The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily Palladium (Oswego, NY), Friday, Nov. 12, 1880

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Ontario Again Stirred Up
Another November Gale at Thirty Miles an Hour - A New Tale of Wreckage Taken. Vessels Ashore at all parts of the Lakes.

The story of last Sunday's wreckage had not been finished when we were obliged to begin a new chapter of the same doleful tale. Despatches now coming in indicate that a storm is sweeping the lakes of almost equal severity and carrying destruction of shipping before it. About 12 o'clock last night the wind suddenly and with a puff of tremendous force, whipped around to the west and northwest and this morning found another dangerous sea raging at this port.

Only two vessels, the schooners Queen of the Lakes and Laura, both from Toronto, got in during the night. The Queen lost her foregaff and foreboom outside. These are the only arrivals up to 1 p.m. today, except the Snow Bird, whose luck is related below.

The Snow Bird Ashore

Capt. Andrew Beard of the Snow Bird, which ran on the beach just in front of the life saving station at 10 a.m. today, makes the following statement:

"We left Toronto Tuesday, but ran back to Toronto Point, whence we left yesterday for Oswego, with 90,000 feet of lumber shipped by Thompson Smith from Toronto for J.K. Post & Co.; the wind was S.W. and we came along under staysail and jib, averaging seven miles an hour; at 11 p.m. we were off Charlotte; when between Charlotte and Sodus the sea and wind began to increase and the weather grew fearfully thick and rainy; we could not see anything; about 2 a.m. the wind varied from W. to N.W.; the sea boarded us and carried away about 15,000 of our deck load and our best tow line was carried overboard about 9 o'clock we steered for this harbor and when outside gave the tug Wheeler, which came out after us, a new four-inch tow line; this parted and she got another from us which also parted.

"The tug Morey then threw her head line over the vessel's quarter and it was made fast; she backed on the vessel until she got among the breakers and almost grounded, when she sung out to let go and we did so; we were then below the pier and drifted on. The Snow Bird is insured in the Great Western of New York for $2,800, and is owned equally by Capt. Arthur Clarkson and myself."

The tug Wheeler got her tow line on the vessel but that parted and got into the tug's wheel and she worked in a trough of the sea for several minutes until her double engines succeeded in chawing the line to pieces, when she came in all right. Each time the lines parted Captain Ferris bravely turned around and went back to the vessel. The tug Morey also made a good attempt to save the vessel but all in vain. The lines were not strong enough. When the Morey had a line on the Snow Bird a big sea boarded her and would have washed Edward Hitchcock, deckhand, overboard had he not grabbed and held on to the rope fender. The tug's firehold was filled by that sea.

The life crew soon had a breeches buoy out to the vessel and the crew ashore. John Bent, sailor, jumped onto the east pier as the vessel neared it. When the Morey's line was being let go it picked up the yawl and smashed it on the cabin. The yawl struck Captain Beard a hard blow on the back of the head and neck, but did not disable him. Daniel Sullivan, the cook, was almost frightened to death and when coming out of the cabin a sea boarded the vessel, knocking a door violently against him, felling him to the deck load and almost washing him overboard. He was in a very exhausted condition. Dr. Stockwell attended him. he is an old man and is said to have been a soldier at Fort Ontario several years ago. The vessel likes within 50 feet of the shore, heading westward, and stern high out. She was pounding some and may sustain considerable damage. She lies west of the Wood Duck.

The Snow Bird reports the schr. Erie, Stewart, lumber and timber laden for Oswego, as having been in company with her until dark.

As the Snow Bird went ashore, a large fore and after under double reefed foresail and job, at first thought to be making for this port, passed down the lake 8 or 10 miles out. When she got down so that she probably would make Texas or Sandy Creek, she headed in. The life crew thought she was disabled and probably making for the beach or that she was looking there for anchorage. Passengers who arrived on the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad noon train from the east thought she was heading straight for the beach and would go on about Nine Mile Point.

The Havana and Cortez both left the canal yesterday afternoon for Oswego. Up to noon they had not been heard from.

Following is the Snow Bird's register: Tonnage, 82; built at Presque Isle by L. Terry in 1862; owned by Brand & Co., hails from Toronto; value $8,800; classed A-2 1/2. She will probably be a total loss; whether her cargo is insured is not known.

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Date of Original:
Friday, Nov. 12, 1880
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Richard Palmer
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Daily Palladium (Oswego, NY), Friday, Nov. 12, 1880