The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Ontonagon (Schooner), aground, 2 Nov 1862

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ONTONAGON Schooner, cargo corn, stranded east of Oswego, Total loss.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      January 26, 1863 (Casualty List, 1862)

      . . . . .

      VESSELS ASHORE. - During a severe gale Sunday night, the schooners H.B. STEELE, KIRK WHITE, and another vessel, name unknown, all light and bound up, were driven ashore in the bay above the light house. Another, name unknown, is reported to be on the reef. The ONTONAGON, laden with wheat, is ashore at Oswego. We learn from Messrs. Buell & Davis that the brig BLACK HAWK is lost. Crew saved, and, having arrived in Chicago, reported the disaster. Cargo fully insured. The hull was insured in the Buffalo Mutual and Security of New York.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      Tuesday, November 4, 1862

      . . . . .

      The Disasters on Lake Ontario.
      (From the Oswego Times, 4th inst.)
      "During last night a gale arose, which increased in severity until it had acquired terrific force. A tremendous sea was running, and at the time of writing the waters of Ontario are lashed into a sea of foam. It is feared that many marine disasters have occurred, as a large number of vessels were undoubtedly on the lake at the time.
      "The schooner ONTONAGON, of this port, and the FARMER, of Sackett's Harbor, failed to make the harbor, and both went ashore about 150 rods below the East pier. The former was owned and commanded by James Papa, of this city, and had a cargo of wheat, shipped at Toledo, and consigned here to Messrs. Ames &. Rundell. The force of the gale split her foresail, and the proper navigation of the vessel was by this means prevented. Striking the rocks she
quickly broached broad side of the sea, which, with tremendous force, was breaking over her. The disaster occurred early in the morning, and as soon as known a large number of our citizens assembled on the shore to render assistance in rescuing the crew from their perilous situation.
"Captain Papa was in the forecastle, completely exhausted from exposure. The mate proved himself equal to the emergency in which he was placed. Unassisted by any of the crew, he coolly set about providing for their escape. Attaching another line to a piece of plank, which, after some difficulty, was secured by those on shore, he made it fast near the after part of the vessel, he then by means of the first line obtained another from the shore. Next
making a sling he attached the latter line to it. The howlings of the wind and the roaring of the surf prevented any communication by the voice, and signs alone could be used or understood. Captain Papa being the most exhausted of any on board, was assisted in the sling, and but a moment elapsed before he was safely on shore. The female was next placed in the frail conveyance. For fear her courage would fail her the mate secured her to the sling by a rope.
She was safely brought on shore, and assisted by ladies present to a place of warmth and comfort.
The remainder of the crew were rescued in a similar manner. The mate - noble fellow - was the last to leave the vessel. We have not ascertained his name; but he has shown that he possesses true courage in the hour of peril.
      Goderich Signal, Semi Weekly
      November 11, 1862

      The report of the loss of the prop. ONTONAGON, commanded by Capt. Benj. Wilkins of this city, current for some days past, is unfounded. It is no doubt arose from the loss of a schooner of that name on Lake Ontario, during a terrible gale of the 2nd. inst.
      Erie Weekly Gazette
      November 13, 1862 2-5

      Disasters on the Lakes.
The gales on the Lakes on Sunday and Monday of last week was most disastrous. Amongst the shipwrecks reported are the following:-
The propeller BAY STATE, lost in the gale of Sunday night, was a fine vessel. She was commanded by Captain Marshall, of French Creek. Mr. Orley Thompson, of Vermont, was a cabin passenger, a lady and child were also in the cabin. Four passengers were in the steerage. She had a crew of sixteen. She was bound from Oswego for Lake Erie, and loaded with merchandise. The vessel was valued at $14,OOO, and the cargo was probably worth $20,000 or $30,OOO.
      The schooner ONTONAGON, of Oswego, and FARMER, of Sackett's Harbor, went ashore a short distance East of East Pier. A terrific gale was blowing at the time. The OONTONAGON had a cargo of wheat on board, loaded at Toledo consigned to Oswego. The vessel and cargo are a total loss. The FARMER had no cargo on board. The vessel is a total loss. Crews of both vessels saved.
      The schooner FLORA WATSON, bound from Toledo to Oswego, with wheat, and the schooner HARRIET ROSS bound up with salt, collided two miles from the Niagara river. The WATSON sunk in thirty feet of water.
The schooner GAZELLE, of Oswego, went ashore about half a mile below that place. She is loaded with lumber and is leaking some.
      The schooner VERMONT is ashore behind the East river.
The schooners BOND and COUCH, and barque STORK were disabled in sails and rigging.
The schooner GAZETTE, Gross, with a cargo of lumber for Oswego, was driven ashore.
The schooner MARY ANN, Hunter, laden with peas from Canada for Oswego, was driven ashore at Point Peninsula.
The schooner ANNIE MOULTON, with barley and rye, went ashore at Big Sandy Creek.
The brig JOHN RAE was driven ashore near Niagara.
The schooner CHIEF JUSTICE MARSHALL is ashore between Barcelona and Dunkirk. Crew all lost.
      Goderich Signal, Semi Weekly
      November 14, 1862

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: aground
Lives: nil
Hull damage: $8,000
Cargo: $12,000
Freight: corn
Remarks: Total loss.
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 43.45535 Longitude: -76.5105
William R. McNeil
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Ontonagon (Schooner), aground, 2 Nov 1862