The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Ocean (Schooner), burnt, 19 Oct 1854

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OCEAN Schooner, burnt at Port Dalhousie, Lake Ontario. Property loss $20,000.
      Buffalo Democracy
      Feb. 28, 1855 (casualty list)


The case was tried before Draper,C.J.,at the January assizes,in the City of Toronto. The master and owner, William H.Fellowes, was called by the plaintiff, and proved the loading of goods on board: that shortly before that time, the vessel having discharged a cagro brought to Toronto from Kingston, was, during a heavy gale of wind, rubbed against the Queen's wharf at Toronto: that when she loaded with the plaintiff's and other goods it was found that she leaked on the starboard quarter, owing to this rubbing, which was probably, as Captain Fellowes said, caused a little oakum to work out; that otherwise the "OCEAN" was well rigged, in good order, and well found in every respect, having seven men on board,including the captain, mate and cook; that owing to some particular cause, he could not leave Toronto with the vessel , but sent one Rae in his place, communicating this fact to the insurers, who were satisfied: the vessel left Toronto on a Saturday, and she was burnt on the Monday or Tuesday following, as he was informed: That she was pumped out the day before she sailed.
The destruction of the vessel by fire in Port Dalhousie, where she was moored, not having passed the first lock. She was towed outside the Eastern Pier, and burnt to the waters edge and sunk.
"Another witness, a ships carpenter, stated that after the OCEAN was burnt and sunk, he tried to raise the cargo: that he removed the windless, the bitts and the bowsprit, and immediately the upper deck floated up: that he found the knees and the ends of the beams and of the deck timbers rotten: that he hauled a bolt out of the Keelson with a single purchase.
      Report of the Court of Common Pleas,Upper Canada
      Hilary Term 19 Hilary term 20 vic.
      Pub. R.Carswell. Toronto 2nd.Edition 1877 Vol.VI
      (heavily extracted)

NOTE ( from the above:- Two labourers were hired to pump the vessel from Toronto to Port Dalhousie.- the note of credit was refused by the Welland Canal Co. - The crew, including the mate, abandoned the vessel at Port Dalhousie, rather than perform the back breaking job of pumping her out continually - That she was deliberately put on fire. Barratry was the cause of the fire. - some of her cargo was recovered. - That she was towed on fire outside the eastern pier and abandoned and allowed to sink.

      . . . . .

A private telegraph dispatch, received yesterday, informs us that the Canadian schooner OCEAN, with a cargo of merchandise, was destroyed by fire yesterday forenoon, at Port Dalhousie, on the lower lake. The OCEAN was bound up, with an assorted cargo of merchandise from Toronto. Vessel and cargo insured.
      The Democracy, Buffalo
      Friday, October 20, 1854

      . . . . .

      THE SCHOONER "OCEAN"---This schooner, which we referred to on Friday morning as having been burnt at Port Dalhousie, was owned by Captain Tellan, of Toronto, and was bound from that port to Goderich and Owen Sound, with a general cargo of merchandise. The vessel, (which was a small one of 150 tons.) and cargo, were insured for $25,000, mostly in Canadian Offices.
      The Democracy, Buffalo
      Monday, October 23, 1854

      . . . . .

SCHOONER OCEAN.---Our readers will remember the account we gave some weeks since, of the burning of the schooner OCEAN at Port Dalhousie, on Lake Ontario, she having on board a valuable cargo of merchandise from Toronto to Owen Sound. A private letter received on Saturday from Port Dalhousie states that Captain Rae of the OCEAN and a man named Fagen, keeper of a Tavern at that place, have been arrested and true bills found against them by the Grand Jury at Niagara for having set fire to the vessel. Both parties were unable to procure bail and were in jail awaiting trial. A quantity of the goods it seems had been removed to the house of Fagan before the vessel was set on fire, and they have been recovered and identified.
      The Democracy, Buffalo
      Monday, November 27, 1854

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: burnt
Lives: nil
Freight: merchandise
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 43.20011 Longitude: -79.26629
William R. McNeil
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Ocean (Schooner), burnt, 19 Oct 1854