The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
W. C. Richardson (Propeller), aground, 8 Dec 1909


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STEAMER RICHARDSON SINKS AT BREAKWATER; FIVE MEN LOST.
      Big Vessel Foundered on Waverly Shoal, Just Outside The Harbor, In Fierce Gale.
      Twenty Of Crew rescued By Steamer PAINE
Five men were drowned early this morning when the steamer W. C. RICHARDSON, of Cleveland, foundered on Waverly Shoal, just outside the harbor. The remainder of the crew of 20 men were rescued by the steamer PAINE, which is now at anchor at that point.
      The RICHARDSON and the PAINE anchored late yesterday afternoon at that point, fearing to enter the harbor because of the storm. The sea was very high, and early this morning the RICHARDSON shifted her cargo and listed, the water rushing into her before she could be righted. Her stern is now on the bottom, in about 20 feet of water, with her bow in the air.
      When the siren of the PAINE sounded the distress signal tugs were dispatched from the tug office at the foot of Main Street. The fish-boat GRATTAN went out, and the life saving station was notified. Capt. Griesser went out about 8 o'clock with his whole crew in the power boat.
      The first news of the details of the wreck came to port when a tug returned.
      The W. C. RICHARDSON is a propeller of 3818 tons, 354 feet long, classed as A 1. She was built in 1902, and is owned by W. C. Richardson of Cleveland.
      Chief Engineer One of the Victims.
Five members of the crew of the propeller W. C. RICHARDSON of Cleveland, Chief Engineer Samuel Mayberry of Cleveland, the second mate and three of the deckhands, were drowned early this morning when the steamer foundered on Waverly Shoal, just abreast of Fort Erie grove and about three miles from the north end of the breakwall.
      Fourteen other members of the crew of the wrecked boat were rescued by the propeller WILLIAM A. PAINE of the Hutchinson fleet, which is anchored about 500 feet from the wrecked steamer and will remain there until the storm abates so that she can enter the harbor with safety. Until the survivors reach Buffalo, the story of their terrible night's experience cannot be ascertained.
      Feared to Come in.
      The RICHARDSON was bound from Cleveland to Buffalo with a load of flaxseed. It is believed that she arrived off the harbor some time late yesterday afternoon, and her captain, fearing to make the attempt to enter the harbor in the high sea that was running, owing to the shallowness of the channel, decided to anchor off Waverly Shoal.
      The PAINE, which is a propeller of 1798 tons, 480 feet long, owned by Hutchinson & Co., of Cleveland, also arrived some time last night, and anchored near the RICHARDSON. The exact time when the trouble started on the steamer RICHARDSON, is not yet known. Tug men say she must have gone down with little warning to the men, and that Chief Engineer Mayberry must have been caught below and was unable to get out.
      Sea Running High.
      The sea was running high and the wind blowing a gale. Suddenly the cargo of the RICHARDSON shifted throwing the big steamer over on her side. The rush of water and air forced in her hatches, and she rapidly filled with water. She sank stern first in about 30 feet of water, her after cabin being submerged and her bow out of the water.
      The PAINE at her anchorage nearby, as it is figured out by tugmen, hurried to the scene as soon as the distress of the RICHARDSON was seen. She ran her bow close to the hull of the RICHARDSON, despite the heavy sea, and took off the remaining members of the crew. The boats of the RICHARDSON were gone, indicating that they had been lowered but either that the men had no time to get into them before the steamer went down, or that they were washed away before they could be used.
      Heard vessel Blowing.
      Some of the tugmen say they heard a vessel blowing during the night, but could not locate her, most of them coming to the conclusion that she was inside the harbor. It was not until 8:30 this morning that the sound was located, out on the lake. Immediately the tugs MASON, CONNEAUT and CORNELL darted out into the teeth of the storm. The police boat GROVER CLEVELAND and the fireboat GRATTAN also started for the scene. The life saving station was notified, and a little later Capt. Griesser and his whole crew got under way in the power boat.
      It was a hard battle with the waves for all of them. The storm of the past two days, although the velocity of the wind this morning was only 48 miles, had left the lake in a turmoil, the waves breaking high. It was more difficult because of the snow that swirled through the air.
      Fearful Day on the Lake.
      "It was one of the toughest days I ever put in on the lake," said Capt. Farrell of the tugboat MASON. "We got started a minute or two after we heard the blowing of the RICHARDSON. It took us an hour to get to the scene. We would go into a trough between two big waves and we wouldn't know whether we were on top or headed for the bottom. The air was bitter cold and the wind blowing the snow in our faces.
      "When we got to Waverly Shoal all we could see was the bow of the freighter sticking up out of the water. There wasn't a living thing in sight. We circled around the wreck and blew our whistles, but couldn't raise anybody. Then we concluded the crew must have got off some way.
      "About 500 feet away the PAINE was anchored. We steamed over there, and the captain shouted to us that he had taken the survivors off the RICHARDSON, and that the Chief Engineer, the second mate and three men were drowned. We learned none of the particulars.
      Why They Couldn't Come In.
"Then we turned back and headed for the harbor. On the way we met Capt. Griesser's power boat coming fast. I told him it was no use going any further. If we had known that the RICHARDSON was in trouble, or if we had been able to get there in time, we would have pulled up alongside her and taken her men off without any trouble. There would have been less danger for us than the PAINE. The captain of the PAINE took a chance, the same as we would have.
      "These fellows would not have had to anchor outside the harbor if the north end of the breakwall and the channel were in shape. The Government has been working on that breakwall and channel for more than two years. The channel is shallow, and in stormy weather a big freighter coming in might hit the channel and then she might not. If she missed the channel she would get a bump, and her chances of getting a bump are a good deal better than her chances of getting safely inside the harbor. When the sea is as high as it was last night and this morning.
"This is the first big storm we have had this year, but boats have anchored out there before this year, and have been doing it for two years or more. Lake men all know about that place, and are not willing to take any chances."
      -------------
      ALSO
      W. C. Richardson Seen by "News" Man.
      Knows Little About details of His Loss -- Steamer carried Flaxseed For The Spencer Kellogg Co.
W. C. Richardson of Cleveland, managing owner of the unfortunate vessel, and after whom it was named, chanced to be in Buffalo this morning, but did not learn of the accident to his boat until some time after it was generally known at the local vessel office and along the waterfront. Mr. Richardson was seen at the office of Brown & Co shortly before noon by a News reporter.
      "I spent last night aboard the steamer HOWARD HANNA in the Blackwell canal." said Mr. Richardson. "This morning about 8:30 o'clock whistles began making the greatest racket I ever heard. I did not learn the cause of the noise then, and was not aware that the RICHARDSON was in trouble. Later in the morning a man covered with ore came to the boat and told us that wreckage from the RICHARDSON was coming ashore.
      "My information as to the wreck is not yet complete, and is only what I have been able to learn from the tugs that went out and rounded the vessel.
      "They say that five members of the crew are lost and 4 saved. The steamer W. A. PAINE of the Hutchinson fleet, which was with the RICHARDSON, rounded too when it was seen the boat was in trouble and those of the crew saved are aboard the PAINE. She is unable to bring them into harbor on account of the heavy sea which prevails.
      "I have no knowledge of the names of the men who have been lost. Neither do I know which men which have been rescued and are aboard the PAINE, with one exception, Capt. E. J. Burke of Detroit, who was in command of the RICHARDSON, is safe.
      "The wreck lies about a mile outside the breakwater and south of the north light. Insurance on the boat is carried by the Smith-Davis Company. The insurance is for $200,000, maybe more.
      "The RICHARDSON was one of the best iron boats afloat and when she started on her trip down the lakes was in good condition. There was no question about her seaworthiness.
      "She carried a cargo of 200,000 bushels of flaxseed for the Spencer Kellogg Company for winter storage.
      Capt. J. J. H. Brown of brown & Co., said that the cargo of flaxseed was insured for $385,000.
      Buffalo Evening News
      December 9, 1909
      . . . . .
     
