The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Lady Elgin (Steamboat), sunk by collision, 8 Sep 1860


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Steamer LADY ELGIN, sunk by collision with the Schooner AUGUSTA off Waukegan, Lake Michigan. 400 lives lost.
      Buffalo Morning Express
      March 11, 1861. (Casualty List, 1860)

      . . . . .

      COLLISION - FEARFUL LOSS OF LIFE.-
      The steamer LADY ELGIN was run into by a schooner on Lake Michigan, on Friday night last. The steamer sunk in twenty minutes carrying down with her over three hundred persons, particulars not yet at hand.
      Port Hope (Ont.) Weekly Guide
      September 12, 1860

      . . . . .
     
AWFUL CALAMITY - OVER THREE HUNDRED LIVES LOST - Another of those terrible accidents by which over three hundred persons are said to have been lost, on Lake Michigan, will be found under our Telegraphic Head. The LADY ELGIN was on a pleasure excursion of the Union Guards, of Milwaukee, to Chicago. The Guards were to be accompanied by General Best and staff, the Black Yagers and the Green Yagers, and also the Rifles, together with several Fire Companies, and also the Milwaukee City Band.
The LADY ELGIN was regularly in the Chicago and Lake Superior trade, but was engaged for this occasion by the excursionists. She was commanded by Capt. John Wilson, well known in this city as one of the oldest sailors. She was owned by A.T. Spencer & Co., of Chicago.

      P O S T S C R I P T
      by telegraph.
      AFTERNOON REPORT - 2 P.M.

      A W F U L C A L A M I T Y
      -------------------------
      Loss Of The Steamer LADY ELGIN On Lake Michigan !

      OVER 300 LIVES LOST ----- LIST OF THE SAVED.
      -------------------------
Chicago, Sept. 8.- The LADY ELGIN, in the Lake Superior Line, which left here last night was run into by the schooner AUGUSTA off Waukegan, at half past two o'clock this morning, striking her abaft the wheel. The steamer sank in twenty minutes, in three hundred feet of water, and only seventeen persons are known to be saved, including the clerk, steward, and porter. From three hundred and fifty to four hundred persons are said to have been on board, among whom were the Black Yagers, Green Yagers and Rifles, and several fire companies of Milwaukee, who were on a visit to this city.
      Col. Lumsden, of the New Orleans Picayune, and family were also on board, and are supposed to be lost. At the time of the accident the schooner was sailing at the rate of eleven miles an hour.
      The steam tug McQUEEN left this morning for the scene of the disaster.
      FURTHER PARTICULARS HEREAFTER.
      SECOND DESPATCH
      The names of those saved as far as known, are as follows:
      H.G. Caryl, clerk; Fred's Rice, steward; Edward Westlake, porter; Robert Gore, Thomas Murphey, Thomas Cummings, Michael Conner, John E. Hobart, of Milwaukee; Thomas Shall, Tim O'Brien, W. A. Darnes, Wildman Mills, of Ohio; Lyman Updyke, of Waupua; H. Ingraham, member of the Canadian Parliament.
The son of the proprietor of the London News, was on board and is supposed to be lost. After the collision the steamer floated South to Winetka, where she sunk.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Saturday, September 8, 1860 (Telegraphic Despatch)

      . . . . .

      THE LOSS OF THE " LADY ELGIN."
      -------
      The loss of this vessel on Lake Michigan, which was announced in our telegraphic columns, on Saturday, is another of those terrible calamities which carry gloom to whole communities, and which, it would seem, we are doomed to suffer every once in a while on our Lakes, as well as upon the ocean itself, in spite of the stringent laws which have been enacted to save the lives of passengers in such contingencies.
      It is the same story over and over again, when the vessel is wrecked at a distance from the land, the few are saved, and the many perish. It cannot be denied that the system of inspection which has now been in operation several years, and which, we believe, faithfully carries out the laws of Congress upon the subject, have lessened the frequency of such accidents, but that it has the slightest beneficial effect upon the numbers of passengers which can be saved in case the vessel is totally wrecked, we have the most abundant and sickening proof in the disaster which has just occurred.
      Over three hundred lives are lost, under circumstances which may be considered more than usually favorable for their being saved, when compared to ordinary cases where the vessel is a total wreck. Let us look at it.
      The boat is on an excursion, and although the accident occurs two hours after midnight, most of the passengers are enjoying themselves with music and dancing. All feel the shock, but very little or no confusion is created, because it is not known that there is any danger. The officers of the boat are the first to know that any danger whatever exists, and it being in the night, they can let it be known to the passengers in their own way, and in their own time. This of itself is very favorable because it prevents confusion, and there is nothing in an accident of this kind to create confusion, but the fact of such an announcement, as for time, there are twenty minutes, long enough for all those in their berths to be roused, and to dress themselves, and for everyone to
prepare to get away from the vessel before she goes down. The only unfavorable circumstance was the fact that a pretty fresh breeze was blowing.
      It is always very easy to tell just how every passenger might have been saved, after the occurrence of every such disaster, and notwithstanding this is always done, those most interested evidently did not understand the mode always so ably pointed out, or they would have acted upon it, and it is exactly to this fact that we wish to call attention.
      We have now our steamboats inspected by Government officers, the machinery by an engineer, and the hull by some one versed in the construction of vessels, the two conjointly ascertaining by observation whether the necessary life boats, life preservers, &c., are provided, and a certificate that this has been done, and that the boat is provided with all the accident preventives and life saving apparatus required by the law, is neatly framed, and conspicuously hung up in the boat; but suppose an accident which is to sink the boat occurs? Here are between three and four hundred people, not a dozen of whom know what they ought to do to save themselves, even if told in good season the dangers they are in; and who is to instruct them? The Captain and his officers are necessarily busy trying to save the vessel, or, at least, to make her float as long as they can, and it is simply an impossibility for them to do more than to announce the danger, and give perhaps a few hurried directions, which at best are only heard
by a portion of the passengers, and understood by a still fewer number.
      What we propose then, is that printed instructions should be hung up in the cabins of every passenger boat, instructing the passengers in the duties which devolve upon themselves in order that they may save their own lives, in case of any of the various accidents to which such boats are liable, should occur.
      These instructions should be very complete, embracing all kinds of accidents, and telling the passengers, just what he himself is to do. We firmly believe that nine tenths at least of those who perished so awfully on Saturday morning, in Lake Michigan, might have saved their lives, if they had known the best course for them to have taken in the emergency they were in. To say
nothing of the confusion of mind into which one is naturally thrown on such an occasion, the landsman is necessarily ignorant of what he ought to do. He may have read many an elaborate recommendations to persons in this present situation, but it was so long ago that the details have slipped his memory; if, however, during his listless wanderings about the boat he has filled up a part of his time in reading the INSTRUCTIONS TO PASSENGERS, IN CASE OF ACCIDENT, he will have just the information he wants fresh in his mind, and will not only be able to act upon them, but to direct those immediately about him who have not happened to have read the INSTRUCTIONS.
      Such instructions as we have recommended will never be placed voluntarily on board of any boats by their owners, because there is always a disinclination to admit the possibility of a serious accident happening to so good a boat as their individual property happens to be. They should therefore be made out and placed conspicuously on board by authority and force of law, in the same manner as all other life-saving apparatus now are.
      With regard to the lost of the boat itself, the proper preventive readily occurs to every one. She ought to have had water tight bulkheads. Experience has proven that these are the only true preventives to total wreck in case of severe collision. Indeed, this is so well known and understood, that we have not considered it necessary to dwell upon it. It is to the terrible loss of
life which always ensues upon the sinking of any passenger vessel upon the Lakes or upon the ocean that we wish to call attention and have a remedy provided.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Monday, September 10, 1860

      . . . . .

