The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Mon., Aug. 13, 1888

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A Disastrous Northeast Gale on Lake Ontario
Vessels Ashore and in Distress - Loss of Life at Charlotte - The East Breakwater Washed Away - The Heaviest Rainfall in Two Years - Damage in the City

One of the most severe storms of wind and rain that has visited this section this season set in at a late hour last night and continued all day. The storm was threatening all day yesterday excepting for a short time when the sun came out. The wind had been blowing moderately from the northeast all day. About dusk the wind began to increase and about 10:30 P.M. the rain commenced falling. At midnight the rain was coming down in torrents and the wind was blowing a gale from the northeast.

Vessels and small craft moored in the harbor bobbed about uneasily and during the night Captain Scott, of the tug Navagh, was called upon to make several "shifts." At 4 A.M. the storm was at its height. Huge breakers came tumbling into the new harbor and up the river over the piers and breakwater. Several vessels lying on the windward side of the D.L.& W. trestle were obliged to change position. Captain Scott, of the tug Navagh, says he never remembers such a storm in the month of August.

At daylight this morning there was abundant evidence of the severity of the storm. Telephone and telegraph wires were in trouble, large limbs had been twisted from trees and were scattered about, and a number of large and valuable shade and fruit trees were uprooted. Early this morning the heavy seas breaking over the old East pier, which belongs to the Gerrit Smith estate, carried away about sixty feet of it. The superstructure was swept into the river. Shortly afterward another breach was made, this time on the river side.

The tug F.D. Wheeler, which was inside the pier, broke from her fastenings and was with difficulty secured. Other craft in the cove had to be moved around into the slips. Early this morning it was reported that the schooner D. Freeman, bound from Belleville to Fair Haven, light, to load coal, was ashore about seven miles west of Oswego and a short distance from Lewis' bluff. It was soon learned that the report was true. The Freeman left Belleville yesterday about noon. About 2 o'clock this morning the captain "picked up" Oswego light on the beach. The crew jumped ashore and came to the city this morning. The Freeman lays on a gravel bottom and is too high up on the beach to sustain damage from the seas. It is expected that when the sea runs down she can be gotten off without much damage.

At the signal office the highest velocity of wind was 44 miles an hour at 7 o'clock this morning. This is the heaviest wind storm since December 29, 1887. The total rainfall was 2.02 inches, which is the heaviest since April 6, 1886. The wind blew at least 60 miles an hour on the lake, so sailors say.

The yacht Katie Gray, which left here Saturday night for Sodus Bay, dragged her anchor in the Bay last night and went ashore. She sustained but little, if any damage. The party of gentlemen who were aboard of her are expected to arrive home tonight by rail.

Loss of Life At Charlotte


Havoc Created in the Harbor - A Yacht Capsized and Vessels Damaged

Charlotte, N.Y. Aug. 13 . - (Special) - A heavy northwest gale is blowing with be sea. The tug Proctor and tow, Martin and tow and steamer Norseman, and schooner British Queen, reached here in safety. The Proctor broke her tow line, and with difficulty picked up the barge Iroquois. The schooner Caroline Marsh, lumber laden, ran in for shelter. She lost part of her deck load.

The schooner Wave Crest arrived with a bad list. She lost part of her deck load. The W.J. Suffel, light after entering the harbor, took a sheer in among the yachts and damaged several of them. The steamer Glengarry, when landing at the dock, collided with the steamer Sylvan Stream, tearing her from her moorings and throwing her into the river and against the schooner Caroline Marsh, which was passing up in tow of the tug Yates.

The Sylvan Stream was damaged, but not seriously. About 6:30 this morning a schooner yacht was discovered trying to make the harbor. As she was in the jaws of the pier she suddenly broached to and capsized. The life saving crew and the tug Avery went to her aid and three of the men were rescued, but the fourth, a young man named Parks, of Rochester, who was in the forecastle, was drowned. The yacht was towed in the harbor and the body recovered. Several other Rochester yachts are badly damaged at their anchorage, but no other casualties have occurred.

Ashore at Sodus Point.

Sodus Point, N.Y., Aug. 13. - (Special.) - During the storm last night the schooner Undine, lumber laden for Oswego, making for shelter here ran ashore on Sand Point in Sodus Bay. The tug Cornelia succeeded in pulling her off after lightering her load. The yacht Katie Gray anchored off Bay Shore House, dragged ashore, but is lying easy.

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Date of Original:
Mon., Aug. 13, 1888
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  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 43.45535 Longitude: -76.5105
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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Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Mon., Aug. 13, 1888