The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Cora Linn (Steamboat), aground, 1 Sep 1856

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Steamer CORA LINN (C), ashore near Kingston. Got off.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      January 31, 1857 (1856 casualty list)

      . . . . .

GALE ON THE LAKE - The Sun retired to rest on Thursday in a bed of thick, angry-looking clouds, and the whole sky exhibited unusual prognostios of elemental agitation. It rained very heavily during the evening, and in the course of the night a violent gale from the west set in, which continued all day yesterday, without abatement. We heard of only one casualty, that of the CORA LINN, being driven ashore somewhere between this city and Bath, but we fear other mishaps to vessels on the lakes will be heard of in a day or two.
      Kingston News
      September ??, 1856

      . . . . .

      We learn by a dispatch to Mr. Bagnall, of this city, that the steamer CORA LINN, is hard on the rocks near Kingston, C.W. An effort will be made to get her off today, but the result is doubtful.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Monday, September 22, 1856

      . . . . .

      Perilous Shipwreck on Lake Ontario - Loss of the Steamer Corra Linn.
      We noticed yesterday the loss of the small steamer CORRA LINN near Kingston in the gale of Thursday night last. The particulars come to us in the Kingston News. Some seventy
passengers were in great jeopardy during a whole night and their escape may be deemed miraculous. This steamer has run for several years between Kingston and Belleville, and until last season was known as the Novelty. The News thus describes the disaster:
In the rain and wind storm of Thursday night between the hours of seven and eight, the
CORRA LINN steamer went ashore on Salmon Island shoal, about two miles from the main
shore, and between five and six miles from this city. There were on board sixty or seventy persons in all, who were for hours in the greatest jeopardy from the vessel going to pieces, and as every swell which struck her lifted her and let her down on the ledge of rocks with tremendous violence.
The scene on board is described as distressing in the extreme; the female portion of the passengers and children manifested their alarm by wailing, crying and praying in the most agonizing manner, while the male passengers and crew exerted themselves with alacrity to provide means of safety in case the vessel went to pieces, which was most imminent. A few musket shots were fired, and colored lamps exhibited as signals of distress, and shortly after the steamer CITY OF HAMILTON went to the rescue, and sent a large yawl, duly manned, which no sooner reached the Linn than it filled, but the hands were fortunately rescued.
After being pounded on the rocks for about two hours, the Linn was at least fairly lifted
over the ledge, and snugly settled in a bed of gravel, and where the heavy dashing surge could not reach her. The darkness was so extreme, that the island lying ahead only four rods, was not seen for some time, but when discovered so near, afforded comfort to the affrighted passengers, as being a convenient place of refuge in case of emergency. The steamer LADY ELGIN, in the morning, went out to proffer aid, but the wind being still very violent, and the sea running high, no help could be afforded. Mr. Hamilton sent out the steamer PASSPORT, provided with large jolly-boats which would live through the surge, and which eventually succeeded in taking off all the passengers in safety.
The CORRA LINN is owned by Messrs. A. & D. Shaw one of whom was on board at the time of the casualty, and who is confident that had not the vessel been providentially heaved into her present position, she must inevitably have been dashed to pieces in another hour. She has made considerable water, and is considered in a very precarious state, from the fact that she is in the midst of a series of rocks, rendering the approach of large craft impracticable.
      Rochester Daily Union
      Wednesday, September 24, 1856

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Perilous Shipwreck on Lake Ontario- Loss of the steamer Cora Linn. We received notice yesterday of the loss of the small steamer Cora Linn near Kingston in a gale Thursday night last. The Kingston News reported that 70 passengers were in great jeopardy and that their escape was miraculous. The steamer has run for several years between Kingston and Belleville and was knows as the Novelty.
The news dispatch stated that "in the wind and rain of Thursday night between 7 and 8 the steamer went ashore on Salmon Island about 5 or 6 miles from Kingston. The vessel rose and fell in the waves and was likely to pound to pieces. There was much distress aboard. Many of the females and children wailed and cried and carried on. While the men did what they could to save all. A few musket shots were fired and lights shown and colored lights exhibited.
Finally a yawl boat from the City of Hamilton came out to them but was swamped by waves as they tried to get near the steamer. All hands were rescued. After a time the waves moved the vessel over the rocks into calmer water an the passengers were taken off. The plans are being made to move the steamer into Kingston for repairs.
      Rochester Daily Union
      Sept. 24, 1856

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: aground
Lives: nil
Hull damage: $6,000
Remarks: Got off
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
William R. McNeil
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Cora Linn (Steamboat), aground, 1 Sep 1856