KENT, H.A. Propeller, loaded with merchandise, took fire, burned off Gravelly Bay, Lake Erie. Property loss $100,000
Feb. 28, 1855 (casualty list)
The Following List Shows the Names, Tonnage, and Value of Vessels Belonging to Buffalo and Which Have Become Total Losses During 1845
KENT, H.A. Propeller 442.27 Tons Value $20,000
Feb. 28, 1855
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LOSS OF THE PROPELLER KENT, BY FIRE. -- One of the conductors on the Buffalo & Brantford Railroad, who came in on the train last evening, states that as he passed Port Colborne at half past 8 o'clock last evening, he saw a propeller abreast of that place, about eight miles from shore, entirely enveloped in flames. Captain Marsden, of the propeller MILWAUKEE, which arrived this morning, reports seeing the propeller on fire, and stayed by the wreck several hours, but could see none of the crew.
The vessel had then burnt to the water's edge, and from what remained he judged it to be the KENT. The captain of the schooner ODD FELLOW also lay to near the wreck, and Capt. Pheatt, of the NORTHERN INDIANA, on seeing the burning vessel, went to where she lay and sent out the life-boat with a crew and life preservers. Capt. Lewis, with his new tug, came down from Grand River this morning, but saw nothing of the vessel or her crew.
Capt. Herrick, of the KENT, reached this city about 11 this morning. From him we learn that the KENT left this port for Toledo at 3 o'clock yesterday, with some 200 tons merchandise destined for Chicago and Milwaukee and the back country near those cities. A few moments before 6 o'clock the captain, who was conversing with the engineer about the working of the machinery, perceived the smell of oil burning, and told the engineer to see if the journals were not getting hot. On turning to go away he saw the flames proceeding from the hold through the main hatch, and in ten minutes the whole vessel was in a sheet of flame.
The captain and crew, nineteen in number, finding that they would be unable to save the vessel, took to the boats and reached the Canada shore, arriving here this fore-noon.
The H.A. KENT was owned by James E. Evans, of this city and Hubby, Hughs & Co., of Cleveland. Evan is insured $8,000 in the Buffalo Mutual. Hubby, Hughs & Co., $6,000 in a Cleveland company. Goods mostly insured in New York.
Buffalo Daily Republic
Saturday, May 20, 1854
BURNING OF THE PROPELLER "H.A. KENT" --- News, was brought, on Friday evening by the passengers of the Brantford Railroad, that a vessel, probably a propeller, was on fire in the lake. Our citizens were, of course, very anxious to ascertain the facts of the matter, which fortunately turned out to involve no loss of life.
The vessel proves to have been the propeller H.A. KENT, which left here on Friday at 3 o'clock, bound for Toledo, with some 200 tons of merchandise, destined for Chicago and Milwaukee and adjacent country. Captain Herrick, of the KENT, who arrived in the city about 11 o'clock Saturday, gives the following account of the disaster:
A few minutes before 6 o'clock, the Captain, who was conversing with the engineer about the working of the machinery, perceived the smell of oil burning and told the engineer to see if the journals were not getting hot. On turning to go away, he saw the flames proceeding through the hold from the main hatch, and in ten minutes the whole vessel was in a sheet of flames. The disaster occurred about 16 miles out, off Gravelly Bay. The KENT burned to the water's edge, broke in the middle, and sunk a few minutes after the crew left her. The LOUISIANA put out from Dunkirk, and the NORTHERN INDIANA from this port, but to late to be of any service.
The Captain and crew, nineteen in number, finding that they would be unable to save the vessel, took to the boats and reached the Canada shore. The Clerk was unable to save any of his books or papers, but was fortunately able to secure what money was in his safe, before leaving the boat. In the hurry and confusion, but one oar was put into the small boat, with which the Captain and crew managed to make the land. The KENT is about 5 years old, had recently been thoroughly repaired, and was estimated to be worth $24,000.