      ADDITIONAL DETAILS OF THE LOSS OF THE LADY ELGIN.
      ------
      Chicago, Sept. 8. - In addition to those reported saved this morning, are
the following:
      Charles May, Michael McGrath, Peter Walsh, Geo. Furlong, Wm. Elwood, John
Regan, Wm. Denar, James McManus, John Murray, Fred Halpier, John Raper, T.
Pitchard, John Eveston and wife, John Doyle, Mr. Waldo, Isaac Kingsley,
Frederick Snyder, John Gilmore, Mr. Burke and wife, John KIngsley, J.H. Willard,
H.W. Gannison, Peter Walsh, Wm. Levyer, Fred Devarsky, Bridget Kehoe, John
Rossiter, E. Debar, James Rogers, Frederick Fetmeyer, E.J. Powers, Mrs. Rivers of
Milwaukee; Terry Crother, Patrick Maher, of Chicago; Jacob Cook, Fondulac;
Lieut. Geo. Hartsuff, Zomackinack; James Rogers, a German woman, name unknown;
John Jaconson, New York; Peter Walsh.
The Clerk makes the following statement.
"About half past two o'clock this morning, the schooner AUGUSTA, of Oswego,
came in collision with the LADY ELGIN, when about ten miles from shore. The
schooner struck the steamer at the amidships gangway, on the larboard side. The
two vessels separated instantly, and the AUGUSTA drifted by in the darkness.
      At the moment of collision there was music and dancing in the forward cabin.
In an instant after the crash all was still, and in half an hour the steamer sunk.
      I passed through the cabins. The ladies were pale but silent. There was
not a cry or shriek; no sound but the rush of steam and the surge of heavy seas.
Whether they were not fully aware of the danger, or whether their appalling
situation made them speechless, I cannot tell.
      A boat was lowered at once, with the design of going round upon the larboard
side to examine the leak. There were two oars, but just at that moment some
person possessed himself of one of them, and we were left powerless to manage
the boat We succeeded once in reaching the wheel, but were drifted away and
thrown upon the beach at Winetka.
      The LADY ELGIN left the port of Chicago at half past 11 o'clock, for Lake
Superior.
      Among the passengers were the Union Guards of Milwaukee, composing a part of
some 250 men excursionists from that city.
      Only two boats were left on the steamer. One of them containing thirteen
persons, all of whom were saved. The other bore eight, but only four reached
the shore alive, the others being drowned at the beach.
      Before I left the steamer her engine had ceased to work, the fire having
been extinguished. Within thirty minutes the LADY ELGIN disappeared.
      The force and direction of the wind was such that the boats and fragments
were driven up the lake and would reach shore in the vicinity of Winetka.
      As I stood upon the beach helplessly looking back along the route we had
drifted, I could see, in the grey of the morning, objects floating upon the
water, and sometimes I thought, human beings struggling with the waves."
      (signed) H.G. Caryl,
      Clerk of the LADY ELGIN.
      The following persons left the Tremont House last evening and took passage
on the LADY ELGIN:-
F.A. Lumsdent, wife, two children, and servant, New Orleans; W. Garth and
wife, Miss Anne Garth, and Miss Amanda Garth, Paris, Ky.; B.F. Hall and lady,
Aurora, Ill; Mr. Serptleben, of the firm of Smith & Serptleben, T.C. Hanna, Mr.
Peace, of the firm of Goodman & Peace, Mrs. Barrow, Isaac Kingsley, Milwaukee;
Jas. Cosgrove, Mr. Fitzpatrick, Kenosha, Wis.; Mrs. Kitto and four children,
Mr. Bond and two children, Jas. Bellows, Mineral Point, Wis.; A. Buckingham,
J.C. Pollard and lady, Milwaukee; J. Fitzgerald and lady, Milwaukee; Michael
Coregan and lady, Milwaukee; Herbert Ingram, Esq., M.P. and proprietor of the
London Illustrated News, and his son Herbert; Edward White, Fanny Burns, Charles
Smith, Chicago; Geo. Norton, Superior City; Geo. L. Simpson, Joliet; Mr. Locke,
Sheboygan; Otto Severince and wife, Mr. Nickel, Mr. Philips, Milwaukee; and John
Horan, Deputy, U.S. Marshal for Wisconsin, none of whom are yet heard of.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Monday, September 10, 1860

      . . . . .

      THE LOSS OF THE LADY ELGIN.- The greatest anxiety is manifested by our
steamboat men and citizens to learn all the particulars of the sad calamity. We
give in our columns all the information that has been received thus far.
      The ELGIN left Milwaukee on Thursday evening with the different military and
fire companies accompanied by a great many ladies on the excursion. They
arrived in Chicago on Friday morning, and after spending the day in that city
attended the theatre in the evening, leaving probably near 12 o'clock for their
return home. No formal reception was given the military or firemen at Chicago,
as it appears the excursion was got up without the usual consultation, and
rather an independent affair. No steamboat disaster of equal magnitude has
occurred on the Lakes since the loss of the ill-fated ATLANTIC, of the M.C.R.R.
Line, on the night of the 20th of Aug. 1852, near Long Point, by which over 250
lives were lost; but they were mostly emigrants, while the loss on the ELGIN,
are all of the best class of citizens, and a larger share of them residents of
Milwaukee. The water off Waukegan, thirty-five miles above Chicago, on Lake
Michigan, is very deep, and there is no harbor at this point, and nothing but a
very dilapidated pier where vessels used to land.
      - more noble fellow, or better sailor, never lived than Capt. Jack Wilson,
and we felt confident that in the awful calamity, when all the incidents and
facts become known, it would be found he proved true in the emergency. The
telegraph informs us he perished within one hundred feet of the shore, no doubt
exhausted in his efforts to rescue those under his charge. Poor Jack! he
leaves a loving wife and a host of friends to mourn his loss, but it is a
gratification to know he died nobly doing his duty. He was for some two years
in command of the steamer EMPIRE STATE, in the Michigan Southern Rail Road Line,
between this city and Toledo and Monroe, and afterwards in the employ of Col.
McKnight, in the Lake Superior trade.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Monday, September 10, 1860

      . . . . .

