The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Ohio (Propeller), boiler exploded, 6 Nov 1859


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LOSS OF THE PROPELLER OHIO BY EXPLOSION. - Telegraphs were received by the American Transportation Co., yesterday morning notifying it that the propeller OHIO, which left this port Saturday with a full cargo of merchandise, for Cleveland, had exploded Sunday morning, when off Long Point, and had sunk in ten minutes. The telegraph brings us the following additional particulars:
      The propeller OHIO, bound to Buffalo from Cleveland with a cargo of three hundred and fifty tons of merchandise, when ten miles off Long Point, Sunday morning at 2 o'clock, blew up and sunk in ten minutes. There were seventeen persons on board, of whom Thomas Corbet, second mate, and Daniel Dannegan, wheelsman, were lost. The remaining fifteen drifted in a yawl boat without oars, in a high sea, with little clothing, fifteen hours, when the propeller EQUATOR picked them up and brought them to Sandusky.
      The OHIO was owned by the Americam Transportation Company, and was not insured. She was an old boat and of not much value. The loss to the company will, therefore, be small.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      Tuesday, November 8, 1859

      . . . . .

      The propeller OHIO, belonging to the American Transportation Co., was completely wrecked on Sunday morning last, by an explosion of her boilers, while on a trip up from Buffalo to Cleveland. From her captain, Nickerson, who was picked up by the propeller EQUATOR, of the Buffalo and Sandusky Line, and brought to this city, we gather the following particulars:
      The OHIO left Buffalo on Friday morning at 10:00, bound for Cleveland, with a cargo of 350 tons of merchandise. She put into Gravely Bay and lay until Saturday at 5 p.m. when she pursued her course towards Cleveland. At 11 p.m. she was abreast of Long Point weather good. At about a quarter of 2 o'clock, Sunday morning, Captain Nickerson went below to the engine room and found about 65 lbs. head of steam. At that time he calculate4 the propeller was 30 miles above Long Point, and ten miles from land. She carried her foresail jib, and was making about 11 miles per hour. The captain then went to his room, and removing his coat, hat, and boots, lay down on the outside of his bed to rest. He had laid there about 10 minutes awake, when he was startled by a crashing report, like the explosion of heavy ordanance. He sprang from his bed, and without stopping to put on the clothing he had removed, hastened upon deck. An awful scene met his view. There was nothing of the
propeller above water except the hurricane deck and bows and all around the struggling crew were clinging to broken pieces of the wreck and crying plaintively for help. Luckily one of the yawls struck in the water right side up, in which the captain had just time to step and push off before the wreck went down. He was the last to leave the propeller. The other yawl was capsized.
There were 17 persons on board, all told. Of these, fifteen were saved. The other two, Curvette, the second mate, and Mr. Charles Banagen, wheelaman, are missing. The former was seen running aft after the explosion occurred, it is thought he got tangled in the wreck and want down. The wheelsman was not seen after the accident. The captain's son, a lad of about 14 years of age, was on board and was saved with difficulty. He had just recovered from an attack of fever, and consequently was not able to take care of himself. He was caught under the cabin as it toppled over, and would have been drowned had not the engineer reached under the wreck and pulled him out.
      Into the single yawl the fifteen survivors huddled, and having nothing for oars but pieces of the wreck, they were almost entirely at the mercy of wind and wave. They drifted up the lake and saw two vessels before daylight bound down, but they passed not over 10 rods from the yawl. All efforts to attract the attention of those on board the vessels were in vain. A propeller and sail vessel were seen during the day, but they veered off toward land and soon passed out of sight.
      The condition of the shipwrecked men now became desperate. They were scantily clad and ont one of them having either hat or shoes, a cold northeast gale was blowing and the seas were rolling terrifically. Many of the poor fellows, considering their case hopeless, abandoned themselves to despair. But the brave captain, undaunted, working with the energy of several men, with words of hope and encouragement stimulated then to renewed
exertion, and all iabored with their impromptu oars to keep their frail bark from swamping.
      Darkness now began to gather on the horizion, and the stoutest hearted of the devoted little crew began to give way before the almost certain prospect of a watery grave stared them in the face. But a propeller is seen in the distance, bearing toward them. As it nears them, their signal of distress is seen, and they are picked up, about 5:15, off Madison dock, fifteen miles below Grand Rliver, about fifteen miles from land. The propeller proved to be the EQUATOR.
      With the promptness of true and noble hearted sailors, Captain Hines, and his officers and crew did everything in their power to administer to the comfort of their shipwrecked bretherin. They supplied them with clothing and recruited their wasted powers with the best refreshments the EQUATOR could afford. For this disinterested and humane kindness the officers and crew of the EQUATOR have the unfeigned thanks of those whose wants they so promptly relieved.
      That a common yawlboat, that in which were fifteen persons should ride out the gale of Sunday, is almost a miracle. Captain Nickerson, who is an old sailor, says he never saw a more terrific sea than that which ran between twelve and two o'clock. Hie thought every surge would carry them down. When the EQUATOR stopped to pick them up, she rolled so tremendously it was feared she would go to pieces.
      The EQUATOR reached this port yesterday morning about daylight. Captain Nickerson and the balance of the surviviors went east by the cars last evening. The crew will stop at Cleveland. The Captain and his son will go on to Buffalo, where they reside.
      The cause of the explosion is unknown. At the time the accident occurred the second engineer was engaged in oiling his machinery, and the fireman in trying the water, which he found all right. The OHIO is estimated to have been worth about $15,000. It was not insured. The cargo was VERY valuable, and probably mostly insured. Captain Nickerson lost $3O in money, two valuable glasses, a barometer and about $2O0 worth of clothing.
      Sandusky Register
      Tuesday, November 8, 1859

      . . . . .

      The OHIO left Buffalo on Friday morning, at 10 o'clock, bound for Cleveland with a cargo of 350 tons of merchandise. She put into Gravelly Bay and lay till Saturday 5 P.M. when she pursued her course towards Cleveland. At 11 P.M. she was abreast of Long Point, weather good. At about quarter of 2 o'clock, Sunday morning, Captain Nickerson went below to the engine room, and found about 65 pounds head of steam. At that time he calculated the propeller was 30 miles above Long Point and about 10 miles from land. She carried her foresail and jib, and was making about 11 miles per hour. The captain then went to his room and removing his hat, coat and boots, lay down on the outside of his bed to
rest. He had lain there about ten minutes, awake, when he was startled by a crashing report, like the explosion of heavy ordnance. He sprang from his bed, and without stopping to dress, hastened on deck. An awful scene met his view. There was nothing of the propeller above water but the hurricane deck and bows, all around the struggling crew were clinging to pieces of the wreck. Luckily one of the yawls struck in the water, right side up, into which the captain had just time to step and push off before the wreck went down. He was the last to leave the propeller. The other yawl was capsized. There was seventeen persons on board all told, of these fifteen were saved. The other two, Thos. Corvett, the second mate, and Michail Danegan, wheelsman are missing.
      Into this single yawl the fifteen survivors huddled and drifted for 15 hours before being picked up by the propeller EQUATOR at 5 P.M. off Madison Dock, 25 miles below Grand River and 15 miles from land. - (heavily condensed)
      Cleveland Morning Leader
      Wednesday, November 9, 1859



Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Notes:
Reason: boiler exploded
Lives: 2
Hull damage: $15,000
Freight: merchandise
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
1859
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
McN.W.10846
Language of Item:
English
Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 42.555833 Longitude: -80.197222
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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Ohio (Propeller), boiler exploded, 6 Nov 1859