The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Fintry (Propeller), exploded boiler & sunk, 8 Nov 1855

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FINTRY Propeller, cargo wheat, flour and hides, burst her boiler off Port Stanley, L. Erie, and sunk in deep water, 8 lives lost. Property loss, Vessel $30,000. Hull $50,000.
      Buffalo Morning Express
      Jan. 11, 1856 (Casualty List)

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ANOTHER FEARFUL CALAMITY -- Loss of the propeller FINTRY and eight lives by explosion. -- Capt. Langley and a portion of his crew arrived here this morning, and report the loss of the fine propeller FINTRY, by explosion off Port Stanley, on Thursday morning last. At the time of the explosion, the Second engineer had charge of the engine, and it is supposed that the water got low in the boiler, and that he allowed it to fill too fast. The first engineer was asleep directly over the boiler, and the first indication he had of the explosion, he found himself going up at a fearful rate. He fell into the hold of the sinking ship, and escaped with the utmost difficulty. The explosion was terrific, and blew out the propeller's stern, causing her to sink in about three minutes, in several fathoms of water. Captain Langley, the first mate and about half of the crew were saved. Seven men and one woman, the Steward's wife, were drowned. The persons drowned all belonged to the boat. We have made every effort to obtain full particulars of the disaster in time for this issue, but could not succeed.
      The FINTRY was one of the finest propellers on the lakes and belonged to J. L. Hurd & Co's line. She had on board from Chicago for this port 500 barrels flour, 12,500 bushels wheat, and a quantity of hides and provisions. The total loss will exceed $75,000.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Saturday, November 10, 1855

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      Telegraphic dispatches from Port Colborne, Canada West, dated Friday the 9th inst., state that the prop. FINTRY, Capt. Langley, exploded her boiler on the morning of the 8th. off Port Stanley. The after portion of the boat was blown away. She sunk in 2 minutes in 10 fathoms of water. The officers were all saved except the second engineer. Seven men and 1 woman were lost. Fifteen persons were saved by clinging to portions of the wreck and the small boat. The sufferers were picked up by a schooner, and carried into Port Colborne on the stm. CLEVELAND, Friday morning.
      The FINTRY belonged to J.L. Hurd & Co., of this city. She was one of the largest propellers on the lakes, and celebrated for her speed. She was built in 1852, cost about $30,000. She was insured for $25,000; $10,000 in the Buffalo Mutual, the balance, we believe in the Ocean, Toledo Marine, and Atlas Insurance Companies. She was loaded in Chicago for Buffalo. her cargo is consisted of of 16,000 bu. wheat and 800 barrels of flour, said to have been insured.
      Telegraphic intelligence of the disaster to the FINTRY was sent from Buffalo to the western press on Friday night; but, through the fault of some agent or operator, the dispatch was not received in this city.
      Detroit Free Press
      November 11, 1855

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      The accident occurred between 5 or 6:00 on the morning of the 8th. instant, the vessel being then about 3 miles from shore and 12 miles from Port Stanley. The second engineer was on duty at the time, the first engineer being asleep in the cabin above. Capt. Langley was asleep forward. The explosion was terrific and blew out the propeller's entire stern, causing her to sink in about 3 minutes in several fathoms of water. The crew clung to such portions of the wreck as they could until they found the lifeboat and yawl. There were 22
persons on board of which the following were lost: John Strong, second engineer Nicholas Marshall, Dansey (colored), G. Craig, John Pleasant, (colored), Elizabeth Dansey, stewardess; a German fireman and a colored waiter. The steward's wife drowned as the propeller went down; others it is supposed, were either killed immediately or so mutilated as to be unable to help themselves.
      Detroit Free Press
      November 13, 1855

FINTRY propeller of 590 tons. Built Detroit 1853. First Home port, Detroit. Exploded November 8, 1855, at Port Stanley, with the loss of 8 lives. Total loss.
      Merchant Steam Vessels of the U.S.A.
      1790 - 1886 Lytle - Holdcamper List

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: exploded boiler & sunk
Lives: 8
Hull damage: $30,000
Cargo: $50,000
Freight: wheat/flour/hides
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 42.66679 Longitude: -81.21644
William R. McNeil
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Fintry (Propeller), exploded boiler & sunk, 8 Nov 1855