      P O S T S C R I P T
      by Telegraph.
      Morning Report - 9 A.M.
      LOSS OF THE STEAMER "LADY ELGIN" ON LAKE MICHIGAN
      -------------
      F U R T H E R P A R T I C U L A R S
      List Of The Lost And Saved
      Statement Of The Capt. Of The Schooner And Mate Of The ELGIN.
      - - - - - - - - - - - - -
      Capt. Jack Wilson Among The Lost.
      Chicago¼ Sept. 9. - In addition to those reported lost yesterday by the LADY
ELGIN, are Frank Chamberlain, Mrs. Sarah B. Newcomb, Mrs. Thomas Kennedy, Mrs.
Susan Hanlon, Miss Ann Bulger, Patrick Hanlon, Theo. Foley, Paul Foley, Edward
Malone, James Malone; Daniel Olny and child, Stephen Cuddy, James Gilroy, Otto
Devereuse and son, Miss Amelia Ledden an neice, Chas. B. McLaughlin, Thomas
Evister and wife, Bessie Fanning, Kate Fanning, Alice Pollard, John C. Pollard,
Thos. Hayes, Mrs. John Jervis, Miss Agnes Keough, Mary C. Duffy, Mrs. Thos.
Hanlon and three children, George P. Arnold, Mr. Johnson, George F. Oakley and
wife, Capt. Barry of the Union Guards, Thomas Bohan, wife and child, John Kelly,
Samuel Brown, Policemen Dervers, Smith, Delany, Schecker, haffern, Rice, - the
latter with his whole family.
      Antoine Rice, Michael Murphy, N. McGrath, Martin Doolley, Frank Casper, Wm.
Wilson, Mr. Rapp, Jas. Smith, D. Downer, Mr. Monahan, daughter and son; William
O'Neil, Terrance Conley, Alderman Crilley and family, C. McCormick Fisher, O.
O'Brien and John O'Grady and wife, Mr. Roonry, A. Corbitt, Constable Fahey, John
Horan, Stephen Hof,¼ Hugh McGary, Constable Burns, Edward Burke, Geo. Churchill,
Charles Evarets, Edward Warren, Chas. Johnson, R.E. Comonford, Morits Parsons,
M. Fitzgerald and sister, Peter Lynch, T. Pomeroy, Thomas Sheehan, wife and two
children, John Cosgrove, James Smith, Henry Parsons, F. Hameir, Thom. Neville,
Philip Best, Patrick Confey, James Conley, Samuel A. Downer, Eli Plankington,
Harry Bishop, Augustus Bishop, Patrick Welsh, M. Keefer, Jr., all of Milwaukee.
Briget Foley, L.T. Minston and wife, Margaret Codd, Bridget Codd, of Chicago,
Elina Cullen, Elizabeth McLaughlin, of Watertown.
      No accurate list, or number of persons on board, can be given, but the
following estimate is nearly correct:
      Excursion party, military, firemen, &c. - - - - 300
      Regular passengers - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 50
      Steamer's officers and crew - - - - - - - - - - 35
      -------
      Total on board ................................ 385

      Of these but 98 persons are known to be saved, showing a loss of 287 souls.
      Capt. Walott, of the schooner AUGUSTA, in his statement, says he first
discovered the steamer's lights, both red and bright, and supposed them to be
from a quarter to a half mile distant, and steering between East and North-east.
It was raining very hard at the time; we kept our vessel on her course, East by
South, until we saw a collision was probable, when we put her helm hard up and
struck the steamer two or three minutes afterwards, just abaft her paddle box,
on the port side. The steamer kept on her course, her engine in full motion.
We headed the AUGUSTA around North, alongside the steamer, but got separated in
about a minute, when the AUGUSTA fell in the trough of the sea, and all her head
gear, jib-booms and staunches were carried away. We took in sail, cleared away
the anchor, supposing the vessel would fill. After clearing the wreck and
getting up the foresail, we succeeded in getting before the wind, and stood for
land. We lost sight of the steamer five minutes after the collision.
      Beeman, second mate of the steamer LADY ELGIN, stated that at half past two,
a squall struck us. In five minutes more I saw the lights of a vessel one point
off the port bow. I sang out "hard a-port," but the vessel seemed to pay no
attention and struck us just forward of the paddle box on the larboard side,
tearing off the wheel and cutting through the guards into the cabin and hull.
We were steering N. W. by W., a point to the windward of our course. The wind
at the time was N. W. After striking us the vessel hung for a moment and then
got clear. I went below to see what damage was done. When I got back the
vessel was gone.
      When the intelligence of the loss of the steamer LADY ELGIN with the
excursion party on board, reached Milwaukee yesterday, it sped like wild-fire
throughout the city. The telegraph office was thronged all day, with relatives
and friends of those on board, many of whom presented intense anxiety and
excitement was manifested in the countenances of all.
      In the first ward of that city it is said that scarcely a house or place of
business, that has not lost some inmate or employee.
      All the survivors unite in according to Captain Jack Wilson, Commander,
praise for his great bravery and daring throughout. He was foremost in
confronting danger, and earnest for the safety of his passengers. He was
drowned within a hundred feet of the shore.
      Nearly one hundred persons arrived within fifty yards of the beach, but were
swept back by the returning waves and lost.
      Up to nine o'clock tonight only twenty one bodies have been recovered, most
of whom have been recognized by friends as residents of Milwaukee.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Monday, September 10, 1860

      . . . . .

      Incidents and Particulars of the Loss of the Steamer LADY ELGIN
      ---------------------------------------------------------------
      We find in the Detroit Advertiser, of Yesterday morning, the following
additional particulars of the late awful calamity:
      Dispatch to Superintendent Rice
      Chicago, Sept. 8,
      R.N. Rice. - Thirteen persons were saved in the first boat and four in the
second, being the only two not swamped. About fifty persons were saved by
floating ashore on pieces of the wreck. Before 1 P.M., all in sight had got
ashore. The three tugs lay outside two or three miles, and it could not be seen
whether they picked up any or not. Probably they will save some. Mr. E. Smith
of Ontonagon, was on board; he says Capt. Wilson behaved with the greatest
coolness and bravery throughout. After they were struck, and it was found they
must sink, being ten miles from shore, he headed her on, and ordered the
passengers to get life-preservers, and the crew to break open all the state-
rooms and rescue the passengers. Soon after, the engine went through the
bottom, when she immediately sank, leaving the hurricane deck and top-hamper
afloat. This soon separated into five pieces, with several persons on each,
besides large numbers floating on planks, &c. Smith was on a large plank, with
Capt. Wilson and some twenty-five others. Nearly all floated and lived till
daylight, but, when they got within one hundred yards of shore, opposite
Winetka, the surf capsized them and broke up their raft, and all buy eight were
drowned - Captain Wilson among them. When it became light four rafts were in
sight, and a great many floating on pieces of wreck. Capt. Wilson called to the
rafts, and inquired if his Southern friends were among them, meaning Col.
Lumsden and family, but they were not to be found. David Eviston, of Milwaukee,
saved himself and wife. He was seen by those on shore to lose her twice from
his raf,¼ to leave it and rescue her, and at last got ashore, both nearly
exhausted. Mrs Eviston is the only lady saved.
      H.E. Sargent.
      Another despatch says one of the persons saved from the piece of the wreck
on which Captain Wilson floated, says:- "Just as they reached the breakers and
were being broken up, the Capt. saw a woman and two children on a detached
piece, and in imminent danger, and at once left the piece on which he was, swum
to the other, and held the children in his arms till another portion of the
wreck struck him, and swept him under and out of sight."
      It is said by all present that the surf was terrible, overturning and
breaking up everything that came into it, and here it was that more than two-
thirds of the lives of those that floated from the vessel, were lost.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Tuesday, September 11, 1860

      . . . . .

