The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Tuscarora (Brig), aground, 1 Sep 1855

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TUSCARORA Brig, cargo anthracite coal and powder, on 'Bar' at Chicago. Total loss. Crew saved by U. S. Life-Boat, cargo $3,500 Vessel, $6,000.
      Buffalo Morning Express (casualty list)
      Jan. 11, 1856

      . . . . .

A despatch from Chicago states that the brig TUSCARORA, is off that port dismasted and in a sinking condition. The gale yesterday on the upper lakes must have been of unusual severity, and we may expect to hear of numerous disasters.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Wednesday, September 19, 1855

      . . . . .

WRECK OF THE BRIG TUSCARORA. -- In giving the particulars of the wreck of this vessel, the Chicago Dem. Press says as soon as the danger of the crew became known to the Harbor Master, Capt., J.A. Napier, he and Capt. Warner, Marine Inspector of the Chicago Mutual Insurance Company, commenced rallying crews to go to the rescue with the two government life boats. No difficulty was experienced in collecting a band of courageous and skillful men from the vessels in the river, and about 4 o'clock the boats left the harbor manned as follows:
      FIRST BOAT. -- Capt. J.A. Napier, Harbor Master; Capt. Warren, Marine Inspector; Capt. Rummage, schr. HARVEST ; Morris Evans, Seaman; Dennis Simmons, Seaman; George Golding, Seaman; John McElliott, Seaman.
      SECOND BOAT. -- Capt. A.J. Napier, propeller ROSSITTER; Capt. Henry A. Gadsden, brig BLACK HAWK; Capt. Jeffords, brig GLOBE; Capt. Hiram Blood, Schr. CHAPMAN; Capt. C.P. Morey, Schr. LOOKOUT; Capt. C. Reed, Schr. MERIDAN; Capt. P.J. Mahoney, Schr. MAINE. The passage from the harbor to the wreck was accomplished without much difficulty.
      The shore was lined with spectators to witness the rescue, and hundreds stood upon the railroad track. The boats were welcomed on their arrival at the brig by cheers from the crew, eleven person in all. The embarkation was effected by the life-boats rowing up cautiously to the side of the vessel, and as they drifted astern, those on board would seize a favorable moment to leap into them. Every time that one of the crew leaped into a life-boat, a shout of joy would burst forth from the crowd on the railroad track and be echoed by those gathered on the shore. Capt. Mullins of the TUSCARORA, was the last man to leave the wreck. He declared at first that he would remain on board and share her fate, but at last suffered himself to be persuaded to jump into one of the boats.
      Now came the long pull to reach the harbor. Each boat had six oars in the row-locks, and a steering oar lashed in its place. They were steered by the two Napiers, who exhibited much skill in keeping them head to the seas, running as they did mountain high. The boats made good headway against the wind and waves and reached the harbor without accident, the persons in them completely drenched by the spray. As they passed up the river, the people on the dock testified their admiration of the bravery of those who manned them, and joy of the success of the effort, by enthusiastic cheers and clapping of hands. The TUSCARORA is an old brig, owned by Messrs. Davis & Sutton, of Buffalo, and is reported insured in the Etna, of Hartford. Her cargo of coal is owned by H. Morton & Co., of Chicago, and is insured in the Chicago Mutual.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Friday, September 21, 1855

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: aground
Lives: nil
Hull damage: $6,000
Cargo: $3,500
Freight: anthracite coal
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Illinois, United States
    Latitude: 41.85003 Longitude: -87.65005
William R. McNeil
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Tuscarora (Brig), aground, 1 Sep 1855