The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Neptune (Brig), aground, 25 Nov 1839


Description
Full Text

DREADFUL SHIPWRECK AND LOSS OF LIFE
We received by the last Western Mail the following letter, giving an account of a melancholy shipwreck, and loss of life on Lake Michigan. --- Detroit Free press. Dec. 10
"Editor of the Free Press:
      Sir - The Brig NEPTUNE, John H. Sims, master, was driven on shore at Little Point au Sable, about 30 miles north of the Muskegon River, in the gale of Monday the 25th. inst. There was on board in all, nine of the crew, and eleven passengers, all drowned and perished with the cold, except Capt. Sims, who, with two others, reached the shore. One, the brother of the captain, perished immediately on reaching shore. The Brig was full freighted from Buffalo for Chicago, principally with merchandize. Capt. Sims, who was without eating or anything to eat from Monday morning till Friday morning, came out to the settlement yesterday. He is badly frost-bitten, but in good spirits. The people from this place go out tomorrow to bury the dead, and save what they can from the wreck."
The NEPTUNE was a fine Brig belonging to this port and owned we understand, chiefly by Capt. Sims and Thomas M. Kelly, Esq. The cargo is said to have been a valuable one, whether insured or not, we did not learn. A letter from Capt. Sims to his wife, states, that he expects to be able to start out for home in a few days. We do not learn the names of crew or passengers, except that of Mr. F. Ward, mate, formerly of this city, supposed to be lost
      Cleveland Daily Herald & Gazette
      Monday, December 16, 1839 p. 3 col. 1

      . . . . .

      Editor of the Free Press.
      Sir-The brig NEPTUNE, John H. Sims Master, was driven on shore at Little Point au Sable, about 30 miles north of the Muskegon river, in the gale of Monday the 25th last. There was on board in all, nine of the crew and eleven passengers, all drowned and perished with the cold, except Capt. Sims, who with two others, reached the shore. One, the brother of the captain, and Webster, the mate, the two who ventured to leave the wreck with the captain perished immediately on reaching the shore. The brig was full freighted from Buffalo for Chicago, principally with merchandise. Capt. Sims, who was without eating or anything to eat from Monday morning till Friday morning, came out to the settlement yesterday. He is badly frost-bitten, but in good spirits. The people from this place go out tomorrow to bury the dead, and save what they can from the wreck.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Tuesday, December 17, 1839
     
      . . . . .
     
Loss of the NEPTUNE.--The Ohio City Transcript gives some additional information touching the melancholy disaster to the NEPTUNE and those on board, derived from a letter from Capt. Sims to his wife in Ohio City. The vessel was driven on shore in a tremendous gale and snow storm. The only names of persons lost yet known are George Nason, brother of the captain; Mr. Webster, of Buffalo, chief mate; Mr. F. Ward, second mate. Among the passengers were two ladies, and two or three children. The Transcript says:
"Capt. Sims, in a letter to his wife, states that the vessel sunk in about six feet of water, a few rods from the shore - that he is some frozen, and at present under medical aid, but will be able to start for home in a week or two - that he could procure no fire, nor anything to eat - and had to walk through the woods a distance of twenty miles, after leaving the wreck, and witnessing the death of all the crew and passengers, before he reached a house. The cargo of the Brig is said to have been a valuable one, but whether it was insured or not, we have not learned, except a quantity of salt belonging to the captain, which we are informed was insured."
      Cleveland Daily Herald
      Saturday, December 21, 1839 p. 3 col. 2

      . . . . .

      The NEPTUNE -The loss of this vessel and crew is confirmed- by a letter received from Capt. Sims, directed to Mr. B. Williams of Chicago. The captain writes that eleven passengers, comprising four or five families, were drowned in the vessel; five, besides the captain, reached the shore, where they immediately perished. Three others of the crew perished on board, and the captain only escaped with his life to tell the sad story of his comrades' fate. His hands and feet are badly frozen; the latter so much so, that one or both must be taken off. Captain Sims writes his letter from the house of Charles Mears, which he reached with great suffering, having been four days and three nights without sleep, victuals or drink- and is almost unable to move.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Friday, December 27, 1839
      . . . . .

      The Sufferers of the NEPTUNE. -- We are informed that Mr. Webster, mate, and Mr. Newton, a passenger on the ill-fated NEPTUNE, were found by some Indians camped near where the vessel was wrecked on Lake Michigan, and by their humane attentions were preserved from death. The information comes by letter from Captain Sims to his wife in Ohio City. The persons rescued we understand are badly frozen.
      Cleveland Daily Herald
      Friday, January 3, 1840
      . . . . .
     