      THRILLING PARTICULARS AT THE LOSS OF THE LADY ELGIN
We gather the following additional items of the loss of the ill-fated steamer
LADY ELGIN from our Chicago and Milwaukee exchanges:
      STATEMENT OF THE STEWARD.
      Frederick Rice, Steward of the LADY ELGIN, stated that half an hour before
the collision he called the porter and directed him to trim all the lamps. The
passengers were dancing at the time, and the lamps were trimmed at their
request. The whole boat was lighted up brilliantly. In a few minutes, the wind
and sea increased to such an extent that the dancing had to be suspended. The
lights, however, were not turned down, but remained burning brightly. Between
two and half past two the schooner struck the LADY ELGIN on the larboard side,
about midships, running her bowsprit through the companion way and through the
deck into the cabin. The hull of the boat was crushed in below the water line,
letting the sea flow directly into the hold. The bilge injection was started,
but the water speedily extinguished the fires. In twenty minutes after the
collision, the engines stopped. Capt. Wilson called to one of the engineers to
start the engine. His reply was that there was no steam.
      Everything that could be done to stop the hole. Mattresses were put into
it, and planks spiked over it, but without avail. The captain then ordered the
boats to be got ready, and directed five or six men to take the large boat round
to the hole and see if the hole could not be stopped from the outside.
      Twelve men jumped into the boat; Mr. Rice, by orders of the captain, next
jumped in, placed himself in the stern, and with the oar used every exertion to
get round to the hole. The passengers crowded the guard ready to leap in, and
the steward, to prevent them from sinking the boat, shoved it off as far as
possible. As the boat swung around the stern of the steamer a sea struck it,
and carried it a long distance off. There was but one light oar in the boat,
and with this it was found impossible to get it back. The steward then called
for oars, believing that he would be able to save five or six more people if he
could get back to the steamer. One oar was thrown, but those in the boat could
not get it. Then they put the boat before the wind, the sea making a clean
breach over her every minute. With great exertions, however, they succeeded in
reaching the shore at the foot of a perpendicular clay bank. One of the men
succeeded in climbing up the bank and let down a rope by which the others were
drawn up. They proceeded to the house of Mr. Gage, who with his family did
everything in their power to relieve the sufferers.
      The lights of the steamer were very distinctly seen by those in the
steward's boat until they were at least a mile distant, when they suddenly
disappeared. The steamer went down about twelve miles from land.
      Mr. Rice described the scene on board the steamer as one of the wildest
excitement and terror. Passengers ran hither and thither, with alarm. Women
screamed, and clung to their husbands or companions in frantic terror. For a
considerable time after the boat left the wreck, the terrific shrieks of the
passengers were heard above the howling tempest.
A short time after reaching the house of Mr. Gage (which was after five
o'clock in the morning) a man came in with word that another boat had come
ashore and swamped. Mr. Rice and his companions, with Mr. Gage, hastened to the
beach, where they found eight persons struggling in the surf. They succeeded in
rescuing four of them; the others were drowned. These four, with those in the
steward's boat, were all that are known by the steward to have been saved.
      GENERAL BEST OF MILWAUKEE
      This gentleman left Milwaukee in the LADY ELGIN, in her up trip for Chicago,
in company with his staff, the Black Yagers, and the Union Guard, a Milwaukee
rifle company, and was expected to return with the excursionists in that steamer
Friday night. He is, therefore, probably one of those who were lost. Mr. Best
is one of the leading German citizens of Milwaukee and is deservingly popular
amongst the larger numbers of Germans in that flourishing city, and is noted as
the brewer of the best lager beer to be found in that market. In all the lager
beer saloons of the city can be found a placard announcing that they have
"Best's lager beer for sale." It is, in fact, sought after there by everybody
who drinks that beverage. Other brewers often find it necessary to label their
beer "Best's " to find a market. His death will be mourned by a large circle of
friends in that city.
      HERBERT INGRAM, M. P. of London, Eng.
      Herbert Ingram, Esq., M.P., of London, England, and his son, also named
Herbert, it will be seen by referring to the list of those who left the Tremont
House, Chicago, to take passage in the ill-fated steamer, were among her
passengers. The son is probably among the lost, as his name does not appear in
the list of the saved. His father, who is the proprietor of the Illistrated
London News, is, therefore, this day lamenting the untimely death, as no doubt
many parents also are, of his son. Mr. Ingram was originally a poor man and a
mechanic. About twenty years ago he started the Illustrated London News. It
was at this time that the illustrated papers began to appear, and owing to the
energy and judgment which Mr. Ingram bestowed upon the Illustrated News, it
succeeded, and got the start of five or six competitors which made their
appearance about the same time in London. Since the starting of the pictorial
paper Mr. Ingram's career has been one of unbroken prosperity and everything he
has put his hand to of any importance has succeeded with him. He has now a
large landed property; his paper is returning him a princely income, and he is a
man who has established for himself a very high position in society. The loss
of his son in the Lake Michigan steamer has been the first check to his good
fortune.
      FROM MILWAUKEE
      The Milwaukee Sentinel of Monday morning reports a list of 290 persons,
beside several whole families, known to have been on board, nearly all of whom
were from that city. It learns that 106 of these are saved.
      The Sentinel thus describes the effect of the terrible tidings in that city:
      "Saturday morning the first premonitions of the horrible news were whispered
about the streets. Cheeks were blanched, and hearts were hushed as the tidings
that the steamer had gone down with all on board. The rumor grew into a dread
certainty as the despatches began to arrive. The dreadful intelligence spread
like wildfire, and soon the city was agitated by feelings of suspense and
apprehension. The newspaper offices were besieged: the telegraph office was
thronged; knots gathered on the corners, and business for the moment stood
still. Then came the confirmation: "Only thirteen saved." Out of the four
hundred happy pleasure seekers who had left our city, only thirteen were saved!
Then the excitement rose and broke through conventional bounds. Fathers and
sons, sisters and brothers, and mothers had families aboard. There were
Aldermen and other city officials. Persons from all portions of the city, and
almost every position.
The anxiety was dreadful. A crowd of several hundred collected about the
Sentinel office, and it required the presence of all the clerks to pass out to
the crowd the slips on which was printed the meager intelligence.
      It would be utterly impossible to convey any idea to those who did not visit
the Third Ward, of the scene there presented on Saturday afternoon. It seemed
as though sounds of mourning proceeded from every third house. Little crowds of
women were congregated along the walks, some giving free expression to their
grief, and others offering condolence. Never before has our city been stricken
with such a calamity.
      The scene at the depot of the Milwaukee and Chicago Railway, at noon,
baffles description. Thousands had congregated there to await the arrival of
the noon train; and as it approached, the crowd, impatient to learn some tidings
of friends, could not wait for the locomotive to stop, but besieged the train.
      Then it was that the heart-rending tidings were received by broken hearted
parents and friends with demonstrations of grief that could not be repressed.
Timothy O'Brien was the first survivor who was recognized, and it was doubtful
for some time whether he could survive the rude but honest congratulations of
his friends. He was surrounded and questioned as to this or that one known to
be aboard plied quick and fast, and when answers were given, there were fresh
wails and wringing of hands.
      All about the long depot were anxious females, some with their heads bowed,
and others too heavily stricken to weep. We noticed one white headed gentleman
with his hands clasped in mute despair. On his arm was a pale faced daughter,
comforting him in the midst of an agony that she herself felt quite as deeply."
      INCIDENTS OF THE WRECK AND RESCUE.
      Without a single exception, the survivors, in relating their experience of
the dreadful night of the wreck, dwelt most feelingly on the heroism and daring
displayed by Captain Jack Wilson. One man on being informed that the captain
was lost, wept like a child, and said: "I never saw the man before I went on
board of the LADY ELGIN; but I would most willingly lose my right arm to have
him saved." True to his duty and his manliness, he was throughout foremost in
confronting danger, cool and collected in its encounter, instant and earnest for
the safety of his passengers. For a long time in that company of fifty on the
raft, he held in his arms the young child of a lady passenger, cheering his
companions in peril, and his last words as he neared the fatal line of surf,
were of encouragement and cheer, " Now boys look out for the breakers ahead."
Warning timely, but vain! The raft parted and Captain Wilson went down in the
angry waters, his last act being an attempt to save two children. Honor to the
memory of the brave. His house in Coldwater, Michigan, is desolated and
stripped of as brave and true a heart as ever beat in a sailor bosom.
Late in the afternoon, a beautiful female infant, about three months of age,
washed ashore at Evanston. In a sweet unconsciousness of peril, in an hour when
a mothers breast was no shelter, the fierce wrath of the elements could not
drive the smile from the tiny cheeks that in death, hours after, wore the
semblance of quiet and placid sleep.
      SAVED BY A DRUM.
      T.B. Rodes, the drummer boy of the MIlwaukee Light Guard, was saved by means
of his drum. He had presence of mind sufficient to whittle a plug and close the
air-vent, then lashing the drum to his shoulders, he trusted himself to the
waves. The drum supported him, and also four others who seized hold of it; but
these, one after another, dropped off. The drum carried the boy nearly ashore,
when by some means one head was burst in, and it filling with water. The boy
abandoned it, and seizing a fragment of the wreck, succeeded in reaching the
shore. The drum afterwards came ashore, and was returned to the boy whose life
it had saved.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Wednesday, September 12, 1860