      14 SURVIVORS OF RICHARDSON BROUGHT ASHORE.
      Herded Together by Steamer Owner, Who Took Extraordinary precautions Against Newspaper Men.
      BUT SEAMAN TELLS "NEWS" HOW DISASTER WAS BROUGHT ABOUT.
      All the member except five of the crew of the wrecked propeller W. C. RICHARDSON stepped upon the dock at the Commercial Slip at 9:45 this morning. the five who are missing are : E. J. Cleary, second mate, of Detroit; Samuel E. Newberry, Chief Engineer, of Kingsville, O.; Sidney Smith, fireman; Ed. Gransey, deck hand, and Mrs. John Bransford, wife of the steward, colored, of Cleveland.
      Those saved were: E. J. Burke, Master; Leander Robinson, Mate; William J. Newberry, second engineer; J. H. Lamb, oiler; Merton Miller, oiler; Lawrence Kline, fireman; Paul Pecco, fireman; John Brantford, steward; R. Daykin, watchman; R. A. Fenton, watchman; Carl W. Starke, wheelsman; Horace T. Atkins, wheelsman; John Temburouski, deck hand.
      Doubtful --- Went ashore in yawlboat, not heard from --- E. J. Cleary, second mate, Detroit; Ed. Gransey, deckhand, Shepard's Inn, Toledo; Sidney Smith, fireman, Kingsville, O.; S. E. Mayberry, chief engineer, Kingsville, O.
      Washed overboard --- Mrs. John Bransford, steward's wife, Lorain, O.
      According to the statement of W. C. Richardson, owner of the wrecked steamer, the four men did not go down with the boat, as at first supposed, but put off from the RICHARDSON on Wednesday in a yawl, in an attempt to reach land, and have not been heard from. Mrs. Bransford was washed overboard.
      The members of the crew who were rescued were taken to the office of Harvey L, Brown, a marine insurance attorney, in the Chamber of Commerce where they were kept for several hours closely guarded to prevent them from making any statement to reporters or others.
      Capt. Richardson gave the newspaper men a typewritten list of the men who were rescued and of those who are missing. he also made a formal statement, carefully worded, interrupted by frequent interviews with Capt. E. J. Burke of Detroit, the master of the wrecked vessel, who was kept inside Attorney Brown's office. Capt. Richardson statement follows:
      "On Tuesday morning at 1 o'clock the RICHARDSON passed over the Limekiln Crossing at Detroit. That is the last point at which it is possible for boats to communicate with land before reaching Buffalo. On Tuesday night a heavy storm broke. A big sea was running and there was a heavy snowfall. They checked her down so as not to reach Buffalo until Wednesday morning, hoping the weather would abate and the sea run down.
      Big Sea Running.
      "About 4 o'clock they put the boat head to it, Just off Point Abino. There! was a big sea running and blinding snow. About 6:30 on Wednesday morning she dropped off into the
trough of the sea, and the seas boarded her aft, went through her cabins and into the fire hole, putting the fires out. They could not keep the fires going and in consequence were unable to keep up steam. Then she got down to four fathoms of water. Her cargo shifted, causing her to roll down deep. She let go both her anchors about four miles below Point Abino. Then she began to drag anchor until she struck; where she now lies, with her stern on the bottom, in about 30 feet of water.
"At 7 o'clock Thursday morning the steamer PAINE came around to the lee-ward of the RICHARDSON's bow, letting go her anchors, working her bow toward the bow of the RICHARDSON. She took 14 of the men from the RICHARDSON. Great credit is due to Capt. Detliff of the PAINE for his action, and both the men and Capt. Richardson, the owner of the wrecked steamer are very grateful for his action.
"On Wednesday at noon, when the RICHARDSON was about four miles below Point Abino, Chief Engineer Mayberry, Second Mate Cleary, Sydney Smith and Edward Gransey, launched one of the life boats, and said they were going ashore. They believed they could get some assistance. Capt. Burke said to them, 'Don't go out in the boat. Stay aboard the ship, and we will come out all right.' This boat has not been heard from since. She probably is on
the Canadian shore somewhere, or she might have, drifted down the Niagara river. The beaches should be policed on the Canadian side, also the outer breakwall.
"Mrs. Bransford, the steward's wife, while her husband and some other men were helping her. forward, lost her hold and was washed overboard."
      Policemen Kept. Reporters Out.
      In the corridor before Attorney Brown's office the newspaper men awaited the pleasure, of Owner Richardson. Presently a man emerged from the office and kindly gave the waiting men outside cigars.
"The first thing the men did," he volunteered. "was to send messages to their families."
"That was thoughtful of them", said someone. "We thought possibly they were making statements that might be used in the effort to collect insurance."
The donor of the cigars retreated without a word into the office. But inside was seen the burly form of a policeman, standing near the door. Whether to keep, reporters out, or to keep the rescued men in, was not explained.'
      "Where will you take the men when they leave the office?" was asked Capt. Richardson. "I'll tell you that after awhile," he replied. "You've got enough to last you until that time. And it's a straight story, and what was told you by somebody down on the dock was not straight." `I'll have something to say about that later."
      Seaman Tell's the Story.
The mystery of the loss of the W. C. RICHARDSON within a mile of the harbor mouth and safety, and after a splendid display of seamanship through a 72-mile gale, has baffled vesselmen and master ever since the news of the disaster. Even the statement of W. C. Richardson of Cleveland this morning, given out after taking statements from the captain and crew, left something to be explained. The explanation was volunteered later by a sailor who claimed to be in possession of the full facts, but who for obvious reasons did not want to have his name divulged.
"A fireman was going down to the fire room," he said, "when a big wave followed him. He was opening the steel door to the fire room when the mass of water struck him and washed him down into the fire room. He was hurt, and before he or anybody else could close the door, another large mass of water crashed down the stairway and tore the steel door off its hinges. Wave after wave poured down into the fire room. The fires were put out. It was impossible to start them again because the place was full of water. That put the vessel at the mercy of the storm and she drifted and struck. The cargo must have shifted afterwards, if it shifted at all."
      The same authority stated the cook, Mrs. Brantford, was washed overboard, while, making her way with the remainder of the crew from the submerged stern to the fore part, which was high and dry. A torrent of water struck her and lifted her over the rail on Wednesday after, the vessel struck.
      Brave Capt. Detliff.
      The seamanship and, bravery of Capt. Detliff of the PAINE are still the theme of laudation by sailors and vesselmen. It is said that in order to rescue the, crew of the RICHARDSON he anchored a boat's length from the RICHARDSON, in the midst of a 48-mile wind, on Thursday morning, and let the vessel swing around until her bow touched the bow of the RICHARDSON. He held her there until the survivors climbed from the disabled
vessel to the PAINE.
      The bow of the PAINE was battered by thumping against the RICHARDSON under the pounding of the waves. It was a position of peril for the rescuers, but Capt. Detliff took the chance. But for his bravery the crew of the RICHARDSON must have perished in the intense cold and exposure to the icy waters that soaked them every minute upon the unprotected bow.
      The RICHARDSON lies in plain sight, within a mile of the breakwater. Her two forward compartments are still intact, which has served to keep the bow above water although the waves are sweeping over the stern and waist.
      At Anchor All Night.
      The PAINE lay at anchor all night in the same place, three miles out, where she lay yesterday. Capt. Emil Detliff would take no chance of trying to make the harbor while the whitecaps were leaping the breakwater. He saw the 48-mile-an-hour gale of yesterday simmer down to a breeze at midnight, but the waves were still high from the disturbance during, the preceding 72 hours. It was not until this morning that he headed the steamer for harbor, arriving shortly after 9 o'clock. Every boat in the Harbor tooted a greeting as the PAINE came in.
The PAINE did not attempt to pass through the channel at the north of the breakwall alone but, was assisted by the tug CASCADE. The 13 survivors of the wreck were met at the dock by W. W. C.. Richardson of Cleveland, the owner of the vessel, who arrived in Buffalo yesterday just in time to hear of his loss. Mr. Richardson had the launch JOHN H. BAKER ready to take on the rescued men. Slowly and painfully, they were helped over the side of the ice coated PAINE, and into the cabin of the BAKER. While this operation was in progress, Mr. Richardson stood on guard and would allow no body to talk to the men of the crew.
      Mr. Richardson Was Perturbed.
      "Wait until I get then uptown, and then I'll tell you all about it," he said. Importuned by anxious reporters, and waterfront men, he became wildly excited, waving, his arms and shouting: -
      "Can't you wait? You fellows are a nuisance. I'll tell you all about it when we get uptown. If you don't wait and don't stop bothering, me you won't hear anything."
"Where are you going to take your men?" "We're going from here to the Commercial Slip." was the only information he would give.
      Wouldn't Let Them Talk.
Then the crowd started up the Main street dock; over the railroad tracks to the slip. When the men landed there, a squad of policemen met them. The eager spectators were shooed away, but they pressed back again. Second Engineer William J. Mayberry was the first man assisted to shore. He was ghastly pale and weak from the shock and exposure. Two policemen helped him to a taxicab. Another man, his foot rudely bandaged, was helped off the boat and into, the cab, Two other men who were unable to walk took seats In the cab also. All the while this operation was being gone through , Richardson, still highly excited, in a high pitched voice warned his men not to say a word "Not a word, not a word," he shouted again and again, and not a man ventured to tell who he was, or, even to utter a syllable.
      Were a Battered Lot.
      The men were a battered looking lot. The pallor, which came from being face to face with death, a horrible death in the icy waters of the lake, with no chance of rescue, was in their countenances. None of them could muster a smile at the congratulations which once in a while a river man would speak. They were utterly weary, and wanted nothing but rest.
Guarded by about 10 stalwart policemen, the rescued men marched up the middle of Commercial street, the little procession headed by Richardson. Never once during the short hike to Main street did the wrecked vessel owner relax his vigilance.
      "Not a word, not a word," he reiterated again and again. Not one of the men spoke, Crowds gaped at them as they wended their way slowly, to the Terrace and up Main street to the Chamber of Commerce building.
      Richardson still laboring under the greatest excitement, again admonished his men not to speak.
      Reporters Kept Away.
      "Keep these reporters away from this door." he shouted to the policemen. "Don't let them in the room we go into."
He stood in the doorway and checked off the men as they entered. The crowd at the door grew into a throng as the people began to realize the drama of life and death of which this was a part.
      "Are they all here?" shouted Capt. Richardson. "Yes," answered one of the men who had accompanied the group.
      The men were taken to the office of Capt. J. J. H. Brown, the local agent of the Richardson fleet.
      "Come to Capt. Brown's office in 20 minutes and I'll give you the names of the men who were drowned," was Capt. Richardson's parting remark to the newspaper men "you won't hear a word until then."
      Buffalo Evening News
      December 10, 1909

