The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Vermillion (Steamboat), burnt, 6 Nov 1842


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LOSS OF THE VERMILLION BY FIRE
By the stm. PERRY, Capt. Wilkeson, which arrived at this port last evening, we learn that the stm. VERMILLION, Capt. Brundage, was totally destroyed by fire while lying at the wharf at Huron on Sunday Morning.
      In addition to what is contained in the annexed extra, we learn that the VERMILLION was downward bound and had on board 1,000 bbls flour, some ashes, &c., shipped by Messrs. Gray & Lewis, of Detroit, all of which, including the books, money, baggage, &c. of those on board were burned. The vessel was principally owned by Messrs Gelston & Evans, of this city, and was partially insured. She was new and valued at $50,000.
      Cleveland, Nov. 6. - About 1:00 this morning the stm. VERMILLION on her way down the lake, while at the port of Huron, took fire and burned down to the waters edge. The chamber maid, a young woman named Everard, belonging to this city was lost with the vessel.
      We are indebted to Capt. Wilkeson of the PERRY for this painfull intelligence He says the VERMILLION had a large quantity of freight on board, mostly flour, and considerable many passengers. Nothing was saved, so instantaneous was the conflagration. It proceeded from one of the hands acciently dropping a demijoh or a can of spirits turpentine, which bursted over the boilers, and caught fire immediately, enveloping the whole vessel in flames in an instant. The PERRY which arrived soon after, took the VERMILLION's passengers on board.
      The VERMILLION was owned by the Western Transportatiuon Co.,and was one of the best class of high pressure boats. No blame is attached to any one, connected with the unfortunate affair.
She was from 350 to 400 tons burthen.---- Plain Dealer, Extra
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Tuesday, November 8, 1842

      . . . . .

      BURNING OF THE VERMILLION
      The following statement touching this melancholy
      catastrophe, has been handed us for publication:
      Huron, 2 o'clock, P.M., November 6, 1842
The undersigned, being a committee appointed by the citizens of Huron to take measures to relieve the distress of the sufferers, and make arrangements for the decent interment of the dead, in the unfortunate burning of the Steamboat VERMILLION, which took place at our port this morning, report the following facts as having come to our knowledge by the reports of others, and from personal observation.
The S.B. VERMILLION, Capt. Brundage, arrived here fron Detroit this morning, about 1 o'clock and stopped at the end of the pier, near the Light House. Among the freight they were taking on was a can of turpentine, which by some means was turned out and spread over the deck, and coming in contact with the chimney, took fire, and in a moment the boat was on fire from stem to stern. The passengers, some forty or fifty in number, were all asleep in their berths.
They were soon aroused, but before they could get on to the pier the fastenings of the boat were burned off and the boat drifted out of the river into the lake her boats were immediately lowered. One immediately swamped -- the other was the means of saving many lives -- but others were doomed, some to a watery grave, but others given a prey to the devouring flames.
The following are known to be lost. The body of one man has been found. His name supposed to be (from his papers) Alexander Robinson, Captain or Mate of the schooner OHIO. he is supposed to have had a wife on board, who was also drowned The body of Mrs. Charles Hoskins, of Kingston, Canada, has also been found. He husband is among the living. He saved himself by swimming to the dock, after being separated from his wife by some one seizing him around the body and dragging him under. The cabin maid is known to be lost, probably burned to death. The clothing of a man is found, and from the papers in the pockets supposed to belong to Herman B. Ely, of Rochester, N.Y. The above are all that are known to have perished; it is to be feared that others have perished whose names will not be known until their place shall be found vacant among their friends.
The following are known to be among the living:
      Wm.B. Clakr, South Lansing, Tompkins Co., N.Y.
      James S.Clark, Clinton, Lenawee Co. Mich.
      Mrs. Edward Clark, and two daughters, Lenawee Co. Mich.
      A. Duff, Malden, Canada
      Mr. Win. Watkins, Leroy, N.Y.
      Mr. Charles Hoskins, Canada
      Miss Hannah Torry, New Hartfoord, N.Y.
      Miss A.T. Smith, new York City
      Mr. R.B. Carhart, Bloomfield, Mich.
      Mr. Hampton E. Field, Troy, N.Y.
      Mr. Henry Grinnell, Bloomfield, Mich.
      Master Ephraim Barrows, Bloomfield, Mich.
      Dr. A.T. Boardman, and son, White Pigeon, Mich.
      Mr. N.S. Godfrey, Batavia, N.Y.
We are not able to give the names of those known to be living, as some went down on the S.B. COM. PERRY, that was in about sunrise; how many is not known.
The officers and crew of the boat are all saved, and it is no more than justice to say, that they conducted thenselves with the greatest firmness and presence of mind, and were the last to leave the boat. Capt. Brundage rushed into the hottest of flames and rescued a feamale from certain destruction.
      The steamboat CHICAGO rendered timely assistance, and saved several that were drowning, and also towed the sinking boat into the river, where she rests on the bottom, a perfect wreck except the engine, which will be saved. her principal cargo consisted of 800 or 900 bbls. of flour, which will be nearly a total loss.
      Our citizens have showed a becoming zeal in saving the lives of the passengers and their property, as well as that of the boat, and are now engaged in raking the bottom for the bodies of the other unfortunates, and fitting the dead for interment and relieving the wants of the living. The effects are in the hands of J. Tracy, and will be faithfully kept for the friends of the deceased or the survivors.
      J. Tracy, J.Fleeharty, J.B. Wilbor,
      J.W. Wickham, Tower Jackson, the Committee
      -------

