The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daniel Webster (Steamboat), burnt, 11 Jan 1835

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Steamer DANIEL WEBSTER, now lying in Black Rock Harbor, out of commission, was burned to the waters edge in Buffalo Harbor on the evening of the 11th. of January, 1835, and was rebuilt the same winter...A low pressure engine, of 358 tons. Built Black Rock in 1833.
      " Trade And Commerce"
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      March 26, 1847

      . . . . .

      STEAM BOAT BURNT. - About 8 o'clock last evening, the Steam Boat DANIEL WEBSTER, lying in our harbor, at the wharf of Pratt, Taylor & Co. was discovered to be on fire. The flames were extinguished before the hull of the boat was materially injured, but the upper works from stem to stern, including both deck and the deck cabins, were rendered a complete wreck of blackened cinders. The boat is supposed to have been set on fire by some persons, as the NEW YORK was also fired, though ineffectually, on New Years Eve and it is not improbable that the person or persons concerned in that transaction were instrumental in accomplishing this more successful piece of villainy. Pratt, Taylor & Co. are
the principal owners. Damage is estimated at from eight to twelve thousand dollars.
      The WEBSTER will be immediately repaired, and made ready to resume her trip on the opening of navigation with her general arrangements much improved.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Monday, January 12, 1835 p. 3 c. 2

      . . . . .

      BURNING OF THE WEBSTER. - We yesterday gave a hasty notice of the burning of the steam boat DANIEL WEBSTER, at our wharf on Sunday evening, not being able to ascertain the particulars. We have since learned that the loss is estimated at from $8,000 to $12,000---her hull, engine and Furniture being saved.
      This is the second steam boat fired by incendiaries within the last week; and we have also been informed that there has been attempts to burn some of our best buildings.
      There ought to be some rigid measures taken to ferret out the perpetrators of those foul deeds. The citizens of Buffalo have already suffered enough by the hands of such "demons of darkness."
      Messrs. Pratt, Taylor & Co. the enterprising proprietors of the DANIEL WEBSTER intend having her ready for sailing by the time the Lake is open, with improved arrangements.
      Buffalo Daily Star
      Tuesday, January 13, 1835

      . . . . .
FIRE. -- The following we issued in a slip, on Monday morning last. Since that time we gathered no additional particulars of moment. A plaid cloak, partly burnt, was found in the boat's cabin, which may lead to the detection of the incendiary.
The WEBSTER will again be in readiness to take the lake on the opening of navigation.
      STEAM BOAT BURNT! -- We had an alarm of fire about nine o'clock last evening, caused by the conflagration of the Steam Boat DANIEL WEBSTER, in the harbour. She was moored at the dock, in front of the store-house of Pratr, Taylor & Co.
The steam Boat GOV. MARCY lay immediately astern, and the Brig INDIANA under her bows -- all immovably fixed in the ice; while the wooden store-house was only at the distance of a few feet upon the shore. When we reachcd the scene, the WEBSTER was burning furiously, both forward and aft, -- the centre around the engine not having yet kindled. The fire engines were placed upon the ice of the harbor, and attacked the flames simultaneously, at different points -- which were finally quelled.
On visiting the Boat this morning, we find her inside work entirely destroyed, with decks, upper works, &c., engine considerably damaged but the frame apparently uninjured. The amount of damage we have heard estimated at from six to eight thousand dollals -- no insurance. The Webster is owned, principally, by Pratt, Taylor & Co. of this city, Dows, Cary & Co., Albany, Allaire, New York, &c.; was new, and one of the swiftest boats upon the lakes.
The fire was the work of design -- though no motive for the hellish deed is known. There had been no fire in the boat for more than six weeks past, and it appears to have been kindled both in the forward and aft part at the same time. The incendiary was a most considerate scoundrel, for he chose a night so calm, that the flames rose perpendicularly. Had the wind been high, several of the steam boats and vessels, with a range of extensive wooden store-houses must have been destroyed.
The Steam-Boat NEW-YORK, also in port, has been twice fired within a few weeks, and in each instance, the fire went out, most fortunately, without damage, and before the fact was discovered.
      Buffalo Whig
      January 14, 1835, p. 3, c. 1

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: burnt
Lives: nil
Hull damage: $8,000
Freight: nil
Remarks: Rebuilt
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 42.88645 Longitude: -78.87837
William R. McNeil
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Daniel Webster (Steamboat), burnt, 11 Jan 1835