Ashtabula.--The schooner JAMES F. JOY, of Detroit, foundered in 20 feet of water, just outside the piers here this morning. The crew is safe. She was built in Detroit in 1866 by Stewart McDonald
Port Huron Daily Times
Monday, October 24, 1887
Schooner J.F. JOY, of 554 Tons. Built 1866. Owned by O'Brien. Home port, Erie. Class, A 2. On October 24, 1887, vessel with a cargo of ore, sunk in Lake Erie, and became a total loss. property loss, hull $17,500 cargo $6,000
1887 Casualty List (Total Loss)
Marine Record, Dec. 15, 1887 p.4
Ashtabula.---The schooner JAMES F. JOY lies sunk about six hundred feet outside this harbor and on a line with the east pier. An interview with her master, Captain Christie, gives the following facts in regard to the disaster. The JOY was leaking badly when she left Detroit and took on a double crew. Captain Christie engaged the tug WINSLOW to tow him to Erie, but the wind freshening up, the master of the WINSLOW refused to go further and let go the schooner's line just above Fairport and run back, leaving the schooner at the mercy of the gale. She got down off this port about 4 o'clock Monday morning, and let go both anchors. Tugs went to her assistance and every effort was made to get her into port but she sunk in about twenty feet of water. The crew, 13 in number, all had to take to the rigging, and after considerable difficulty was taken off by the schooner M.R. WARNER's yawl. Captain Christie was washed off but caught on to the sail thus saving his life. The JOY was built in 1866, at Detroit, rebuilt in 1844, is now owned by R.C. O'Brien and others of Erie. She was rated an A 2 vessel. Had on 996 tons of ore bound from Escanaba to Erie. She was partially insured and will probably prove a total loss.
The Marine Record
Thurs. Oct. 27, 1887 p.4
Ashtabula.---Latest reports from the schooner JAMES F. JOY are that her spars have fallen out and that her upper works are all washed away to the water's edge. In this condition, as little of her can be seen, she is becoming a dangerous obstruction to vessels entering Ashtabula Harbor. Vessels destined for that port are cautioned not to enter the harbor too near on a line with the east pier.
The Marine Record
Thurs. Nov. 10, 1887 p.5
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GOV'T RECOGNIZES A DARING LIFESAVER
AWARDS CAPT. PACKER A HANDSOME GOLD MEDAL
HE SAVED LIVES OF WHOLE CREW FOURTEEN YEARS AGO
At Cleveland, last Saturday afternoon, Capt. William Packer, of the steamer Henry J. Johnson, was presented with a handsome gold medal by Congressman T. E. Burton, on behalf of the government. The recognition of Capt. Packer was for one of the most daring pieces of rescue work in the history of the lakes, he having saved the lives of the crew of the schooner James F. Joy during a raging blizzard off Ashtabula, October 23, 1887.
At the time Capt. Packer was mate on the schooner M. R. Warner, of which his father was master. The Joy foundered and sank two miles off Ashatabula and the crew, first lashing the woman cook to the rigging, then took refuge there themselves, and it was not until several hours later that the Warner ame along, saw the plight of the shipwrecked sailors and the woman and captain, and Mate Packer took the yawl of the Warner and went to the rescue. He made two trips for the men and then went for the woman, and after a long job in the frozen rigging, succeeded in freeing the woman and taking her safely aboard his own boat.
It was for this daring act that he was recognized by the government after friends had brought the matter to the attention of Congressman Burton. Capt. Packer himself, to modest to make the request, denurred against the proceedings and insisted that he had simply done his duty and that he did not care for notoriety.
At one time Capt. Packer sailed the schooner Minnehaha and saved the lives of the entire crew after the tow line between the schooner and the steamer towing them had been severed. Later he was given command of the Helvetia, and is now in the Henry J. Johnson, which at present is in dry-dock at Cleveland making repairs to damages sustained by a recent grounding at Lime Kiln crossings.
Detroit Free Press
Nov. 12, 1901