      . . . . .


      HISTORY OF THE LADY ELGIN. - Where Built, &c. - The New York papers are
printing what purports to be a history of this unfortunate steamer, saying she
was a Canadian built vessel and before the completion of the Grand Trunk
Railway, used to carry the mail on the North shore of the Lakes. All this is
entirely erroneous. The Grand Trunk Railway terminates on the St. Clair River,
and its completion did not interfere with any postal arrangements. The ELGIN
was built in this city by Messrs. Bidwell & Banta, in 1851, for Capt. Gill.
Appleby. She is 1037 tons burthen, side wheels, low pressure steam engine. Her
engine and boiler were taken out of a steamer in New York called the CLEOPATRA,
that was built for a filibustering or a slave trading company, to navigate the
Cuban coast. The steamer was seized by Government, and the boilers and engines
taken out and sold to Capt. Appleby. Her boilers were after the first year she
came out thoroughly repaired and almost built over new. Her upper works or
cabin were the same that was on the A.D. PATCHIN, that was wrecked at
Skilagalee, and the silver-ware and much of the furniture also. Her hull was
considered at the time she was built a staunch piece of workmanship, but she was
always called a patched up steamboat. Her original cost was $96,000. She was
several years in the Chicago trade from this city, and when the Collingwood
route opened, was for two years engaged between Chicago and Collingwood. For
the last three years she has been engaged in the route from Chicago to Lake
Superior. The LADY ELGIN has never proved a profitable boat to any of her
owners, and it is said Capt. Appleby sold her because "she was such an unlucky
boat." No serious disaster has ever occurred to her until this fatal calamity.
She was well supplied with life preservers, and from a gentleman who was aboard
of her on her last trip to Mackinaw, we heard there was some 32,000 feet of pine
plank life preservers, rigged with rope, piled away on the upper cabin. She was
rated, when last insured as A No. 1, and had policies to the amount of $24,000
on her in the following offices: Security, $4,000; Republic, $2,500; Aetna,
$5,000; North Western, $4,500; Home, $4,000; Phoenix, $4,000; total $24,000.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Wednesday, September 12, 1860

      . . . . .

      AFTERNOON REPORT - 2 P. M.
      L O S S O F T H E L A D Y E L G I N.
      ------------------------------------------------
      Testimony Before The Coroner's Jury
      ----------
      Chicago, Sept. 12. - The Coroner jury yesterday commenced the investigation
of the wreck of the LADY ELGIN.
      Jno. Jervis of Milwaukee, passenger, testified: Just before the schooner
struck I was standing at the middle gangway; saw the schooner about two minutes
before the collision. She appeared to be coming towards us at about an angle of
forty-five degrees. About half a minute before she struck I left the gangway,
Captain Wilson was at the after gangway and asked some one on the schooner, if
they wanted to come aboard. The reply was they did not think they were injured,
and would stay where they were. The schooner was now dropping aft.
      I saw a light on the schooner before the collision but none afterwards. I
went down into the coal bunker where the water was coming in very fast. I then
went over to the break. The steward was there trying to stop the leak with
mattresses. The vessel had before been listed up. The Captain stood at the
edge of the scuttle ordering the men to fire up as fast as possible. I then
went aft. The captain went at the same time, and gave orders that everything
loose be thrown overboard.
      The Captain when I next saw him was coming from the bow. I then went below
to see how long we could keep afloat, when I got to the engine room the engine
had stopped, I went back to the cabin, the hold being then half full of water.
The Captain and myself then got from twenty to twenty-five ladies up into the
hurricane deck. The boat went down in two minutes afterwards. There were
between thirty and twenty children on the forward part of the hurricane roof.
It was very dark and raining at the time. The bell commenced ringing almost at
once after the collision, and the whistle commenced blowing at the same time.
      Thomas Cummings, who was on the LADY ELGIN, testified that the schooner did
not strike the steamer quartering, but at right angles; she ran square into her.
The steamer, in moving, turned the schooner round. Think we were about two
miles from shore. Saw a vessel's lights after we left the steamer; think I
could have seen a light on a vessel three miles off; did not see the schooner
after she got clear of us; saw that all the steamer's head lights were up. The
schooner was running due East when she struck us.
      There is a rule that boats going to Milwaukee should pass all vessels on the
larboard side. I think a vessel under that with that wind and headway could
have avoided the steamer if within twenty rods of her, by great exertion; even
if the vessel was but three times her length from the steamer she could have
avoided doing serious damage by putting her helm hard up. Had the schooner seen
the steamer half a mile off she could not have struck her except by gross
negligence. It seemed to me that the helm of the vessel must have been put down
instead of up, and that was the cause of the disaster.
      The schooner could have laid to within a mile of us with perfect safety. It
was not very dark, although raining heavily.
      John Vorse, 1st. mate of the AUGUSTA, says, at the time of the collision it
was the Captain's watch. The 2nd. mate was on deck when the squall came up, and
called the Captain, who got on deck just as the squall struck us.
      About one-third of the foresail and one-fourth of the mainsail were up when
we struck the steamer.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Wednesday, September 12, 1860

