The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Ocean Wave (Steamboat), burnt, 30 Apr 1853


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OCEAN WAVE Steamer (Br.), burned near Kingston. Total loss, boat and cargo. 28 lives lost. Property loss $50,000
      Buffalo Express
      Jan. 2, 1854 (casualty list)

      . . . . .

      Sunday Report.
      By the Morse Line.
      DESTRUCTION OF THE OCEAN WAVE BY FIRE.
      Twenty-eight Lives Lost.
      Ogdensburgh, Sunday, May 1st.
The Ocean Wave, a Canadian steamer, in the employ of the Ogdensburgh Northern Railroad, was destroyed by fire about 2 o'clock on Saturday morning.
      From the crew of the Stephen Blackman we have the following particulars: -- The Ocean Wave took fire from her furnace on her downward trip, while off the Ducks, about forty miles above Kingston, about two o'clock, on Saturday morning. When first discovered she was about a mile and a half from shore, and was immediately headed for shore; but so intense was the heat that the machinery gave out and she drifted to sea. - The upper cabin was consumed in about fifteen minutes, and in about two hours the hull went down. Those saved were taken off by schooner Georgiana.
      The Wave had on board 14 cabin and 9 deck passengers, besides 4 children and the crew, who swelled the number to about 50 - twenty-two of whom were saved - among the crew saved were Capt. Wright and both mates, Thomas Oliver, the purser, and both wheelsmen, second engineer, Mr. Blackman, and a number of deck hands. Among the passengers saved were Mr. Francis Kiah and wife, both of whom were burnt, but not dangerously, Mrs. French of Cornwall, and a lady, wife of the Cashier of Gore Bank, Hamilton. These three ladies were all the females saved. A small vessel on her way down, sent a boat to the assistance of the ill fated steamer, but the men being frightened pulled away again. The Georgiana then hove in sight, lowered a boat which was manned with her mate and two sailors, and succeeded in picking up 18 passengers.
      Two minutes after this rescue, the wreck went down. She had drifted 8 miles from shore before she sunk. The captain, first mate and one passenger reached shore near the disaster, and the vessel brought the rest to Kingston. Among these lost are Mr. Turnbull, 1st engineer; Julius Sanford, bar-keeper; the cook, a Mrs. McDonald; a nurse and 3 children of the Cashier of the Gore bank; three ladies, names unknown; Mr. Lyman B. Fisk, of the firm of H.S. Humphrey Co., of O.B. Whole number lost is 28. The progress of the flames was so rapid that it was impossible to launch any of the boats on
board.
      Oswego Daily Journal
      Monday, May 1, 1853

      . . . . .

      The Loss of the Ocean Wave
The burning of the British steamer Ocean Wave on tghe North shore of Lake Ontario on Saturday morning last, of which we give in another column all the details received, is the most melancholy disaster of the kind we have ever had to record on this Lake. Our information in relationto it is not sufficient to justify an opinion of the causes of the frightful disaster. Previous to this, steam navigation has been attended with few fatal disasters to human life on Lake Ontario, and indeed no serious ones to American built and managed steamers.
Our steamers have run with an exemption from accident and a security for passengers under all emergencies unparalleled upon our inland waters. We regret our neighbors on the other side are not equally successful, and that their steam navigation is not regulatged by laws, stringent as our own.
      Oswego Daily Times
      Monday, May 2, 1853


      . . . . .

