The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Blue Bell (Canal Boat), collision, 1 May 1851

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DISTRESSING CASUALTY.--The Brig J.Y. SCAMMON, which was driven back by the
gale yesterday morning, came into port with such force that the casting of both her anchors was unavailing to check her progress, and she ran afoul of the canal boat BLUE BELL. Just at that moment a man named Oscar Burbank, from Haverhill, N.H. was coming out of the cabin of the boat, and was so crushed between the brig and the canal boat as to break both his legs, mangling them in in a most horrid manner, and otherwise injuring him so much that he cannot possibly survive.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      May 2, 1851

      . . . . .

      A GALE. - The wind commenced blowing furiously from the west this morning about 10 o'clock. In the course of two hours the water in the harbor raised about three feet above its ordinary level. The water in the canal at noon was about three inches over the tow-paths and rising. The shipping in the harbor has sustained much damage in the loss of sails and rigging.
ITS EFFECT. - The brig J.Y. SCAMMON cleared from this port this morning, but was compelled to put back on account of the severity of the pending gale. On entering the harbor she dropped both anchors, which, however, did not check her progress, when she ran into the canal boat BLUE BELLE. A passenger named Hiram Burbanks, aged 18 years, was just emerging from the cabin when the brig struck the bow of the boat. Mr. Burbank's legs became entangled in the forechains, breaking the left leg about the knee and horridly lacerating the right leg from the knee to the thigh, laying open the flesh and exposing the bone. He was taken to Bennet's Temperence House and medical attendance called. The damage to the canal boat will, probably exceed two hundred dollars.
      During the squall which the SCAMMON encountered, her top gallant sail was rent to ribbons, besides suffering other damage to the amount of $150.
      No blame can be attached to Capt. Peterson, of the brig. He used every exertion to avoid the catastrophe..
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Thursday, May 1, 1851

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: collision
Lives: 1 ?
Hull damage: $200
Remarks: Repaired
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
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Geographic Coverage:
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 42.88645 Longitude: -78.87837
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Blue Bell (Canal Boat), collision, 1 May 1851