The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Jefferson (Schooner), aground, 18 Nov 1842


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The gale blew itself out pretty much this morning. The wind is yet high, and an occasional sough may still be heard, but the tempest is over. It was dreadful though, while it lasted, or from about noon yesterday until some indeterminate time last night. The wind blew a perfect hurricarle most of the time, and the air was so filled with snow that one could scarecly see 20 yards. The temperature was very low and altogether it was about the worst gale we ever experienced in Buffalo. Although the damage here has been slight, there must have been much personal
suffering in many families poorly prepared for such a fierce advent of inclement weather.
      We fear that the gale has been very destructive along the lake coast. The water in the harbor rose some 5 ft., but it has done little injury other than to inundate the flats, and obstruct navigation on the canal. There are rumors of vessels beached upon the lake shore and of fatal effects therefrom, but as yet no positive information has been obtained. No arrivals have taken place since yesterday noon. The Rochester packet due last evening is still absent, being unable to stem both ice and wind upon the canal. The CHESAPEAKE bound for the Upper Lakes, and the WAYNE and FULTON for Detroit, are in port awaiting a favorabl e opportunity to depart.
      P.S. Since the above was in type, we have learned the following particulars:
The schr. JEFFERSON, Capt. Douglass, went ashore about 6:00 last night, about 3 miles above the Buffalo Lighthouse, and is a total wreck, attended with a melancholy loss of life, one entire family, husband, wife and 5 children, together with a young woman and one of the men belonging to the vessel, having perished ! Capt. Dougall, from whom we have the painfull recital, says that about 2 hours after his vessel beached, the companion way washed off, and the children and young woman drowned, in the cabin and fore castle. A portion of the crew had got ashore, in quest of help, and were endeavoring to rescue the family. The mate wrapped his overcoat around the woman, and tried to keep her warm by walking her to and fro on the beach, but she soon became exhausted and incapable of motion, and was placed in the boat which had washed up, where she died in a short time. Her husband was delirious on reaching shore, and attempted to escape in the swamp near by, but perished within a short distance. One of the hands belonging to the vessel, named James Bruce, got into the swamp and he was likewise lost. The family were from Hartford Ct., names unknown, the children aged 8 years downwards. The JEFFERSOIN was owned by J.W. Ransom, of Chicago, and was bound for that port, with a cargo of 500 bbls. salt, 40 tons iron, and some merchandise, which will be mostly lost, shipped by J. Murray & Co. of this city. The crew succeeded about midnight in getting on board the brig OLIVE RICHMOND, beached below them, in a greatly exhausted state.
      When our reporter reached the vessel this forenoon, the figure of the young woman above mentioned was discovered standing in an upright posture, in the forecastle companion way, frozen stark and stiff, with hands partly raised in an imploring posture, and her eyes fixed with a cold and stony gaze upon the shore.
      The brig OLIVE RICHMOND, a new vessel, Capt. Dorchester, went ashore about a mile below the JEFFERSON, early yesterday afternoon. She was bound up in ballast, and will be got off without damage.
      The schr. WALTER JOY, Capt. Lacy, went ashore about the same time, near the OLIVE RICHMOND, with a decK load of flour, which will be partly lost, but the vessel will be got off with trifiling injury.
      The brig FRANCIS MILLS, Capt. Langley, went ashore on the Canada side, 3 miles below Pt. Abino, at 2:OO P.M. yesterday. She lies partly filled with water, by which the lower tier of her cargo, consisting of merchandise, will be injured. She was bound for Chicago and St. Josephs, will probably be got off.
      The schr. EDWIN JENNY, Capt. Davison, dragged her anchors and went ashore below Pt. Abino, a little above the FRANCIS MILLS. She was loaded with stone for some port up the lake.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      November 19, 1842



      Vessels ashore on the American shore of Lake Erie during the big storm of November 14, 15, & 16th. 1842; the Schooner JEFFERSON with a cargo of 500 bbls. of salt, 40 tons of iron and some merchandise, ashore between Sturgeon Point and Cattaraugus Creek.
      Cleveland Plain Dealer
      Wednesday, November 30, 1842 p.2 col. 2 & 3

      . . . . .


