The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Flying Cloud (Schooner), aground, 1 Nov 1857

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FLYING CLOUD Schooner, total wrecked at Miller's Point, Lake Michigan. Property loss $11,000. seven of her crew perished.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Jan. 28, 1858 (1857 Casualty List)

      . . . . .

Chicago, Nov. 21. --The schooner FLYING CLOUD, from Chicago for Buffalo, went shore at Miller's Point, 30 miles south of this city, today. Seven of her crew are lost.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      November 23, 1857

      . . . . .

      Seven Men Frozen To Death -- Only Two Of The Crew Saved.
      ( From the Chicago Press )
The schooner FLYING CLOUD, Capt. Sherwood, left this port on Wednesday, the 18th inst, with a cargo of 10,300 bushels of wheat for Cleveland. When she got outside the wind was southwest, with moderate weather. About ten o'clock at night, however, it hauled round to the north, and increased steadily till twelve o'clock to a perfect hurricane, accompanied with snow, when the boat was carried away from the davits, and the captain ordered the vessel by the wind. About two o'clock on Thursday morning, when the vessel was under close-reefed canvas, the fore-gaff was carried away, and the foresail split to ribbons. The wind about this time veered around to the northwest, and the decks and rigging were completely covered with ice. As the cold increased, it was deemed the only safe course to let the vessel run before the wind; the seamen being completely paralyzed with cold, for the sea made clean breaches over her, carrying away everything moveable on deck. About ten o'clock the vessel struck about one mile east of Grand Calumet Creek, and almost immediately "broke her back," and filled with water. The captain and crew immediately took to the rigging, where they remained all day, and at night they cane down and spent the night on the quarter deck, lashed to the spars.
      Friday morning two of the crew were found dead -- frozen stiff, and the captain and a seaman all but perished. About nine o'clock, the mate, George Gardner, determined to do all in his power to get a boat to take the crew off the vessel, jumped overboard and swan ashore -- a distance of twenty rods -- and made for a shanty about a mile and a half in the woods from the shore; but when within a short distance of it, he fell exhausted and perished. Another sailor, Wat Wayne, jumped next, on the same errand. Nobly and manfully did he struggle against the angry waters, and gained the shore, but it was only to lie down on the beach within sight of the crew in the cold embrace of death. At this juncture all hope seemed to be lost and the Captain attempted to rise and also make an effort to get ashore, but he was so enfeebled that he only rose and immediately fell back and ejaculated, "Boys, I'm dying - Try and save your lives - Tell my wife that I've done my duty." These were the last words he spoke. Frank Fox, our informant, was the next to jump overboard - which was about half past twelve o'clock, and he was no sooner in the water than he saw two men coming along the beach with a small boat. This gave him additional courage, and after a severe struggle, he reached the shore. The two men then launched their boat, and one went on board and another remained on shore with a rope. They made one trip to the boat successfully, and brought one man ashore, Henry Coleman; but three successive times it was swamped; and the last survivor left on board was drowned. The boat was broken to pieces. Fox, too weak and too stiff to render any assistance, immediately after landing, made for the shanty in the woods and found it occupied by an old man and woman. Close by it he found the Mate lying nearly dead. He was carried inside, his cloths cut from his body, and wrapped in warm blankets, but he almost immediately expired. Henry Coleman, the other survivor, arrived at the shanty soon after. Both were nearly dead with cold. In the kindest manner possible they were taken care of. Their clothes, being still stiff, had to be cut in pieces from their bodies, and they were put into comfortable beds before the fire, and rubbed until they revived. So far gone were they, that they could neither eat or drink until Saturday morning. Had they remained an hour longer exposed to the elements, there is little doubt but they also would have perished.
      On Saturday forenoon, Fox walked to Calumet Station and took the train for this city, where he arrived in the afternoon. His fingers are all frosted, three of them completely covered with blisters. His right thumb is broken off at the first joint -- like a piece of wood. He will in all probability lose parts of his fingers. Coleman, we understand, is not quite so badly frost-bitten.
      The vessel still lies at Calumet, and on her the dead bodies of the captain and three of the crew, and will probably be a total loss. She is owned by Barney, Corning and Company, of Cleveland, and is insured in the Cleveland Mutual for $6,000. The cargo is owned by Hubly & Howe, of Cleveland - also insured in the Cleveland Mutual.
      The names of the captain and crew are as follows:
      Captain Sherwood, Cleveland.
      George Gardner, mate, Port Huron.
      Wat. Bayne, Cleveland.
      George Grimley, Cleveland.
      Jonny Small, Port Huron.
      Paul Stedt - residence unknown.
      Steward of the vessel - name not known.
      Henry Coleman, Cleveland.
      Frank Fox, Cleveland.
The captain leaves a wife and child, and George Grimley leaves a wife. The rest were unmarried.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Wednesday, November 25, 1857

      The Chicago papers give a terrible history of shipwreck and loss of life. The Schooner Flying Cloud, which left that port for Buffalo on the 20th November with 10,300 bushels of wheat, was driven ashore, and all hands save two perished. The Tribune says:-
"She was driven ashore at a place called Grand Calumet, a wild bleak coast covered with snow, and no friendly hands to render assistance. The whole of the crew were already nearly frozen and unable to swim. They consisted of nine persons, mostly belonging to Cleveland, viz: - Alexander Sherwood, Captain; George Gordon, 1st mate; Paul Stedd, 2nd do; John ___, steward (shipped at Chicago from barque Morgan); and John Small, Geo. Grimsby, Watt Bain, Francis Fox and Henry Coleman, crew. Only the last two are saved. The Captain, steward, Small and Grimsby were soon so badly frozen that they were unable to move. The captain wanted to jump overboard but was prevented by the others, as he would have drowned immediately, though he was only to die the more lingering death of freezing. Gordon, Bain and Fox jumped overboard twenty-four hours after the vessel struck, and after she had become a perfect wreck, and succeeded in getting ashore; but the two former froze to death and are now on the beach, dead. A shingle maker with a shanty near by, furnished Fox with shoes and clothes, and assisted him to Miller's Station, a mile or two distant, from whence he came to this city. He is badly frozen. The boy Coleman managed to get ashore alive, and remained at the shanty near the wreck, badly frozen.
      kingston Daily News
      December 3, 1857

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Reason: aground
Lives: 7
Remarks: Total loss
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Indiana, United States
    Latitude: 41.60226 Longitude: -87.25837
William R. McNeil
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Flying Cloud (Schooner), aground, 1 Nov 1857