     
      THE SUFFERERS ON THE NEPTUNE. -- We are informed that Mr. Webster, mate, and Mr. Newton, passenger on the ill-fated NEPTUNE, were found by some Indians camped near where the vessel was wrecked, and by their humane attentions were preserved from death. The information comes by letter from Capt. Sims to his wife in Ohio City. The persons rescued we understand were badly frozen. -- Cleveland Gazette.
      Detroit Free Press
      Saturday, january 11, 1840
     
      . . . . .

      Shipwreck On Lake Erie. -- The Buffalo Republican says the facts concerning the shipwreck of the NEPTUNE, at Michigan City, are far more terrible than had been reported. Eleven passengers were drowned in the vessel, besides the crew, consisting of eight persons, three of whom perished on board, and five who came ashore with the captain immediately perished of the cold; leaving the captain the sole survivor of twenty persons to tell their fate.
      St. Catharines Journal
      January 23, 1840

      . . . . .

      The subjoined extract from the late letter from Port Sheldon, Michigan, published in the Philadelphia Gazette, gives a melancholy account of the survivors of the brig NEPTUNE, which was wrecked early last winter on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan.
      "On my return, I met that unfortunate individual, the Captain of the NEPTUNE, at a shanty on the Granville Road. He left Port Sheldon this morning, and is on his way to Cleveland, where his family reside. Our people have been very kind to him, and I think he will never forget their attentions. He reported to me over and over again his thanks and hearty wishes for the success of our operations. He was attended by Mr. Ward a merchant of Cleveland.
      Since writing to you on this subject, 2 more persons belonging to the NEPTUNE have been found alive; the mate and an old tar. The mate was in a most deplorable condition, and obliged to lay prone in the bushes, being entirely helpless from frozen limbs. The other was not much better off. They were 9 days in this condition before they were discovered; the old sailor keeping his mess mate alive on whiskey and apples, which had been washed from the wreck, and for which he had crawl over the ice and snow to the beach, a distance of a 1/4 mile. These poor fellows are now at Muskegon, and both have been obliged to have their legs amputated. The mate's life is still despaired of. I understand they are made as comfortable as their situation will allow, but will see for myself in a few days." These it will be remembered, were the only survivors out of 20, who were on the brig. Much has been said of the suffering of those who were saved from the LEXINGTON; but we can form no idea of more dreadful endurance than this case exhibits; and those acquainted with the fiercely cold scenes exhibited on the frozen beach of our northern lakes in a winter storm, with the surf dashing against covered mountains of ice, heaped in huge masses along the shore, must be astonished , that these poor fellows thrown wet and nearly naked upon their icy summits, without human being near to assist them, could have lived an hour.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      April 2, 1840
     
      . . . . .

      Mr. Webster, mate of the NEPTUNE, arrived in town yesterday. He is unable to provide for his future wants, having both his legs amputated below the knee joint in consequence of the exposure and privations he underwent subsequent to the loss of that vessel. A subscription has been mooted by some of his nautical friends. Who heads the list ? ( 2-1 )
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      April 25, 1840

      . . . . .

      NEPTUNE Brig, built 1836. Lost Lake Michigan 1839. 11 passengers drowned. NEPTUNE Schooner, made from Brig 1840.
      "Hist. of the Great Lakes" by Mansfield p. 865

      . . . . .

