The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Atlas (Steamboat), aground, 24 Oct 1851

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October 24, 1851 - Stmr. ATLAS, wrecked near Grand River, C.W., Cargo flour, some saved, Hull and machinery may be partly saved. Property loss, $24,000.
      Disasters on the Lakes in 1851
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser. Jan. 2, 1852

      . . . . .

We take the following from the protest noted by Captain Bancroft of the loss of his vessel, the Steamer ATLAS.
Left Erie about 9 o'clock P.M.,of the 23th.,got under way, wind off the land and light. About 10 o'clock, wind came from South West, heavy; and carried away gaff of the fore-sail, fore sheet. Wind increasing, ran off before it until the sea became so heavy that it was impossible to steer, and the boat broached to, labored heavily and shipped much water on deck; knocked in the lee gangway boards and began to keep pumps going; but water gained upon us. About 1 o'clock A.M.,of the 24th. ordered cargo between decks to be thrown overboard ( about 150 barrels of flour), but the gale increasing, the boat continued to labor heavily. About 1-30 o'clock, in consequence of the fires being extinguished, the engine ceased to work, and the boat was rendered entirely unmanagable, having no sail but the jib. She continued to drift towards the Canada shore---about 12 o'clock at noon of the 24th.,in about 5 fathoms of water, and eight miles below Grand River, C.W.,let go the big anchor and run out 33 fathoms chain, then let go the small anchor; they did not check her, and she drifted on to a rocky point, where she now lies. About 5 o'clock P.M. got down small boat and landed part of the crew:- the balance remained on board until the morning of the 25th.,when they came off. The boat is now a wreck at the place above named
      Morning Express, Buffalo
      Tuesday, October 28, 1851

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      The ATLAS was loaded by W.M. Whitcombe Co. and had on board 2,972 barrels of flour, which was fully insured in the National Insurance Co. at Nashville, Tenn. G.M. Williams was the agent of the Company and has repaired to the scene of the disaster, to save such property as can be secured.
      Morning Express, Buffalo
      Thursday, October 30, 1851

      . . . . .

      The steamer GREAT WESTERN, Capt. Goldsmith, arrived yesterday morning from the wreck of the steamer ATLAS, bringing a portion of her cargo. Capt. G., reports that it is hardly probable that anything can be done with the vessel. They succeeded in pumping out about two feet of water, but could lower it no further. If the gale of yesterday did not disturb the wreck, some more of her cargo may perhaps be saved in a damaged state.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Tuesday, November 4, 1851

      . . . . .

      THE STEAMER ATLAS. - The GREAT WESTERN came into port this morning with the
balance of the cargo of the steamer ATLAS, lately wrecked on the Canada shore. 2,300 bbls. of flour have now been taken from the wreck, of which 600 bbls. are but slightly damaged. The ATLAS lay in a very bad situation on the rocks, and the GREAT WESTERN, after having pumped the water down to three feet, even then found it impossible to drag her off. But we learn that since the GREAT WEST left, the waves have swung the wreck around, where she now lies quite secure from further injury.
      It is stated that the hull is in no way broken up, and that on the application of a steam pump, to clear her of water, she may be easily got afloat, and repaired sufficiently to enable the G. W., to tow her into port.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Thursday, November 6, 1851

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: aground
Lives: nil
Hull damage: $24,000
Cargo: included
Freight: flour
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 42.855277 Longitude: -79.577777
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Atlas (Steamboat), aground, 24 Oct 1851