      . . . . .

      LOSS OF THE LADY ELGIN.
      Incidents Of The Wreck And Rescue.
      John Furlong, when the boat began to break up, succeeded in finding a cabin
door, with which he threw himself into the water. A man who gives his name as
Goff, from Indiana, made his way to Furlong's raft, which proving insufficient
for both, and Goff refusing to relinquish his hold, Furlong left it, and
succeeded in reaching a cattle pen, upon which he and his comrade succeeded _n
reaching the shore. Goff was lost.
      James O. Cram, a member of the Bible institute, saved a lady, Mrs. O'Leary,
by a most gallant act. He was standing in the surf. The rope he wore for his
own safety, proved too short to enable him to reach the nearly exhausted woman.
He ordered those on shore to cast him loose, and they did so. He reached into
the surf and with a powerful struggle rescued the woman.
      The piano of the steamer, which stood in the after cabin, came ashore.
Until it reached the surf line a man was seen clinging to one of the legs. He
disappeared in the breakers.
      There was one poor woman on the beach (Mrs. Joseph Sherlock,) who with her
baby in her arms rushed into the water three times, and actually pulled out and
saved three drowning men.
      LIFE PRESERVERS ON BOARD.
      There has been a rumor about that there were no life preservers on board the
steamer. The surviving officers and the owners of the boat say that there were
five hundred of them on board - made of two inch plank¼ from 16 to 18 inches
long, with two strong ropes in each end.
      A MOTHER AND AN INFANT.
è Mr. Herbert, a portion of whose statement we published, gives the following
additional incident with regard to the conduct of Capt. Wilson. Upon the raft
with him was Mrs. Thos. Kennedy, who had an infant child only four months old,
to which she clung. She was washed off the raft several times by the waves, but
was as often again by the Captain or others pulled back. The Captain finally
took the child from her arms and gave it in charge of a womam who was upon a dry
portion of the raft, remarking at the time that it was safer there, and would
give the mother a better chance to help herself.
      A DEED OF HEROISM.
      Another instance of heroism has been related which took place at Winetka on
Saturday last. Among the fragments of wreck tossing in the surf, one raft was
anxiously watched, to which were clinging five persons, among them John Jervis,
of Milwaukee, his wife and child. As the raft was drawn into the surf it was
capsized, and all disappeared for a moment beneath the angry waters. When it
rose, Jervis alone was clinging to it. He instantly left it, however, and swam
for his wife and child, and recovered them. Twice and trice he repeated this
heroic act. Finally when the shore was almost reached, the raft was for the
last time capsized, and when it reached the surface Jervis alone was clinging
to it. Again he left it, and swum for a long time in search of those whom he
had so long and so nobly protected, but all in vain, and he was obliged at last
to swim to the raft to save his own life. Such an act of self-sacrificing
devotion needs no praise of ours.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Thursday, September 13, 1860

      . . . . .

      A GALLANT LIVING HEART THE LOSS.
      Men have different ways of dying. The many die for themselves; the few die
for their friends; but only now and then one yealds up the priceless gift for
strangers.
      Of the last named was Captain John Wilson, of the steamer LADY ELGIN.
Always at the post of duty in storm and calm; cool and brave in danger, prompt
and energetic in action, he died as he lived, caring more for the welfare of the
interests committed to him than for his own life. And so Captain "Jack" Wilson
sank in the bosom of the element whose wildest storms he had ridden safely out.
      Twenty-four years ago, two boys of 16 years sailed upon the schooner BOSTON
from the port of Sacketts Harbor. One of them was J.W. Tuttle, Esq., of this
city; he was captain; the other was John Wilson, and he was "before the mast."
Next he was on board the schooner HUDSON, Capt. Cornwall, and in 1838 he trod
his first deck as commander. in the schooner JOHN E. HUNT.
      Successively in command of the steamer CLEVELAND, the schooners GEORGE
DAVIS and EXCELSIOR, the brig SIZER, the propellers MONTEZUMA, LADY OF THE
LAKE and MONTICELLO, the steamers BALTIMORE, EMPIRE STATE, SOUTHERN MICHIGAN, ILLINOIS, the propeller NORTH AMERICA, and last and saddest the
LADY ELGIN, he passed almost a quarter of a century upon our Inland Seas. And what
heroic qualities he manifested when the MONTICELLO was lost on Lake Superior, and
also at the burning of the NORTH AMERICA. There live those who will remember him
for his gallant deeds in those terrible hours, until their dying day.
      In all these years there lived no man who could declare that he ever
betrayed a trust, or deserted a friend, or proved faithless to duty. With a
great generous heart, a clear, cool head, a strong, warm hand, he was a thorough
sailor and 'all in all' a man.
      From boyhood to manhood; always on duty, forgetting all but himself, he
inspired confidence in his employers, respect in his men, affection in his
friends, and now by his death, regret and mournful memories in all. Many a
story might be told of his off-handed generosity, and genial kindness, the
thought of which will now dim man an eye that once it brightened.
      Every link of the Great Lake Chain was as familiar to him as the map of a
homestead. Always vigilant as a Captain, he was always courteous as a host, and
thousands who recall delightful hours upon the steamers he commanded, will not
forget how much he contributed to make them such.
      And we believe he died at last, as he would have chosen; caring for those
who had been committed to his charge. Hear him on the first alarm, giving his
clear orders with wise and cool decisions; lightening the steamer, breaking open
the state-rooms, lest someone should go from sleep to death, gathering the
frightened flock upon the hurricane deck; and when at last, that frail craft
broke like an egg-shell into five fragments, see him then, with the little fleet
around him, speaking hopeful words, giving one the lift of his stout heart,
another the lift of his strong hand; risking his life every moment of that long
and fatal voyage, for the sake of whose names he never knew. To his good
offices, the lamented Lumsden and family, of New Orleans, were commended by the
Editor and Proprietor of the Journal. Hear his voice amid the crash of waves
and the roar of winds, calling to one and another of his poor flotilla, "Are my
Southern friends on board?" No answers came; and so he struggled on, putting
heart into them all as he could; rescueing this one, cheering that one. There
was the blessed shore almost within reach, but they were in the midst of the
breakers.
      Exhausted by the efforts he had made for them all,¼ that well-knit frame of
his could withstand the shock of the seas no longer. A wave swept him from the
fragment, and withdrew him from all eyes to be seen no more alive. His last
words were for those who had been committed to his charge, his last care for
them he was dying to save.
      There is a thing called Fame; won most often by soldiers on fields of battle,
but truest here amid the surf on Lake Michigan, when that hand of his relaxed,
that heart of his grew still,¼ while greetings were uttered among the rescued on
shore, and prayers and blessings were mingled together. And so, as we said of a
brave soldier, once, so now of thee, Jack Wilson.
Good-night to thy form but Good-morn to thy Fame. - Chicago Journal
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Thursday, September 13, 1860

