The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Oneida (Schooner), sunk by collision, 3 Oct 1853


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ONEIDA Schooner, cargo wheat, sank near Buffalo by collision with Steamer BUCKEYE STATE. Three lives lost. Property loss $7,000.
      Buffalo Express
      Jan. 2, 1854 (casualty list)

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      Schooner ONEIDA sunk off Point Abino, Oct. 4th. with a cargo of 6,000 bushels of wheat. Bound Cleveland to Buffalo
      Toronto Globe
      Oct. 8, 1853

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The gale - Loss of a schooner and her crew - The schooner STRANGER, Capt. Taylor, which arrived this morning at an early hour, reports passing about day light, a schooner sunk about two miles off Point Abino, with her fore mast about twelve or fifteen feet out of the water, and three men clinging to it. The Captain did not notice these men until he was almost on to them, and the wind blowing a perfect gale, he was obliged to run past without being able to render them any assistance. He immediately reported the facts on reaching here, and several of our most influential men applied to the agents and captains of steamers in port to go out and endeavor to save these men.
About 10 o'clock this morning, the brig HELFENSTEIN which left this port last evening, returned and reported having passed the wreck of the schooner, and there being but one man on the mast. The Captain of the brig was also unable to go to the rescue. After several attempts to induce the agents of the several lines of steamers to send out one of their boats, which were unsuccessful, a purse of several hundred dollars was raised, and a number of sailors started with a life-boat to Black Rock, where they would cross over and go up on the Canada shore to Point Abino, where they would endeavor to reach the wreck and take off the unfortunate man, should he have been able to keep his hold until that time. A small tug was also to be sent out to endeavor to reach the wreck.
The schooner is supposed to be from the lower lake, but what one is not known.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Tuesday, October 4, 1853

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      L O S S O F T H E S C H O O N E R O N E I D A
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      RESCUE OF THE COOK
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      LOSS OF THE CAPTAIN AND FOUR OF THE CREW
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      FULL PARTICULARS
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We are indebted to Capt. D.P Dobbins, Marine Inspector, for the following particulars in relation to the loss of the Schooner ONEIDA, in addition to those which we gave yesterday. After several ineffectual attempts to induce the Captains of the Steamers in port to go to the rescue of a man reported clinging to the mast of the Schooner. Captain Dobbins procured a life boat from Mr. Walbridge and associated with himself Captain Eugene Newman of the Schooner J.W. BROWN, Capt. John Galligan of the Schooner BELMONT, John Glass late Capt. of the Propeller CHARTER OAK, Richard Gurnsing late Captain of the POST BOY and John Keith, an old sailor and ship carpenter. These noble hearted men procured a four hour Express team, of Frank Wood, and started with four or five other persons, among whom was Mr. W.F. Robinson, for Black Rock about 1 o'clock yesterday afternoon. They reached the ferry and crossed. Frank Wood drove, and put his horses through at their topmost speed. After proceeding some six or seven miles, one of the horses gave out and Captain Dobbins hired a span of horses and wagon of a farmer on the Canada shore, who took the men along and the other team proceeded with the life boat. It took the party two hours and fifteen minutes to reach the point, from the time they left here.
On reaching there they had a consultation as to where would be the best place to launch the boat, and having selected the point, the six men named above, chose Mr. Dobbins as their Captain, and having divested themselves of their overcoats, vests, and boots, launched the boat in the surf. The waves rolled with tremendous violence, and fears were entertained that the boat could not live. The boat unfortunately was a short one and they were obliged to saw the oars and row abreast, to be able to use four oars. Capt. Dobbins took the helm and Capt. Newmman sat at his feet to bail out the water as it came in.
They reached the mast on the second attempt, and got in between two spars that were floating, and as they reached the mast, Lewis Waklee dropped down into the boat. The party then returned to the shore, which they reached about 6 o'clock. As they were leaving the wreck and returning to the shore, the steamer MISSISSIPPI hove in sight. The party, on reaching the shore, dried themselves as well as they could, by a fire that had been built on the beach, and after some little time, started for the ferry. After driving three or four miles, Waklee, who was completely worn out, was unable to proceed, and they left him a a house on the road. The party came on, and reached here about 4 o'clock this morning.
Mr. Samuel J. Holly kindly tendered the use of his horse and buggy, which were sent up early this morning to bring Waklee down. After a night's sleep, Waklee felt much stronger, was able to come down.
From him, we learn that the lost vessel was the schooner ONEIDA, of Fairport and owned by Captain Winthrop Allen. The names of her crew were Smith, Spears, Wm. Hueston, Alfred Dodge, and Lewis Waklee.
The schooner ONEIDA left Toledo on the 2nd., bound for Buffalo, and had on board 8,000 bushels of wheat, 6,000 consigned to Fish & Avery, and the balance to Holly & Johnson.
About 9 o'clock on Monday night, the schooner was run into by a large steamer bound up. What one is not known, but she passed on without inquiring whether the schooner had received any injury. Some few minutes after the collision, the schooner was found to be sinking, and all hands went to lower down the boat, but before they had succeeded, the schooner went below the water. Waklee got hold of a provision box that lay on deck, and held on to that for some time, until the vessel had sunk. He then got hold of the cross-trees, and finally went up the foremast, where he gothold of two deer horns that had been lashed to the topmast. He saw sever vessels pass him, and called to them. The brig CONSTELLATION, Capt. Blanchard, tried to run near him, on seeing his situation, but they were unable to reach him, and came on. Waklee also heard the Captain of the brig HELFENSTEIN tell him to lash himself fast, but he could not get a rope and remained in that position holding on to the horns from about 10 o'clock on Monday night 5:30 yeaterday afternoon, when he was rescued.
The steamer MISSISSIPPI fired up and left about 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon but before she reached the wreck, the life-boat had taken the man off.
A subscription was started this morning by Capt. Hart, and our commercial men contributated with a liberal spirit, which does them infinate credit, to raise testimonial to be presented to those noble fellows, who without hesitation, volunteeded to do all in their power to save the life of their fellow man. To much credit and praise cannot be given to those men who placed their own lives in eminent danger, and we trust the testimonial will be one worthy of the object for which it is intended.
Lewis Waklee, the rescued man, was formerly a resident of Painesville, Ohio, where his relatives reside.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Wednesday, October 5, 1853