      . . . . .
     
      MATE CLEARY'S BODY FOUND
      Washed Ashore Near Tifft Street, the First of the Victims to Be Recovered.
Washed up on the lake shore at Tiffts Farm, the body of Ernest J. Cleary, of Detroit, Mich., second mate on the steamer W.C. RICHARDSON, which foundered just outside the harbor last Thursday morning, was found this morning by Daniel Cook, of Blasdell, employed as a conductor by the Lackawanna & Lake Erie Traction Company. The man was frozen to death, probably in an effort to make the shore by swimming with the aid of a life preserver.
      Cook was walking along the beach, a short distance from Tifft Street about 8 o'clock when he made the discovery. Patrolman, Lec Dake of the Louisiana Street Station was notified and Deputy medical Examiner Howland was summoned. After an examination of the man's effects, which revealed a card bearing his name, the body was removed to the Morgue, where it was positively identified shortly before noon by W.C. Richardson of Cleveland, the owner of the sunken boat.
      Cleary Was one of the four members of the RICHARDSON's crew who are reported to have attempted to make land in a yawlboat. The bodies of the others have not as yet been recovered. The supposition is that the yawl capsized, after which Cleary, who had a life preserver strapped about him, tried to swim ashore, but was overcome by the icy waters and died from exposure. The preserver bearing the name W.C. RICHARDSON, was still tightly strapped about the body when the body was found.
The body was clothed in a heavy rubber coat over an overcoat. One of the man's rubber boots had been carried away by the heavy sea. Deputy Medical Examiner Howland found a seaman's card, bearing the man's name, which showed he had shipped at Ashtabula, O., and two watches, one of gold and the other of silver. The gold watch had stopped at 12:10 and the other at 1 o'clock. The body was in an excellent state of preservation. Cleary was 28 years old and unmarried. Work of the finding of the body has been sent to Detroit.
      Capt. Richardson this afternoon took charge of Cleary's body and arranged for its removal to Detroit tonight. Dr. Howland gave it as his opinion that the body had been carried over the breakwater by the heavy sea.
      Buffalo Evening News
      December 14, 1909
     
      . . . . .
     
      RICHARDSON TURNED OVER TO THE UNDERWRITERS.
Capt. Cunning with the wrecker FAVORITE is expected in Buffalo today, where he will begin the work of raising the sunken steamer W.C. RICHARDSON. The RICHARDSON has been abandoned to the Underwriters, and the contract for raising her has been awarded to the Great Lakes Towing Company, at $7,500.
      Buffalo Evening News
      December 14, 1909

      . . . . .

