TERRIBLE GALE ON LAKE HURON - LOSS OF THE PROPELLER "TROY".
The telegraph day before yesterday brought word of the loss of the propeller TROY, of Chicago, on Lake Huron.
Yesterday the first mate, Marcus Lake, the 2d Engineer, J.C. Barton, and one of the wheelsmen, George F. Plimley, arrived in this city by the steamer RUBY. From Mr. Plimley and the Port Huron press, we gather the following particulars. The TROY was bound from Chicago for Port Colborne with a cargo of wheat, and foundered on Tuesday morning last, about 8 o'clock, ten miles south of Point au Barques, and about 8 miles from land.
The propeller encountered a strong head wind until about 2 o'clock on Tuesday morning, when the wind veered to north-west, and blew a gale. Notwithstanding the very heavy sea on the lake, the propeller weathered the gale well until about 5 o'clock the morning, when a heavy sea burst in her gang-ways and flooded her decks. After this every sea swept over her decks, until the water rising above her weather boards, flooded the engine, boiler and furnace, and at a quarter to 7 o'clock her fires were all extinguished, and at 8 o'clock in the
morning she went down. As she sunk, her upper cabin parted from her deck, and when last seen was afloat.
There were on board of her twenty-six persons, viz:- The officers and crew, numbering nineteen; Wm. Raic, wife and three children; Kate Hurlbut, sister of the captain's wife, and two steerage passengers.
When the vessel was found to be sinking, the Master, Capt. Byron, with great coolness and decision, addressed himself to the task of saving the passengers and crew. His first care was for the passengers, so after giving direction to other of the officers, with reference to manning the boats and for saving the crew, he launched the life-boat, and placing Mr. Raic, with his wife and three children, Miss Hurlbut, the chambermaid, Elizabeth Leonard, and Joseph Kelly, the 1st. Engineer, in it, got into it himself to take the management of it.
After the boat was launched, a mad rush was made for her by the deck hands, and two of them, colored men, succeeded in getting into her. The Captain, however, maintained his presence of mind, and prevented the swamping of the frail craft. The Captain detailed one of the officers to take charge of the only quarter-boat that was considered seaworthy, but in making the attempt the boat partially filled, and was then abandoned.
There was still another quarter-boat, but she was not seaworthy. She had been passed by the hands, probably because she was known to have a hole in her. J.C. Barber, the 2nd, Engineer, who had shipped on the TROY for the first time at Chicago, not knowing the condition of this boat, got into her and floated from the propeller as she went down. George F. Plimley remained on the pilot house until the propeller was over half under water, when he left his post, flung himself into the lake and swam, picking his way among the flood wood, towards Barber's boat. When he got in he found a hole through the bottom, and the boat
itself half full of water. He pulled his neckerchief off and handing it to Barber told him to put it in the hole. This done Barber took Plimley's knife and made a plug, which he put in the aperture also. In this way and by bailing, the boat was kept afloat. One of the negro deck hands was in the water near the boat in which were two oars; Plimley seeing him, reached him an oar, which he grasped, when the stern of the boat rising on the sea, Plimley was obliged to let go, and the poor negro sank to rise no more. Only one oar remained, and the occupants of the boat knowing that their safety depended upon retaining that, lashed it to the ring bolt at the stern. Marcus Lake, the first mate, remained on the hurricane deck after the propeller had gone down, trying to save his comrades. When he saw that his only chance of escape was to get on board the boat in which Barber and Plimley were, her urged his comrades to plunge with him into the water and make for the boat; but they seemed paralyzed with fear, and Lake jumped from the hurricane deck and swam to the boat, where, by clinging hold of the oar, the blade of which was swung towards him, he was assisted on
board. The three ocupants of the boat, Lake, Barber, and Plimley, then putting their frail and leaking craft before the wind, drifted for ten and three-quarter hours, finally making land at Black's Point, four miles below Goderich, C.W., a about 7 o'clock in the evening.
When they last saw the wreck, three men were on the hurricane deck, which being part of the upper cabin, had floated off with it. These men, who were a wheelsman called "Dan", and steward "Tom," and the porter, who had a wife in Buffalo. They were called to several times to jump into the water and swim to the boat, but all appeals were in vain, as they seemed perfectly paralyzed and appalled with the awful scene before them. All of the balance, with the exception of the eleven in the life-boat, were clinging to pieces of the wreck, or floating upon the drift wood.
The life boat was well furnished with buckets, blankets, &c., and was not overloaded, but when last seen she was half filled with water, and it was the impression of Mr. Plimley, that the oars had been washed away, and that the persons on board of her were entirely at the mercy of the waves.
A telegraphic dispatch from Port Sarnia, was published in the Advertiser yesterday morning, which states that five of the crew had been picked up. This must be a mistake, since our informant left there yesterday morning and knew nothing of it. There is a possibility that the Captain and ten other persons in the life-boat, may have been saved, although the chances are greatly against them. For the others there can hardly be a hope, and it seems almost certain that they must have perished.
