The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Dec. 9, 1876

Full Text

"North of the shops on the ridge were two log houses, one which transient tenants, the other was occupied by Captain Gould, the man who undertook to navigate Cooper's floating battery to Sackets Harbor, but was wrecked on the way. he escaped from this disaster to be drowned at the mouth of the river when running hawser out to warp in a vessel, an operation which had always to be performed unless the wind was fresh and favorable.

"From the Welland House location last, the land continued high to a bluff river bank covered with small trees and shrubs. Near the edge of this was the residence of Mr. Samuel Carter. It was a log structure, not very large but well filled with children, when all were inside.

"On the space between his (Joseph Sutton's) house and the Bronson yellow warehouse, one vessel at least was built, perhaps more, before the gravelly point at the mouth of the river, west side, was made a shipyard, later Doolittle's, where Thomas Collins was master-builder of several vessels, the Winnebago, Emily and others of their class, which if memory serves in that regard, were intended to be a fraction under 100 tons, and carrying capacity for about 3,000 bushels of wheat.

"Most likely on that point the first experiment was made for the lakes, of changing a sailing vessel to a propeller, Vandalia, 1841, which was done by Bronson & Crocker, and called in marine by Bronson & Crocker, and called in marine circles abroad 'The Oswego Folly.'"

"Eli Parsons Jr. owned and navigated a small open boat in the river. On one occasion of emergency, when no more fitting craft could be had, he understood to transport a load of cannon balls from Oswego to Sackets Harbor. But rough weather caused the boat to founder, and remains were found of the unfortunate boat on the beach somewhere in Mexico Bay."

"Lt. Francis H. Gregory, afterwards a commander in the U.S. Navy, was in the habit at times during the war, of scouting along the shore in a light draught cutter called the 'Black Snake.' When entering the harbor on one occasion, a man was lost overboard, swept out by the current and drowned. The body was soon discovered in slack water on the last bar; the lieutenant dove and brought it up, but his boat, by mismanagement had drifted away out with such exertion and peril he finally made a landing with the drowned sailor. Nearby on the beach was a military hospital, and some of the invalids were outside, but little able to help themselves, which of course Gregory did not know, but in his wrath he began pelting them with stones and hard words, for sitting idle while he was likely to drown without offering to help him; the poor fellows hobbled off as best as they could out of his reach.

"The romance of the matter, however, was that a sick soldier in the hospital discovered in the drowned man a brother, who had left home twenty years previous and had never been heard from by his relatives.

"Another performance of Lt. Gregory also made a strong impression on my youthful mind and memory. The same day, a few hours after he had given such evidence of bravery and humanity in trying to save the life of one of the crew, he was engaged in flogging another one for some breach of discipline in the loft of Burt's warehouse, when several of us idle boys crowded to see the fun.

"He did not seem to approve of our curiosity in the matter, but turned his attention, and the 'cat' he was using to us. At the shore end of the warehouse was an outside stairway, down which rushed some frightened youngsters, who didn't venture to look back till a safe offing was gained. That 'cat-tail' stern chase ended my personal acquaintance with the future Commodore, though it did not cure me wholly of an inclination to notice such small current events as seemed at that time of interest."

Media Type:
Item Type:
Excerpts from letter dated Dec. 5, 1876, published in Oswego Palladium, dated Dec. 9, 1876. To put this in context, Hamilton Colton is describing the west side of Oswego below the lower bridge over the Oswego river, as it appeared in the early days.
Date of Original:
Dec. 9, 1876
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Richard Palmer
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.

Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Dec. 9, 1876