The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
James B. Colgate (Propeller), U77019, sunk, 20 Oct 1916

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COLGATE, JAMES B. Steam propeller, Official U. S. Number 77019, Built 1892, of 1,713 Gross Tons. On Oct. 20, 1916, with 25 persons on board vessel foundered about 25 miles east of Southeast Shoal, Lake Erie, with the loss of 24 lives. vessel a total loss.
      Loss of American vessels Reported during 1917
      Merchant Vessel List of the U. S. for 1917

      Ill-Fated Ship Was Sixty Miles East Off Southeast Shoal.
      Capt. Jones Showed No Signal Of Being In Distress When Last Seen.
When Capt. J. W. Parsons of the steamer CALCITE arrived here yesterday with his cargo of limestone, he expressed keen regret over the loss of the steamers JAMES B. COLGATE and MERIDA with their crews. He left Buffalo about 12:30 o'clock Friday morning and reports having met the MERIDA about sixty miles this side of Southeast Shoal. His boat possibly was the last that sighted the lost ship.
      Capt. Parsons said the MERIDA was rolling badly and shipping big seas over her stern, but she was running ahead and showed no sign of being in real distress.
      "The seas at the time were about the worst I ever encountered," said Capt. Parsons. "I was going head into and shipping big ones over her bow. Nearly all our dishes were broken and the furniture was badly smashed. The MERIDA was making very bad weather of it, but she kept plugging ahead. We were kept busy watching our own boat, but the MERIDA did not make any appeal for aid. Capt. Jones evidently believed he would make Long Point alright."
      Many expressions of genuine sorrow over the drowning of Capt. Harry L. Jones were heard in vessel circles yesterday. He was a member of the Buffalo lodge, Shipmasters' Association, and was well liked by all the members.
      "Capt. Jones was a very pleasant, genial sort of man to meet," said one of his vessel friends yesterday. "He always had a hearty handshake and a pleasant word for every friend with whom he came in contact. We all feel very badly for Capt. Jones and his surviving family."
      Messrs. Boland & Cornelius, the local vessel men and agents for the MERIDA and COLGATE at Buffalo, did not receive additional information regarding the finding of any more bodies yesterday. All vessels coming and going have been instructed to keep a sharp lookout for bodies.
      Representatives of the Standard Transit Co. of Duluth, which owned the COLGATE, were in Buffalo yesterday taking statements of men at the Lehigh Valley coal dock relative to the loading of the COLGATE. The men in charge of the dock declared that Capt. Walter Grashaw and his mate were very cautious in the loading of the whaleback, and she had on what was considered a seaworthy cargo on leaving here.
      Wrecks of last week will cost the underwriters close to $450,000 and will bring the losses and claims for the season over $1,000,000.
      The steamer MARSHALL BUTTERS and Barge FILER were not insured by the regular underwriters. The MERIDA and COLGATE were both insured by the underwriters. The MERIDA was insured for $169,000 hull and $30,000 disbursements. The COLGATE carried $87,000 hull and $30,000 disbursements. The MERIDA's pyrites cargo was worth about $20,000. The brings the loss of the MERIDA close to $220,000. The COLGATE had a cargo of hard coal, which, with her insurance, make the loss close to $130,000. These two losses, including cargo, makes a total of about $450,000 the underwriters will be called upon to pay.
      The property loss is small compared with the loss of life. Including the KIRBY, lives lost this season in storm disasters aggregate seventy-seven. This is out of proportion with a property loss of $650,000, which is about what the boats and cargo were insured for.
      The loss of lives this year was largely confined to the disasters of Friday and the KIRBY last spring. There have been several serious collisions this year and damages that are estimated at over $500,000 have been sustained, but except in the storm disasters there has been no loss of life reported this season.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      October 25, 1916

      Steam screw JAMES B. COLGATE. U. S. No. 77019. Of 1,713 gross tons; 1,318 tons net. Built West Superior, Wis., 1892. Home port, Duluth, Minn. 308.0 x 38.0 x 24.0 Crew of 20. Of 1,000 indicated horsepower. Steel built.
      Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1904

SAMUEL MATHER.* Built May 21, 1892 Whaleback Bulk Propeller - Steel
U. S. No. 116484. 1731 gt - 1318 nt 308.0 x 38.0 x 24.0
      * Renamed [b] CLIFTON - U.S. - 1922
Converted to self-unloader in 1923. Foundered September 22, 1924, off Forty-Mile Point, lake Huron; all hands[24] lost.
      American Barge Co., Superior, Wis., Master Shipbuilding List
      Institute for Great Lakes research
      Perrysburg, Ohio.

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Reason: sunk
Lives: 24
Remarks: Total loss
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 41.843611 Longitude: -82.466111
William R. McNeil
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James B. Colgate (Propeller), U77019, sunk, 20 Oct 1916