      INVESTIGATION OF THE RICHARDSON ACCIDENT NOTYET COMPLETED.
Further investigation into the foundering of the steamer W.C. RICHARDSON of Cleveland, outside this port early Thursday morning, will be made before a report is submitted by the local U. S. Steamboat Inspectors, Capt. E.J. Burke of Detroit, and the 13 surviving members of the crew have given their testimony, and the inspectors intend to view the wreck of the steamer and interview other witnesses within the next few days.
      Buffalo Evening News
      December 14, 1909

      . . . . .
     
      ANOTHER VICTIM OF RICHARDSON WRECK.
      Body of Sidney Smith Found Wedged in Riprap of the Breakwater.
Wedged in the riprap of the Government breakwater, the body of Sidney Smith, one of the crew of the steamer W. C. RICHARDSON, who left the sinking steamer in a yawl boat Dec. 9, was found about 8 o'clock this morning, a short distance from the South Gap, the entrance to the Lackawanna Steel Plant.
      The discovery was made by George V. Codding, keeper of the South Buffalo Light Station, located at the end of the wall. Work was telephoned the police of the Louisiana Station and Deputy Medical Examiner Howland was summoned. The body was found in a terribly mutilated condition, the result of being pounded against the rocks by the waves.
      Smith lived in Kingsville, O., and was formerly a school teacher, this being his first season on the lakes. When the crew of the police patrol boat, GROVER CLEVELAND, found the body it was in the position of a man swimming, with a life preserver clasped about it. It was necessary to cut the body from the ice. The remains were sent to the morgue.
      Buffalo Evening News
      December 17, 1909
      . . . . .
     
      RICHADSON CANNOT BE RAISED THIS WINTER.
      Capt. Alex. Cunning after the last wind storm, when the coffer dam that he had just completed for the second time was blown away, abandoned the attempt to raise the sunken steamer W. C. RICHARDSON for the winter and with the wrecker FAVORITE left for Outer Duck Island, Lake Huron to work on the steamer WISSAHICKON. Work on the RICHARDSON will be resumed in the spring.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Monday, January 3, 1910
     
      . . . . .
     
      MASTER AND CHIEF MATE BLAMED FOR RICHARDSON WRECK.
      INSUFFICIENT AND UNSKILLED CREW.
An insufficient and inexperienced crew, and negligence, unskillfulness and misconduct on the part of Amos J. Burke and Leander Robinson, master and chief mate of the W. C. RICHARDSON, the steamer that foundered off the breakwall on Dec. 8, are given as the cause of the disaster by the local inspectors of steamboats in their decision handed down this morning. The masters license is revoked and that of the chief mate is suspended for a year, to take effect Jan. 4, 1910.
      The decision goes on to state that there is much doubt as to the cargo, a treacherous one, being properly secured, and that the season of the year was dangerous to navigation, requiring extra precaution. It is concluded that the master not only failed to report his shortage and inexperience of crew, but indirectly stated that he had a full crew.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Wednesday, January 5, 1910

      . . . . .
     
      MORE TROUBLE FOR RICHARDSON'S MASTER.
The troubles of Amos W. Burke, captain of the ill-fated steamer W. C. RICHARDSON, did not end with the revocation of his license as master and pilot yesterday. After looking further into the case, the local inspectors of steamboats decided that he had violated two statutes, first in not reporting his shortage of men at Fairport, O., and secondly in leaving the harbor without having done so. So a message was sent to the Collector of Customs at Fairport informing him of these facts, and for these two offences Burke will be fined $150; $50 for the first and $100 for the second. The RICHARDSON was manned by 19 officers and men while the regulations call for 21.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Thursday, January 6, 1910

      . . . . .

      MAY BE A TOTAL LOSS.
      The latest reports from the sunken steamer W. C. RICHARDSON state that the ship is in bad shape. Her decks have been crushed in and her bulkheads are gone and most of her cargo of flaxseed has been washed away. The vessel has been subjected to the full sweep of the sea and ice is piled over her 20 feet high. She probably will be a total loss.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Friday, January 7, 1910

      . . . . .

      APPEAL TAKEN FROM INSPECTOR'S DECISION.
      It was announced in Cleveland yesterday that the owners of the steamer W. C. RICHARDSON have taken an appeal from the decision of the local inspectors at Buffalo in the case of Capt. Burke and his first mate. The case will now be considered by the supervising inspectors at Washington.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Friday, January 14, 1910

      . . . . .
     
      RICHARDSON'S OFFICERS EXONERATED FROM BLAME.
Joseph Stone, supervising inspector for the Ninth district, announced this morning that he has overruled the decision of the local inspectors at this port revoking the licenses of capt. Enos Burke and First Mate Leander Robinson of the steamer W. C. RICHARDSON sunk just outside Buffalo harbor towards the close of navigation. There is no appeal from this decision.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Wednesday, January 26, 1910

      . . . . .
     
      PASSAGE IS CUT TO THE RICHARDSON.
      Work of Raising Sunken Steamer Will Now be Pushed by Capt. Cunning, Veteran Wrecker.
      --------------
In spite of the announcement some time ago that attempts to raise the sunken steamer RICHARDSON had been abandoned for the winter, the tugs YALE and MASON, of the Great Lakes Towing Company, worked all day yesterday and succeeded in breaking a passage through the ice out to the wreck. This is the first move towards raising the vessel and the remainder of the work will proceed without any unnecessary delay.
Capt. Alexander Cunning, the veteran wrecker, who is known from one end of the lakes to the other, is here. He has just returned from Outer Duck Harbor, Lake Huron, where he succeeded in floating the steamer WISSAHICKON after being cut off from the world for weeks by bad weather. The WISSAHICKON job was one of the worst Capt. Cunning has handled, and it is feared the RICHARDSON will not be much better through the conditions under which the work will be done are not so bad. Thomas Johnson of Cleveland, general manager of the Great Lakes Towing Company, is also on the job.
It is feared that the RICHARDSON is in bad shape. She has been washed about three-quarters of a mile from the place where she went down, and is now almost completely submerged. There is no hope of saving her cargo of flaxseed.
At first it was planned to transport the wrecking apparatus to the RICHARDSON by teams, but it was feared the ice was not strong enough to last, so it was decided to break a passage.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Monday, February 21, 1910

      . . . . .

      Wreckers Almost Ready to Work on RICHARDSON.
Tomorrow morning, wind and weather permitting, Capt. Alexander Cunning will begin the real work of raising the steamer RICHARDSON, sunk outside the harbor. The lighter WAYNE, which lies at the C. & R. dock, is being loaded in preparation for the work she is to do. The tugs YALE and MASON have been keeping a passage open to the wreck.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Friday, February 25, 1910

      . . . . .
     
      RICHARDSON MAY YET BE SAVED,
Just before sundown yesterday the lighter WAYNE, with Capt. Alexander Cunning and a large crew of men on board, was towed out to the wreck of the RICHARDSON, where she will remain until the ship is raised. So many men are at work on the wreck that it has been necessary to build an extra deckhouse on the wrecker to accommodate them, and not a minute of time will be lost, night or day in the efforts to float the sunken steamer. Preparations for the building of a cofferdam were begun this morning.
Those in the wrecking party are unable to even guess how long it will be before the ship is floated. It is now believed that the RICHARDSON will not be a total loss after all. She is of particularly stout construction, and though what has happened to her in the last few months is enough to completely destroy most ships, she probably will be rebuilt without great difficulty.
      The wreckers have found that vandals have been busy on the only part of the RICHARDSON that remains above water. Every bit of brass in sight has been hammered off and stolen.
      (NOTE:- In the above article the name of HUTCHINSON was used throughout, to avoid confusion it was decided to use the proper name of RICHARDSON.)
      Buffalo Evening News
      Saturday, February 26, 1910

      . . . . .

