The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Saratoga (Schooner), sunk by collision, 23 Oct 1851

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From the True Democrat
      Democrat Editors - Oct. 23, 1851 -- This morning about 4-30 o'clock, on the Canada side, above Long Point the Steamer BUCKEYE STATE and the schooner SARATOGA, Capt. Spence, made a collision, the former striking the latter in her right side, about 8 feet from her stern. The schooner was laden with 8,000 bu. of corn; she soon filled and sunk. Three lives were lost, vig; Frank Stowell of Oswego, and two others who were shipped yesterday, one called Bill, and the name of the other supposed to be Ryan.
The Steamer CASPIAN had come out of Buffalo before the BUCKEYE STATE, and the latter was followed by the OCEAN. They were all in a line, or nearly so, and the wind was fresh, and the lake rough. The schooner came down on the larboard of the CASPIAN, headed to starboard of the BUCKEYE. When first distinctly noticed by the watch of the BUCKEYE, her lights were supposed to be the CASPIANS. As soon as it was seen she was nearing us rapidly. The BUCKEYE was put to the right to avoid her; finding there was danger, the BUCKEYE reversed her engine and her head was greatly checked, though not entirely, and this made the concussion comparitivily light. Stowell was not seen again after the collision. The saved were Captain Spence, Hugh Johnston, Mate, Mack Pough and Thomas Gregory. The latter could not swim, and he clung to a spar. The others went up the masts, Capt. Spence on the mainmast until that sunk, then he swam to the foremast. Johnson and Lough were both caught in the rigging and drawn under, but succeeded in extricating themselves. The top of the cabin floated, to which 3 then swam and hauled Gregory on; they were taken off by the boat of the BUCKEYE. No blame, whatever, could be attached to the Captain of the BUCKEYE who did everything in his power to render assistance, and a better Captain and crew are not often found.
      The four men rescued, and most of the passengers, assembled in the cabin, where the 115 th. Paslm was read, and thanks to almighty God, offered, for their deliverance -- afterwhich $15-50 were contributed by the passengers and crew of the BUCKEYE towards the Sufferers. H.O.S.
The hull of the boat was insured in the Utica Insurance Company for $4,000. cargo was insured in the Commercial Mutual Insurance Co., of this city, and a Company in Buffalo, The Commercial Mutual has already paid over it's part of the insurance.

      Oct. 25, 1851 - It was midnight and dark as Egypt, when the BUCKEYE STATE came in collision with the Schooner SARATOGA the other night, and cutting her in two, sending three of her crew to the bottom, and the balance adrift on a piece of the wreck. It was blowing a gale and the sea was running high. It was impossible to see into the dark distance at all. All that was known on board the Steamer, of the fate of the vessel and crew, was that the latter had sunk, and a portion of the crew were afloat, as they could hear their cries for help. In this dilemma the 2nd. Mate of the BUCKEYE, with one of the wheelsman, lowered the yawl, and at the iminent hazard of life, as all on board were of the opinion that the yawl could not live in such a sea one minute, put out to the rescue. They went in the direction of the hallooing from the wreck, and were about out of sight and hearing from the boat. They were two hours in finding the poor fellows and getting back to the steamer, which had drifted some three miles off. All in all, it was one of the most daring and thrilling adventures we have heard of. When all on board the Rev. H.O. Sheldon proposed prayers for so remarkable a deliverance, and proceeded to pray for those only, who had so remarkably escaped. He was reminded that three who were drowned had been forgotten - the Rev. Gentleman acknowledged the omission and straight way added a supplication in their behalf.
      Cleveland Plain Dealer
      October 24, 1851

      . . . . .

Schooner SARATOGA, with a cargo of corn, sunk in Lake Erie, by collision with Steamer BUCKEYE STATE. 4 men lost. Oct. 23, 1851. Property loss, $8,500.
      Disasters on the Lakes in 1851
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      January 2, 1852

      . . . . .

Schooner SARATOGA, bound down with a cargo of 8,500 bushels corn, was run into by Steamer BUCKEYE STATE and sunk. 3 men reported lost. October 23, 1851.
      Casualty List for 1851
      Erik Hyle's private papers

      . . . . .

      THE GALE LAST NIGHT -- LOSS OF LIFE. - While the steamer BUCKEYE STATE was off Erie, she ran into the schooner SARATOGA, which immediately sank. Three of her crew went down with her, and the remainder were saved with great difficulty
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Friday, October 14, 1851

      . . . . .

      THE COLLISION ON THE LAKE. - We have been favored by Capt. Phillips, of the BUCKEYE STATE, with the following particulars respecting the unfortunate collision between that steamer and the schooner SARATOGA, during the late gale. The BUCKEYE STATE was going at a moderate pace, against a head wind and steering for the CASPIAN's lights, that boat being about two miles ahead of the BUCKEYE STATE. The night was very dark, and the men on the look-out saw something between the two steamers, and immediately gave the alarm. The steam was turned off and the steamer, under the strong head wind, was almost stationary on the water. The schooner bore down rapidly and struck across the steamer's bows, leaving her mainsail and a portion of her forward deck on the steamer. The captain, mate and two hands clung to the rigging and were saved by the steamer's boat. It was the impression of the captain of the schooner that his boat sunk immediately after the collision, but Captain Phillips imagines he could discern the wreck floating away astern. There were three more hands on the schooner, who are supposed to have been lost.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Saturday, October 25, 1851

      . . . . .

      The schooner SARATOGA, which was sunk in the collision with the steamer BUCKEYE STATE last week, was insured in the Columbus Company, lately bankrupt. She is thus a total loss. Her cargo of corn was insured in the Rome Protection Company.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Monday, October 27, 1851

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: sunk by collision
Lives: 3
Hull damage: $8,500
Cargo: included
Freight: corn
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 42.555833 Longitude: -80.197222
William R. McNeil
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Saratoga (Schooner), sunk by collision, 23 Oct 1851