The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Washington Irving (Schooner), sunk, 8 Jul 1860

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Schooner WASHINGTON IRVING, supposed to have foundered with all hands.
      Buffalo Morning Express
      March 11, 1861. (Casualty List, 1860)

      . . . . .

      The schooner WASHINGTON IRVING is reported to have been lost between this port and Erie on Sunday morning. Her provision chest was picked up on Monday near Dunkirk by the tug J.B. WHITE.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Thursday, July 12, 1860
      . . . . .

      PROBABLE LOSS OF A VESSEL WITH ALL ON BOARD. - We mentioned yesterday the report of the provision chest of the schooner WASHINGTON IRVING having been picked up by the tug J.B. WHITE, between this port and Dunkirk; and the IRVING not having been heard from, the probabilities are that she foundered and has gone down with all on board. She was a vessel of about 150 tons burthen, commanded by Captain S.H. Vannatta, sailing between Erie and this port. She was employed in bringing coal from Erie, and on her return trip, would take on board, flour, provisions, and other freight, for the dealers in Erie. We understand she was on her upward bound trip, and was nearly flying light on leaving this port. It is nearly a week since she left port, and nothing has been heard from her but the picking up of this provision chest. The impression seems to be, on the dock, that she is a total loss with all on board, captain and crew, which consists of some six men, perhaps more. We believe she was owned by the captain.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Friday, July 13, 1860
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No tidings have yet been had of this vessel that we have before mentioned as supposed to be lost. We learn that she was bound down from Erie to this port and had on board a small cargo of coal in her hold and a deck load of pig iron. We also learn that Messrs. Niles & Brewster, of this city, had an insurance of $1,500 on her in the Arctic Co., which was all the risks that we learn of on the vessel or cargo. The impression is more fully established that she must have foundered in a gale and gone down with all hands on board. A captain of another vessel that left Erie about the same time the IRVING, reports that he did not encounter any very boisterous weather, and thinks her loss may be attributed to a collision with some other vessel. It is singular that nothing is heard from her.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Monday, July 16, 1860
      . . . . .

      THE LOST SCHOONER. - There is no longer room to doubt the loss of the schooner WASHINGTON IRVING, with her entire crew. She left Erie for this port week ago last Saturday, and has not since been heard from. Whether she foundered or was struck by some other vessel seems altogether a mystery. The following is given by the Erie Gazette as a correct list of those on board:
Captain, Stephen H. Vannatta; Mate, Antonia Veary; before the mast, Henry House; Owen Keep, and Peter Silvery; passenger, Cornelius Leary. All the above named persons belonged to Erie, except Owen Keep, who resided in Buffalo. Nearly all have left families to mourn their loss.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Friday, July 20, 1860
      The provision chest of the schooner WASHINGTON IRVING, Capt. Valatta, which was bound from Buffalo to Erie, was picked up by the tug WHITE. The IRVING was lost sometime between July 7 and 15th.
      Toronto Globe
      July 21, 1860

Schooner WASHINGTON IRVING, 111 tons. Built Cleveland 1844 by B.B. Jones. Owned by Scott & Marshall. Home port, Erie. Value $1,400 Class C 2. REMARKS:- Flat, repaired in 1856.
      Board of Lake Underwriters
      Lake Vessel Register for 1860
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Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: sunk
Lives: 6
Hull damage: $1,500
Cargo: $1,000
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 42.454166 Longitude: -81.121388
William R. McNeil
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Washington Irving (Schooner), sunk, 8 Jul 1860