Good weather has favored the work of the wreckers on the RICHARDSON, and they may have her up before the end of next week.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Wednesday, March 2, 1910

      . . . . .
     
      RICHARDSON TO BE RAISED THIS WEEK.
      Nothing Can Be Known as to Condition of her Cargo Until she is Pumped Out.
Not later than Wednesday the steamer RICHARDSON, which has lain a sunken wreck outside the north harbor entrance will be pumped out and raised.
      This is the latest assurance from the wreckers who have been toiling busily upon her for a week. The last cofferdam has been placed about the hatches and before tomorrow night another will be built around the boiler room and engine room. Then the real work of pumping out and raising will begin.
      Seven divers, with special felt lined suits to protect them from the intense cold of the water, have been at work about the wreck, and from them a fairly exact estimate of her condition has been obtained. Both her bottom and sides are in good shape, but that is about the only favorable report obtained. Her cabins and deck houses have been crushed and beaten by the seas and ice until they are reduced to nothing but a pile of worthless junk. The exact condition of the interior will not be known until the ship is pumped out.
A hitch may occur before the RICHARDSON is put in dock for repairs owing to some question about the insurance. The American underwriters, upon whom about 25 per cent of the loss fell, have abandoned the RICHARDSON as a total loss, but the English underwriters, who carried the balance of the insurance, have not yet settled. What course will be taken to straighten out the matter is not known.
      Buffalo Sunday Morning News
      March 6, 1910

      . . . . .
     
      Wreckers Working Again.
The wreckers who were forced to give up work on the RICHARDSON because of the high winds of Monday, resumed operations yesterday afternoon. The delay will not be serious.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Wednesday, March 9, 1910

      . . . . .
     
      OTHER WRECKER MAY TAKE RICHARDSON JOB.
William W. Bager of Detroit and Capt. James Reid of Port Huron, are expected here to look at the wreck of the steamer RICHARDSON, which has been abandoned by the Great Lakes Towing Company after three unsuccessful attempts to raise her, coming at the request of the underwriters, who still have hopes of saving the ship.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Friday, March 18, 1910

      . . . . .

      ANOTHER ATTEMPT TO RAISE THE RICHARDSON.
      Word has come from Detroit that Capt. H.W. Baker of Detroit and Capt. James Reid of Port Huron have taken a contract to raise the steamer RICHARDSON in spite of the fact that three previous attempts have been unsuccessful. The contract price is $40,000 and work will be begun as soon as possible.
      Buffalo Evening News
      April 4, 1910

      . . . . .

Capt. Alexander Cunning, wrecking master for the Great Lakes Towing Company, expects to go to Cleveland tonight to superintend the fitting out of the wrecker FAVORITE. Nothing more will be done to raise the RICHARDSON until next spring at least
      Buffalo Evening News
      Thursday, March 17, 1910

      . . . . .

      Capt. W. H. Baker of Detroit and Capt. James Reid of Port Huron have jointly taken a contract from the underwriters for the release of the wrecked steamer WILLIAM C. RICHARDSON, lying outside Buffalo Harbor.
They will receive $40,000 if they get the boat and not otherwise as the job is taken on the no-cure-no-pay basis. This figure is what Capt. Reid orignally bid for the work.
Steel covers for the hatches of the wrecked boat and steel cofferdam to cover the cabin and deckhouse portions of the boat will be made ready at Reid's shipyard at Port Huron and will be taken to the wreck.
Wrecker Baker will take the wrecker SNOOK or the DOUGLAS and Capt. Reid will use the MANISTIQUE and the tug SARNIA CITY. The MANISTIQUE has a derrick which is needed in the work. They hope to leave for Buffalo before the end of the week.
The RICHARDSON was abandoned by the Great Lakes Towing Co, after 3 ineffectual attempts have been made to raise it. The company took the contract for $7,500. Unfavorable weather interefered with operations.
      Buffalo Morning Express
      April 4, 1910 3-5

      . . . . .
     
The stm. RHODA EMILY went out to the wreck of the RICHARDSON off the harbor yesterday morning and began pumping out the remainder of the flaxseed cargo. About 1/3 of the cargo is believed to be still intact.
The RHODA EMILY came here from Cleveland several days ago. She is owned by the Saginaw Bay Transportation Co., but the conravt for the salvage is said to have been let to a Milwaukee concern.
      Buffalo Morning Express
      April 26, 1910 3-1

      . . . . .
     
MARINE NOTES. - What is left of the flax seed cargo in the hold of the RICHARDSON wreck is being pumped out, preparatory to raising her.
      Buffalo Evening News
      April 26, 1910


      COMING HERE TO RAISE THE RICHARDSON WRECK.
      Capt. Baker Of Port Huron Left Detroit This Morning--To Try His Luck Where Capt. Cunning Failed.
      Word was passed along the water front this morning that Capt. Baker of Port Huron is on his way to Buffalo to raise the RICHARDSON wreck sunk off the North Harbor entrance. With the wrecker, SNOOK, he left Detroit this morning for Port Huron. There he will take on the new steel hatch covers and the steel cofferdam that have been built there, and start for Buffalo. It is possible that the actual work of raising the RICHARDSON may be underway on Wednesday.
      The final attempt to bring the RICHARDSON to the surface has been delayed by the great quantities of ice that were jammed at the lower end of the lake, and even piled high on the wreck itself, affording a fearful menace to the ship's decks. Vessel-men are amazed that she stood the strain as well as she has.
      Now the ice is all gone, and a few days ago Capt. Baker sent a diver down to make an examination. He fond a hole six by eighteen feet just aft of the No. 7 hatch. There are 10 feet of water under the wreck aft and two feet over the deck forward. What was left of her flax seed cargo has been pumped out.
      The announcement several months ago that the Reed & Baker Wrecking Company had taken the contract to raise the RICHARDSON, when Capt. Cunning, whose skill as a wrecker is widely known had given it up after several fruitless attempts, was heard along the harbor with mingled feelings. Some of the lake oracles declare that the RICHARDSON will never be floated, while others hold that her raising is quite possible, and point out that Capt. Cunning had the ship almost to the surface three times and each time was beaten by a storm in the very moment of his success. On the other hand it can be seen that ice has damaged the ship greatly, and the full extent is not yet known.
      The Reed & Baker Company have had a steel boiler house without top or bottom, 35 square feet, built at their shop at Port Huron. This house is about 11 feet high, which will bring it above the water line. It will be used to replace the RICHARDSON's boiler house which was washed away. This house will be three-eighths inch steel.
      The steel cofferdam that has also been built at Port Huron is so arranged that it can be put on in sections. The wreckers say that they can have the ship inside the harbor within one week of the time they start to raise her. For delivering her at the breakwater they will get $40,000.
      Buffalo Evening News
      May 2, 1910



