The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Hannah Selina (Schooner), capsized, 3 Jun 1860

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In our issue of Friday, mention was made of a vessel seen keel upwards off Grossee Point. Saturday the tug McQUEEN went to the Point, about 8 miles north of this city, found the unfortunate craft and succeeded in righting her after a long and arduous toil. She proved to be the scow schooner HANNAH SELINA of this port, loaded with lumber.
The McQUEEN arrived with her in tow Friday evening, and on Saturday hands were busily at work stripping her, preparatory to pumping her out. Her upper works are almost entirely gone, ropes severed, sails torn into ribbons, top masts and yards shattered, and the upper part of her cabin gone. From the appearance of the vessel, it is evident that she was struck by the tornado which crossed the lake on Sunday evening. It must have almost taken then unawares, for there is but one reef in the sails.
The saddest part of the occurrence is the loss of human life. Eight persons were known to have been on board: Daniel French, the captain and owner of the craft, his wife and child, two sailors and two passengers. Not one of them could have escaped. The only traces of them found as yet are a ladies gold watch, a portion of a head dress and long tresses of hair twisted tightly around a rope. Articles of bedding, clothing and provisions are floating round in the cabin, but it cannot be ascertained whether there are any bodies in the vessel until she is righted and pumped out.
The HANNAH SELINA was an old coaster of 70 tons burthen, and was owned by her captain. The last record on the Custom House books shows that she cleared from this port on the 14th. of May, for White Lake, whence she has been bringing wood to Chicago during the present season. She was probably on her return when overtaken by the tornado.
LATER,------The wreck is the most complete we ever saw. Everything above deck, except her jiboom, mainboom, foremast and mainmast, is shattered and ruined. The half furled sails show clearly enough that when the storm struck the doomed vessel her crew were busily at work preparing for it.
      Capt. French and his wife were old residents of Chicago, and the crew likewise. Of these latter we have been able to ascertain but one name, that of Kelly, a young man, son of James Kelly, who resides on the west side.
The vessel has been pumped out and the body of Kelly found in the cabin. He was in his berth, and covered with bed clothes, and was in the attitude of sleeping It is thought that he must have been asleep when the vessel capsized, and immediately strangling, was drowned before consciousness returned. All the other unfortunates must have been washed overboard. The names of two of the crew were Martin Clifford and John Peterson. ----- Chicago Dem.
      Cleveland Plain Dealer
      Wed. Evening, June 13, 1860

NOTE.---date may be May 28 ?

      . . . . .

      We are glad to find that the report of the loss of the scow ALMIRA was not true. She was lying in the lake a few days ago, having arrived from Racine.
      The vessel which was lost on Lake Michigan and was supposed to be the ALMIRA, proves to have been the HANNAH SELINA, which formerly traded here. All hands were lost with her. - Holland Register, June 16.
      Detroit Free Press
      June 23, 1860

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: capsized
Lives: 7
Freight: timber
Remarks: Recovered
Date of Original:
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Illinois, United States
    Latitude: 42.07892 Longitude: -87.72256
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Hannah Selina (Schooner), capsized, 3 Jun 1860