      . . . . .

THE ELGIN DISASTER. - The total number of bodies recovered from the wreck of
the LADY ELGIN up to Wednesday night, was fifty four. This is probably less
than one-fourth of the whole number lost.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Friday, September 14, 1860

      . . . . .

      THE LADY ELGIN DISASTER.
      We cut from the Chicago papers of yesterday morning the following additional
particulars in regard to the ill-fated steamer. The Democrat says:
      THE WORK OF RECOVERING BODIES.
      Every exertion possible continues to be made, as well by the city as by the
county authorities, for the recovery of the bodies of the lost. City Marshal
Lares sent six men out in a life boat, who cruised around all day yesterday and
picked up some bodies. The county has a force of twenty men employed constantly
on this duty. All the tugs keep a look out for bodies, and bring them in
constantly. The whole number of bodies found yesterday was thirteen, and the
whole number recovered is sixty-seven. The bodies begin to be very much
bloated, and are extremely offensive. It is suggested that hereafter the bodies
are taken to the dead house, at the cemetery, instead of bringing them down into
the city.
      VISIT TO THE WRECK.
      Yesterday afternoon the Coroner's jury went on a special train procured by
Hubbard & Spencer to Daggett_s Pier, 20 miles north of the city for the purpose
of examining that portion of the wreck of the ill-fated steamer which had come
ashore there. With the jury went the Inspector of hulls, at this port, Capt.
Davidson, Capt. Prindeville, Capt. Kehoe, and others, They found on the beach,
at the point named, the whole of the stern of the ELGIN, which had parted in two
lengthways, and floated to the shore. The wreck was examined carefully, and
found to be very sound. The finding of these portions of the hull negatives the
opinion heretofore entertained, that the lower cabin went down without breaking
to pieces, and carried down those in it. These two pieces of the hull, which
embrace all the vessel from the keel to the main deck, abaft the wheel, were
found close to each other.
      The Times says:
      It is believed that few, if any, of those in the lower cabin (about all of
whom were ladies) escaped. One of the rescued states that just before the boat
went to the bottom he looked down into the cabin and beheld many ladies running
wildly about in their night robes, having apparently just come from their
berths. These doubtless still remain with the wreck.
      All the bodies found yesterday were in a far advanced stage of
decomposition, and some of therm could with difficulty be identified by anything
but the garments upon them. One, the body of a woman, had a portemonnaie
fastened in the hair by a pocket handkerchief. The portemonnaie contained fifty
cents in silver.
      THE SUFFERERS BY THE LADY ELGIN.
      There is good reason to believe from the Steward's statement, and from other
sources of information, that there were from three to four hundred people on
board of that ill-fated vessel the night she went down. Of these the greater
portion were people of limited circumstances, and mostly with large families.
It is estimated by good judges in Milwaukee, that over one thousand orphans, so
the Milwaukee Sentinel says, will be thrown on the world, and two hundred
widows. This is probably the largest amount of distress that any city in the
Union has ever known, if we except the city of Lawrence in the Lawrence Mill
catastrophe.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Saturday, September 15, 1860

      . . . . .

      THE HULL OF THE LADY ELGIN RIDING AT ANCHOR.
      The Chicago Press and Tribune says that about six miles off Winetka, and
manifestly not far from the exact spot of the disaster, is the entire forward
portion of the LADY ELGIN, partially submerged and riding at anchor. It is
stripped of all the upper works, and on the larboard side cut off just where the
fatal blow came, and on the other side the frames and planking run further back.
The hull is of course empty and naked. It was doubtless carried down with the
engine, and becoming released, had risen to ride at the anchors bent to the
chain cables at the bow. It floats to mark the spot where many a brave and
loving heart perished from earth.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Monday, September 17, 1860

      . . . . .
     
      THE LADY ELGIN DISASTER.
      We gather from the Western papers the following additional incidents and
particulars of the sad calamity:
      BODIES SEEN IN THE LAKE.
      The propeller ACME reported that she passed, Friday morning, seventeen
bodies, floating on the lake, about fifteen miles north of the harbor and six or
seven miles from land. The tug McQUEEN was immediately despatched by Captain
Prindeville in search of them.
      The schooner RACINE, Capt. Brown, commander, passed near Waukegan on
Thursday evening, and reports having seen about one hundred bodies, the wind was
so high that it was impossible for him to recover them.
      UNION GUARDS NEARLY ALL LOST.
      The whole number of Independent Union Guards who came to Chicago on the
ELGIN, was 33 muskets, with five officers, only seven were saved alive. The
entire company was pretty much wiped out of existence, at one fell blow.
Also the Milwaukee City Band was nearly all destroyed, as only two, we think,
were saved alive.
      SINGULAR CIRCUMSTANCES.
      There is a rather singular circumstance related to us regarding an incident
in the life of Mr. H. Ingraham, Proprietor of the Illustrated London News and M.
P. for Boston, England, who was lost in the recent disaster. While Mr. Ingraham
was skating upon Folly Pond, a mile and a half from Nottingham, England, in the
year 1837, he broke through the ice and was rescued by Mr. John Bamford, who is
now residing in Chicago.
      A BRAVE BOY.
      The body of Willis Pomeroy, of Milwaukee, aged 15 years, who was lost in the
ELGIN, has been recovered. The Chicago Journal, of the evening of the 14th.
says: " This boy was on the raft with Mr. Jervis of Milwaukee, who bears
testimony to his unflinching courage. One of his comrades, Capt. Barry's son,
was on the same raft, but died some three hours before he reached the shore.
Little Willie still clung to the body, however, for more than an hour, and
expressed his determination to bring the body of his playmate ashore or die with
him. The cruel surf, however, tore them apart. Willie clung to the raft and
acted like a man, but the last time it capsisized he never rose again. The
little fellow had acted his part nobly and bravely, and perished without a
complaint, when within a few feet of shore. Eulogiums have been written for
battle fields heroes who deserved them less.
      NUMBER OF BODIES FOUND.
      The Chicago Democrat of Saturday says: Eighteen bodies were recovered from
thelake yesterday, being picked up by tugs. The wind being from the South all
day, appears to have carried the bodies down the lake and the most of those
found were below Evanston. The tugs will continue the work of recovering bodies
all day today, and it is hoped will bring in a large number. The total number
of bodies found up to last night at nine o'clock, is 85.
      RECOVERY OF THE BODY OF CAPT. WILSON.
      The body of Capt. Jack Wilson, was recovered Friday, and taken to the
Richmond House, Chicago, from where it would be conveyed to Coldwater, Mich. On
his body was found his gold watch, that had stopped at 8:45 about the hour he
was drowned. The Democrat says, "The body of this heroic man, we regret to
say, is badly disfigured - but even the ravages of the cruel waves could not
conceal the evidence in his countenance of that noble resolution which caused
him to prefer the safety of those who had intrusted themselves to his care,
rather than his own life. Had he been a less noble man, he would now be alive
and well; as it is, his death is far more glorious than the lives of half the
men who live after him.
      BURYING THE DEAD AT MILWAUKEE.
      During nearly the whole of yesterday afternoon, funeral processions were
moving through the streets of our city, consigning to their last resting place
the bodies of our unfortunate citizens whom the lake had yielded up from its
waters. The next few days will be gloomy and sad indeed.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Monday, September 17, 1860