A more particular account of the Schooner JEFFERSON is given by the Erie Commercial:-
The Schooner JEFFERSON, Capt. Dougall, went ashore at 6 o'clock last night, about three miles above Buffalo Light-house, and is a total wreck, attended with a melancholy loss of life- one entire family - husband, wife and five children, together with a young woman and one of the men belonging to the vessel, having perished. Capt. Dougall, from whom we have the painful recital, says that about two hours after the vessel beached, the companion-way was washed off, and the children and young woman, drowned in the cabin and forecastle. A portion of the crew had got ashore, in quest of help, and were endeavoring to reach the family. The mate wrapped his overcoat around the woman and tried to keep her warm by walking her to and fro on the beach, but she soon became exhausted and incapable of motion, and was placed in the boat, which had washed up, where she died in a short time. Her husband was delirious on reaching here, and attempted to escape into the swamp near by, but perished within a short distance. One of the hands belonging to the vessel, named James Bruce, got into the swamp, and was likewise lost. The family was from Hartford, C. - names unknown. The children aged from 8 years downwards. The JEFFERSON was owned by J.W. Ransom, of Chicago, and was bound for that port, with a cargo of 500 barrels of salt, 40 tons of iron and some merchandise, which was mostly lost, shipped by ---?-- --?-- of this city.
      The crew succeeded about midnight, in getting on board the Brig O. RICHMOND, beached below them, in a greatly exhausted state.
      When our reporter reached the vessel this afternoon. The figure of the young woman above mentioned, was discovered standing in an upright posture, in the forecastle companion-way, frozen stark and stiff, with hands partly raised in an imploring posture, and her eyes fixed with a cold and stony gaze upon the shore. The name of the unfortunate family is Wool, from Hartford or New Haven, New Haven, Conn.
      Cleveland Plain Dealer
      Wednesday, November 30, 1842 p.2 col.2 & 3

      . . . . .

      At Buffalo, says the Commercial, "little injury was done other than to inundate the flats and obstruct navigation on the canal." Here follows a melancholy list of disasters above that place, reported in the Commercial of Saturday last:
The schooner JEFFERSON, Capt. Dougall, went ashore at 6 o'clock last night, about three miles above Buffalo Lighthouse, and is a total wreck, attended with a melancholy loss of life -- one entire family, husband, wife and five children, together with a young woman, and one of the men belonging to the vessel, having perished ! Capt. Dougall, from whom we have the painful recital, says that about two hours after his vessel beached, the companion-way washed off, and the children and young woman, drowned in the cabin and fore-castle. A portion of the crew had got ashore, in quest of help, and were endeavoring to rescue the family. The mate wrapped his overcoat around the woman, and tried to keep her warm by walking her to and fro on the beach, but she soon became exhausted and incapable of motion, and was placed in the boat which was washed up, where she died in a short time. Her husband was delirious on reaching shore, and attempted to escape into the swamp near by, but perished within a short distance. One of the hands belonging to the vessel, named James Bruce, got into the swamp and was likewise lost. The family were from Hartford, Ct. -- names unknown -- the children aged from three downward. The JEFFERSON was owned by J. W. Ransom, of Chicago, and was bound for that port, with a cargo of 500 barrels salt, 40 tons iron, and some merchandise, which will be mostly lost -- shipped by J. Murray & Co., of this city. The crew succeeded in getting aboard the brig OLIVE RICHMOND, about midnight, beached below them, in a greatly exhausted state.
