The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Hunter (Propeller), sunk by collision, 28 Oct 1869

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HUNTER Propeller, cargo wheat and flour, collided with Propeller COMET on Detroit River and sunk; total loss.
      Marine Disasters on the Western
      Lakes during 1869, Capt. J.W. Hall

      . . . . .
We have announced the sinking by collision of the prop. HUNTER and COMET, on Sunday morning, 8 miles below Detroit. The HUNTER sank in 5 fathoms of water, and the COMET was run ashore, so that her cabin is out of water. The HUNTER was bound down, belonged to Messrs. Evans, of this city, and had a cargo of 15,000 bushels wheat, flour, etc. She was insured for $20,000 as under:
      Underwriters Agency of New York ....................... $8,000
      National of Boston ..................................................... $2,000
      Security of New York ................................................ $5,000
      Home of New Haven ................................................ $2,500
      Roger Williams, of Providence ............................. $2,500
The COMET was owned by D.M. Kelly, of Green Bay, was bound up with a cargo of merchandise, and is insured in the National of Boston, for $25,000. The propellers were valued at $25,000 each. We suppose they will be raised.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      October 26, 1869 4-2

The Detroit Free Press of Monday, has the following particulars of the collision between the props. COMET and HUNTER.
Sunday morning at 2:30, the prop. HUNTER, of the Evans line collided off Ecorse, about 10 miles below this city. The COMET was bound up with a heavy cargo of general merchandise and the HUNTER was bound down with 15,000 bushels of wheat and 1,800 barrels of flour. The collision was the result of a misunderstanding of signals, and the COMET struck the HUNTER immediately forward of the forward gangway, the COMET having her weheel backing strong, making 70 turns per minute, and the HUNTER having her engine stopped. Both boats immediately commenced to fill, and the COMET instantly steered for the American side and run on the bank off Ecorse, where she sank in about 4 fathoms of water, the cabin being above water. The HUNTER refused to obey her helm, owing to the fact that her wheel being out of the water as her stern had filled and sank rapidly, which caused her to drift about until she sunk in mid-channel, in about 40 ft. of water, only showing her pilot house and smokestack.
The COMET had 8 passengers on board, who were pretty thoroughly frightened, but except getting their baggage wet, lost nothing, and were all brought to this city on the stm. C?ARS, and lodged at the Case Hotel until last evening, when they were forwarded to their respective destinations, at the expense of the COMET people. The HUNTER had no passengers on board, and the officers and crew took to the boats, and were picked up by the tug TORRENT, which chanced to be passing up shortly after the collision occurred, and brought to this city. The captain of the HUNTER, however, was thrown by the schock of the concussion from the pilot house of the HUNTER, to the deck of the COMET, and this fact probably accounts for the conduct of the HUNTER after the collision.
It is considered by competent judges that the COMET can be planked and jacked and raised immediately, but the HUNTER, is so badly damaged that it is quite probable she will sail no more this season.
No blame can be attached to the officers of the COMET or HUNTER, as the accident was evidently occassioned by a misunderstanding of the signals.
The above facts, which are all that can be gleaned previous to the legal investigation, which will occur in a day or two, were furnished by Capt. George Dickson of the HUNTER and Mr. Harry Black, mate of the COMET.
The COMET has been very unfortunate this season, this being her second serious collision. Some weeks ago she ran into the stm. SILVER SPRAY, and materially damaged her.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      October 27, 1869 4-2

      The propeller COMET which it will be remembered sunk the SILVER SPRAY in August just above the lighthouse had another collision. On Sunday morning she collided with the propeller HUNTER eight miles below Detroit. The two vessels were sunk. The HUNTER in 20 feet of water and the COMET with her cabins out, but both vessels can be easily raised.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Monday, October 29, 1869

The progress of the undertaking to effect a removal of and getting up the props. HUNTER and COMET sunk in the river below this city, has thus far been somewhat tedious, and it is quite probable that so far as regards the former boat the swelling of the grain will prove a serious injury to her hull and in the end require her abandonment. The latter boat, will without doubt, will be raised in due time, without serious difficulty, after the opening at her bows is closed sufficiently to pump her out. The weather thus far has greatly retarded their operations. - Detroit Tribune.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      November 2, 1869 4-2

The prop. COMET having been boarded up and pumped out, got up steam and arrived at Campbell & Owen's drydock, at Detroit, Monday afternoon. She will be thoroughly repaired and will probably make another trip this season.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      November 4, 1869 4-2


      Propeller HUNTER [U. S. 11139] of 667 tons, built 1857 at Buffalo, changed rig to barge Sept. 13, 1870.
      Merchant Steam Vessels of the U.S.A.
      1790 - 1868. Lytle-Holdcamper List

      . . . . .

      HUNTER, Barge of 596 tons, built Buffalo by Bidwell & Banta, August 1857. Owned by J.M. Ballentine & Co. Home port, Detroit. Value $13,000 Class B 1.
Remarks - Formerly a propeller.
      Classification of Lake Vessels and
      Barges, 1871 (Underwriters)

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: sunk by collision
Freight: wheat & flour
Remarks: Raised, becomes barge
Date of Original:
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 42.081944 Longitude: -83.125555
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Hunter (Propeller), sunk by collision, 28 Oct 1869