      WRECKERS DELAYED ON RICHARDSON JOB.
      The attempt of Capt. Baker to raise the steamer RICHARDSON has been delayed, and the wrecker is still at Port Huron taking on the steel hatches and cofferdam, that are to be used in the attempt. Capt. Baker probably will reach here early next week and begin operations at once. When raised the RICHARDSON wreck will be sold at auction as the owners have abandoned her to the Undrewriters. Both the American and English companies have settled their claims.
      Buffalo Evening News
      May 7, 1910



      WRECKER SNOOK COMING TO RAISE RICHARDSON.
Word was received here this morning to the effect that Capt. Baker is all ready to leave Port Huron with the steel hatches and other devices to be used in raising the RICHARDSON, and the wrecker SNOOK is equipped with a complete wrecking outfit. The steel cofferdam which will be placed over the RICHARDSON's cabin aft, will be brought in a few days by the wrecker MANISTIQUE. With good luck the SNOOK should reach here tomorrow night or Wednesday. Work will be begun at once and Capt. Baker hopes to have the RICHARDSON up in less than a week from the time he begins work.
      Buffalo Evening News
      May 9, 1910




The tug WINSLOW with the barge BELLE HANSCOMB arrived here yesterday from Port Huron with the steel hatch covers and other equipment to be used by Capt. Baker and Reid in the job of raising the wreck of the stm. W.C. RICHARDSON outside this harbor.
The hatch covers were built at Detroit. Many apparatus is still to come down, including pumps and derricks. The work will not start for a few days, but when it does the wreckers promise quick results. The 2 vetran wreckers took the job for $40,000.
      Buffalo Morning Express
      May 14, 1910 8-4



      BODY OF RICHARDSON'S COOK IS RECOVERED.
      Badly Decomposed Remains Of Mrs. John Bransford Found In River Near Electric Beach.
      --------------
The body of Mrs. John Bransford, who was swept from the deck of the steamer RICHARDSON, just before the vessel foundered a few miles outside the breakwater, Dec. 9, was found floating in the Niagara River at a point north of Electric Beach early last evening. The body was in an advanced stage of decomposition, but identification was made possible by papers found in the pockets of a coat buttoned closely around the body.
      Jack Alton, a boxer, who has training quarters at the beach, made the discovery. Springing into the water he towed the body to the dock, where it was made fast with a line. Medical examiner Danser was notified at once, and after viewing the body ordered it sent to the morgue.
      Mrs. Bransford was the colored cook employed aboard the RICHARDSON. Her husband was steward. Their home was Lorain, O. When the vessel was overwhelmed by the seas, Bransford attempted to lead his wife from one of the after deck houses to the Captain's bridge forward, but a heavy struck the vessel and the woman was swept overboard. She was never seen again.
      Bransford was one of the few survivors of the wreck. After he had been brought ashore he said that his wife had $600 in one of her stockings. When the body was found last night only one stocking was found upon it. This contained no money.
      Buffalo Evening News
      May 18, 1910



      RICHARDSON MAY BE IN PORT THIS AFTERNOON.
Capt. Howard V. Baker, who has been working on the RICHARDSON wreck, announced last night that he expected to have the boat under the breakwater before tonight. This afternoon such a thick haze obscured the view that it was impossible to see how the work was progressing.
      Buffalo Evening News
      June 23, 1910



      WIND DELAYS RAISING OF STEAMER RICHARDSON.
Contrary to expectations the RICHARDSON was not raised yesterday, and there is little chance of her being brought into port on account of the brisk breeze which makes work on the wreck difficult. As soon as the wind drops some cofferdams will be placed and the pumping begun. Two hours later Capt. Baker expects to have the wreck afloat.
      Buffalo Evening News
      June 24, 1910



      BROKEN PUMP DELAYS RAISING OF RICHARDSON.
      Because a pump became disabled just when the hour of triumph was at hand, the raising of the RICHARDSON wreck, which was to have been completed early Sunday morning, has been delayed for a few hours, but if no other delays occur the RICHARDSON will be at the breakwater this afternoon. The broken pump was repaired last night and the work of pumping out the wreck was begun again.
      Buffalo Evening News
      June 27, 1910



      WRECKERS MAKING NO PROGRESS ON RICHARDSON.
      Little progress has been made on the raising of the RICHARDSON wreck in the last 24 hours on account of the choppy sea, and at noon the wreckers had stopped work temporarily. The RICHARDSON is in the same position she has laid for nearly a year, her bow sticking out of the water and the stern completely submerged. When the work of pumping will be resumed will depend entirely upon the weather.
      Buffalo Evening News
      June 29, 1910



      RICHARDSON MAY BE AFLOAT BEFORE NIGHT.
      Once more the RICHARDSON wreck is just on the point where a few hours may see her afloat again. The steel cofferdam which was repaired at the plant of the Empire Shipbuilding Company has been placed and this afternoon the wreckers are getting ready to pump.
      Capt. Howard A. Baker and Capt. James Reid, who are conducting the wrecking operations, are hopeful that this attempt to raise the RICHARDSON will prove successful, but neither has much to say about it, for the steamer has been almost to the surface four times before, and accidents brought about failure. However if the weather holds and nothing goes wrong with the pumps, there is a good chance of the RICHARDSON being afloat before night.
      Buffalo Evening News
      July 6, 1910



      RICHARDSON PARTLY OUT OF THE WATER.
      Was Well On Her Way To Harbor When Cargo Listed And Down She Went Again.
      After being submerged for many months, the steamer RICHARDSON was raised last night and towed toward the breakwater, but she did not go far before her water-soaked cargo of flax seed shifted, the ship listed heavily, and it was found necessary to let her settle again.
      The raising of the RICHARDSON was the culmination of a hard day's work, and it was after sundown before the hull of the big freighter began to rise slowly from the water. She bore the marks of sea and ice on every quarter. Her cabins aft are washed away and great holes broken in her decks, but the steel of her hull has proved staunch, and there is no doubt that the RICHARDSON will sail again.
      As the RICHARDSON rose almost to her waterline, the tugs, which had made fast to her, got under way, steaming for the breakwater as fast as safety would permit. The ship cut her way through the smooth water for more than 100 feet and then it happened.
      The great freighter listed suddenly to starboard. The tugs stopped while the men in charge of the work considered what was best to be done. Rather than take chances in the position of the ship changing so that her holes would no longer be closed, they decided to let her settle as she was, and raise her after adjusting the list. So the water was allowed to close with a gurgle over the wreck once more.
      The RICHARDSON is now about 100 feet nearer the breakwater than she was. Her bow projects about as it did before, but the after part of the ship is four feet higher.
      Capt. Benjamin L. Cowles, who saw the unsuccessful attempt to bring in the RICHARDSON, said this morning that there is no doubt that the vessel will be raised, but the work will not be resumed until there is a perfectly calm sea.
      Work was resumed by the wreckers this morning, and this afternoon the RICHARDSON was out of water about five feet all around. She will probably be brought inside the breakwater before night.
      Buffalo Evening News
      July 7, 1910



