The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Julia (Schooner), aground, 29 Nov 1887

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      The Schooner Julia Ashore on Ford's Shoals

      She Went on in a Blinding Snow Storm About
      8 O'Clock Last Night, and a Farmer Saw a Signal
      of Distress and Notified the Life Crew - The Captain and
      Crew Saved - The Vessel Uninsured.

      Sailors who were caught with their vessels on the lake last night had a hard time of it. A stiff "Nor'wester was blowing down the lake, and the snow was so thick that it was impossible to see two vessels lengths ahead. It was known that there were several small Canadian vessels outside bound for this port with barley, and the tug Navagh lay in the shelter of the breakwater ready to catch them as soon ad they put in an appearance.
Among the vessels on the lake was the little schooner JULIA of Kingston, Captain D.l. McDonald, master and owner. She left Wellar's Bat about 7 o'clock yesterday morning with 7,000 bushels of barley, consigned to Gaylord, Downey & Co. The cargo was taken on at Consecon. The weather was fair all day, until about 5 o'clock yesterday afternoon, when the schooner encountered a blinding snow storm that completely hid everything from view.
The lights at this port were not visible, or that at Fair Haven. About 8 o'clock the schooner struck bottom two or three times and the next minute was fast on the North-east corner of the treacherous Ford Shoals five miles above this port. It was snowing very hard at the time but occasionally the trees on Lewis' Bluff could be seen and the vessel showed a torch and the fog horn was kept tooting to attract attention.
The sea was very heavy and the vessel lay three-quarters of a mile from the shore. it would have been useless to attempt to land in the small boat and the only thing to do was to wait for assistance or daylight. About 9 o'clock, William Lockerage, a farmer living near the Shoals, saw the torch and walked to this city and informed Captain Richardson of the night watch that an unknown vessel was on the Shoals showing a signal of distress. Captain Blackburn, of the life saving station, was notified, and with the life boat and crew in tow of the tug Navagh, Captain Scott, started for the scene of the wreck.
There was a heavy sea running and it was snowing, but Captain Scott got a glimpse of the torch on the JULIA and letting go of the life boat the crew soon had her along side of the stranded vessel. The landing was a difficult one and it required considerable skill to prevent a hole being stove in the life boat. The crew, consisting of Captain McDonald, the Mate, three seamen and a cook were taken off and the life crew started for the station with the half perished sailors where they were provided with a good warm supper and a place to warm their benumbed limbs.
The vessel lay easy on the shoals last night, but about daylight the wind veered around to the Northeast and blew hard. A heavy sea was running, and Captain McDonald, who visited the scene of the wreck about 7 o'clock, said the vessel was pounding heavily and he feared she would prove a total loss.
      When the men left they were unable to take any clothing. The cargo is supposed to be insured, but there is no insurance on the vessel. The JULIA was built at Smith Falls, Ont., in 1874, and is 127 tons burden. She is classed B 1 and is valued at $2,500. The wrecked sailors are loud in their praises of the prompt manner in which the tug and crew came to their rescue. They hardly expected to be taken off before daylight.
      Oswego Palladium
      Wednesday, November 30, 1887

      . . . . .

Oswego.---Intelligence was brought to this city that the schooner JULIA from Consecon, Captain D.L. McDonald of Wolf Island, with a crew of four men, was ashore at Ford's shoals beyond Sheldon Point. Notice was sent to the life saving station and the tug NAVAGH, Capt. William Scott, took the life-boat in tow and started for the shoal and in a short time, succeeded in taking off Captain McDonald and his men. The schooner is well up on the shoal and lies easy. When the crew left her there was about fourteen inches of water in her hold.
      The schooner JULIA of Kingston, Ont., loaded with barley for Oswego, went ashore four miles from here in a gale of wind and snow last night. The vessel was three-quarters of a mile from shore, but a torch was seen by a farmer, who ran to the city and notified the life-saving crew. A lifeboat was taken in tow of a tug, and after a tempestuous passage, got abreast of the vessel, and the life saving crew succeeded in taking off the crew of five men and a woman cook. The sailors were landed on the beach and brought to this city. The vessel will probably prove a total loss. No insurance.
      The Marine Record
      Thurs. Dec. 1, 1887 p. 1

Schooner JULIA of 107 tons reg.and 11 years old. Home port, Kingston. On November 29, 1887 the vessel foundered in a snow storm near Oswego, N. Y. She was a partial loss. Hull $1,500 and cargo $1,000.
      Statement of Wreck & Casualty, 1887
      Dept. of Marine and Fisheries

      Buffalo.---Supt. Dobbins of this life saving district returned from a trip to Lake Ontario stations and reports having seen the crew of the Canadian schooner JULIA, which went ashore near Oswego, with barley, soon after they were brought in by the life saving crew. They were not landed on the beach as, was reported, but were brought to the station, five or six miles, and taken care of. The life-boat was a picture of winter navigation, being
covered with ice from stem to stern. The rescue was a gallant one.
      The Marine Record
      Thurs. Dec. 8, 1887 p. 5

      . . . . .

Captain John Donnelly left for Oswego on last week, with steam pumps to lighter the schooner JULIA. He expects to have the craft released soon.
      The Marine Record
      Thurs. Dec. 15, 1887 p. 2

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: aground
Lives: nil
Hull damage: $1,500
Cargo: $1,000
Freight: barley
Remarks: Got off
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 43.45535 Longitude: -76.5105
William R. McNeil
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Julia (Schooner), aground, 29 Nov 1887