      . . . . .

      THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTORS' TESTIMONY ABOUT THE LADY ELGIN.
      On Monday the testimony before the Coronor's Jury war rather important:
      F.F. James, local inspector of engines and boilers for the collection
district of Chicago, testified that he inspected the engine and boiler of the
LADY ELGIN this season, probably in June; found everything in excellent order;
tested the boiler with 39 Lbs. hydrostatic pressure to the square inch; she was
allowed to carry steam to 3/4 of this. Examined the engine thoroughly, and found
everything in capital order. The engine rested upon large timbers, laid each
side of the kelson, a secure and good way of fixing it. Witness knew of no boat
on the lakes which kept her shape better than the LADY ELGIN.
      Capt. Redmond Prindeville, inspector of hulls for the district of Chicago,
inspected the hull of the LADY ELGIN, on the first day of June last; examined
her from stem to stern in all its parts; she was in first rate order.
      He applied no tests,because in the fall of '58, after she was on the rocks
in Lake Saginaw, she had a thorough overhauling, and received many new planks
inside and out. He examined her then very thoroughly, and found everything
sound. On the last examination he could find no difference; indeed, found her
in better condition than he expected. He makes it a practice to visit passenger
vessels every time they come in, and visited the LADY ELGIN the day before she
left port the last time; seen more rotten timbers in new vessels than he ever
did in the LADY ELGIN.
      Capt. Prindeville, from acquaintance with the captain and officers of the
LADY ELGIN, testified that he regarded them as among the most competent men in
their places to be found on the lakes.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Wednesday, September 19

      . . . . .

      AN OLD CAPTAIN OF THE LADY ELGIN TESTIFIES BEFORE THE JURY.
      Capt. L. Chamberlain of this city, who sailed the LADY ELGIN for two years
in the route from Chicago to Collingwood and Lake Superior, testified before the
Coroner's Jury as follows:
      Have been master for 30 years; was master of the LADY ELGIN in 1852, soon
after she was built; always considered a first-rate sea vessel, strong and
staunch. Her timbers were unusually heavy for a vessel of her size, and she had
rather more timber than steamers of the same grade. In my opinion, from the
situation of the two vessels when the schooner saw the steamer's light, she
could have avoided the collision. I do not think it was proper for the Captain
of the schooner to go below after he had been told there was a light ahead. It
would be the first duty of a Captain after a collision to look out for the
safety of his own vessel; finding that safe, his next duty would be to ascertain
if the other vessel wanted assistance. Under the circumstances of this
collision, I should have considered it my duty, had I been master of the
schooner, to lay by until I ascertained the damage done to the steamer; it could
have been done with safety. The LADY ELGIN could carry over 400 passengers with
ease and safety. I consider the LADY ELGIN one of the safest and best sea boats
I was ever in.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Wednesday, September 19, 1860

      . . . . .

      VERDICT OF THE JURY ON THE LADY ELGIN DISASTER.
      Chicago, Sept. 24.
      The Coroner's Jury of Inquest on the LADY ELGIN disaster returned their
verdict today. They say from the evidence before the jury that they believe the
LADY ELDIN was in every respect a seaworthy boat. They find that on the night
of the disaster she had on board a larger complement of passengers than is
allowed by law, and although from the evidence before the jury they believe that
five or six hundred passengers would not be a dangerous load for the LADY ELGIN.
They censure the owners of the steamer for receiving aboard more passengers than
the law permits, and say that it is a dangerous and too common practice to
overload steamboats on an occasion like the present.
      They find that the schooner AUGUSTA had the proper number of officers; that
Captai_ Mallott is an old and experienced seaman; but they have no proof as to
the general competency of the other officers. They find that both the steamer
an the schooner had lights placed on the night of the disaster, in accordance
with the requirements of law, and they consider the first cause of the collision
to be the defective arrangement of lights, as appointed by law, to be carried on
board sailing vessels. As a further cause to the disaster, they censure the
second mate of the schooner for not informing the Captain of the steamer's
lights when he came on deck, previous to the collision. They further find that
the second mate was incompetent to manage the schooner, and censure Captain
Mallott for not coming to anchor, to ascertain what amount of damage was done to
the steamer. The jury are of the opinion that all Lake passenger boats should
be built with water-tight compartments, and are confident that had this been the
case with the LADY ELGIN, the community would have been spared the shock of this
lamentable disaster.
      Two of the jury protest against this verdict. They find that the steamer
LADY ELGIN was mismanaged, and censurable for an insufficiency of look outs, and
from all the evidence before them they are forced to the conviction that the
steamer was inadequately supplied with boats, and that those on the steamer were
not of the description required by law; that the steamer's outfit of life-
preservers was faulty and defective, bott as regards the kind adopted and their
locationn on the boat. They believe that the loss of so many lives was due to a
culpable disregard of duty by the marine inspectors in allowing the humane and
wise intents of our laws for the safety of passengers to be defeated.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Tuesday, September 25, 1860

      . . . . .

The Chicago Journal mentions a report that the boilers of the ill-fated LADY
ELGIN, were washed ashore at Waukegan, on Sunday morning, by the equinoctial
storm.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Thursday, October 4, 1860

      . . . . .



Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Notes:
Reason: sunk by collision
Lives: 400
Hull damage: $33,000
Cargo: $8,000
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
1860
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
McN.W.4085
Language of Item:
English
  • Illinois, United States
    Latitude: 42.36363 Longitude: -87.84479
Donor:
William R. McNeil
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
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Lady Elgin (Steamboat), sunk by collision, 8 Sep 1860