The H.A. KENT was owned by James C. Evans of this city, and Hubby, Hughes & Co., of Cleveland. Evans is insured $8,000 in the Buffalo Mutual. Hubby, Hughes & Co., $6,000 in a Cleveland Company. Goods mostly insured in New York.
The Democracy, Buffalo
Monday, May 22, 1854
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DESTRUCTION OF THE PROPELLER H.A. KENT, BY FIRE. -- On Friday evening, last, the staunch propeller HENRY A. KENT, with a cargo of merchandise of much value was totally destroyed by fire, when nearly off Gravelly Bay, on her passage for Chicago, having sailed from this port about two o'clock that afternoon. She was first discovered on fire by the conductor of a downward train of the Buffalo & Brantford Railroad, and by the captain and crew of the NORTHERN INDIANA, between seven and eight o'clock. The NORTHERN INDIANA was then about 30 miles distant. Capt. Pheatt immediately ordered the steamer to be put out of her course, and run with all the steam he could crowd on, for the burning vessel. Meantime the life-preservers and life-boats of the steamer were got ready, and on arriving on the spot, the latter were lowered away, manned and furnished with the former, and sent in search of the crew. They returned without finding a soul about the wreck. Captain Pheatt not satisfied with this result, jumped into one of the boats, and all went again around the burning propeller, but with no better success. His steamer shortly afterwards resumed her course.
About the same time, Captain Marsden, of the propeller MILWAUKEE, which was on her downward passage seeing the fire some distance off, made for it, and arrived between nine and ten o'clock. He laid by the KENT about five hours, when she was burnt completely to the water's edge, broke in tow and went down.
It was not until Saturday morning, about eleven o'clock, that anything definite with regard to the origin and circumstances of the fire, could be ascertained. The Captain and mate of the ill-fated propeller then arrived, and from them we learned, that when six miles above Gravelly bay, while the Captain was talking with the engineer about the working of some part of the machinery, a smell of burning oil and fire was strongly perceptible, and almost immediately afterwards the flames burst forth from the freight hold. So sudden and rapid was the spreading of the fire, the wind blowing fresh, that Captain Herrick and the crew, nineteen in number, had only time to hastily launch, or throw overboard, the small boats and get clear, ere the whole propeller was entirely enveloped in smoke and flames. In fact, one of the boats was partially burnt before it could be got over. They made for the shore, and landed six miles above Gravelly Bay, to which place they walked, and in the morning Mr. Rose, Track Master of the Buffalo & Brantford road, brought the Captain and mate to this city, leaving the crew to come by a regular train - all free of charge.
The cargo of the KENT consisted principally of merchandise, very valuable, destined for different up-lake ports, mostly insured in New York, but to what amount and extent, we could not learn. The propeller was insured $8,000 in the Buffalo Mutual Insurance Co., and the same sum besides in a Cleveland Co., which is , perhaps, between a half and two thirds her total value. She was owned by J.C. Evans & Co, of this city, and some parties in Cleveland. She was a fine vessel, and had been doing a good business this spring.
The loss of her cargo will be an unfortunate but unavoidable occurrence, for many, no doubt. The immediate cause of the fire is unknown, but is supposed arose from combustible matter in the freight hold.
It may not be inappropriate, in this connection, to remark that the promptness with which Capt. Pheatt turned so much from his course -- the care which he showed in examining the wreck, the cheerfulness with which his passengers acquiesced in the delay, by which they lost that night's 11 o'clock New York train -- the thoughtfulness and humanity of Capt. Marsden in laying to five hours, and the generosity of Mr. Rose and the Brantford Company, are worthy of all commendation and remembrance.
Buffalo Daily Courier
May 22, 1854
Propeller HENRY A. KENT, of 442 tons. Built 1850 at Buffalo. First home port, Buffalo. Burnt off Port Colborne, May 19, 1854. No lives lost.
Merchant Steam Vessels of the U.S.A.
1790 - 1868, Lytle-Holdcamper List
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