The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Comet (Schooner), aground, 24 Nov 1860

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Schooner COMET, cargo rye, went ashore in a snow storm, opposite Tift's Farm, near Buffalo. Got off.
      Buffalo Morning Express
      March 11, 1861. (Casualty List, 1860)

      . . . . .

      ASHORE. - The schooner COMET, Captain Eastwick, bound from Chicago for this port with a cargo of 21,000 bushels rye, went ashore in the Bay, two miles above the light-house, about 1 o'clock Saturday afternoon. The government life-boat was got on wheels, and some 10 masters of vessels in port proceeded up the lake Shore Road with her until abreast of the vessel, when she was launched, and the captain and crew were rescued at 5 o'clock. Captain Eastwick was nearly exhausted.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Monday, November 26, 1860

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      A Gallant Band of Sailors Rescuing a Crew. - A noble and heroic deed was accomplished on Saturday afternoon, in the rescue of the crew of the schooner COMET, Captain Eastwick. During the gale, the COMET went ashore one mile beyond the Toll Bridge, off Tidt's Farm. She lay broadside to the beach, about twenty rods from the shore, and the breakers swept over her with terrific violence. The life-saving boat belonging to the United States Government, was immediately manned by a dozen men, among whom, says the Courier, were Capt. E.P. Dorr and D.P. Dobbins, and, after being rowed up the creek to a point opposite the unfortunate vessel, was dragged across the beach by a team. An opening was made in the barrier or fence, which serves to keep the surf in check at high water, and through this opening the boat was pushed and launched. The following men were among her crew: Captain James McKnight, of the NORWAY; Captain David Vance of the BADGER STATE; Captain E. Close, of the WILLIAM FISKE; Captain James Murray, of the METROPOLIS; Captain Geo. Frederickson, of the MARY STOCKTON; Captain Clark, of the PERSEVERANCE; Capt. Rogers, of the CONTEST, and two or three others, whose names we did not ascertain. As the boat pushed off, her rowers were
spurred onward by a hearty cheer from the spectators assembled on the shore. Their light craft skipped over the summits of the breakers like a sea bird, hailed with febble shouts of welcome from the crew of the COMET, who were huddled together in the forecastle, scarcely daring to lift their heads above the deck for fear of a renewed "ducking" by the thundering seas that swept over the vessel like a spasmodic water fall. The men of the life-boat as they gained her side, dauntlessly braved those drenching billow-fluxes, sprang aboard, and hurried to the forecastle, helping its shivering occupants forth, and dumped the promiscuously into their refuge. Captain Eastwick was so much overcome by the fatigues of the night, that he was obliged to be carried to the boat, which, with its double compliment of men, left immediately for land. It was necessary to make port through the opening in the "barrier." This feat proved to be an impossible one. The enormous strength of the surges overcame the cunning of the steersman's oar, and the boat was flung broadside against the "barrier," where she was instantly swamped, and swept outward by the receeding wave. One or two of the crew sprang overboard and helped to prevent her being again dashed against the boards, and, a number of spectators forming a line with clasped hands, waded out into the surf and finally dragged the boat and crew safely in, when the latter hurried off to the nearest dwelling for dry clothes and food. The life-boat could not be got into a safe apot, and yesterday morning it was found to have been stove to pieces against the breakwater. The men who achieved this gallant rescue are all true sailors, and exhibited a courage and daring that is above all reward but hearty admiration.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Monday, November 26, 1860 (Editorial)

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      SCHOONER COMET GOT OFF. - Yesterday afternoon the schooner COMET, which went ashore in the severe gale in November, on the beach a short distance from this city, was got off and towed into the Creek, where she now lies at the foot of Chicago street. Her hull is not so much damaged as was expected it would be, after the severe banging it had received. A contract to get her off was made by the underwriters with Mr.
John B. Campbell, for $1,500. He has been at work at her for two weeks, and in the high water of night before last finally succeeded in getting her clear by anchors and windlasses.
The contract has been a profitable one for him.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Saturday, December 22, 1860

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      THE BRIG FANNY GARDNER. -- This vessel, which went ashore about one mile above the toll bridge, in the terrible storm of last November, is now being got off by Mr. Campbell, the same contractor who removed the schooner COMET from the beach, a short distance above. The GARDNER has already been raised to the level of the ways, and as soon as the latter shall be sufficiently extended, she will be taken out upon the ice, and left at anchor, ready to break into her element immediately on " breaking up." She seems to have suffered but little strain, and is a staunch as a new yacht. Mr. Campbell is paid $1,000 for getting her afloat.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      March 25, 1861

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: aground
Lives: nil
Hull damage: $5,000
Cargo: $10,000
Freight: Rye
Remarks: Got off
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 42.88645 Longitude: -78.87837
William R. McNeil
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Comet (Schooner), aground, 24 Nov 1860