The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
America (Steamboat), collision, 1 Jul 1855

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AMERICA Steamer, collided with Schooner EMBLEM (C) on Lake Ontario. EMBLEM abandoned and afterwards towed in. Five lives lost. Property loss
$4,200 (both vessels ?)
      Buffalo Morning Express (casualty list)
      Jan. 11, 1856

MARINE DISASTER. - Five Men Lost. - The steamer America, Capt. Masson, due here this morning, did not arrive till one o¹clock this afternoon, in consequence of a collision which happened between two and three o¹clock this morning, off Genesee. Mr. Barry, the Clerk of the America, furnishes us with the following particulars of the accident:
The America was running with all her lights displayed, and came in collision with the schr. Emblem, of Hamilton, cutting the schooner nearly two-thirds through. Capt. Donald Malcomson, of the Emblem; William Malcolmson, Mate; Thomas Malcomson, hand before the mast - three brothers; and John Malcolmson, a cousin of the others, and John Bease, also hands; and Alexander Leith, said to be a passenger, from Oswego, took to the vessel¹s small boat.
Before the painter was cast off, the schooner capsized, which upset the boat, and the five men in her were drowned. Three others of the crew, Wm. Ross, George Anderson, and a colored cook, who remained on the wreck, were taken off and brought in by the America. The steamer lay by the wreck until after daylight, and took off what ever could be saved. The Emblem cleared from this port on Wednesday evening, light, for St. Catharines, and the wreck continued to float when the America left her. The schooner showed no light that was seen on the steamer when the collision took place. The night was dark and a considerable sea was running.
      Oswego Times and Journal
      Friday, July 20, 1855

      The Collision between the Steamer America and the Schooner Emblem
      In our account, hastily made up yesterday, of this melancholy disaster, we gave the names of six
persons being lost, as we obtained them from Mr. Berry, the Purser of the America, who informed us at the same time that five persons were lost. We are still unable to correct the error, but it is most probable the latter number of lost is the correct one.
We learn some further facts from Capt. Masson, of the America, who was standing forward, beside the mate; had passed the Canada a short time previous, and saw her lights distinctly, although the night was extremely dark, the wind blowing fresh; saw the May Flower light ahead. The first indication he had of the schooner, was a terrific scream from the vessel¹s crew, and in an instant the glaring light of the steamer fell fully upon the spread canvas of the vessel.
A boat was lowered at once from the steamer, which rowed around the vessel and took off the three men named; the others were not to be found. The steamer lay by till morning, when a dog belonging to the vessel was found sitting upon the wreck and taken off. The collision threw the steamer¹s anchor over which was found hanging to the wreck and saved.
The persons rescued, state that they had no lights burning, and attribute no blame whatever to the steamer. The America is not injured in the slightest. When she left, the schooner was nearly in two parts, and it is presumed she twisted in two in a very short time. Capt. Masson feels keenly the misfortune, but the occurrence was one for which he is not in the slightest degree responsible.
      Oswego Times and Journal
      Saturday, July 21, 1855

The steamer Banshee while on her way from Cape Vincent to Toronto fell in with the wreck of the ill fated schooner Emblem, lately run into by the steamer America. The captain of the Banshee took the wreck in tow and brought her to Toronto. She is of course considerably damaged, but her rigging, anchors, chains, &c., are worth considerable.
      Oswego Times and Journal
      Wednesday, August 7, 1855

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: collision
Lives: 5
Remarks: Repaired
Date of Original:
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 43.795555 Longitude: -77.905555
William R. McNeil
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America (Steamboat), collision, 1 Jul 1855