The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Dean Richmond (Propeller), burnt, 29 Oct 1871

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Propeller DEAN RICHMOND, cargo wheat, burned in Mud Lake; total loss with one life.
      Marine Disasters on the Western
      Lakes during 1871, Capt. J.W. Hall

      . . . . .

The steamer DEAN RICHMOND, 1416 tons burden, of Buffalo, while on her voyage from Lake Superior to Buffalo, and lying at anchor in Mud Lake, a part of the Sault Ste. Marie river, was totally destroyed by fire on the 29th. October, 1871. The vessel was valued at $75,000; value of cargo lost $44,480. By this disaster one life was lost, that of the chambermaid of the vessel, who, by the assistance of some person, took refuge upon a gang plank, and was drowned before she could be rescued. All others of the crew and passengers reached the shores safely in the small boats.
      "Hist.,of Lake Navigation"
      the Marine Record
      February 17, 1887 p.6
      . . . . .

      PROPELLER DEAN RICHMOND BURNED. - A press dispatch from Port Huron says
that the propeller DEAN RICHMOND was burned on Mud Lake on Thursday morning, while lying at anchor, the fire originated in the pantry, and before anything could be done to save the vessel, she was enveloped in flames. The crew saved themselves by taking to small boats, but Lucy Mora, the chambermaid, was drowned. The DEAN RICHMOND was owned by the Union Steamboat Company, and was bound down from Duluth, with a cargo of 32,000 bushels of wheat, consigned to Messrs. J.M. Richmond & Co., and Preston & Wright. The wheat was insured in the Merchantile Mutual, of New York, and the National, of Boston. The RICHMOND, which will prove a total loss, was commanded by James Pratt. This vessel was was built by Quayle & Martin, of Cleveland, in 1864, and measured 1,083 tons, old style. In 1867 she was valued at $65,000.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Monday, October 30, 1871
      . . . . .

Propeller DEAN RICHMOND Burned. Boat And Cargo A Total Loss. One Life Lost
      ( From the Detroit Post.)
      Saturday forenoon intelligence came to this city that the fine propeller DEAN RICHMOND had been destroyed by fire on Thursday morning in Mud Lake, which is a widening of the the. Marie River between Detour and Sailor's Encampment. The RICHMOND was on the passage down from Duluth to Buffalo, and had on board about 42 persons, including her crew, and 32,000 bushels of wheat. She was lying at anchor when the fire broke out, the weather being so thick that she could not proceed on her voyage with safety. The fire caught somewhere on the boiler deck, and not in the kitchen or pantry as stated in the first dispatch.
The Clerk states that he was awakened by the steward, who told him that the boat was on
fire, and who then went on deck and endeavored with pailfuls of water to extinguish the flames. He soon came back and said there was no hope of saving the vessel. The clerk
meantime had secured the books, papers and money of the boat, and had nearly finished
dressing when the flames began to come in at the windows of his room and put out his light.
In half an hour after the breaking out of the fire the whole upper works were destroyed.
      As soon as it was known that the propeller was in danger the life-boats were lowered. One report says the captain got into one of the first boats lowered and was rowed away. Gang planks, boards, fenders, and everything that would float, were thrown overboard, in order to save the lives of the crew and passengers. The chambermaid, Lucy Mona, was tipped off a gang plank, on which she and the Mate had taken refuge, and drowned, on account of a number of deck hands leaping upon it. The mate had a narrow escape from drowning at the same time. Some 14 persons were rescued from the water by those in small boats.
      There were only six passenger on board. The following are their names and places of
residence: Wm. Davis, Durham, Ont.; Wm. Hickey, Cobourg, Ont.; Edwin Amsden,
Florence, Ont.; W.W. Banning, Chatham; D.M. McMillan, Wardsville; Wm. Dick, Fenlon Falls, Ont.
      The officers of the RICHMOND were: James Pratt, master; James Edgcomb, first mate;
Christopher Culler, second mate.
      Nothing was saved except what the clerk took off. It appears that only three life-boats
were used or proved available. One boat landed at Point de la France; the other two on
Round Island. About one o'clock the crew and passengers left in the boats with the intention of going to Sailors' Encampment, a few miles up the river. They had not gone far when they
were picked up by the propeller MINERAL ROCK and taken to Detour. Part of the crew
came down on the propeller CLEVELAND to Port Huron and part on the MINERAL ROCK. They nearly all arrived per the latter boat in this city on Saturday evening about nine o'clock.
      The DEAN RICHMOND was a first class propeller of 1,083 tons burden. She was built in 1864, for the Winslows, and by them sold a few years afterwards to the Union Steamboat Co., for $65,000. She was, by the latter, thoroughly repaired a year ago last winter, and has, until her last trip, been running in their line between Buffalo and Chicago. She was on her 14th trip this season. Her cargo was consigned to J.M. Richmond & Co. and Preston & Wright, of Buffalo. There was no insurance upon her, but whether there was any on the cargo or not, we have not learned.
      It is stated that on the breaking out of the fire an attempt was made to use the hose, but the pumps were found to be out of order. This, with the fact that only three life-boats were
available, and that gang-planks, boards, etc., had to be used to rescue the struggling victims in the water from drowning, while the propeller herself was peacefully at anchor in a narrow
and shallow lake, reflects particular discredit somewhere. It is time that life was more secure on the waters.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Tuesday, October 31, 1871
      . . . . .

