The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Empire (Barge), U8559, gale damage, 1 Jun 1865

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The Buffalo papers announce the loss of the barge EMPIRE, which broke in two off that port during a storm on Wednesday last. We noticed but a few days since her passing here with an immense cargo of lumber, which freight she was about to land at its point of destination, when intercepted by the storm. It is stated, that of her cargo, 5,000 ft. or thereabouts, will be lost. The EMPIRE, it is known to many, was one of our lake relics, which one by one are fast passing away, to number among the things that were. She was built at Cleveland in 1844 by Capt. G.W. Jones, for D.N. Barney & Co.,and registered 1,136 tons burthen. She performed two trips between Buffalo and Chicago in that year, and was known as the mammoth steamer of the lakes, as also the fleetest. The first and second subsequent seasons she was commanded by Capt. Howe, familiarly called the "Old Commodore," when she was sold and passed under the command of Capt. H. Randall. Her decks were for a time disgraced by being put under the command of the notorious Bill Hayes, now an inmate of a foreign prison. A few years since a number of our old lake Steamers were transformed into lumber barges, since which from four or five have met the fate just awarded to the once popular EMPIRE.
      Detroit Free Press
      June 30, 1865

NOTE :-- in spite of the above, the EMPIRE was not a total loss, as a propeller steam barge she was totally wrecked on Long Point, Lake Erie, in 1870

Barge EMPIRE. -- This barge , which was reported as having left Detroit a day or so since in tow of the tug DISPATCH, arrived off our harbor yesterday morning, where owing to the severity of the gale, she was obliged to anchor. She had on board an immense load of lumber, and the force of the waves broke her in two parts during the day. She has carried her last load of lumber, we guess.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      June 29, 1965

Steam paddle EMPIRE. U. S. No. 8559. Of 1,140 gross tons. Built Cleveland, Ohio, 1844. First home port, Cleveland, Ohio. DISPOSITION -- After long lay-up, rebuilt as sloop barge 1862: Rig changed to screw Apr. 25, 1870
      Merchant Steam Vessels of the United States
      Lytle - Holdcamper List, 1790 to 1868

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Item Type:
Reason: gale damage
Lives: nil
Freight: lumber
Remarks: Repaired
Date of Original:
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  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 42.88645 Longitude: -78.87837
William R. McNeil
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Empire (Barge), U8559, gale damage, 1 Jun 1865