The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Excelsior (Schooner), U7350, sunk, 15 Oct 1871


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Schooner EXCELSIOR, cargo wheat, foundered on Lake Huron; all lost save one.
      Marine Disasters on the Western
      Lakes during 1871, Capt. J.W. Hall

      . . . . .

      FOUNDERED - A despatch from Southampton, dated the 17th, says that Charles Lustrom, a sailor from the schooner EXCELSIOR, of Erie, was picked up off Southampton today, floating on a part of the cabin of the EXCELSIOR. Several of the crew were floating on planks, but the boat that was sent out could not rescue them and their fate is not known. The vessel sank between Thunder Bay and Middle Island. She left Milwaukee on the 8th, and foundered on the 15th. She had a cargo of 18,000 bushels of wheat. All of the crew, nine in number, are believed to have perished except Lustrom.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Wednesday, October 18, 1871

      . . . . .
     
The schooner EXCELSIOR. -- The schooner EXCELSIOR is undoubtedly lost and all but one man have probably perished, as will be seen from the following telegram which was sent to Mr. Foote, last evening, in answer to one sent by him to the Postmaster at Southampton about 125 miles from the point where the vessel foundered.
      Southampton, October 8, 1871
      To E. L. Foote: EXCELSIOR foundered at 6 A. M. on Sunday. Charles Lostrom, the only saved. I will send him tomorrow if he is better. He was 52 hours in the water.
      Thomas Lee, Postmaster.

The EXCELSIOR was built 6 years ago by G. J. Morton, Capt. Zimmerly and James B. Sterrett, and cost $36,000. She was sold in December last to the following parties in this city for $24,500. E. L. Foote owned 1/2 interest; James S. Sterrett 1/4; Captain Samuel Gintz 1/8; and george Kepler 1/8. She was insured upon a valuation of $20,000 as follows: Foote, National, Boston; Sterrett, Western, Buffalo, doubtful; Gintz, City of Buffalo, good; Kepler, Alps, Erie, good. Her freight money was also insured in the Alps, amounting to $2,327:50
      Erie Daily Dispatch
      October 19, 1871
     
      . . . . .
      A P E R I L O U S R I D E
      -------
      Statement Of Charles Lostrom, The Only Survivor Of The Bark EXCELSIOR.
      His Wonderful Escape. - Fifty Eight Hours In The Water Without Food.
      Reward Offered For The Body Of Captain Gintz.
      -------
      (From the Erie Despatch.)
      Charles Lostrom, the only survivor of the ill-fated bark EXCELSIOR, arrived in this city, on Saturday, and the reporter interviewed him last evening, and learned from him the facts of the foundering of the vessel, his own escape, &c. On Sunday morning at about five o'clock, when in Thunder Bay, Mr. Lostrom saw the light on the Thunder Bay Islands, the wind was then blowing a gale, and the vessel was laboring and heaving with a wind from the south-southwest. At that time she was making for Presque Isle, and had she weathered the gale for half an hour longer she would have arrived in smooth waters. A reef was taken in the main sail, but it was carried away soon after; the fore-throat-halyards were then carried away also. Then as much of the square-sails were set as could be got at and the vessel was put before the wind; then rove the throat-halyards but had no chance to hoist the foresail before the bark went down. After making the sails, and when all hands were at the pumps, Captain Gintz went round to all the men and shook hands with every one, saying " good bye, boys, we are going." The gallant fellows all remarked "No, no Captain, we will be saved yet." Mr. Lostrom with three or four others went aft with knives in their hands to cut the boat-fall, but before that feat was accomplished a heavy sea knocked them back, and the vessel commenced to sink. This was the last time he saw Captain Gintz. When the vessel went down a suction or maelstrom was produced which drew down the men to a considerable depth. Our hero found not a little difficulty in getting to the surface, and at one time thought he would be strangled, but he arose finally and saw the mizzen-mast which had been pulled out, and a part of the cabin, which had broken in two where the mast went through it. There were at this time some few planks floating about, and the wreck of the cabin which Mr. L. immediately swam to and succeeded in getting upon, and by dint of almost superhuman efforts maintained his holdupon, although he was washed off several times before he was picked up. After he had been on the cabin about ten minutes he saw four of the men on planks; he could not tell who they were. In a few minutes after that the men had all disappeared, and he had no doubt they all went down and were lost.
      Throughout the day Sunday and Sunday night, Mr. L. persevered and clung to his frail craft; the wind blowing fiercely all the time. At times he would become benumbed and exhausted, when he became insensible and several times found himself in the water, which had the effect to restore him to consciousnes On Monday night soon after sunset, he saw land, and described Southampton Light and about 10 P.M. Tuesday afternoon, was picked up by a party of fishermen, some seven or eight miles from the Canadian shore, in an insensible condition, after having been in the water about fifty eight hours without food.
      There were nine persons on board, Captain Samuel Gintz, of Erie; Jacob Cotter, First Mate, of Buffalo; the Second Mate was from Buffalo, where he leaves a wife, Mr. L. did not know his name, or the names of the other men. With the exception of the Captain, himself and the cook, the men were all shipped at Buffalo. The cook was a married man and leaves a wife at Detroit. As soon as Mr. Lostrom had recovered from his exhaustion he took a propeller at Southampton, and came very near being ship-wrecked a second time at a Canadian port this side; the propeller struck in entering the harbor, and he ran forward and jumped upon the pier. Mrs. Gintz, the captain's wife, living in this city, offers a reward of fifty dollars to anyone finding the body. He was five feet five inches high, weighed about one hundred and sixty pounds, nearly bald on the top of his head. On his right hand between the thumb and fore-finger there were four small dots made with India ink.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Tuesday, October 24, 1871

      . . . . .

Bark EXCELSIOR. U.S. No. 7350. Of 374.80 tons. Home port, Erie. Pa.
      Merchant Vessel List, U.S., 1871
     


Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Notes:
Reason: sunk
Lives: 8
Freight: wheat
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
1871
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
McN.W.6237
Language of Item:
English
  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 45.19251 Longitude: -83.3272
Donor:
William R. McNeil
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
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Excelsior (Schooner), U7350, sunk, 15 Oct 1871