      VESSELS WRECKED ON LAKE MICHIGAN.
The Chicago Journal gives the following statement, showing the number of vessels lost on Lake Michigan; their value, and the value of their cargoes when known; and the number of lives lost, from 1824 to 1847.
      Schooner LAWRENCE, 1824. $3,000
      Schooner RED JACKET, 1826. 2,000
      (here follows an interval of 7 years during which vessels must have been lost; but the record is not found.)
      Schooner ERIE PACKET, Dec. 1833 1,500
      Schooner PRINCE EUGENE, Oct. 1834 27,000
      Steamboat NEWBURYPORT, Oct. 1834 15,000
      Steamboat PIONEER, Aug. 1834 10,000
      Schooner name forgotten, 1835 2,000 Green Bay.
      Schooner UTICA, 1835 7,000
      Schooner CHANCE, Nov. 1835 7 lives 2,000
      Schooner BRIDGET, Nov. 1835 16 lives 5,000
      Schooner SLOAN, Nov. 1835 6 lives 3,000
      Steamboat DELAWARE, Apr. 1835 20,000
      Sloop CLARISSA, Nov. 1836 1,500
      Schooner CHICAGO, Oct. 1836 8,000
      Schooner AUSTERLITZ, Oct. 1836 12,000 vessel and goods
      Schooner OHIO, Oct. 1837 6,000
      Schooner LaPORTE, Oct. 1838 3,000
      Schooner THOS. RICHMOND, Oct. 1838 6,000
      Schooner LaFAYETTE, Oct. 1838 3,000
      Schooner WHITE PIGEON, Nov. 1839 3,000
      Brig JOHN KENZIE, Nov. 1839 3,000
      Steamboat DETROIT, Aug. 1839 20,000
      Schooner VIRGINIA, Nov. 1839 7,000 wheat
      Steamboat TAYLOR, Oct. 1840 8,000
      Steamboat CHAMPLAIN, May 1840 10,000
      * Schooner NEPTUNE, Nov. 1840 24 lives 15,000 goods
      Schooner CINCINNATI Oct. 1840 1,500
      Schooner JEFFERSON Apr. 1840 1,800
      Schooner HURON Oct. 1840 2,000
      Schooner POST BOY Oct. 1841 13 lives 1,000 goods
      Sloop SPITFIRE Oct. 1841 500
      Schooner ONEIDA Nov. 1841 20,000 wheat
      Schooner BANCROFT Nov. 1842 4,000
      Ship MILWAUKEE Nov. 1842 9 lives 10,000
      Ship FLORIDA, Nov. 1842 4,000
      Brig COLUMBUS, Nov. 1842 12,000 wheat
      Brig HUMMINGBIRD. May 1843 6 lives 1,000
      Schooner HARRIET, May 1843 8 lives 2,500
      Schooner MINERVA SMITH, May 1844 1,000
      Schooner WAVE, March 1844 5 lives 1,000
      Schooner VICTORY, March 1844 7 lives 2,000
      Schooner WHITNEY, Aug. 1844 6 lives 2,000
      Ship SUPERIOR, Sept. 1845 5,000
      Schooner JACOB BARKER, Nov. 1845 2,000
      Brig OLIVER, Nov. 1845 2,000
      Schooner OCEAN, Apr. 1845 6 lives 1,000
      Schooner SAVANNAH, Apr. 1845 5,000
      Schooner JEFFERSON, Apr. 1845 4,500
      Brig INDIANA, Oct. 1845 4,000
      Schooner SWIFT, Oct. 1845 600
      Brig ROSA, Oct. 1845 8,000
      Schooner MARGARET HELM Nov. 1845 1,500
      Steamboat BOSTON, Nov. 1846 70,000
      Sloop JAMES K. POLK Nov. 1846 1,000
      Schooner ----?---- Nov. 1846 4,000
      Sloop RODOLPH, Nov. 1846 4 lives 400
      Schooner St. JOSEPH, Apr. 1847 1,000
      Schooner SOLOMON JUNEAU Apr. 1847 4,000
      Schooner MARY ELIZABETH Apr. 1847 2,000
      Schooner WISCONSIN, Apr. 1847 1,500
      Schooner OUTWARD BOUND Oct. 1847 2,000
      Schooner ILLINOIS, Nov. 1847 5,000 Green Bay
      Propeller PHOENIX Nov. 1847 164 lives 80,000
      Schooner CHAMPION Nov. 1847 15,000
      Schooner E.G. WOOLCOTT, Nov. 1847 10,000
      Schooner H. MERRILL, Nov. 1847 10,000
      Total Value $512,000
      Total number of lives lost 288
      Buffalo Republic
      Wednesday, February 9, 1848

      . . . . .

      DEPARTED HENCE. - Few men who have navigated the Western Lakes commencing at an early period have encountered greater hardships than Capt. John W. Webster, who died recently at Painesville, Ohio, at the age of seventy-six. As early as 1820 he commanded the SUSAN, of Otter Creek, during which time her narrowly escaped with his life by the capsizing of that vessel and the drowning of some of the crew. He passed through other shipwrecks, and during the fall of 1837, while mate of the brig NEPTUNE, was cast upon the east shore of Lake Michigan during a severe snow storm, attended by extreme cold. Two or three of the crew perished, while Capt. John Sims, the master, and officer Webster had their limbs badly frozen, the former suffering the amputation of one foot, and Webster both legs, near the knee-joints. After his recovery from so terrible a shock he again returned to the lakes, and later was in command of both steam and sail vessels. For several years past he lived in retirement at Painesville, where he died, incapacitated from further service by old age.
      Detroit Free Press
      September 10, 1874


Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Notes:
Reason: aground
Lives: 17
Remarks: Rebuilt ?
Date of Original:
1839
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
McN.W.13035
Language of Item:
English
Donor:
William R. McNeil
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
Contact
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Email
WWW address
Comment on this item
Groups of Related Records
Shipwreck news
Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit




My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.










Neptune (Brig), aground, 25 Nov 1839