The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Northerner (Steamboat), sunk by collision, 21 Apr 1856

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Stmrs. NORTHERNER, and FOREST QUEEN, collided on Lake Huron, the former sunk, lost 12 lives, Property loss, Hull $20,000. Cargo $3,000.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      January 31, 1857 (1856 casualty List)

      . . . . .

Collision. - We learn by telegraph that the steamer FOREST CITY came in collision with the steamer NORTHERNER on Monday night on Lake Huron, sinking the latter immediately. But one person is known to be missing.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      April 30, 1856

      . . . . .

      (From the Cleveland Herald.)
      So far as we have been able to learn, as to the loss of the Steam Boat NORTHERNER, the facts are these. She was proceeding on her first trip to Saginaw with a full load of freight, and 122 passengers, among whom were many
fishermen, when, on Sunday night, at 11 o'clock, about five miles above Fort Gratiot Light, she was struck by the steamer FOREST QUEEN, on the larboard side some 30 feet aft her stem, and sank in less than five minutes in 25 to 30 feet water. Her second engineer, Peter Moore, a young man of about 23 years of age, hailing from this port, was drowned---the remainder of the crew and passengers being saved by the boats of the two vessels.
      She went down bow first, and now lies (we have not been able to learn how far from the shore) with her upper deck above water. She settled so rapidly that no baggage nor freight was saved, and some persons scarcely escaped with
clothes sufficient to protect them. H. Harwood, a fisherman well known on the rivers and here, had all his fishing tackle, &c., on board. Four or five other fishermen were sufferers in a like manner.
      The night was misty. It is said that the lights of the FOREST QUEEN, when first seen, were two miles off; that the NORTHERNER so shaped her course as to avoid her, but when near to, saw collision probable, and commenced backing, but too late.
      The FOREST QUEEN was on her way down from Goderich. She was damaged but slightly, and arrived in Detroit yesterday evening at five o'clock. She is owned by Eber Ward, 2nd. and --- Hutchins. The NORTHERNER was owned by Captain Darius Cole, Clerk A.S. Kelsey, and ---- Paxton; and, as we are informed, was insured $16,000---$6,000 in the Northwestern, of Oswego, $5,000 in the Commercial Mutual, of Cleveland, and the balance in some company or agent in Detroit. The loss is a complete one so far as Capt. Cole is concerned, the insurance policies being held by her late owner, the Messrs. Turners of this city, he being the purchaser from them. The steamer can probably be raised.
      Where the blame lies we cannot of course now know, but some one is culpable Lake Huron must certainly be broad enough for two small steamers to pass in.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      May 1, 1856

      . . . . .

      THE "NORTHERNER." - The upper deck of the NORTHERNER is some two or three feet out of the water. The body of Peter Moore, her second engineer, was recovered yesterday, and taken to Newport. Considerable floating freight has been picked up. - Detroit Adv. 1st.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      May 3, 1856

      . . . . .

      THE "NORTHERNER."- The safe of the steamer NORTHERNER, containing valuable books, papers and money has been raised from the wreck. The upper portion of the wreck has been washed away, and nothing can now be seen out of water. The freight is being washed ashore. - Detroit Advertiser, 13th.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      May 15, 1856
      . . . . .

      We understand that Capt. Cole, chief owner of the steamer NORTHERNER, has given up all hope of trying to raise her, the wind and waves having played sad havoc with her. He will now seek reparation at law.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      May 20, 1856

      . . . . .

      The propeller DETROIT has gone to the sunken steamer NORTHERNER, for the purpose of raising her. It is to be done by means of 270 large buoys constructed for the purpose. So says the Detroit Tribune, of Saturday. The DETROIT is owned by the Patent Buoy Company, of Conneaut.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Wednesday, August 27, 1856

      . . . . .
Paddle wheel steamer NORTHERNER. Of 514 tons gross. Built Ohio City, Ohio, 1851. First home port, Cleveland, Ohio. DISPOSITION - Lost 1856 in collision with FOREST QUEEN off Gratiot Light, Mich., April 21, 1856, with the loss of one life.
      Merchant Steam Vessels of the U. S. A.
      Lytle - Holdcamper List, 1790 to 1868

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: sunk by collision
Lives: 1
Hull damage: $20,00
Cargo: $3,000
Remarks: Total loss
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.640833 Longitude: -81.768055
William R. McNeil
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Northerner (Steamboat), sunk by collision, 21 Apr 1856