The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Mon., Dec. 22, 1902

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Foundered With Eleven in Lake Ontario.
Crew of Tug Ferris Made Search - Found Wreckage on Main Ducks - Other Oswego Vessels That Went Out Same Way in Past years.

There is no further doubt but that the steamer John E. Hall and her crew of eleven were lost in the vicinity of the Ducks sometime during the gale of Saturday, December 13th, and shortly after the steamer separated from her consort, the John R. Noyes.

Captain Charles Ferris and the tug Ferris arrived here Saturday night about 6:30 o'clock with a cupboard from the galley of the steamer, which Captain George Donovan identified as belonging to his father's steamer, and other wreckage. The wreckage was found on the South side of the Main Ducks.

When Captain Ferris left here Saturday morning he steered a course which took him through the American or South channel to the St. Lawrence river. He cruised about the islands at the foot of the lake and did not find any trace of the missing steamer. The tug was then headed for the Main Ducks and while going along close to the South shore Captain Ferris saw wreckage floating and lowering a small boat went ashore and succeeded in securing the cupboard and some other strips of the boat.

When the Ferris arrived back at this port she was met by members of Captain Donovan's family and the wreckage positively identified.

Captain Gilbert, of the schooner Sea Foam, received a telephone message from his son Saturday night which said that the Hall's small boat, fenders and other wreckage had washed ashore at that point.

In all the Catholic churches of this city yesterday references were made to the late marine disasters on Lake Ontario and prayers were offered for the repose of the souls of the unfortunate dead.

Other Disasters Recalled.

The loss of the Hall with all hands brings to mind the other Oswego boats and sailors that in years past have found last resting places in the Great Lakes.

The steamer Bay State, back in the '60s, left this port with her crew and twenty-two passengers and when off this port foundered. Parts of the wreckage and the cargo of package freight came ashore, but none of the crew or passengers were ever heard from. The dead body of a dog, owned by the captain, was found on the beach near Sheldon's Point.

The seventies was a bad time for the Oswego vessels. During that decade the schooner Atlanta, Captain Samuel Morin, foundered in Lake Huron. The Gilbert Mollison, Captain Joel Turner, found a grave in Lake Michigan. The I.G. Jenkins, Captain John Brown, went down on Lake Ontario when in sight of the lights of this port. The Persian, Captain Long, foundered in Lake Huron, and the Hastings, Captain Chalmers, went down in Lake Michigan. All hands were lost on these vessels.

In 1881 the E.P. Dorr, Captain Peter Dufrane, foundered on Lake Erie with all hands. In 1895 the schooner Hartford, Captain William O'Toole, of Clayton, foundered in Mexico Bay, and the crew, including the Captain's wife and baby, were all drowned. The only body recovered was that of the child, which washed ashore the next day.

There are records of several other Oswego vessels which met shipwreck where but one or two of the crew were saved. The Antelope, Captain George Budd, was wrecked in Lake Michigan during the 70's and Thomas Peckham and one other escaped. The Corsair, Captain George Snow, was lost in 1870 and only one, a sailor before the mast, was saved.

Edward Igo and John Hourigan, of this city, were on board the W.B. Phelps when she stranded in Lake Michigan, and saved themselves by sticking to the bow of the schooner, being rescued after many hours of exposure to the sea and cold.

James Ryan, mate of the schooner John R. Noyes, the Hall's consort, was with Captain Pease on the Augustus Ford when that vessel went ashore at Grand River, Lake Erie. Captain Pease was frozen to death on the cabin. Mate Ryan and "Plucker" Mack saved themselves by crawling into the topsails and there sheltering themselves from the wind and cold.

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Mon., Dec. 22, 1902
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Richard Palmer
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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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Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Mon., Dec. 22, 1902