The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
C. H. Hurd (Schooner), sunk, 22 Sep 1871

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Schooner C.H. HURD, cargo corn, foundered in Lake Michigan; crew all lost except captain; total loss
      Marine Disasters on the Western
      Lakes during 1871, Capt. J.W. Hall

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      SCHOONER HURD FOUNDERED. - From a special despatch to Captain E.P. Dorr we learn that the schooner C.H. HURD has foundered off South Manitou Island, with all on board except the Captain. She belonged to P.J. Ralph and John Hosmer, and was consigned to M.L. Crittenden, Buffalo, with 28,900 bushels of corn.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Monday, September 25, 1871

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      LOSS OF THE SCHOONER "CHAS. H. HURD." - A telegram from Milwaukee last evening gives the following particulars -- furnished by Captain Sysson, of the propeller St. LOUIS--of the loss of the schooner CHAS. H. HURD, mention of which was made in this paper under the head of "Marine Intelligence," yesterday: " When near Manitou Friday night she sprang a leak and foundered near South Manitou Island, going down in deep water. The only person saved was Captain Harrison, who drifted ashore on Saturday afternoon in an exhausted condition, hardly able to give a coherent account of the disaster. The captain's wife and nine of the crew were lost. The vessel was valued at $27,000."
      Capt. W.O. Harrison, master of the ill fated vessel, resides at or near Angola, in this county, and is well known in Buffalo. His wife and child joined him in this city previous to the last trip and accompanied him on board the schooner.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Tuesday September 26, 1871

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The schooner C. H. HURD, owned in Detroit, foundered off the Manitou's and all on board were lost, except the captain who was washed ashore and found nearly dead from exposure and taken into Milwaukee. It appears that the HURD sailed from Chicago for Buffalo on the evening of Thursday the 21st with the following person on board: Capt. W.A. Harrison, his wife and child; Mate S.M. Harrison, brother of the captain; Second Mate Christopher Olsen; cook J. Babcock and a crew of six seamen, names unknown. The disaster occurred some time during Friday night and all on board perished except Captain Harrison. The body of the captain's wife washed ashore on Sunday. None of the other bodies at last report have been recovered. Her cargo consisted of 28,000 bushels of corn for Buffalo.
      Port Huron Times
      September 28, 1871

      THE HURD DISASTER. - Captain W.O. Harrison, of the lost schooner C.H. HURD, arrived at Detroit Wednesday forenoon on board the propeller CITY OF MONTREAL, bringing the remains of his wife. He has only partially recovered from the effects of his terrible calamity, but gives the following account of the loss of the HURD: His vessel was sailing before a violent gale, when she was quite unexpectedly swept from aft to forward by a tremendous sea, taking the boat from the davits, and sweeping the decks of everything movable. The captain is of the opinion that at this time the greater part of his crew were washed overboard. The first sea was followed immediately by two others of immense proportions, taking the top of the cabin trunk. From these last seas the vessel did not recover, but went down to the bottom. It was on this portion of the cabin that the captain drifted ashore, and was thus saved. The HURD had on 300 bushels less grain than on her previous trip. The captain desires to express his gratitude to the inhabitants on the Manitous for their kind attentions shown to himself and the remains of his wife, all of which will be ever held in grateful remembrance.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Friday, September 29, 1871

