The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Erie (Brig), aground, 11 Aug 1841

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THE BRIG ERIE. -- The passengers who arrived here on Saturday last, on board the GREAT WESTERN, report having seen the brig ERIE upon the rocks in Lake Michigan, 20 miles above Mackinac. She was fron Chicago, loaded with produce. She is commanded by Capt. Wagstaff, an experienced seaman; but from the accounts given by the passengers on board the GREAT WESTERN, it will be impossible for him to extricate her from her unfortunate position. She will undoubtedly be lost, together with her entire loading, and perhaps the crew and passengers.
      Detroit Free Press
      Monday, August 16, 1841
      . . . . .

      SUPPOSED LOSS OF THE BRIG ERIE. - A rumor came with the GREAT WESTERN, that this vessel was ashore on Lake Michigan. The CLINTON which is just in from Detroit, brings a letter to the house of Messrs. Coit, Kimberly & Co., bearing this postcript:
" We have a report in town that the brig ERIE, Capt. Wagstaff, with a full cargo of wheat and flour, has been lost near Skilligalee, sunken rock shoals, some 35 miles above Mackinaw. A vessel we understand has gone to her assistance."
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Wednesday, August 18, 1841 2 - 2

      . . . . .

      The Brig ERIE.--The CHESAPEAKE, which arrived this morning, confirms the report we published last evening of the loss of this vessel; she went ashore near Skillagalee reefs, about 25 miles above Mackinaw, on Wednesday morning, the 11th.inst. Her cargo consisted, as nearly as we can ascertain, of the following 50 bbls. flour, 816 bushels of wheat, shipped at St. Josephs, and consigned to Kinne & Co. 1,200 bbls. flour, 25 bbls. whiskey, to Geo. Davis & Co. 56 bbls. pork, 280 bbls. flour, shipped at Kalamazoo and consigned to Hunter, Palmer & Co; the flour and pork, we understand, will be saved, but the wheat as well as the vessel will prove a total loss. Owned by Dorr, Webb & Co., and De Garno Jones, Detroit. The vessel was broken in two amidships.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Thursday, August 19, 1841 p.2 col.1

      . . . . .

      The loss of the Brig ERIE, together with her wheat, is total. The remainder of her cargo and rigging were saved and taken to Mackinaw.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Tuesday, August 24, 1841 p.2 col.6

      . . . . .

Loss of the Brig Erie - On the 23rd of August we published, from the Buffalo Commercial, the account of the total loss of the brig Erie. The Cleveland Herald gives us the following particulars:
      When she struck she broke in two just forward of the main mast. The sea was so heavy that the crew, consisting of 12 persons, had to cling to the fore rigging and bow sprit for safety, where they were washed by evey wave. After remaining in this perilous situation for 22 hours, the brig Rosa, Capt. Baxter, hove in sight, and passed within about two miles of the wreck. Signals of distress were made by the sufferers, but Capt. B. held on his course without affording relief. In about 36 hours after the brig struck, the schooner Indiana, Capt. Door, took off Capt. Wagstaff and crew, who expressed great gratitude to their deliverers from a watery grave.
      Kingston Chronicle & Gazette
      September 8, 1841
      (Contributed by Rick Neilson)

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: aground
Lives: nil
Freight: wheat & flour,&c
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 45.6764 Longitude: -85.17312
William R. McNeil
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Erie (Brig), aground, 11 Aug 1841