The men saved landed on the farm of Mr. Witten, Lake and Plimley got ashore, and supposed Barber was following but looking back they discovered him out of the boat, receeding with the surf. Plimley sprang after him, and brought him so that he could get hold of the roots of a fallen tree; but again he was swept out by the waves, and again he was brought to shore by Plimley. This time he was taken part way up the bank, and being unable to walk was left, while his two companions proceeded towards a light, which proved to be Mr. Whitten's house. They entered the house, when a large number of men, who had been taking part in a threshing bee, were at supper. They told their story, and the men sallied forth for Barber, whom they found on top of the bank, where he had crawled,
thinking as he said afterwards, that the waves were after him, and bound to catch him. The three men saved had nothing on but pants, shirts and stockings. The folks in the house, acting each one the part of the Good Samaritan, stripped their wet clothes from them, wrapped them in warm flannels, gave them some "hot stuff," and as soon as they had recovered from their benumbed and fatigued condition, set out, what to them was a bounteous repast.
Mayor McDougal of Goderich, supplied them with shoes, caps, and good warm coats and garments, when the next day they went on board the steamer KALOOLAH, proceed to Saginaw. The KALOOLAH by reason of heavy weather, was obliged to make for the St. Clair River, and the shipwrecked seamen were landed safe and sound at Port Huron, from which place they came to this city by the stmr. RUBY. They express themselves as owing a deep debt of gratitude to the people where they landed, for the kindness shown them. They say if they had fallen into the door of their own fathers'house, they could not have met with a more charitable reception. They also acknowledge the generosity of Mayor McDougal, and feel under many obligations to the Captain of the KALOOLAH, and Capt. Moore of the RUBY. Whey they arrived at Port Huron, the crew of the vessels lying there, on learning of their destitute condition, sailor-like, raised contributions among themselves, a purse of money, which they presented to them.
The TROY was owned by A.H. Covert, of Chicago, to whom the cargo, consisting of 12,600 bushels of wheat, also belonged. Both vessel and cargo are supposed to be fully insured. We shall look with much anxiety for intelligence from the missing ones, and trust that the dispatch from Port Sarnia, giving news of the safety of five, may be correct. We hope for the best, but fear the worst.
The Propellers BUCEPHALUS and DETROIT, both lost several years since, sunk near the spot where the TROY went down.
Cleveland Morning Leader
October 24, 1859
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WRECK OF THE "TROY"
The particulars of the wreck of the Propeller TROY, on Lake Huron, in the gale of the 16th. are sad indeed. It is now quite certain that Captain Byron, and fifteen of the crew, and seven passengers, three of whom were women and three children, sunk to a watery grave under the most distressing circumstances. The TROY was a small, old, unseaworthy craft, and soon yielded to the fierce winds and waves of the memorable Tuesday in October
Cleveland Morning Leader
Monday, October 24, 1859
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The telegraph today brought the first intimation of the loss of the propeller TROY on Lake Huron. The mate, engineer and wheelsman arrived here today at 2 p. m. on the steamer RUBY. They state that she foundered in a tremendous sea on Tuesday night when ten miles off Point aux Barque. The passengers and crew numbered in all twenty-six.
Finding she was sinking the three men launched a yawl and got in. It proved to be unseaworthy and leaked so badly that it was with great difficulty they could keep it from sinking. In this frail boat and in a heavy sea they drifted across Lake Huron and landed about 7 o'clock on Wednesday night, twelve miles below Goderich. The captain and three ladies went to sea in the lifeboat and have not since been heard from. The probability is that their boat swamped in the fearful gale. The telegraph reports that five others have been saved, leaving 18 as the number lost or missing. The TROY was on her route from Chicago to Port Colborne with a cargo of wheat.
October 26, 1859
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THE LOST. - It is now quite certain that twenty three of the twenty six persons on board the ill fated TROY perished in the waters of lake Huron. The report that five others had been rescued is not confirmed.
Cleveland Morning leader
Thursday, October 27, 1859
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TROY Propeller of 340 tons, built 1849 at Cleveland. Foundered off Point Dubuque, Lake Huron October 26 (sic.) 1859, with the loss of 23 lives.
Merchant Steam Vessels of the U. S. A.
1790 - 1868 Lytle - Holdcamper List
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The propeller TROY recently wrecked on Lake Huron, was purchased in 1854 by Messrs. Cutler & Warts of this town, who ran her for over 3 years between Buffalo, Grand Traverse and Grand Haven.
She cost them $16,000. Messrs. Cutler & Warts sold her about 18 months ago, and had no interest in her at the time of her loss. - Grand Haven Clarion
Detroit Free Press
October 30, 1859
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Detroit Enrollment No. 125 of 1854
Name . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . TROY
Type . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Propeller
Tonnage. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 340.4
Masts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . One
Decks. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . One
Stern. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Round
Figure-head............. no entry
Length ...........163 feet
Breadth............ 21 feet and one and a half
Depth............... 10 feet & two inches
Date of enrollment at Detroit....Oct. 25, 1854
Name of ship-builder:...Former enrollment at port of Buffalo, dated March 7, 1853 No. 24
Place of build.......... Cleveland Ohio
Date of build...........1849
Present Master......John B. Warren
Subscribing Owners:- Benjamin Haxton of Grand Haven and Dwight Cutler and Henry Marti ? all of Grand Haven
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