      MOVING RICHARDSON.
      The RICHARDSON wreck was moved a considerable distance yesterday afternoon, and had it not been for a breeze she would now be inside the breakwater. No work is being done on the wreck, and none will be attempted until the wind subsides, but the wreckers believe that when work is resumed it will be a matter of only a few hours before the boat is inside the breakwater.
      Buffalo Evening News
      July 18, 1910



      WRECKERS MUST NOT POLLUTE WATER.
      Acting Health Commissioner Schafer issued an order this morning prohibiting the salvage company, which is raising the RICHARDSON from pumping the flaxseed, with which the hull was loaded, into the lake. "We have taken samples of the water in the vicinity of the spot where the pumping is being done," explained Dr. Schafer, "and find by a bacteriological examination that the count of harmful germs in the currents running over the RICHARDSON's wreck is very high, owing to the decayed flaxseed pumped out of the hull."
      Buffalo Evening News
      July 28, 1810



      NO MORE WORK ON RICHARDSON TILL WINTER.
      On account of the frequent breezes which have delayed wrecking operations, Capt. Howard H. Baker, who with Capt. Reid has been trying to raise the RICHARDSON wreck, said last night that all future attempts will be postponed until after the ice forms. Capt. Baker declared positively that the RICHARDSON has not been abandoned, but he believes the work of raising her will be easier when there is about five inches of ice.
      This decision greatly reduces the chances of ever raising the wreck, for work on the ice was tried unsuccessfully by Capt. Cunning last winter, and vessel-men say that before spring there will be little left of the RICHARDSON.
      Buffalo Evening News
      September 2, 1910

      . . . . .

      Capt. Baker in Buffalo.
The work of raising the RICHARDSON will be resumed in a few days. Capt. Howard H. Baker arrived in Buffalo yesterday, and started preparations to begin the work as soon as possible. Capt. Reid is not with him this time, but is doing work in Oswego. The ice is now thick enough to begin work and with clear weather the captain says the work can be accomplished. Several barges and other necessary implements have been rented and will be sent to Buffalo at once.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Thursday, January 19, 1911

      . . . . .
     
      MAKING PREPARATIONS FOR RAISING THE RICHARDSON
Capt. Reid, who has charge of the work of raising the wrecked freighter Richardson, said last night that he would have the Richardson ready to be towed ashore within a few weeks. He is having hard work plowing through the ice to reach the wreckage. All they have been able to do so far is to break a path to move his wrecking outfit to the boat. Operation of raising the sunken freighter will be begun before the week is out. Capt. Baker is also in Buffalo making preparations to raise the sunken freighter.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Tuesday, January 31, 1911


     
      WILL START WORK ON RICHARDSON MONDAY.
All preparations for starting the work of raising the sunken steamer Richardson are now completed, and Capt. Reid expects to start work on the freighter Monday. A channel is broken leading from the dock to the vessel, and the cofferdam that has been used at the last try will be taken out again. The wrecker Snook and barge are moored at the foot of Main street. The ice near the wreck is solid and there is no danger of it shifting.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Friday, February 10, 1911



      STILL WORKING ON RICHARDSON WRECK.
Undaunted by the partial collapse of the decks of the steamer Richardson, the wreckers are busy today building a wooden cofferdam and hope to have the work in shape so that the pumps can be started again next Thursday. George W. Pfohl said this morning that rumors that the wreck was to be abandoned were unfounded and that work would be continued until the boat was recovered.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Monday, March 13, 1911
     


Port Huron, May 2 - The wrecking outfit of the Reid Wrecking Co. and the Baker Wrecking Co. which were at work on the SHARPLES, will be sent from Cape Vincent to Buffalo to start work at once on the stm. RICHARDSON.
Capt. Reid says that with any kind of good weather he will have the RICHARDSON inside the breakwater in 2 weeks from the time he starts work.
      Buffalo Morning Express
      May 3, 1911 8-4
     
      . . . . .

      TO RAISE THE RICHARDSON IF IT BREAKS HIM. SO SAYS CAPT, REID,
      Who Came To Buffalo Yesterday To Take a Look At The Wrecked Vessel.
      Expects To Have It Up By June.
      " I'll raise the RICHARDSON by June 1, if I have to go broke doing it," said Capt. Reid yesterday, shortly before leaving Buffalo for Detroit. Capt. Reid was in Buffalo for but a day, arriving here yesterday morning on the wrecking tug REID. A trip of inspection to the scene of the RICHARDSON's foundering was made, and Capt. Reid sized up the chances of releasing the sunken steamer from the tenacious grip of the lake shore. There is no more ice about the vessel and she now appears about the same as she did last summer, the bow partly out of the water and the rest of the hull submerged.
      Instead of building the cofferdam about the boat it is the intention of Reid and Baker to have the dam constructed this time within the shelter of the breakwall, and then towed out to the scene of action. Unless the unforseen sets in (and it usually does in the case of the RICHARDSON), Capt. Reid is confident that he can have the wrecked vessel in the harbor within a week after starting operations. He stated yesterday that he would return to Buffalo within a week or so and would be ready to state when the wreck would be tackled again.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Saturday, May 6, 1911

      . . . . .

      READY FOR THE "RICHARDSON" AGAIN.
      Work Of Building Cofferdam For Raising The Sunken Vessel Will Be Started Today.
      Preparations for one more desperate effort to raise the hulk of the steamer WILLIAM C. RICHARDSON from her bed on a shoal a short distance outside of the breakwater are now under way. Today or tomorrow, the work of building the big cofferdam will be begun on the shores of Guinea Bay along the harbor beach under the supervision of Capt. Baker of Detroit, who arrived in Buffalo yesterday. The wrecker SNOOK and the tug MATTICK are getting in readiness for another struggle with the RICHARDSON and it is probable that their efforts will be supplemented later by those of the big tug REID now being used on the wreck of the MORELAND.
      The promise made some time ago by Capt. Reid that the RICHARDSON would be raised some time during June, bids fair to be fulfilled after all, for both Capt. Reid and Capt. Baker are determined to bring an end to wrecking operations on the vessel. When the cofferdam has been completed, it will be towed out to the scene of the wreck to be sunk in place about the submerged hulk. Capt. Reid is expected to arrive here from the MORELAND operations within a week.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Monday, June 19, 1911

      . . . . .

The building of a new cofferdam which will be used to attempt raising the wreck of the W.C. RICHARDSON is progressing rapidly. The work is being rushed under the personal supervision of Capt. William H. Baker, of Detroit, near the foot of South Michigan St. The cofferdam it is expected will be ready to be placed by the latter part of next week so that wrecking operations can be started by the first of July.
Capt. Baker says after the cofferdam has been placed in position and the work of pumping out the wreck of the vessel has been started, it will require but a short time to have the steamer floated provided the weather conditions are favorable. Several large 12 and 18 inch centrifugal pumps will be used.
      Buffalo Morning Express
      June 24, 1911 8-6

      . . . . .