      An Extra from the Cleveland Herald says:
Mr. Ely, supposed to have been lost, was saved, and came down in the PERRY. Mr. Robinson, mate of the schr. OHIO, we learn was but recently married in Michigan. His lady was on board the VERMILLION, and is no doubt lost. At our latest intelligence from Huron, the loss of four lives was certainly known. probably other bodies will be found.
      We learn from Mr. Robinson, clerk of the GREAT WESTERN, who was on board the
VERMILLION at the time the catastrophe occurred, that the lake was calm, and but a very slight breeze prevailed from land. Still, the spreading of the flames through the boat was instantaneous, and the only passage from the boat to the gangway. a very slight breeze prevailed from land. Still, the spreading of the flames through the boat was instantaneous, and the only passage from the boat to the pier was the forward gangway. From this the cabin passengers were cut off by the flames. Some leaped overboard and others were taken off by the yawl. One man who could not swim, clung to the burning wreck, in the water, for more than half an hour, before discovered and taken off. The passengers who escaped saved nothing except their night clothes. The books and papers belonging to the boat all destroyed.
      The turpentine which caused the fire was in a retail can, and formed part of a lot of oils &c., the hands were taking on board. The plank from the pier to the gangway was very steep, and by some mischance or carelessness the can of turpentine was upset while being passed in. The contents ran directly to the fire below, and instantly the flames burst forth with uncontrolable fury.
      The VERMILLION was a good boat, and worth about $50,000. Principal owners Messrs. Gelston & Evans, Buffalo. No insurance, probably. The VERMILLION is the fourth boat burned on Lake Erie. The others were the WASHINGTON, GREAT WESTERN and ERIE.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Tuesday, November 8, 1842

      . . . . .

The steamer VERMILLION was burned on Saturday evening last at Huron harbor, by the accidental ignition of some oils on the deck. Three lives were reported lost by the fire.
      Erie Gazette
      November 10, 1842
     
      . . . . .

