The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Theodore Perry (Schooner), sunk, 23 Jul 1887

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Schooner T. PERRY of 249 tons, owned by Prentice, Home port, East Saginaw. Built 1855 Class B 1. On July 23, 1887, vessel with a cargo of coal was sunk in Lake Erie, and became a total loss. Property loss, hull $5,000 cargo $1,750
      1887 Casualty List (Total loss)
      Marine Record, Dec. 15, 1887 p.4

      Early Saturday morning the barge THEODORE PERRY in tow of the steambarge D.W. POWERS and coal laden from Buffalo to E.Saginaw, went down off Rondeau in a gale with the loss of 5 lives, 2 rescued.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Monday, July 25, 1887

The terrible loss of the schooner THEODORE PERRY, on lake Erie, with five lives, was the topic of this otherwise quiet Sunday. The propeller ALASKA arrived here at 3 o'clock Sunday morning with Captain McCormack and mate Hugh Deering on board, having rescued them from the wreckage of the PERRY. She left Buffalo late Thursday night in tow of the steamer D.W. POWERS, which had in order the B.B. BUCKOUT, SENATOR BLOOD, THEODORE PERRY, and WYANDOTTE. The PERRY and SENATOR BLOOD were coal laden from this port to Saginaw. About 9 o'clock Thursday night, when some seventy miles above Long Point, they got a stiff wind from the north, which soon worked up a heavy sea that caused the PERRY, as well as the other vessels, to labor in the trough. At 11 o'clock Capt McCormack, who had gone forward, noticed that she was opening up on the starboard side forward just under the deck beams. He sung out to his crew, who were all on deck but the cook, that the boat was leaving them and to save themselves. In less than three minutes from that time she was below the surface. When the vessel went down the captain sprang on the cabin, and the mate on the forecastle deck, where they clung eleven hours before being rescued. The two portions broke apart and drifted about near each other. The mate was partly submerged and nearly dead when found by the ALASKA. The crew consisted of James Covert, of Buffalo; Ben Kennicutt, of Saginaw; Chas. Copeland of Saginaw, and the cook, a Mrs. Wiseminter, besides Deering and himself. Copely, who was nominally master, is a step-son of J.H. Prentice of Saginaw, owner of the PERRY. What became of him neither McCormack nor Deering could tell. Deering says that one man called to him when they were in the water; that he tried to reach him, and when nearly to him, the man disappeared. Whether he went down or got hold of some other portion of the wreckage is not known. A passenger , Neal McLean, of Saginaw, was also lost. As the yawlboat was found by the ALASKA, it is certain that all five are drowned. The POWERS passed Detroit with three barges, so it is likely that the WYANDOTTE, which was after the PERRY, was picked up again. The PERRY was an old timer, having been built by Bidwell & Banta in Buffalo in 1855. She was given what was claimed a rebuild at Bay City in 1885-86. The following is a description of those lost from the barge THEODORE PERRY:-
      CHARLES J. COPELAND, aged 23, light blue eyes, brown hair, light mustache, if any, height about five feet nine inches; feet are very high in the instep, so much so as to be nearly a deformity; was dressed in dark clothing (if any) of fine make; wore merino yachting shirt, brown color, son of the writer, and for the recovery of whose body a liberal reward will be paid by me.
NEIL McLAIN, nephew of Captain A.C. McLain, owner and vessel agent, East Saginaw. Height about 5 feet 6 inches; clothing of fine material; eyes dark blue, brown hair, cut short; forehead high and broad; was a friend of Copeland, making a trip for pleasure. A liberal reward is also offered for above by A.C. McLain.
BEN NETHERCUTT, seaman, aged about twenty one; height six feet; color of eyes, blue; complexion, light, somewhat freckled; the ends of all the fingers on one hand had been cut off, and a large scar on wrist of same hand; color of hair, very red.
One seaman and the female cook we have no description of. If the bodies of any of the above are found, a telegram to either A.C. McLain, East Saginaw, or J.H. Prentice, owner, East Saginaw, will receive prompt attention
      J.H. Prentice Saginaw, Mich. July 25
      The Marine Record
      Thurs. July 28, 1887 p.5

Schooner THEODORE PERRY, of 260 tons. and 21 years of age. Home port, Saguenay (saginaw) On July 22, 1887 vessel stranded, in a heavy sea, 15 miles east of Rondeau Harbor, she was bound from Buffalo to Saguenay (Saginaw). She became a total loss with the loss of five lives. Property loss $5,000
      Statement of Wreck & Casualty, 1887
      Dept. of Marine and Fisheries

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: sunk
Lives: 5
Hull damage: $5,000
Cargo: $1,750
Freight: coal
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 42.2975 Longitude: -81.888611
William R. McNeil
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Theodore Perry (Schooner), sunk, 23 Jul 1887