The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Wed., Jan. 28, 1903

Full Text
Still Coming Ashore on the Main Ducks.
Found Yawlboat on the Beach at Stony Island - Captain Ferris Receives a Letter That Had Been Entrusted to Providence for Delivery.

Last December, when Captain Charles Ferris and the crew of his tug went out in the lake to look for the lost steamer John E. Hall, they sent a boat's crew ashore at the Main Ducks and met Claude W. Cole, who with a party of men is living there. During the Winter months there is no communication with the island, but those living there sometimes get messages to friends on the main land in a peculiar manner.

The men told Captain Ferris that should they receive any information regarding the Hall or the bodies of the crew who were lost, that they would try and find some way to communicate with him. Yesterday Captain Ferris received the following letter:

Stony Island, Jan. 5, 1903.

Dear Sir - This letter came ashore in a bottle on the North side of our island today. It was picked up by Orvis Luff. Today we also picked up the yawl of the steamer John E. Hall. Write me at Henderson Harbor.

Nelson Luff.

The letter found in the bottle on the beach had never come in contact with the water and was removed in good condition as it was possible for it to have been kept in the mails. It reads as follows:

Main Ducks, Dec. 31, 1902.
Captain C. W. Ferris, Oswego, N.Y.

Dear Sir - I agreed to inform you if any further wreckage came ashore on our island. Since you left we found two oars marked John E. Hall, the planking of a yawlboat, two cabin doors, a life preserver with the arm strap broken and the strap that goes around the body still tied. I believe that the heavy seas must have washed the man out of the life preserver. The latter was marked "Prop. J. E. Hall." There still continues to come ashore hear, nearly every day, pieces of the wreckage. From the direction in which it comes, it is my opinion that the Hall foundered a short distance to the Southwest of this island.

If you get this letter I wish you would send me the papers containing the account of its receipt. Direct it to Port Milford and I will get it in the Spring as we have no mail communication at this season. To get a message to the outside world we are compelled to trust largely to providence. To get this message away we have built a large raft, cut and put four spruce trees upon it for sails. In center we fasten a pole, and to that we tie the bottle containing the message and send the raft adrift when the weather is most favorable. We have yet to send a message that has failed to reach its destination, and we look forward to your receipt of this that we are to place in the bottle.

C.W. Cole.

Mr. Cole is the proprietor of the Duck Island dairy and the butter manufactured thee is said to be the finest sold in Canada. During the Summer months life on the island is like a long holiday, and the monotony is broken by the arrival of fishing parties and the passing of all kind kind of sail craft, but in the Winter the days and nights are long and the life, to many, would be found dreary enough.

When navigation is resumed in the Spring Captain Ferris will make another trip to the island in search of wreckage or bodies. Mr. Cole's letter was six days reaching Stony Island. From the latter place it was not until Monday last that the finder could get it to the Post Office at Henderson Harbor. The trip was probably made over the ice.

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Wed., Jan. 28, 1903
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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), Wed., Jan. 28, 1903