The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Atlas (Schooner), sunk, 4 May 1839

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Disastrous Event. - On Saturday morning last, the schr. ATLAS, of Dexter, Jefferson county, on her passage to this port with a cargo of stone from Chaumont, when within about two miles of our village, was seen to founder and sink beneath the waves. The wind at the time, was blowing fresh from the northwest, and the sea very rough. The steamer Telegraph, lying in port, was despatches as soon as the steam could be set up, to the spot
where the vessel went down, but nothing was discovered except a pair of oars, a coat, two hats and a pair of boots, which were secured.
Before the TELEGRAPH left the harbor, a Canadian vessel coming in before the wind, had passed the place where the vessel disappeared, but nothing was discovered of her or the unfortunate persons on board. It is supposed that her cargo must have shifted by the action of the waves, and caused the schooner to go down so suddenly, as to carry the persons on board down with her.
The following are the names of the persons on board the ATLAS:
Ashel Westcott, of Brownville, Jefferson county, aged about 26; Ortha Little, of Hounsfield, Jefferson county, part owner of the schooner and a sailor on board, aged 48; William Ackerman of Brownville, a sailor, aged 19; John See, a sailor, aged 18; and Asa Davis of Chaumont, owner of the cargo, aged 30 years, son of Phineas Davis, of Mexico, in this county. His sudden and untimely death is a severe affliction to his bereaved parents, who, within the same week, were called to mourn the loss of a beloved daughter. All of the above persons, with the exception of Ackerman and See, were men of families. It has been reported that two females were on board the ATLAS, but we have it from good authority that this is not correct.
      Oswego Palladium
      May 8, 1839

      . . . . .

      Schooner Lost -We learn that on Saturday last the schooner Atlas, from Sackett's Harbor, was capsized off the piers at Oswego, by which the crew, five in number, together with two ladies, passengers, were drowned. The schooner was laden with stone, and this was the first season of its running. The TELEGRAPH went to the assistance of the vessel, but was too late to render an assistance.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Thursday, May 9, 1839

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SCHOONER LOST.---SEVEN PERSONS DROWNED.---The Schooner ATLAS, of Dexter, Capt. Wescott, went down under a closed reefed mainsail within sight of oswego, in a gale on the morning of the 4th. inst. The Steamboat TELEGRAPH was immediately sent out to the spot where the vessel went down, but no traces of her were seen, except a few floating articles. Seven persons lost, amongst them two females.
      Cleveland Daily Herald
      Saturday, May 11, 1839 p.2 col. 1

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Distressing Casualty . - Early on the morning of Saturday last, a small schooner was noticed by our citizens, about two miles off, making for this harbor. - The wind was then and had been blowing with some violence during the preceding night, and as the lake was rough and boistrous, some anxiety was manifested as to the fate of the unknown vessel. At about eight o'clock she was seen distinctly to go down, and the conviction settled upon each beholder of the melancholy scene, that all was lost. The steamboat TELEGRAPH went out, in order to pick up any thing that might be left of life or property, but the time was so long before she was in readiness or could reach the spot, nothing was discovered but a pair of oars, a coat, two hats and a pair of boots, which were picked up.
      It has since been ascertained that the lost vessel was the ATLAS, Capt. Asahel Westcott, owned by Ortha Little & Son, of Dexter, and was loaded with building stone for this place.
The persons lost were the captain, Mr. Asahel Westcott, of Brownville - the crew, consisting of Ortha Little, of Dexter, William Ackerman and John Lee of Brownville, - and a passenger, Asa Davis, of Chaumont, son of Phineas Davis of Mexico, in this county.
Asahel Westcott, Ortha Little and Asa Davis have left wives to mourn their untimely death - the other two were unmarried.
We are happy to state that the report in the Herald of yesterday that two females were unfounded - the whole number of persons on board being only five, the names of whom we have given above.
Mr. Davis' is peculiary a bereaved family, it being only a week ago last Sunday, that he was called to follow to the tomb his youngest daughter, Mary, wife of Elisha Hamilton, of Mexico.
      Oswego County Whig
      May 18, 1839

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: sunk
Lives: 7
Freight: stone
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
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Geographic Coverage:
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 43.45535 Longitude: -76.5105
William R. McNeil
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Atlas (Schooner), sunk, 4 May 1839