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      LOSS OF THE " C.H. HURD."
      Full Particulars Concerning The Disaster
      Captain Harrison, The Only Survivor. -- His Statement
      (From the Detroit Tribune, Sept. 28th.)
Captain Harrison, of the ill-fated schooner C.H. HURD, which was wrecked, as already published, on Friday night last, on Lake Michigan, arrived here yesterday on the CITY OF MONTREAL, and brought with him the remains of his wife A Tribune reporter called upon him, to whom he gave the following account of the loss of the vessel and the drowning of her crew and his family. The three-masted schooner C.H. HURD left Chicago about 6 0'clock Thursday night, with a cargo of corn for Buffalo. The wind was fair and all canvas was
set. The vessel continued on her course all night, the wind still being favorable, and blowing about the same until about noon on Friday. The wind the shifted sonewhat until it was about southwest, and from that time until evening it continued to increase in velocity till at 4 o'clock it was blowing a living gale. I had been on deck all day watching the progress of the vessel, and sometimes taking the wheel, in order to take the most advantage possible of the
fair wind. Sail had been shorted at various times during the day as the velocity of the wind increased, and at 4 o'clock, when the dog watch was called and the vessel was under nothing but her mainsail, foresail, jib and flying jib that being, for a three-masted vessel, very short sail. At this time the seas were running mountain high, and although the vessel staggered under even the small amount of canvas she carried, it was absolutely necessary to drive her
fast enough to keep away from the seas which were running directly astern. At o'clock, having just come up from supper, the vessel was about three miles S.S.W. from the southwest end of South Manitou Island. A sea of more than usual height came towering over the stern, rushing with irresistable force over the taffrail, and immediately took complete possession of the vessel fore and aft, sweeping everything not lashed down overboard. The schooner was deep loaded, having on board 27,700 bushels of corn, and was already down nearly to the plank-shear in the water, so that when this sea came aboard its weight sunk her down until the scuppers and lower part of the bulwarks were completely under water. The pressure of the water outside the bulwarks being greater than that inside, prevented the water from escaping, and the schooner was thus held down while sea after sea swept over her. One of them lifted the whole top part of the after cabin and dashed it overboard. The water then rushed into the cabin, and from there found its way into the hold. The forecastle scuttle was washed away, and some of the water got into the hold by that means. This was the only way in which the water could effect an entrance, as all three hatches were double battened down, with double tarpaulins, and were perfectly tight. An
extra squall striking the schooner at this time, she was thrown on her beam ends, which caused her to labor heavily. I was then standing at the wheel with one of the sailors, and had given orders to settle away the mainsail in order to ease the vessel, when another heavy sea washed over her, carrying with it, myself and the man at the wheel. I saved myself by catching hold of the reef tackle-fall of the main-boom, which was hanging over the side, and succeeded in drawing myself on deck. The other man went down. I had previously given instructions to the mate, my brother, to take my wife and child into the mizzen rigging, saying that I would take care of the schooner. He did so, and when I got aboard, I saw him with my wife and child in the mizzen-top. The men had also taken to the rigging, and seeing that the vessel was rapidly filling and going down, and that nothing could be done to save her, I threw off my coat, hat and boots, and prepared for the worst that could come. I then clambered into the main rigging, but had not got more than half-way up, when the vessel gave a sudden lurch and went down almost immediately, taking with her all the crew that
were left, and my brother, wife, and child.
      The suction of the sinking vessel dragged me down a considerable distance, but after being under water what seemed to me a very long time, and when my breath was almost gone, I at length reached the surface. A portion of the cabin roof that had been swept off was close beside me, and on this I clambered, and held myself by means of an iron ring that had been used for hanging a lamp in the cabin. In this way I continued for eleven hours, and only by the most determined efforts kept from perishing from cold and exhaustion. There was on the cabin roof an overcoat, and I held this in one hand, waiting for an opportunity to put it on, while with the other I clung to the iron ring. The sea continued to run high and to wash over me, but by turning face towards it, shutting my eyes, and holding my breath until a sea passed over, I was still enabled to keep my hold.
      After midnight the wind lulled somewhat, and enabled me to throw the overcoat over my shoulders, although I was so numb as scarcely to be able to move. I found that I was rapidly becoming stiff, and that it was impossible for me to open my mouth. Thinking that something must be done to keep up the circulation. I had to resort to kicking with my feet, and striking the timbers with a piece of pine board that I discovered, held close between my knees.
About daylight, being then entirely exhausted, I came in sight of land, which proved to be the South-West end of the North Manitou Island, and shortly after the raft was landed by a great wave high and dry on the beach. I crawled out of the reach of the water and laid down on the beach, thinking that I had only come to a dry place to die. After lying down for some time I roused myself, thinking that life depended upon exertion and finding some habitation. Then, crawling to some land a little higher than the surrounding country, I looked around in all directions, and finally saw a wood-dock and some fishing huts about 2 1/2 miles from where I stood. My feet were now, from cold and from kicking the roof of the cabin, very much swollen and extremely sore and tender. Getting two sticks on the beach for canes, however, I managed to make my way over a stoney beach and with bare feet, about two miles, sometimes falling down and crawling, and again getting up and walking with the aid of the canes. When about half a mile from the dock, I made some signals to the fishermen and dropped down, unable to proceed any further. The fishermen came to my relief and took me to their huts where I was kindly treated, and had every possible means of restoration applied I remained there three days, when I was brought to this city by the propeller CITY OF MONTREAL.
      Captain Harrison further states that the vessel was not strained so as to spring a leak, as about an hour before she foundered the pumps were sounded, and she was found to be perfectly dry. The name of the first mate was Sidney M. Harrison; of the second mate, James Wilson. Christopher Olsen is the name of one of the sailors. The names of the others and the steward the captain does not know, they having only shipped at Chicago the last trip. Wilson, the second mate, leaves a wife and four children. The owners of the vessel are confident that her loss is not to be attributed to mismanagement. Captain Harrison is a thorough sailor, having been twenty-three years on the lakes, and for the past nine years in the employ of Messrs. P.J. Ralph & Co., the owners of the HURD.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Monday, October 2, 1871

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Captain W.O. Harrison. -- The drowning of Captain W. O. Harrison, from the steamer KERSHAW, has created a universal feeling of regret among the vessel men at this port, who regarded the deceased as an efficient sailor and excellent friend. Captain Harrison was a resident of this city, and leaves a wife and son to mourn his loss. In 871 he was master of the schooner CHARLES HURD, owned by P.J. Ralph, of this port, which foundered on Lake Michigan with all on board, except the captain. Among those to go down on that ill-fated craft was the Captain's first wife and only daughter. Two years ago he exchanged a farm and other property which he owned for the steambarge DUBAQUE, which was lost at Long Point this spring. Following this disaster he assumed command of the KERSHAW, from which he met his untimely fate, as noted. -- Detroit Free Press, Dec. 7.
      The J.W. Hall Great Lakes Marine Scrapbook, Dec., 1877

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Reason: sunk
Lives: 9
Freight: corn
Remarks: Total loss
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Geographic Coverage:
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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C. H. Hurd (Schooner), sunk, 22 Sep 1871