      When our reporter reached the vessel this forenoon, the figure of the young woman above mentioned, was discovered standing in an upright position, in the forecastle companion-way, frozen stark and still, with hands partly raised in an imploring posture, and her eyes fixed with a cold stony gaze upon the shore.
      The brig OLIVE RICHMOND, a new vessel, Capt. Dorchester, went ashore about a mile below the JEFFERSON, early yesterday afternoon. She was bound up in ballast, and will be got off without damage.
      The schooner WALTER JOY, Capt. Lacy, went ashore about the same time, near the OLIVE RICHMOND, with a deck load of flour, which will be partly lost, but the vessel will be got off with trifling injury.
      The brig FRANCIS MILLS, Capt. Langley, went ashore on the Canada side, three miles below Point Abino, at 2 o'clock P. M., yesterday. She lies partly filled with water, by which the lower tier of her cargo, consisting of merchandise, will be injured. She was bound for Chicago and St. Joseph -- will probably be got off.
      The schooner EDWIN JENNY, Capt. Davison, dragged her anchors and went ashore below Point Abino, a little above the FRANCIS MILLS. She was loaded with stone for some port up the lake.
      The following is from the Commercial of Monday last: ---- Our forebodings of the further effects of the late gale have, we regret to say, been more than realized. We must wait for arrivals from up the lake, before we shall know the full extent of the disasters. The pier at Dunkirk is nearly destroyed. The HARRISON and CHAUTAUQUE laid at the wharf there from Thursday to Sunday morning, and much of the time were in eminent danger, and finally as a measure of safety took to the lake and came into port here yesterday noon. The wind then blowing a gale. The schooner BRANDYWINE, Capt. Tubbs, that was also lying at Dunkirk dragged her anchor Saturday night, and that is the last that has been heard of her definitely. One report is that she went ashore near Silver Creek, and that all on board perished, and another is that she went down the river a wreck. She was heavily loaded with flour.
      Besides these we hear that the following schooners are ashore on this side, mostly between this and Silver Creek --- HENRY ROOP, loaded with 2,600 bushels of corn, JEFFERSON; W. JOY; TIPPECANOE (all on board lost); BEN. FRANKLIN; MERCHANT (Mr. Bograne, who last year sailed the FAVORITE, lost); M. NEY (all on board lost); and the brig O. RICHMOND. The particulars of the loss of the JEFFERSON; W. JOY and O. RICHMOND were given in Saturday's paper.
      The following schooners are ashore on the Canada side near Gravelly Bay: INDIANA, loaded with salt, a total wreck; MISSISSIPPI, Capt. Raymond, for Kingston, loaded with flour and pork, a total wreck; OHIO, Capt. Robertson, loading light; M. KINGMAN, high and dry, will probably be got off; and the brig F. MILLS and the schooner E. JENNY, the particulars of whose loss was given Saturday. A little above Point Abino is the FLORIDA, loaded with flour, pork and whiskey for this port.
      The H. PIERSON, which came in during the storm on Saturday, was saved with great difficulty. All her sails are gone, together with her companionway and several spars. There is scarcely a vessel in the harbor but what has suffered more or less.
      Erie Gazette
      November 24, 1842

