The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Martha Ogden (Steamboat), aground, 12 Nov 1832


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MARTHA OGDEN, paddlewheel steamer of 148 tons, built at Sackets Harbor, N. Y. 1823. Stranded near Sackets Harbor, N. Y. on November 12, 1832. No lives lost.
      Merchant Steam Vessels of the U. S. A.
      1790-1868 Lytle-Holdcamper List


      FURTHER PARTICULARS RELATIVE TO THE LOSS OF THE STEAMER "MARTHA OGDEN".---The following letter from the master, to Gen. Denison, relating to the cause and particulars of the wreck, will serve to correct an error in our last publication respecting it, as it appears Capt. Vaughan's statement that the boat did not spring a leak, but came near foundering in consequence of the waves breaking over her. We are informed that she was a very staunch boat, and well found in every respect; her loss, therefore, is solely attributable to the force of the elements, and the veto of President Jackson, forbidding the improvement of the only harbours she could resort to for safety.--Sackets Harbor Courier
      Henderson, Mexico Bay
      November 15, 1832
Sam'l. Denison, Esq.--Sir--I left Oswego in the MARTHA OGDEN, bel'ing to you, on the 12th. inst., about half past 1 P. M., with every prospect of a pleasant and short passage to Sacket's Harbour. Shortly after leaving the harbour of Oswego, the weather appeared threatening, and a heavy sea began to make; but it being impossible to get back--the wind having veered to the West and a very heavy sea on--I was obliged to do the best I could. I shaped my course North, N. by E. and N. by W. as the sea would allow me; the sea breaking so much over me, rendered my engine perfectly useless, as no fire could be kept in the furnaces; I made all sail on her that would stand, for about an hour--but was compelled to take in the foresail in consequence of the wind being so fresh. Before this, I found the pumps chocked, and all hands, including the passengers, commenced bailing with buckets, but could not keep her free. The wheel-rope parted about half past 6 P.M., and she drifted considerably to the leeward during the time we were employed in repairing it. I made the Galoe light about 7 o'clock in the evening, bearing North, expecting to make the passage between Stony Island and Stony Point, but the wind hauling to the Northward and West, and blowing very hard--with a tremendous sea, which swept the main-deck fore and aft, and carried away the promenade deck and ladies' cabin--on finding I could not clear Stony Point, and believing, with all on board, that the boat would founder if kept on the lake--she being water logged--and that all on board would perish, I ran into eight and a half fathoms of water and let go both anchors about 9 o'clock. She rode about an hour and a half--all hands bailing--when both chains parted within five minutes of each other. I ordered the jib loosed, to clear the point under our lee--veered her around, got the fore-sail on her and cleared the point, taking in about ten hogsheads of water, the sea making a fair breach over her. She then became perfectly unmanageable, and I gave orders that the passengers should be called on deck. She continued to drift until she struck the rocks in the second bay south of Stony Point. After she struck, the sea made a fair breach over her, which was about 11 o'clock P. M. Shortly after she struck she filled, and everyone being on deck, the screams of the women and children made the scene truly distressing. My passengers however, rendered all the assistance in their power, and to their exertions, together with my own and crew, and the help of a Divine Providence, we were all saved. One of the passengers, Mr. Wm. Miller, of Canada, succeeded in getting on shore at the greatest hazard of his life, and informed the inhabitants of our distress; they soon collected on the shore, and rendered us all the assistance in their power.
With their assistance, we got a rope from the boat to a tree on shore, and by that means landed the passengers and crew--first the children in a basket, the others in a sling.
If the Harbours of Salmon River and Sandy Creek, under our lee in Mexico Bay had been improved agreeable to an act of our last Congress, that was vetoed by the President, we should undoubtedly have escaped this misfortune, and saved you the heavy loss you must sustain by the disaster.
I cannot say too much in favor of the inhabitants near us; they rendered us all the assistance and comfort in their power; for which I feel truly grateful.----William Vaughan.
      Oswego (New York) Free press
      November 28, 1832
      . . . . .

      From the Sacket's Harbor Courier.
      WRECK OF THE STEAM-BOAT "MARTHA OGDEN."
      On the night of the 12th inst. as the MARTHA OGDEN was on her way from Oswego to this port, she sprang a leak, and the pumps failing, the men took to bailing out the water with buckets. She, however, continued to fill despite of the utmost exertions of all on board, and was so soon flooded that her fires were completely extinguished, which of course prevented her engine from working. The wind at the time was blowing very severely from the N. W., and the master, Capt. Vaughan endeavored to make sail; but she was, notwithstanding, driven and foundered on the rocks near the Stoney Point, about 14 miles from this place, and yesterday went to pieces. There were a number of passengers on board---and among them three women and eight children---all compelled to stand in the open air from about 11 o'clock at night (the time she struck) until about 9 o'clock yesterday morning, when they were taken on shore by means of a basket and Dutch harness, rigged upon a line leading from the wreck to the shore, and every individual thus saved.
      The kindness and attention of the inhabitants in the vicinity where these sufferers landed, completely drenched as they were with water, which had congealed upon them, cannot be too gratefully remembered by this community; and to the deliberation, skill and unremitting exertions of Captain Vaughan and his crew, the passengers are indebted for their lives. No blame can possibly be attached to Captain Vaughan, as it was altogether owing to fortuitous circumstances that the boat was thrown off her course and driven upon the rocks.
      The MARTHA OGDEN was owned by Messrs. L. & S. Denison of this place. We understand there was no insurance up on her.
      Hallowell Free Press
      December 4, 1832

      . . . . .