It may be a week before the cofferdam which is being built on the beach near the foot of South Michigan St. is ready to be placed around the decks of the stm. W.C. RICHARDSON. The work is progressing slowly, but Capt. Baker says he is taking his time and doing the work thoroughly.
It will take several days to adjust the cofferdam and after the pumps are set in operation it may be only a matter of 5 or 6 hours before the vessel is floated, providing weather conditions are favorable.
      Buffalo Morning Express
      June 30, 1911 9-5

      . . . . .

      RICHARDSON AGAIN TEMPTS WRECKERS
      Capt. Baker Will Begin Salvage Operations on the Wreck This Week.
      FLOATING COFFERDAM UNDER CONSTRUCTION
      Will Be Towed to Waverly Shoals and Placed About the Hulk.
Sometime this week another attempt will he made to recover the submerged hulk of the wrecked steamer W. C. RICHARDSON from its berth on the Waverly shoals outside of the south breakwall. Work on the floating cofferdam which is being constructed on the shore of "Guinea Bay" on the island has been rushed during the past two weeks under the direction of Capt. William Baker, of Detroit, who with Capt. James Reid has the contract for the raising of the vessel. It is expected that the cribs and abutments of the dam will be completed in a few days.
      When the dam is fully built it will be towed out to the scene of the wreck and placed in
position about the hulk of the RICHARDSON. The interior of the boat will then be pumped out and Capt.'s. Reid and Baker are confident that this time success will meet their efforts. It is probable that the wrecking tugs, REm. MA TUCK and SNOOK will again work on the wreck. The first named tug is working on the wreck of the MORELAND in Lake Huron.
      Gale Smashes Cofferdam.
Ever since the RICHARDSON ran aground in an early December gale in 1909, efforts have been made to raise the hulk of the steamer for salvage, but so far they have been unsuccessful. The Great Lakes Towing Company gave us the task in March of 1910. Since then Reid and Baker hare tried the job. Last March just as the preliminary work of
pumping was completed and the real work of raising the vessel was beginning, an ice floe crashed into the cofferdam and smashed much of the equipment, stopping the work.



The cofferdam to be used in raising the wrecked steamer RICHARDSON will be ready soon. It differs from that used in the work on the battleship MAINE, and instead of being a series of cylinders built around the vessel it consists of an oblong box without top or bottom, which will fit over the steamer's deck from the timberhead forward to the fantail aft. The cofferdam, after being towed to the wreck will be set down over the steamer and bolted into place. Then the work of pumping the water out of the huge box will be begun. Wreckers claim that as soon as the water level has been lowered four or five feet the boat will begin to come off the bottom. The vessel's deck is now several feet under water. The cargo of Flaxseed which the vessel carried has all been washed away.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Tuesday, July 11, 1911

      . . . . .

The cofferdam which will be used in attempting to raise the wreck of the stm. WILLIAM C. RICHARDSON has been towed out of Guinea Bay and is now lying behind the breakwall off South Michigan St. Active operations of raising the wreck will be started the first of next week. The wrecker SNOOK which went aground during the storm about a month ago was released yesterday morning.
      Buffalo Morning Express
      August 19, 1911 3-3
      . . . . .
     
      EXPECTS TO RAISE WRECK IN TWO WEEKS
      Captain Baker Says RICHARDSON Will Be Towed into Port by That Time.
Another effort to raise the wreck of the steamer WILLIAM C. RICHARDSON, which foundered off Waverly shoal two years ago, was made yesterday when Capt. William Baker of Detroit started out with his wrecking outfit and a picked crew of men and divers. He confidently expects to have the sunken steamer afloat and towed into port within two weeks. The cofferdam towed out to the wreck yesterday and placed around her decks so the work of pumping out her hull can be started in a few days. With favorable weather conditions, Capt. Baker says that he can bring the boat to the surface within seven hours.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Wednesday, September 13, 1911
     

      The stm. WILLIAM C. RICHARDSON which sank on Waverly Shoal on December 8, 1909, has been abandoned to the government and Co. Warren, government engineer for this district will soon advertise for bids for its removal. Repeated attempts of the wreckers to raise the boat have been unsuccessful.
      Pending the removal of the hull a light will be shown on the wreck as a warning to vessels. The wreckers may have to use dynamite to remove the hull, which is a menace to navigation.
      Buffalo Morning Express
      May 8, 1912

      . . . . .

      Bids for removing the wreck of the W.C. RICHARDSON from Waverly Shoals were opened by Col. James G. Warren, government engineer for the district, yesterday.
The bid of Hinckley & Sampson, wrecking & salvage company of Oswego, was $34,000 lower than the estimate, made by any of the other wrecking companies. The Oswego firm offered to do the work for $1,000.
      Three other bids were received by the Federal authorities. They were Harris W. Baker of Detroit, $35,000; Johnston & Virden, of Lewes, Del., $36,000 and the Reed Wrecking Company of Sarnia, Ont., $49,950. Baker and Reid are said to have spent $50,000 in vain attempts to raise the old steel hull.
      Capt. A.H. Hinckley has inspected the wreck himself and says that the old steel hull and machinery is worth upwards of $40,000. If he is awarded the contract the boat will belong to him after it is raised.
      The government does not specify what methods are used in removing the wreck as long as the boat is out of the way by the first of December.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      June 30, 1912 50-1

      . . . . .

Hickley & Sampson, the Oswego contractors have towed their cofferdam out to Genesee St. It was stated that work on the RICHARDSON would begin in a few days.
      Buffalo Evening News
      May 10, 1913


No attempt was made yesterday by wreckers to dynamite the wreck of the W.C. RICHARDSON, which lies on the bottom of the lake about a 1 1/4 from the north harbor entrance. The lighter LE E and a wrecking party visited the scene of the wreck late in the afternoon, but nothing was done.
W.D. Johnson of Johnson & Virden, the Lewes, Del., wrecking firm which has the government contract for removing the wreck is in Buffalo and personally will direct the blast when the big charge is set off. The blast will be discharged with an electric current. Some of the wires already have been laid around te wreck and all that remains is to submerge the dynamite in the hull of the great steel ship.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      September 28, 1913 56-4


Col. Francis G. Ward believes the shock caused by the dynamiting of the old RICHARDSON will not injure the intake or any other city property along the waterfront.
A large amount of dynamite was used in clearing the Watson Elevator site in the harbor about 2 years ago, and no particular damage was done, said Ward.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      October 3, 1913 7-4


      DIVER GEO. WYERS HAS OFFER FROM SEEKERS OF TREASURE.
      George Wyers, Buffalo diver, who raised the supply boat ARCTIC in the Buffalo River a few days ago, has been offered inducements to join the expedition that is about to try and recover the treasure from the steamer MERIDA [ocean].........
      Wyers worked on the wreck of the EMPRESS OF IRELAND about two years ago in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and helped to recover a good many bodies. He also worked on the wreck of the W. C. RICHARDSON off Buffalo a few years ago, and last year he helped in the wrecking of the steamer WESTERN STAR in Georgian Bay. He is now with the American Towing Co., at this port.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      July 19, 1916


Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Notes:
Reason: aground
Freight: flax seed
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
1909
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
McN.W.14399
Language of Item:
English
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 42.862222 Longitude: -78.936666
Donor:
William R. McNeil
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
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W. C. Richardson (Propeller), aground, 8 Dec 1909