The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
E. Fitzgerald (Schooner), U8790, aground, 1 Nov 1883

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      The Bad news Confirmed.
The captain of the life-saving station at Port Rowan, Canada, telegraphed to Chicago yesterday confirming the fears that the vessel [with the new foresail] ashore at Long Point, the crew of which was all drowned attempting to reach the main land, was the schooner E. FITZGERALD, Captain Daniel Langan. The dispatch stated that "there was hardly a doubt it was the FITZGERALD."
      Captain Maurice Langan, master of the schooner JOSEPH R. MASTEN, now here, left Chicago , last evening for Port Rowan. He is a brother of Captain Dan Langan, of the FITZGERALD. Captain Patrick Langan, of the C.J. WELLS, also in Chicago, is another brother. captain Dan Langan was only 31 years of age and unmarried. The FITZGERALD carried eight or nine men. She was of the usual style of construction and came out in 1870. She measured 297 tons. Her rating was A 2, and her value $10,000. Haley, of Buffalo is the owner. Her cargo is wheat, from Detroit. Vessel and cargo are insured.
      [Special Telegram to the Inter Ocean]
Port Rowan, Ont., Nov. 16. -- Captain Woodward, of the life-saving station, proceeded at daylight this morning to the wreck of the ill-fated schooner which went ashore on Long Point yesterday. After spending three hours on the beach with a telescope, the schooner being one mass of ice, the name on the bow and stern being completely covered up, as near as can be made out to read is "E. FITZGERALD of Buffalo." She now lies with bow outward. The port rail and bulwarks have all been washed off and now lie upon the beach. The deck is under water. She is supposed to be loaded with wheat, as wheat has been washed ashore near the wreck. Further reports from those who reached the beach immediately after she struck say that only six men were seen to have got into the yawl, hence six men have met their fate, instead of eight, as reported yesterday. The heavy sea is still running very high, and it would be impossible for any one with an ordinary yawl boat to reach her, and nothing further can be learned, as no one has survived to tell the sad story. From the surroundings at present it is judged she will be a total wreck, it being late in the fall nothing can be done to relieve her. As yet none of the bodies have been found.
      J.W. Hall Great Lakes Marine Scrapbook, November, 1883

      The schooner E. FITZGERALD was ashore Thursday at Long Point, completely covered with ice. All the crew (6) were drowned in endeavoring to reach the shore in a yawl. None of the bodies came ashore. She was loaded with wheat and will be a total loss.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Saturday, November 17, 1883

      . . . . .

It was hoped that the people of Kingston would escape bereavement by the loss of dear ones in the terrible gales that swept the Lakes during the past week. But this hope has been dispelled. A Telegram announces that Daniel Langan, of Wolfe Island, went down with the schooner E. FITZGERALD near Port Rowan, Thursday. The vessel was then en route from Detroit to Buffalo, and during a terrific snowstorm was beached a few miles west of the West End Lighthouse, Long Point. The life saving crew from Port Rowan went at once to the rescue, but Captain Woodward reports that some tem minutes after striking, the crew of the schooner launched the yawl and seven or eight men were seen to enter her. The yawl swamped in a second after leaving the ship, and one by one the men went down until the last sailor succumbed to the undertow when almost within reach of the shore. If the crew could have weathered the storm in the rigging, the lifeboat would have attempted a rescue. But they took the yawl before the lifeboat reached the beach. Many willing hands watched their movements, but could do nothing. The name of the schooner could not be ascertained for some time, owing to the blow and the fact that she was covered with ice.
It was oly a few weeks since that the schooner was in port with a cargo of grain. Captain Langan was about 32 years of age and of a sea-faring family. Two of his brothers being like himself, Captains of vessels. The widowed mother and the sister of the deceased live at Marysville, and only last evening received a letter from the captain, in which he thanked God for the preservation of his life in the terrible gales through which he had just passed. He told of the hard work he had had; that he was completely tired of sailing, and that this was his last trip. Poor Fellow ! he little knew how prophetic were the word. The Captain was genial and industrious, and his death, in such a sad way will carry sorrow to many hearts.
There were rummors that James Loftus, of this city, was mate of the ill fated craft, but such was not the case. He is at present in Kingston and was met, by a Whig Reporter. He said he left the schooner at Detroit on Saturday. He left her because whenever the schooner entered a port his wages were stopped. Capt Langan may have another Kingstonian for mate, as he told Loftus before the latter left that he intended to telegraph for George Riley. Whether Riley accepted is not known. William Abe, of Buffalo , was a hand before the mast, and one of the Scotchmen who came out several years ago to man Garden Island vessels. The cook was a buffalo woman
The Rev. Fr. Spratt received a telegram also announcing the calamity. The deceased had been one of Fr. Spratt's parishioners, and an active worker in the interests of all benevolent, charitable, and church schemes. Mr. Langan had other narrow escapes before, but he was always plucky and brave, and, on the water as well as on the land, did not flinch from the performance of a duty.
Articles recovered in the wrecked Schooner E. FITZGERALD, to identy the crew; a coast pilot, with the name of P. McKay, Bay City., schooner IDA HORNING, of East Saginaw; box of letters and a stencil plate of Frank E. Bingham, wife and child living near Leamington, Ontario; Sister living at Brantford Station, Ontario; a small leather purse bag, containing a marine hospital member's certificate, Buffalo, to Robert Stevens, steamer TACOMA, Canadian, aged 26, height 5 feet 9 inches, eyes dark, signed F.A. LaSalle, name partly obliterated; also a card of the Detroit branch of the Chicago Seamen's Union, badge 144, dated Detroit, November 13th.; three bags of seamen's clothing, no name in any; an English farthing in a pants pocket. Enquiries are also made for Andrew Ferguson, of St. Thomas. The men are sweeping for the bodies. None yet have been found - Kingston News
      Marine Record
      Nov. 29, 1883

E. FITZGERALD Schooner of 297 Tons, and 13 years of age. Valued at $14,000 Became a total loss on Lake Erie during 1883.
      Lost Tonnage on the Lake in 1883
      Marine Record, December 27, 1883

Schooner E. FITZGERALD, at Point (sic) Burwell, total loss, owned by John Haley, of Buffalo. Valued at $12,000, insured for $10,000.
      Casualty List for 1883
      Cleveland Herald
      November 21, 1883

Schooner E. FITZGERALD. U. S. No. 8790. Of 297 tons. Built Port Huron, Mich., 1870. 134.8 x 26.9 x 11.1
      Herman Runge List

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Reason: aground
Lives: 7
Remarks: Total loss
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 42.555833 Longitude: -80.197222
William R. McNeil
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E. Fitzgerald (Schooner), U8790, aground, 1 Nov 1883