      Henderson, Mexico Bay
      November 15, 1832
      Samuel Denison, Esq. - Sir - I left Oswego in the Martha Ogden, belonging to you, on the 12th instant, about half-past 1 P.M., with every prospect of a pleasant and short passage to Sacket's Harbour. - Shortly after leaving the harbour of Oswego, the weather appeared threatening, and a heavy sea began to make; but it being impossible to go back - the wind
having veered to the west and a very heavy sea on - I was obliged to do the best I could. I shaped by course North . N. by E. and N. by W. as the sea would allow me; the sea breaking so much over me, rendering my Engine perfectly useless, as no fire could be kept in the furnaces; I made all sail on her that would stand, for about an hour - but was compelled to
take in the foresail in consequence of the wind being so fresh. - Before this, I found the pumps choked, and all hands, including the passengers, commenced bailing with buckets, but could not keep her free. The wheel-rope parted about half past 6 P.M., and she drifted considerably to the leeward during the time were employed in repairing it. I made the
Galoe light about 7 o'clock in the evening, bearing North, expecting to make the passage between Stony island and Stony Point, but the wind hauling to the northward and west and blowing very hard, with a tremendous sea, which swept the main deck fore and aft, and carried away the promenade deck and ladies cabin - on finding I could not clear Stony Point, and believing, with all on board, that the boat would founder if kept on the lake - she being so water logged, and that all on board would perish,I ran into 8 1/2 fathoms of water and let go both anchors about 9 o'clock. She rode about an hour and a half -- all hands bailing -- when both chains parted within 5 minutes of each other.
I ordered the job loosed, to clear the point under our lee - veered her round, got the fore-sail on her and cleared the point, taking in about 10 hogs heads of water, the sea making a fair breach over her. She then became perfectly unmanageable, and I gave orders that the passengers should be called on deck. She continued to drift until she struck the rocks in the second bay South of Stony Point. After she struck, the sea made a fair breach over her, which was about 11 o'clock P.M. Shortly after she struck, she filled, and every one being on deck, the screams of the women and children made the scene truly distressing.
My passengers, however, rendered all the assistance in their power, and to their exertions, with my own and crew, and the help of a Divine Providence, we were all saved. One of the passengers, Mr. Wm. Miller, of Canada, succeeded in getting on shore at the greatest hazard of his life, and informed the inhabitants of our distress: they soon collected on shore, and rendered us all the assistance in their power. With their assistance, we got a rope from the boat to a tree on shore, and by that means landed the passengers and crew - first the children in a basket, the others in a sling.
If the harbours of Salmon River and Sandy Creek, under our lee in Mexico Bay had been approve agreeable to an act of our last Congress, that was vetoed by the President, we should undoubtedly have escaped this misfortune, and saved you the heavy loss you must sustain by the disaster.*
I cannot say too much in favor of the inhabitants near us: they have rendered us all the assistance and comfort in their power; for which I feel truly grateful.
      WILLIAM VAUGHAN

Being on board the Steam-boat Martha Ogden, as passengers, when the misfortune as described above happened, and being considerable losers by it, we hereby certify that the above account of the disaster is strictly true in our belief, and that no blame whatever can be attached to Capt. Vaughan.
      GEORGE ARCHER.
      WILLIAM MILLER.

"We understand, that in the above wreck, our fellow citizen, Captain George Archer, was a loser to the amount of some hundreds, which, added to his numerous other misfortunes, is very severely felt. We hope it will be made up to him." - Oswego Free Press.

* We question very much whether this sentence was not added for the purpose of prejudicing the public against Gen. Jackson. We cannot see what other motive could have induced the remark, which is clearly unjust and destitute of foundation. If the President had sanctioned the bill which contained the appropriations to improve the harbors at the mouths of Salmon River and Sandy Creek, which was not passed until July last, no progress could yet have been made in those improvements, so that the condition of the navigation could not, in any event, have been changed at this time; and the attempt to cast the blame of the loss of the Martha Ogden upon the President, betrays no ingeniousness or generosity. The reasons for the rejection of the bill alluded to, have been so fully discussed during the late canvass, that comment at this time is unnecssaary. They were duly appreciated and passed on by the people.
      Oswego Palladium
      Wednesday, December 5, 1832.
     

(Notes: The steamboats "Martha Ogden" and "Ontario" comprised the fleet of the Lake Ontario Steamboat Co., incorporated Jan. 28, 1831. Directors were Joseph and Samuel Denison, Edward Bronson, Gerrit Smith, Elias Trowbridge, Theophilus S. Morgan, Richard L. DeZeng, Frederick Bushnell, Elisha Camp, Jacob Arnold, William Baron, John C. Bush and Thomas L. Ogden.
      The "Martha Ogden" was rigged fore and aft and registered at 150 tons. She was 104'x23' z 9' Built by Albert Crane of Sackets Harbor. First voyage April 1, 1825. machinery from the Allaire Works in New York City. Had a cross-head engine with 20-foot wheels. Named for the wife of Thomas L. Ogden of New York, one of the directors.



"The risk of Lake Ontario, during the months of navigation, I am persuaded is not greater than of Long Island Sound. The best proof is, that since steam-boats have been introduced on the lake, (and there are now between thirty and forty, large and small, on Lake Ontario), there have been but two boats lost, viz: - the MARTHA OGDEN, in the summer of 1832 - a miserable old boat of about 30 horsepower, belonging to the port of Oswego - and the JOHN BY, belonging to Upper Canada, during this summer. The JOHN BY was a botched concern from the beginning, and neither she nor the MARTHA OGDEN would in fact have been looked upon as seaworthy, or as ensurable vessels, at the time they were lost."
      Oswego Free Press
      December 4, 1833


Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Notes:
Reason: aground
Lives: nil
Freight: passengers
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
1832
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
McN.W.12847
Language of Item:
English
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 44.24839 Longitude: -75.77606
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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Martha Ogden (Steamboat), aground, 12 Nov 1832