Cheboygan, Mich. Nov. 15. - The tug J.W. BENNETT, went ashore Monday near St. Helena Island, Straits of Mackinaw. On Tuesday morning 5 of her crew were smothered and scalded to death in a room over the boiler by steam escaping by the safety valve. The name of the unfortunate men are Paul Pecky, captain; F. Martin, mate; W. Mulrone, fireman; Vetal Buresom, steward, and John Newton. The BENNETT has been pulled off by the tug LEVIATHAN and brought to St. Helena slightly damaged.
Detroit Free Press
November 16, 1876
A letter to Captain C.K. Dixon, at Detroit, from his son, Charles G. Dixon, who is employed on the tug LEVIATHAN, gives the following additional particulars concerning the terrible fate which befell Captain Paul Pelky and four others on the tug BENNETT:
"The tug went ashore Monday night (of last week), and when discovered was five feet out of water and listed considerably to one side. The night being cold, Captain Pelky, together with the mate, F. Martin, and the steward, Vetal Duresom, went in on the boiler deck and , shutting the doors, went to sleep. Mr. O. Newton, a part owner in the BENNETT, together with the engineer, W. Mulerone, sought respose in the engine room. During the night, but at what hour it is impossible to determine, the Government safety blew off, killing four of the men instantly, the fifth victim surviving till Tuesday morning. Captain Pelky died instantly from dry steam, and the others were skinned from head to foot, by the hot water and steam combined. The bodies were taken to Mackinaw, and in transporting the body of Vetal Buresome, the cook, it broke apart across the breast, and in order to handle the corpse it had to be sewed in canvas. In the back of the man last to expire there was found a hole caused by a stream of hot water in which a man's hand could be inserted. The scene which met the eyes of the LEVIATHAN'S crew as they boarded the BENNET was past description.
The J. W. Hall Great Lakes Marine Scrapbook, Fall 1876