      Burning of the Ocean Wave - More full Particulars
      By an extra from the Ogdensburgh Sentinel office we have particulars, somewhat more in detail than we published in our telegraph yesterday morning.
      The Ocean Wave took fire from her furnaces, on her downward trip from Hamilton, when off '"he Ducks," about 40 miles above Kingston, between one and two o'clock on Saturday morning. When the fire was first discovered, the boat, the boat was almost 1 1/2 miles from shore, and was immediately headed for land, but the heat becoming so intense that the machinery gave out, and the vessel drifted to Sea. The upper Cabin, he thinks, was consumed in about fifteen minutes and in about two hours the hull went down. Mr. Blackman saved himself by adhering to a couple of planks which had been thrown overboard.
      He was at one time nearly 1/4 of a mile from the burning Steamer, but the wind drifted the wreck upon him, and he secured his planks to the rudder, where two or three others were already clinging, where they remained until taken off by the schooner Georgiana.
      Mr. Blackman says that while on the wreck, a high pressure steamer passed without rendering assistance, merely inquiring the name of the burning boat.
      The Ocean Wave had on board 14 cabin and 9 deck passengers besides 4 children and the crew, who swelled the total number to about 50, 22 of whom were saved.
      Among the crew saved were Captain Wright, and both mates, Mr. Thomas Oliver, Purser, both Wheelsmen, 2d Engineer, Mr. Blackman, and a number of deck hands.
      Among the passengers saved were Mr. Francis Kiah and Wife, both of whom were considerably but not dangerously burned; Mrs. French of Cornwall, and a Lady, wife of the Cashier of the Gore Bank, Hamilton. These three ladies were all the females saved.
      Mr. Blackman speaks in the highest terms of the heroic conduct exhibited by Mr. Oliver and the 2d mate. The lady from Hamilton was saved from the personal exertions of the 2d Mate, who tore her night clothes to strings, and with them lashed her to a part of the wreck, floating in the water, and when she had nearly perished with cold, held her up to the fire which revived her. Mr. Oliver was the last man to leave the wreck.
      A small vessel on her way down, sent her boat to the assistance of the sufferers; but the men in the boat being frightened pulled away again. The Georgiana then hove in sight, lowered her boat, which manned with her mate and two sailors, succeeded in picking up the eighteen saved with Mr. Olive
      Oswego Daily Journal
      May 3, 1853

      . . . . .

      LOSS OF THE OCEAN WAVE ---THE LATEST PARTICULARS.
      Odgensburgh, May 1, 1853.
      We have further particulars of the loss of the OCEAN WAVE, from one of the crew, Stephen Blackman.
The OCEAN WAVE took fire from her furuace, on her downward trip, off the Ducks, about forty I miles above Kingston, on Saturday morning, about two o'clock. When the fire was first discovered, she was about a mile and a half from the shore, which she was immediately headed for; but so intense was the heat, that the machinery gave out and she was drifted to sea.
The upper cabin was consumed in about fifteen minutes, and in about two hours the hull went down.
Those saved were taken off by the schooner GEORGIANA.
The OCEAN WAVE had on board 14 cabin and 9 deck passengers, besides four children and the crew, vho swelled the number to about fifty, of whom 22 were saved.
      Amoug the crew saved were Capt. Wright and both mates; Thomus Oliver, the purser; both wheelslnen; the second engineer; Mr. Blackman; and a number of deck hands.
      The following were among the passengers saved:-
      Mr. Francis Kiah and wife, both of whom were burned, but not dangerously.
      Mrs. French, of Cornwall.
      The wife of Mr. Moore, of the Gore Bank, Hamilton.
      Those three above named, were aII the females saved.
      A small vessel on the way down sent a boat to the assistance of the ill-fated steamer, but the men being frightened pulled away again.
The schooner GEORGIANA then hove in sight, lowered a boat, which was manned with her mate and two sailors, and succeeded in picking up eighteen persons.
      In two minutes after the rescue, the wreck went down. She had drifted eight miles from the shore before she sunk.
The captain, first mate and one passenger reached the shore near the disaster, and the vessel brought the reast to Kingston.
The following is a list of some of the lost:
Mr.Trumbull, first engineer.
Julius Santers, bar-keeper.
The cook of the stearner.
Mrs. Donald.
The nurse and three children of' the Cashier of the Gore Bank, Hamilton.
Three ladies, names unknown.
Mr. Lynlan B. Fiske, of the firm of H.S. Humphrey, of Ogdensburgh.
The whole number of lost is at least twenty eight.
The progress of the flames was so rapid that it was impossible to launch any of the boats which were on board.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      May 3, 1853
     