      BURNING OF THE PROPELLER DEAN RICHMOND. - Saturday morning at eleven o'clock the intelligence reached this city, of the loss by fire of the propeller DEAN RICHMOND. Part of the crew reached here on the CLEVELAND and gave the following particulars: The RICHMOND left Duluth on the 22nd with 32,000 bushels of corn and some passengers making, with hands 42 souls in all, everything went right until last Thursday when at anchor in Mud Lake, in the Soo River, at about 5:30 A. M. fire was discovered issuing from the pantry, and almost immediately almost the entire promenade deck was swept by flames. The boats were immediately lowered after first having tried the pumps, which through long neglect were rendered useless. When this was ascertained Capt. Pratt immediately got into the nearest boat and rowed away. The few remaining boats were immediately filled, the gang planks, fenders and life-boards were thrown overboard and seized by those struggling in the water. The cabin maid and the mate leaped on the gang-plank, and then part of the deck hands leaped on to the same frail support, capsizing it and throwing the woman into the water and she was drowned. This was the only life lost. It was said that the captain of the RICHMOND was not far from the drowning woman at the time of the accident. The men in the boat picked up fourteen men in the water who were clinging to every conceivable means of support, and them made a landing at Round Island and they were taken off by the MINERAL ROCK and the CLEVELAND. The DEAN RICHMOND was built in Cleveland in 1865 and was afterward sold by Mr. H.C. Winslow of Buffalo to the D. S. & Erie RR. Co., for $65,000. In the winter of 1870 she was thoroughly repaired by the Company and since has made 13 trips to Chicago and was downbound on her 14th when destroyed. The crew are inclined to censure Capt. Pratt for the loss of the vessel, some of them charging him with carelessness and neglect of duty. The vessel was insured.
      Port Huron Times
      November 2, 1871
      . . . . .
      TO BE RAISED. - An expedition is at present being arranged, under control of Captain
Keating, to visit the scene of the DEAN RICHMOND disaster, in Mud Lake, near Detour. For this purpose the Union Steamboat Company's propeller TIOGA has been chartered, with several steam pumps, and the party will start before the expiration of the week.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Thursday, November 9, 1871
      . . . . .

      WRECK OF THE DEAN RICHMOND. - The steamer TIOGA, which conveyed the expedition to the scene of the RICHMOND disaster, has returned to Detroit, and reports that wreck as being too far used up to warrant any expense towards her rescue. Thus passes away one of the finest and largest of our lake steamers, after being only seven years in commission.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Wednesday, November 15, 1871

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: burnt
Lives: 1
Hull damage: $75,000
Cargo: $44,480
Freight: wheat
Remarks: Raised
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 46.059722 Longitude: -83.945833
William R. McNeil
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Dean Richmond (Propeller), burnt, 29 Oct 1871