Schooners
      A severe rain poured down all day on Thursday last, accompanied by a high wind. In the evening it commenced blowing a gale from the North West. It appears to have been severer west of us than here, and accounts from up the lake bring us melancholy intelligence of the loss of Iife and property. Being in disorder Saturday, on account of the removal of our office, we were unable to give the particulars until this morning, which will be found below, from various sources:
      The steamer HELEN STRONG went ashore about five miles above Barcelona -- two lives lost. One schooner (the SWAN) at Barcelona, high and dry; one about three miles below, name not known; a sloop above Barcelona, capsized -- probably all lost. The brig OSCEOLA about eight miles above Barcelona, ashore -- four hands lost; and the Schr. CLEVELAND near the brig OSCEOLA.
The steamer HELEN STRONG will undoubtedly go to pieces, she is on a very rocky bound shore.
The steamer LEXINGTON, Capt. Randall, came in on Saturday afternoon from Erie, where she lay during the gale in safety.
The Steamers NIAGARA, MADISON, and NEW ORLEANS are safe at Erie. The new brig. JOHN ANCOCK, Capt. DeGroat went ashore just above the Erie Peninsula, on the rocks. One of her sides is stove in, and the hull otherwise damaged. It is feared she will be a total wreck.
The brig EUROPE, Capt.Rossman, is high and dry at Fairport. She will be got off without much damage.
The vessels ashore at Erie, on the Peninsula are the AINSWORTH, DAYTON, U.STATES, and CHARLES HOWARD. These vessels will probably be got off without much damage. The brig H.H. SIZER and schooner HURON are both total wrecks.
The little steamer COMMERCE, Capt.Traverse, came in about 3 o'clock Sunday afternoon, from Dunkirk, where she lay during the gale. The INDIAN QUEEN is ashore about a mile this side of Dunkirk, on the rocks, and is a perfect wreck.
Sixteen dead bodies have washed ashore at Barcelona on Saturday.
The schooner CONVOY had got as far up as Grand River, and was driven back. She arrived here without sustaining any damage.
The steamer ILLINOIS was out during the gale, but weathered it out with some slight damage , and arrived at Detroit in safety.
The GREAT WESTERN was aground in the Detroit River on Thursday, having run upon a bar on Wednesday night.
There were reports in town, this morning that two schooners were driven ashore between the city and Dunkirk on Sunday night last.
      EFFECTS OF THE GALE- ON Lake Ontario.
On Lake Ontario the gale was very severe. The schooner WESTERN, Capt. Bassett, is ashore on a sandbar at Irondequiot Bay; load of salt, bound for Cleveland. Schr. MISSOURI, Capt. Benson, is ashore at Braddock's Bay; load of 6,000 bushels of wheat. Schr. W.H. MERRITT, light, is also driven high and dry near Braddock's Bay. We learn
that A. Kelsey Esq, has gone to the assitance of the stranded vessels in one of his propellers, but at the time of writing we have no further particulars- - - Roch. Adv. 23rd.
      Daily Courier and Pilot (Buffalo)
      Tuesday November 24,1846

      _ _ _ _ _

      Terrible Gale on Lake Erie - Sixteen Bodies Found
Lake Erie was visited by a tremendous gale on Thursday, the 19th inst., which occasioned the loss of several vessels and a number of lives. Accounts state that sixteen bodies were picked up along shore.
Several vessels were cast ashore in the vicinity of Barcelona - among them are the HELEN STRONG, SWAN, OSCEOLA, CLEVELAND, and a sloop, name unknown, capsized.
The brig JOHN HANCOCK is ashore above Erie - total wreck; also the AINSWORTH, UNITED STATES, CHARLES, and A. P. HAYWOOD - will be got off with trifling damage. The brig EUROPE is ashore at Fair Point - damage slight.
The brig H.H.SIZER, and schooner HURON, at Erie, and the steamer INDIAN QUEEN, at Dunkirk, are total wrecks. There are 14 sail and three steam vessels ashore between Buffalo and Detroit. The shore for miles is strewn with fragments of wrecks.
      Gale on Lake Ontario - Vessels Lost.
      The storm which raged on Lake Erie, on Thursday, appears to have visited Lake Ontario with no great abatement on Friday. The vessels, the AINSWORTH and Canadian schr. GRAMPUS, broke from their moorings in Oswego harbor, and were driven on the rocks at Fort Ontario - both total wrecks. The crews of the two vessels were taken off by the yawl of the revenue cutter, lying in the harbor.
A schooner in attempting to enter the harbor, was driven past, and is reported ashore in Mexico Bay. Several vessels which had left Oswego Thursday for the upper lakes, returned after vain attempts to weather the gale.
At 9 o'clock on Friday night the wind was still blowing a perfect hurricane - and it is reasonable to suppose that immense damage was done that we have not yet heard of.
Since writing the above we learn by a gentleman from Oswego, that another terrible storm, no less disastrous than the first, visited the lake on Thursday morning last. he states that a Canadian schooner was driven ashore at Oswego on that morning and also that the pier on the east side of the river was considerably started from its foundation during the day, and it
was feared would be swept away.
      Onondaga Gazette, Baldwinsville, N.Y.,
      November 30, 1846

Media Type:
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Reason: aground
Lives: nil
Remarks: Got off
Date of Original:
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Pennsylvania, United States
    Latitude: 42.12922 Longitude: -80.08506
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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John Hancock (Brig), aground, 19 Nov 1846