      . . . . .

      Losses By The November Gale - We have several times attempted to complete a statement of losses by the destructive gale upon the lakes in November last, but not being able to obtain such data as we could wish, we have deferred presenting a statement until today, when we are enabled to do so through the aid of the Cleveland Herald. The loss of life and property is appalling, and having made such corrections in the original table as we could obtain; it is submitted. Sixty-four lives are accounted for, but it is generally believed that from 80 to 100 persons were lost. In the total loss is also omitted the estimated injury to sails, rigging, spars, boats, &c. which were not less than $5,000 or $8,000.
      The annexed list is supposed to comprise all the vessels that have suffered material loss on Lake Erie and the western lakes. The estimated damage being founded on public report, is not to be relied upon; but the aggregate amount is supposed to be much short of the actual loss. No estimates have been made of furniture of emigrants, or baggage of passengers. The amount of losses covered by insurance cannot be ascertained.
      In the gale of 18th Nov.
      vessels cargoes lives lost
Brig O. RICHMOND, ashore in
      Buffalo Bay $700 - -
*Schr. JEFFERSON, do. $1,000 $700 9
Schr. WALTER JOY, do. $1,000 $1,100 -
Schr. BRANDYWINE, do. total loss $1,000 $800 8
Schr. LORD SEATON, do, (British) $1,000 - -
Stmr. CHICAGO, ashore near Cattaraugus
      Creek. $5,000 $5,000 -
Schr. N. HUBBARD, near Conneaut, total
      loss $3,000 - 7
Schr. BEN FRANKLIN, ashore near
      Fairport, total loss $2,000 $2,000 -
Schr. ALLEGAN, ashore, do. $500 - -
Schr. OHIO, ashore near Pt. Abino $400 - -
Schr. E, JENNEY, do. $1,700 - 1
Brig FRANCIS MILLS, do. $1.500 $1,200 -
Schr. FLORIDA, do. total loss $2,500 $1,483 -
Schr. LIGURE , do. do. $1,500 $ 2,500 6
Schr. M. KINGMAN do. $400 - -
Schr. MISSISSIPPI do. $400 $75 -
Schr. INDIANA, do. total loss $3,000 $750 -
Ship MILWAUKIE, ashore near
      Kalamazoo, Mi., total loss $10,000 $7,500 10
Schr. COLUMBUS, ashore near Grand
      River, Mi., total loss $2,800 $4,000 -
Schr. FLORIDA, ashore near St, Joseph,
      total loss $3,000 - -
Schr. BANCROFT, do. total loss $3,000 - -
Stmr. WISCONSIN, near Chicago $3,000 - -
Schr. S. JUNEAU, dismasted and drifted
      into Grand River, Mi. $500 - -
Stmr. C. TROWBRIDGE, ashore near
      Milwaukie $3,000 - -
Schr. HERALD, (British) ashore near
      Grand River, Canada $$500 - -
Schr. H. COLVIN, on Lake Erie,
      deck loading - $80 -
Schr. JOHN GRANT, on Lake Erie,
      chain and anchor - $100 -
Schr. A. WILCOX, on Lake Huron,
      deck loading - $375 -
Schr. J. RICHARDS, ashore on Point
      Au Barques, Lake Huron $1,000 - -
Schr. DETROIT, missing, no tidings,
      (total loss) $750 - 6
Schr. CAROLINE, missing on Lake
      Huron, total loss $1,500 - 6
Schr. EMILY (British) missing, no tidings,
      (total loss) $2,500 - 8
Schr. MERCHANT, and schr. JUNA lost
      one men each - - 2
      -------------- ------------- --------
      $38,150 $25,613 62
Sept. 8 - Schr. ACORN, run down
      and sunk on Lake Erie $4,400 $3,000 1
Oct. - Schr. LODI, run down and
      sunk on Lake Erie $500 - -
Nov. 5 - Stmr. VERMILLION burned at
      Huron, Lake Erie $25,000 $5,700 3
Dec. - Stmr. ERIE, cut by ice and sunk
      on Lake St. Clair $3,000 - 3
      -------------- ---------- ------
      $81,050 $33,313 69
      The information in regards to the losses upon the upper lakes is quite vague, and we think much greater than given above. Yet in the absence of something more authentic it must go forward.
      The loss of life and property upon Lake Michigan by wreck of vessels and the like were as follows.
      Year Lives Vessels Loss of property
1834 1 2 $37,500
1835 53 11 $178,500
1836 4 5 $298,750
1837 - 9 $171,400
1838 1 8 $78,000
1839 33 13 $111,800
1840 1 3 $31,000
1841 25 28 $145,000
      ------ ----- ---------------
      Total 118 89 $1,052,45
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      January 18, 1843
     
      . . . . .

(Adv.) Schooner JEFFERSON of Chicago For Sale - by auction on the beach 4 miles south of Buffalo (if not previously sold by private bargain) on Wed. 22nd inst., the hull, rigging, etc. of the vessel has since been raised and not much damaged. For particulars, apply to - Jas. Murray and Co., 164 Main St.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      March 10, 1843 3 - 7



      An old citizen whose mind is stored with reminiscences connected with Buffalo, and who is a good authority on all matters pertaining to its early history, sends us the following:
Eds. Commercial:- November 18, 1842, (26 years ago this evening, or tonight), the schr. JEFFERSON went ashore near the then Wells Pratt (now the Tifft farm, above the toll bridge on the Buffalo and Dunkirk turnpike road, in a freezing snow storm, and the mother and her baby were frozen to death while coming ashore in the awful storm. Capt. L.B. Golssmith, I believe, sailed the JEFFERSON that year, or Capt. Goldsmith's brother, who is now on a Cleveland and Detroit, or Detroit and Milwaukee steamboat.
      Yours Respectfully H.S.S.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      November 18, 1868 3-3

      . . . . .



Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Notes:
Reason: aground
Lives: 9
Hull damage: $1,000
Cargo: $700
Freight: merchandise
Remarks: Repaired
Date of Original:
1842
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
McN.W.8970
Language of Item:
English
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 42.88645 Longitude: -78.87837
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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Jefferson (Schooner), aground, 18 Nov 1842