The Gale - Marine Disasters. - A telegraph dispatch dated at Rochester May 6th, represents the blow on Thursday night to have been a tremendous gale. The dispatch adds that the schooner Vincennes of Sandusky, bound down, went ashore off the mouth of Genesee River, and is a total wreck. her cargo consisted of 1,050 bbls. of flour, 3,000 bushels of wheat and a few casks of ashes. A small schooner loaded with lumber, name unknown, was lost at the same place. The crew of both vessels were saved. The steamer Niagara from Oswego, attempted to land, but did not succeed, and went up the lake.
      Oswego Daily Times
      Saturday, May 17, 1853
     
      . . . . .
     
      One of the saddest lake tragedies of the time, occurred 112 years ago, Saturday, April 29th, 1853 - when the combination passenger and cargo steamer OCEAN WAVE, burned and sank three miles in the lake, off Point Traverse, with a loss of twenty-eight lives.
Thirteen passengers and fifteen crew members perished. The steamer carried as her cargo passengers and freight, and the story of the disaster was told by few survivors who were rescued by nearby vessels and fishermen from the nearby shore.
      The OCEAN WAVE made a round trip once a week between Hamilton and Montreal, under Captain Allison Wright. She had left Kingston for the head of Lake Ontario. Captain Wright was rescued by David Dulmage, Point Traverse farmer, who was awakened about 2 o'clock in the morning, and pushed off in a small boat from the nearby shore, and rowed out two miles to the ill-fated ship, amid the screams of perishing passengers.
      Two vessels nearby, had seen the fire and rushed to the scene to give succor, picking up men and women from the icy waters of Lake Ontario.
      One of the vessels was the schooner GEORGINA of Port Dover, under Capt. Henderson; and the other vessel the EMBLEM of Bronte, Captain J. Belyea.
      The EMBLEM was later rebuilt and renamed the OLIVIA. Her timbers rest now in the Picton harbour.
      It is recounted that all of the company's earnings for the year were aboard the ship, being in gold and silver, for deposit in Montreal. This seems strange as the season was just beginning, but old timers repeat that such is the case, and to this day, no one has attempted to salvage the money from the ship's safe or strong boxs.
      The OCEAN WAVE was a cordwood burner, and Captain wright said it started from sparks from her funnel. It is also said that the OCEAN WAVE was engaged in a heated race up the lake with another boat, if so, the other ship was not nearby to give any help. It is also said that the fire started in the engine room, ignited a large shipment of tallow aboard, and soon the ship was a flaming inferno.
      The fire was so great that it drove the second mate from the wheel and destroyed all of the lifeboats. The engine could not be stopped and was still running when she sank.
      A coroner's jury at Kingston, found that had a proper watch been maintained on board ship, the fire would not have gained such swift headway.
      It is said that the body of the Purser of the OCEAN WAVE, was found some weeks later on the shore of Lake Ontario, near West Point, by a Mr. Hyatt. A large sum of money was found in his belt to be in good condition.
      A news item in the Picton press of July 8th, 1857, gives the following;
Successful attempts have been made this last spring to find the location of the steamer OCEAN WAVE, that burned to the water's edge and sank off Long Point in the spring of 1853. She lies in shallow water between three and four miles from shore. It is said to contain a large amount of money. There maybe some means to raise her from the water, principally on acount of her engines which were new and valuable and the money.
      from " Canvas & Steam on Quinte Waters"
      by Willis Metcalf


Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Notes:
Reason: burnt
Lives: 28
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
1853
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
McN.W.2022
Language of Item:
English
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
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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Ocean Wave (Steamboat), burnt, 30 Apr 1853