The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
William H. Merritt (Schooner), dismasted, 1 Oct 1862

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MERRITT, W.H. Schooner, cargo grain, dismasted in a squall on Lake Huron, towed into Goderich.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Jan. 26, 1863 Casualty List, 1862

      On Tuesday evening last the schr. W.H. MERRITT of St. Catharines, bound down the Lakes from Chicago, heavily laden with corn, was caught about 6 o'clock in the evening in a violent gale when 6 miles off Point Aux Barques on the other side of Lake Huron. Seeing the squall approaching, Capt. Murray ordered five of the men aloft to take in the sails. But the tine was too short, the squall was tearing down towards the vessel with terrific violence, and ere the man aloft could obey the order to descend, it had struck the schooner on the beam, snapping both masts and bowsprit like so many pipestems and carrying them bodily overboard. At that moment four men were on the fore yard, furling the square sail, the other, John (or Jas.) Flux being on the mainmast furling the main gaff topsail. The masts fell top-first carrying the five men along with them. Flux never came to the surface, but the others saved themselves almost by a miracle. The foremast being held by the rigging was dragged alongside by the speed of the vessel, which was driving through the water at the rate of 15 knots an hour, thus saving the men's lives. The wreck Was then cut away and the completely denuded hull drifted at the mercy of the waves until it was carried across the Lake 'in the regular drift of all N. W. storms' directly towards this place. It was observed yesterday morning, and a flag of distress being seen, Messrs. VanEvery & Rwnball's steamers, the VALLEY CITY and the BRUCE were sent to the rescue. They succeeded in towing the disabled vessel safaly into Goderich Harbour in the afternoon.
      Notwithstanding the severe straining the MERRITT must have undergone, she did not leak and the cargo is entirely uninjured. She is a large staunch vessel about the size of the MAITLAND.
      Goderich Signal, Semi Weekly
      October 24, 1862

GODERICH SHIPPING. -- We are pleased to see that several valuable additions are to be made to our Goderich fleet. VanEvery & Rumball and Seymour & Co. have purchased the hull of the W. H. MERRITT, which was, it will be remembered, dismantled neat this place last fall. When thoroughly repaired the MERRITT will make a splendid vessel; her capacity is 17,000 bushels of wheat.
      Goderich 'Huron Signal'
      Wednesday, February 19, 1863

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: dismasted
Lives: nil
Hull damage: $9,200
Cargo: $200
Freight: grain
Remarks: Repaired
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.640833 Longitude: -81.768055
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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William H. Merritt (Schooner), dismasted, 1 Oct 1862