The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Buffalo Evening News (Buffalo, NY), December 16, 1902

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Rochester, Dec. 16. - The crew of the schooner JOHN R. NOYES of Cleveland, five in all, was rescued by Capt. Gray and his crew of surfmen and landed safely at Lakeside. It was one of the most gallant struggles with wind and waves ever fought on the Great Lakes. The schooner had been drifting for 30 hours, and the men, without food and without hope, dropped on the decks. Their clothing froze to the planks where they lay. The surfmen in the heavy lifeboat toiled after the drifting schooner and got to her after hours of work. The five men rescued were Capt. George Donovan, Mate Ryan and his son, John Ryan and wife, and George Preme, all of Oswego. As the surfmen passed the half-frozen sailors to the lifeboat from the drifting hulk, two dogs were seen aboard, and the lifesavers put them aboard the lifeboat also.

Capt. Donovam of the NOYES is a son of Capt. Timothy Donovan of the GEORGE HALL, which had the NOYES in tow. The GEORGE HALL is believed to be lost.

Capt. Donovan reports that the NOYES broke away from the HALL when they were 25 miles off Kingston. That was 8 o'clock on Saturday morning. They drifted and on Sunday morning they brought up off Lakeside, about 20 miles east of Charlotte. They threw out their anchor with 60 fathoms of chain, but the sea was running so high that the chain stove in the side of the boat and they had to knock it loose and drift at the mercy of wind and sea.

The cabin was smashed by the waves and the men had no shelter. The weather was freezing cold and the spray formed ice wherever it struck.

In their worse straits they sighted a steamer bound in to Charlotte. Hope was raised for a time, but the steamer passed without seeing them and then the men sank in despair.

The battle of the lifesavers as they toiled in the teeth of the gale after the drifting NOYES was a desperate one. For twenty hours they rowed to find the lost vessel. The crew of the schooner were too exhausted to cheer their rescuers. Two surfmen sprang for the schooner's rail and clambered on board. Life-preservers were tossed up to them and they buckled them around the half frozen men on deck. It was with great difficulty that the half-conscious sailors were transferred to the lifeboat. It was a battle for men's lives in the blinding storm, and the surfmen won.

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December 16, 1902
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William R. McNeil
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Buffalo Evening News (Buffalo, NY), December 16, 1902