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FURTHER PARTICULARS OF THE LOSS OF THE ONEIDA. - On the evening of the 3rd. inst., between 11 and 12 o'clock, the steamboat BUCKEYE STATE, came in collision with the schooner ONEIDA, laden with wheat, bound from Toledo to Buffalo.
The BUCKEYE STATE belongs to the North Shore Line from Buffalo to Detroit. The circumstances of the collision were as follows, as the Cleveland Plain Dealer learns from two of the crew who were saved by the BUCKEYE STATE.
The schooner was leading down the lake east of north, with the wind from the south-west, quite fast, under fore-sail and two jibs. She made the light of a steamboat over her larboard bow. The order was given to "luff," but the schooner would not come up. The Captain ordered her helm hard a starboard, to cross the steamboat's bows. The wheelsman, Wm. May, (who was saved,) told the Captain that she would not clear the steamboat. The captain said she would.
But before she had passed, the steamboat struck her abaft the main rigging, cutting her below the waterline, when she filled and went down.
Capt. Imson, of the BUCKEYE STATE, was on deck, and as soon as the vessel put her helm to starboard, to cross his bows, he stopped his engine, and commenced backing, and he made a number of revolutions before the collision. The night was clear, and no blame can in any manner be attached to Capt. Imson.
There were six men on board. May and Whittier were saved on board the BUCKEYE STATE, and taken to Detroit.
After the collision, although the sea was running high, Capt. Imson lowered his life-boat, and stayed in the neighborhood of the wreck about three hours, trying to find the rest of the crew, but in the darkness he could not, and was obliged to conclude they were lost.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Friday, October 7, 1853

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      The collision between the steamer BUCKEYE STATE and the schooner ONEIDA is undergoing an examination before Capt. Walker, supervising Inspector of this District. Several witnesses, among whom the Captain and Mate of the BUCKEYE, were examined yesterday.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Saturday, October 8, 1853

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The presentation of a silver service to Capt. M. Hazard by the merchants of Buffalo Creek for his noble attempts to rescue Lewis Wakeley from the wreck of the schooner ONEIDA on the 4th instant, was made on Saturday last.
      Cleveland Daily Forest City Democrat
      Tuesday, October 25, 1853




      Capt. Dobbins Was a Born Lifesaver
The late Capt. D. P. Dobbins organized and led the first relief expedition that ever put out from Buffalo to a wreck. It was in October, 1853. On the night of the 3d the schooner ONEIDA was sunk off Point Abino. Vessels coming into port the next morning reported that she lay on the bottom with a dozen feet or so of her foremast out of the water, and several men lashed thereto. A little later another vessel arrived and reported that three survivors were clinging to the mast. Later still, another vessel came in with the news that one man was clinging to the mast. The incoming vessels had been able to go to his relief. There was excitement in Buffalo. In vain were steamers' captains urged to put out to the wreck. Finally Capt. Dobbins organized a volunteer crew, including Capt. Eugene Newman, Capt. Gunning, Capt. Glass, and other masters of vessels. They loaded a boat on wheels, and with four horses hauled it to the Black Rock ferry. When landed on the Canadian side, a rough and fatiguing twelve-mile tramp was made along the shore to Point Abino. The wreck was some miles off shore, and the weather boisterous. The boat was launched, reached the sunken wreck with great peril, and got ashore again with the one half-dead survivor. Just as they took him off the steamer Mississippi hove tardily in sight too late to give aid. A night was spent at Point Abino to rest. So heavy was the work of hauling the boat along the shore that two horses were killed. The citizens of Buffalo presented Capt. Dobbins and each of his comrades a gold watch suitable engraved.
In 1860 Capt. Dobbins again distinguished himself by the rescue of the crew of the schooner Comet, ashore at Tifft Farm. He saved the crew, but the new metallic life-boat used was dashed to pieces. This boat was the Francis corrugated iron boat. Its use marks the beginning of the government life-saving service. The government about 1855 had appropriated $10,000 with which to furnish these boats to prominent points on the Atlantic coast and the lakes. Capts. Dobbins and Dorr had charge of the boat at Buffalo, being under bonds for its safekeeping.
      Detroit Free Press
      September 5, 1892


Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Notes:
Reason: sunk by collision
Lives: 3
Hull damage: $7,000
Cargo: included
Freight: wheat
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
1853
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
McN.W.2161
Language of Item:
English
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 42.836111 Longitude: -79.095277
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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Oneida (Schooner), sunk by collision, 3 Oct 1853