      STEAM BOAT VERMILLION BURNED
The steam boat VERMILLION, Capt. Brundage, was burned at the Huron pier, about 1 o'clock on Sunday morning, the 6th instant. The following statement touching the melancholy catastrophe, has been furnished us for publication:
      Huron, November 6, 1842
The undersigned, being a committee appointed by the citizens of Huron, to take measures to relieve the distress of the sufferers, and make arrangements for the decent interment of the dead, in the unfortunate burning of the steam boat VERMILLION, which took place at our port, this morning, report the following facts as having come to our knowledge, by the report of others, and from personal observation.
The VERMILLION, Capt. Brundage, arrived here, from Detroit, this morning, about 1 o'clock, and stopped at the end of the pier, near the light house. Among the freight they were taking on, was a can of turpentine, which, by some means, was turned out and spread over the deck, and coming in contact with the chimney, took fire, and in a moment the boat was on fire, from stem to stern. The passengers, some forty of fifty in number, were asleep in their berths. They were soon aroused, but before they could get onto the pier, the fastenings of the boat were burned off, and the boat drifted out into the lake. Her boats were soon lowered. One immediately swamped - the other was the means of saving many lives - but others were doomed, some to a watery grave, and others given to a prey to the devouring element.
The following are known to be lost. The body of one man has been found, his name supposed to be (from his papers) Alexander Robinson, Captain or Mate of the schooner OHIO. He is supposed to have had a wife on board, who was also drowned. The body of Mrs. Charles Hoskins, of Kingston, Canada, has also been found. Her husband is among the living. He saved himself by swimming to the dock, after being separated from his wife, by some one seizing him around the body and dragging him under. The cabin maid is known to be lost, probably burned to death. The clothing of a man is found, and from the papers in the pockets, supposed to belong to Herman Ely, of Rochester, N.Y.. The above are all that are known to have perished; it is to be feared that others have perished, whose names will not be known until their places shall be found vacant among their friends.
The following are known to be among the living:
Wm. B. Clark, South Lansing, Thompkins County, N.Y.
Mrs. Edward Clark and two daughters, do.
A. Duff, Malden, Canada
Mr. Wm. Watkins, Leroy, N.Y.
Mr. Charles Hoskins, Canada
Miss Hannah Torry, New Hartford, N.Y.
Miss A.T. Smith, New York, city
Mr. R.B. Carhart, Bloomfield, Michigan
Mr. Hampton E. Field, Troy, N.Y.
Mr. Henry Grinnell, Bloomfield, Michigan
Master Ephraim Barrows, do., do.
Dr. A.T. Boardman, and son, White Pigeon, Michigan
Mr. N.S. Godfrey, Batavia, N.Y.
We are not able to give the names of all those known to be living, as some went down on the steam boat COM. PERRY, that was in about sunrise; how many, is not known.
The officers and crew of the boat are all saved, and it is no more than justice to say, that they conducted themselves with the great firmness and presence of mind, and were the last to leave th boat. Capt. Brundage rushed into the hottest of the flames and rescued a female from certain destruction.
      The steam boat CHICAGO rendered timely assistance, and saved several that were drowning, and also towed the sinking boat into the river, where she rests on the bottom, a perfect wreck, except the engine, which will be saved. Her principal cargo consisted of 8 or 900 bbls. of flour, which will be nearly a total loss.
Our citizens have showed a becoming zeal in saving the lives of the passengers, and their property, as well as that of the boat, and are now engaged in raking the bottom for the bodies of the other unfortunates and fitting the dead for interment, and relieving the wants of the living. The effects are in the hands of J. Tracy, and will be faithfully kept for the friends of the deceased, or the survivors.
      J. Tracy,
      J. Fluharty,
      J.B. Wilbor,
      J.W. Wickman,
      Tower Jackson
Mr. Ely, supposed to have been lost, was saved, and came down in the Perry. Mr. Robinson, mate of the schr. OHIO, we learn, was but recently married, in Michigan. His lady was on board the VERMILLION, and is no doubt lost. At our latest intelligence from Huron, the loss of four lives was certainly known. Probably the other bodies will be found.
We learn from Mr. Robinson, clerk of the GREAT WESTERN, who was on board the VERMILLION at the time the catastrophy occurred, that the lake was calm, and but a very slight breeze prevailed from land. Still the spread of the flames through the boat was instantaneous, and the only passage from the boat to the pier, was by the forward gangway. From this the cabin passengers were cut off by the flames. Some leaped overboard, and others were taken off by the yawl. One many, who could not swim, clung to the burning wreck, in the water, for more than half an hour, before discovered and taken off. The passengers who excaped, saved nothing, but their night clothes. The books and papers belonging to the boat, are all destroyed.
The turpentine, which caused the fire, was in a retail can, and formed part of a lot of oils, &c., the hands were taking on board. The plank from the pier to the gangeway, was very steep and by some mischance or carelessness the can of turpentine was upset while being passed down it. The contents ran directly upon the fire below, and instantly the flames brust form with uncontrollabe fury.
The VERMILLION was a good boat, and worth about $50,000. Prinicipal owners, Messrs. Gelston & Evans, Buffalo. No insurance, probably. The VERMILLION is the fourth boat burned on Lake Erie. The others were at the Washington Week In Review. The VERMILLION is the fourth boat burned on Lake Erie. The others were the WASHINGTON, GREAT WESTERN, and ERIE. - Cleve. Her.
      St. Catharines Journal
      November 24, 1842

      . . . . .

November 5. - Steamer VERMILLION burned at Huron, lake Erie. Loss and damage to vessel $25,000. Loss and damage to cargo $5,700. Three lives lost.
      Losses In The November Gale, &c.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      January 18, 1843

      . . . . .

