The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Roman (Schooner), sunk, 1 Oct 1858

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Schooner ROMAN, from Detroit to Oswego, cargo of wheat, supposed to have foundered with all on board on Lake Erie. Total loss. Property loss $16,000.
Nine lives lost.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      January 15, 1859 (1858 Casualty List)

      . . . . .

      Oswego, Oct. 15. - The schooner ROMAN, Capt. Wm. Wheeler left Detroit on the 6th, for this port with wheat, and has not been heard from, was out in the late tremendous gale and is feared lost with all on board. Vessel and cargo fully insured.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      Saturday, October 16, 1858

      . . . . .

THE ROMAN. -- There are various rumors afloat in reference to the schooner ROMAN, which has not been heard from since she left Detroit, but none reliable that gives us much hope for her safety. There is a probability that she may yet turn up somewhere about the Canada shore of Lake Erie, but we fear that she has gone down with all on board.
      The ROMAN was owned by A. A. Adkins, of this city, and commanded by Capt. Wm. Wheeler, Ira Wells, mate, and Louisa Curtiss, stewardess. There were eight person in all on board. Mr. Wells has a wife in this city. Miss Curtiss resided formerly in Rochester, and last winter was pastry cook at the Munger House, in this city.
      The ROMAN was built in 1853, from the old propeller OSWEGO, one of the first ever on the lakes. Her cargo of wheat was consigned to Ames & Sloan, and is fully insured. Vessel insured for $2,500. -- Oswego Times
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Monday, October 18, 1858

      THE SCHOONER ROMAN. - The fact that the schooner ROMAN was probably lost on Lake Erie in the late gale, with all on board, has been announced. The Oswego Times says there were eight persons on board, including a stewardess named Louisa Curtiss, who formerly resided in this city. The ROMAN was made from an old propeller in 1853; and was probably not a craft to stand such a gale as she must have encountered. She had a cargo of wheat fully insured.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      Wednesday, October 20, 1858

      . . . . .

      THE SCHOONER ROMAN. - Nothing has been heard from this vessel yet, and there is no longer any doubt but that she must have gone down with all on board. She could not have been lost in the gale of the seventh, as some have thought, for she did not leave Detroit until the 6th, and then went only as far as Sandwich Point, where she lay the 7th, 8th, and the 9th, up to noon. Some masters of vessels have stated that she was seen outside pervious to this, but they must have been mistaken in the vessel.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      Friday, October 29, 1858

      . . . . .

      "In the meantime the steam tonnage of the screw wheel system has become of immense magnitude. The propeller 'Vandalia," Capt. Rufus Hawkins, built by Sylvester doolittle and partners, about the year 1841, at oswego, was the pioneer of this useful and now important branch of our lake marine. This was the first screw wheel steamer ever built upon fresh waters, and her success was equal to the expectations of her owners. The 'Vandalia' run
between this port and Chicago, and did a large and successful business in carrying passengers and freight. She was finally sold to parties in Canada, and was lost by collision with a vessel."
      "The 'Oswego, built by the same parties, came out in the following spring, with such improvements as were suggested by experience. About the year 1853 she was rebuilt into a schooner called the 'Roman,' which was lost, last fall, on Lake Erie.
      "The 'Chicago' came out soon afterwarda, and in '45 was sold and went to Lake Superior.
      "The 'Racine' and 'New York' were the next propellers of the time. They were run upon the lakes for a number of years, and finally transferred to Lake Champlain."
      report of the trade and commerce of Oswego for the year 1858
      reported in the Oswego Commercial Times of March 11, 1859.

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: sunk
Lives: 9
Freight: wheat
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 42.454166 Longitude: -81.121388
William R. McNeil
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Roman (Schooner), sunk, 1 Oct 1858