The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Princeton (Propeller), sunk, 20 Apr 1854

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PRINCETON Propeller, while in the ice, sunk off Barcelona, with a full load of merchandise, bound up. Property loss $200,000
      Buffalo Democracy
      Feb. 28, 1855 (casualty list)

LOSS OF THE PROPELLER PRINCETON. -- We learn by telegraph from Westfield, that the propeller PRINCETON bound from Dunkirk for Detroit with merchandise, sprung a leak last night and sunk three miles below Barcelona. Her crew all reached the shore in safety.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Friday, April 21, 1854

We learn that the propeller PRINCETON, sunk off Barcelona, will prove a total wreck. She is completely under water. She had on board over 200 tons of valuable goods, and the loss will probably reach over $200,000.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Saturday, April 22, 1854

      THE PRINCETON. -- Her cargo is known to have consisted entirely of goods for merchants in this city, some of whom may sustain considerable loss if not insured.
      We are inclined to think that the PRINCETON is a total loss, as the water in which she sank must be from 60 to 80 feet in depth. She was insured for $7,000, and originally cost her owners $12,000. After doing them good service for the last four years, being in her day one of the best craft of her kind afloat, she was becoming almost too slow for the times. The owners valued her at $10,000 now. It is not probable they will make any attempts to raise her. The OWEGO immediately went to her assistance; and the U. S. Steamer MICHIGAN, at last advices was about to proceed to the scene of the disaster for the same purpose. -- Det. Adv.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Monday, April 24, 1854

      LOSS OF THE "PRINCETON" -- We find the following particulars of the loss of the propeller PRINCETON in the Cleveland Herald:
      On Saturday night the propeller PRINCETON, Capt. Woodward, running in the Detroit and Dunkirk Line, when three miles below Barcelona, and one mile from shore, sunk in 9 fathoms water. The propeller was laden with 200 tons of merchandise, half of which was for Detroit, and the remainder for Chicago and for points along the line of the Michigan central Road.
      The vessel filled slowly until the water reached the upper deck, when she sank rapidly, tearing the deck from the hull, and leaving it floating. The crew had prepared a raft upon the ice, and had got upon it, and here they were found Friday forenoon, three miles from where the vessel sank; the raft and the ice having floated off.
      As soon as the large hole in the bows of the propeller was discovered, the passengers, two men, their wives and two infant children, were placed in the yawl, which, with the captain, pushed for shore to send aid. After working through the ice all night, they reached shore, and the captain telegraphed the propeller OSWEGO, Captain Vorce, at Dunkirk, which instantly fired up and proceeded to the wreck.
      The OSWEGO took all the crew off their ice-supported raft, and picked up nearly one hundred packages of merchandise which had floated off the upper deck.
      The PRINCETON was run on the Detroit River during the past winter as a ferry-boat for the Great Western Railway, and it is thought that the floating ice in the river so weakened her bows so easily to enable the ice in the lake to make an entrance through her forward plank.
      The PRINCETON was valued at $10,000, and was insured for $7,000.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Tuesday, April 25, 1854

THE PRINCETON. -- The propeller FINTRY came up from Buffalo and Dunkirk yesterday forenoon, with a large cargo of goods for the merchants of this city, and with quantities of goods all safe and sound, which many feared were on board the PRINCETON. The cargo of the PRINCETON consisted of about 180 tons altogether, a great part of which was heavy iron rims and axles for the American Car Company at Chicago, and which will sustain but little damage. There were also some casks of wines, liquors, &c., which will sustain but little harm.
      The injury sustained by the PRINCETON consisted in having her hull cut into by the sharp sunken ice on both sides of her stern. (sic) There are great quantities of this ice still afloat on Lake Erie, especially at the lower part of the lake and it is very dangerous. The FINTRY on her passage up met with it in large quantities between Buffalo and Erie.
      This ice it is well known will cut through the planking of any boat very rapidly, when driven through it with ordinary speed. When the captain discovered the leak, the PRINCETON was about seven miles from the shore, towards which she immediately steered. Canvas was drawn over the leak without effect, and attempts were made to stop up the hole with mattresses and bedding from the hold, but they proved fruitless. Her head was kept to the shore, until the water put out the fires under her boilers, and then Capt. Woodruff let go the anchor, to keep her in place and prevent her from drifting into deep water. She sank about a mile from shore in water 58 feet deep. The goods stored on deck, and her upper deck floated off, and these were being taken care of by the officers who got ashore and remain there yet.
      The owners of the boat have abandoned her to the insurance companies. Divers are preparing to go to work to save the cargo in her hold. -- Detroit Adv.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Wednesday, April 26, 1854

      . . . . .

RAISING OF THE PROPELLER PRINCETON. -- This vessel is lying in 60 feet water about three miles below Barcelona. Workmen are now busy raising her, under the contract of Quigley & Co., and we shall expect to see her in this port safe and sound, in a few days. She was stove in by the ice one year ago last April, and was heavily loaded with merchandise.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Friday, September 7, 1855

A wrecking tug is now engaged in an effort to raise the propeller PRINCETON, which sank twenty-two years ago off Halbert's Beach, three miles from Barcelona, N. Y.
      Cleveland Herald
      Thursday, July 27, 1876
      VARIOUS ITEMS. -- A wrecker is at work on the wreck of the propeller PRINCETON, which sunk twenty-two years ago in Lake Erie, three miles below Barcelona.
      Cleveland Herald
      Thursday, August 17, 1876

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: sunk
Lives: nil
Freight: merchandise
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
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Geographic Coverage:
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 42.34034 Longitude: -79.59588
William R. McNeil
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Princeton (Propeller), sunk, 20 Apr 1854