      The Storm on the Lakes - asks the question: could the gale of 18th Nov. have been anticipated? The answer is yes with the use of barometers.
      Losses on the Western Lakes
The annexed list is supposed to comprise all the vessels that have suffered material loss the past season on Lake Erie & the Western lakes. The estimated damage, being founded on public report, is not to be relied upon; but the aggregate amount is supposed to be much short of the actual loss. No estimate has been made of furniture of emigrants, or baggage of passengers. The amount of losses covered by insurance heard of is $21,725.
Loss and Lives In the gale of 18th Nov. Damage to vessels damage of cargoes lives lost

Brig 0. Richmond, ashore in Buffalo Bay $700
Schr. Jefferson, do. do. (total loss) $2,500 $600 9
Schr Walter Joy, do do $1,000 $1,000
Schr Brandywine, do do (total loss) $1,000 $800 8
Schr Lord Seaton, (Brit) do do $1,000
S.B. Chicago, ashore near Catteraugus creek $5,000 $5,000
Schr N Hubbard, near Conneaut, (total loss) $3,000 7
Schr Ben Franklin, ashore near Fairport (total loss) $2,500
Schr Alleghan, ashore near do $500
Schr Ohio, ashore near Point Abino $400
Schr Edwin Jenny, do do $1,200
Brig Frances Mills, do do $1,500 $1,200
Schr Florida, do do (total loss) $2,000 $1,483
Schr Lagure, do do, do $1,500 $2,500 6
Schr M Kingman, do do $400
Schr Mississippi, do do $400 $75
Schr Indiana, do do (total loss) $3,000 $750
Ship Milwaukie, ashore near Kalamazoo, Mich. (total loss) 10,000 7,500 7
Schr Columbus, ashore near G. River, Mich. (total loss) 2,800 2,812
Schr Florida, ashore near St. Josephs, Mich. (total loss) 3,000
Schr Bancroft, do do, (total loss) 2,700
S.B. Wisconsin near Chicago $3,000
Schr S Juneau, dismasted and drifted into Grand River, Mich $500
S B C Trowbridge, ashore near Milwaukie $3,000
Schr Herald, (Br) ashore near G. River, Canada $500
Schr H Colvin, on Lake Erie, deck loading $80
Schr John Grant, on Lake Erie, chain and anchor $100
Schr A Wilcox, on Lake Huron, deck loading $375
Schr J Richards, ashore on Point Au Barques, Lake Huron $1,000
Schr Detroit, missing no tidings, (total loss) $750 6
Schr Carolina, missing on Lake Huron, (total loss) $1,500 6
Schr Emily, (Br) missing no tidings, (total loss) $2,500 8
Schr Merchant and schr J _ , lost 1 man each 2
      $58,850 $24,27552
Sept. 8 - Schr Acorn, run down and sunk on L. Erie $4,400 $3,000
Oct. - Schr. Lodi run down and sunk on Lake Erie $500
Nov. 5 - S B Vermillion burned at Huron, Lake Erie $25,000 $5,7003
Dec. - S B Erie, cut by ice and sunk on Lake St. Clair $3,000 3
      $91,750 $52,97569
[note - these figures don't add up but are as per originals]
      [Cleveland Herald]
      Upper Canada Herald (Kingston)
      January 31, 1843 p.2

      . . . . .

      The DETROIT. - The steamer VERMILLION which was burned some 18 months since, almost to the water's edge has been rebuilt and enlarged to 600 tons burthen, and is to be launched at Detroit Today. The DETROIT will be commanded by Capt. Brundage and is to run in connection with the GREAT WESTERN and other boats forming the Western Transportation Co.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      May 2, 1844 2 - 1

      . . . . .

THE DETROIT. - This new steamer, now in an unfinished state, has been towed down from Detroit to this port by the WISKONSAN, which returned from her upper lake excursion yesterday. The DETROIT is quite a large vessel, perhaps 550 tons burthen and will be fitted up with a new high pressure engine, daily expected here from N. Y. Her boilers and part of her hull were formerly in the VERMILLION. She will be ready for commission, it is supposed, by the 1st September.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      July 15, 1844 2 - 2


Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Notes:
Reason: burnt
Lives: 5
Hull damage: $25,000
Cargo: $5,700
Freight: flour &c.
Remarks: Rebuilt as DETROIT
Date of Original:
1842
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
McN.W.14436
Language of Item:
English
  • Ohio, United States
    Latitude: 41.39505 Longitude: -82.55517
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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Vermillion (Steamboat), burnt, 6 Nov 1842