The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Knickerbocker (Schooner), capsized/aground, 26 Aug 1855


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Schooner KNICKERBOCKER, capsized on Lake Michigan, total loss; loses her Captain. Property loss $1,000
      Buffalo Morning Express
      January 11, 1856 (Casualty List addenda)

      . . . . .

      (Telegraph by House Line)
Chicago, Aug. 29. -- The schooner KNICKERBOKER, Capt. Richards, was capsized off Sheboygan on Sunday noon. Vessel turned bottom up, and Capt. Richards and two of the crew drowned. Two reached the shore in safety.
      The KNICKERBOCKER was owned in Milwaukee and bound thither. The cargo was a total loss, and uninsured.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Wednesday, August 29, 1855

      . . . . .

      LOSS OF THE SCHOONER KNICKERBOCKER. -- The Milwaukee Sentinel gives the following additional particulars of the loss of this vessel off Port Washington, on Sunday last:
      The sea was running pretty high, and about 6 P. M., the foremast of the KNICKERBOCKER was cut away, and the vessel partly righted, and drifted ashore six miles from Port Washington, at daylight yesterday. When she struck the shore, one of the hands swam to the beach. The mate also attempted to swim ashore, but was only saved by the first man ashore, who waded in far enough to reach him a pole, and drew him out. The captain and remainder of the crew were on the vessel's bottom, where they had spent the night. The man who had got ashore started for Port Washington to get the life boat, but when they returned, there was no one on the vessel; all were probably drowned, either by being washed off, or in attempting to reach the shore. The clothes of Capt. Richards were found tied in the cross trees. The schooner lies on the beach, where she went ashore, and it is doubted whether she can be saved. She belongs, we believe, to G. Pfister, of this city.

The Milwaukee American has the following additional, which appears almost inexplicable

During the whole forenoon the CHARLEY HIBBARD, Capt. Doyle, had been nearly along side, some of the time so far on the KNICKERBOKER that Capt. Richards told her captain to keep off and not crowd him to shore. Just at the time of the accident the CHARLEY HIBBARD had dropped astern about half a mile and there was blowing a wholesale breeze though the sea was running high. Capt. Richards called out for Capt. Doyle to lay to and come alongside the wreck, and pick them up. But our informant says instead of doing this he kept every inch of canvas up and in a few minutes passed them on the outside not a hundred yards off. We have conversed with several captains and they all say that at twelve o'clock Sunday there was no breeze to have prevented the CHARLEY HIBBARD from at least laying too, if there even was for going plump alongside the wreck and picking up the men. We do not profess to know as to this point.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Friday, August 31, 1855

      . . . . .

      The schooner KNICKERBOCKER, with a cargo of bark from Sandy Bay, capsized
in the gale of Sunday, at about noon, being about 6 miles north of Port Washington
and 10 miles from shore. The schooner CHARLES HIBBARD was then a short distant
astern, and passed within hailing distance, but made no effort to save the crew. We are
sorry to hear this of Capt. Doyle, and hope to hear some reason for this strange neglect.
It is said that his vessel was heavily laden with lumber, and Capt. Doyle could not come
about without danger.
      The sea was running high and the vessel was partly righted, and finally drifted ashore
six miles from Port Washington, at daylight yesterday. When she struck the shore, one
of the hands swam to the beach. The mate also attempted to swin ashore, but was saved
only by the first man ashore, who waded in far enough to reach him a pole, and drew him
out. The Captain and remainder of the crew were on the vessel's bottom, where they
had spent the night. The men who had got ashore started for Port Washington to get the
life boat, but when they returned there was no one on the vessel; all were probably
drowned, either by being washed off, or in attempting to reach the shore. The clothes of
Capt. Richards were found tied in the cross trees.
The schooner lies on the beach where she went ashore, and it is doubtful whether she
can be saved. She belongs, we believe, to G. Ffisler, of this city -- Milwaukee Sentinel. 28
      Detroit ?
      September 2, 1855

      . . . . .

      THE KNICKERBOCKER. -- Capt. Doyle -- The Milwaukee Sentinel of the 31st says: - The mate of the HIBBARD, E.K. Smith, of this city, called upon us yesterday, to repeat the statement he made to our reporter, to wit : That two of the crew, Peter and John, both Norwegians, 'volunteered,' with himself, to go in the HIBBARD's boat to the relief of the KNICKERBOKER crew; but Doyle thought the risk to great and would not consent. There is a direct contradiction of the captain's story; ' he averted that he called upon the crew and ordered out his boat, but none of them would volunteer to go in the boat.' Mr. Smith adds that he has often been out, in a fishing boat on Lake Michigan, in a worse storm and heavier sea, than that in which the KNICKERBOCKER was capsized."
      The body of Capt. Richards has since been found near Port Washington, and taken to Milwaukee for interment.
      Buffalo daily Republic
      Tuesday, September 4, 1855


Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Notes:
Reason: capsized/aground
Lives: 4
Freight: bark
Remarks: Total loss ?
Date of Original:
1855
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
McN.W.1360
Language of Item:
English
  • Wisconsin, United States
    Latitude: 43.38722 Longitude: -87.87564
Donor:
William R. McNeil
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
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Knickerbocker (Schooner), capsized/aground, 26 Aug 1855