The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Monday, March 22, 1880

Full Text
The Opening of Navigation
Arrival of the Schooner Persia from Toronto - A Night on lake Ontario in an Equinnoctial Tempest - Seas Breaking over and Freezing on the Docks - Booms Lashed to the Timber Heads and the Crew Clinging to the Rigging - A Woman Who Was not Born to be Drowned.

In Saturday's Palladium the sailing of the schooner Persia from Toronto for Oswego was reported. Saturday night a hurricane of wind and snow raged over the city, making one of the worst storms of the season, and grave fears were expressed about the Persia, but at 6:30 yesterday morning she was sighted off this port at 8 A.M. She was moored, safely, in the harbor. Her master, Capt. John Joyce, makes the following statement:

"We left Toronto at 11 A.M. Saturday, weather moderate and wind west, southwest; at 3 A.M. the wind began to increase rapidly until it blew a terrible gale from the west; we double-reefed everything; the gale increased and changed to west, northwest, and continued until 10 P.M., when it began to snow thick and fast and grew colder; we took in the mainsail and nearly all the foresail and after making every effort to slow her down, found that we were making eight miles an hour on the log, with only one jib; when the storm commenced. Knowing I must keep my course, I killed time by beating about; at daylight, about 5 A.M., the storm had partially subsided, and the first thing we sighted was Little Sodus light; we then made for Oswego, and as we neared it the sea ran down a little, the snow had stopped and the wind was dying away; the tug C.P. Morey came out for us, and it was a good thing, too, as it was doubtful whether we could have sailed in with the heavy sea rolling and light breeze. The storm commenced at 3 P.M. and reached its height about midnight, when it began to die away."

A talk with the crew would convince any one that they have "a sand" in them. They say the night was the worst they ever experienced on the lake, and that but for the staunch condition of the vessel, the unexcitable nature of captain and crew, and the fact that she had a good side out, drawing only nine feet, whereas, loaded down, she draws ten, they certainly would have been lost. The captain said that had the vessel leaked they would have gone down, as men nor time could not have been spared to work the pumps.

The booms were lashed to the timber heads, and the wind blew so strong that the men could not stand without holding on to something. Occasionally a sea would board her amidships and thoroughly drench some of the tars. They had to keep salting the decks, as ice made faster than at any time last fall.

The Persia is owned by J. & J.T. Matthews of Toronto and carried about 12,000 bushels of grain. She had been repaired and caulked. Her cargo is 12,500 bushels of malt for Smith, Murdock & Co. Her crew belongs at Bronte, 25 miles from Toronto, and are as follows: Captain John Joyce; mate, James Jackson; William Carpenter, Chas. Tufford, Alex Henderson and Thomas Warden. The cook, Mrs. Jennie Fleet of Toronto, is rather venturesome. She was lashed to the rigging of the schooner Trenton, wrecked off Presque Isle last fall and was picked up by a passing boat. She started out with the schooner Ontario a week ago for Oswego, but the Ontario sprung a leak and had to return to Toronto. She then shipped on the Persia. The vessel will return with a load if she can get one, if not she will return, immediately, light. It is said the arrival of the Persia is the earliest ever recorded at Oswego

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Monday, March 22, 1880
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Richard Palmer
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Monday, March 22, 1880