The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Philo Scoville (Brig), aground, 22 Oct 1853

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Fears are entertained for the safety of the schooner SCOVILLE, built at Sheboygan during the past season for Mr. Bemis, of this city. The SCOVILLE left Milwaukee on her first trip some sixteen days ago for this port, and a large fleet of upper lake vessels, which left after the SCOVILLE have arrived and report not having seen her. The Captain of the schooner WING & WING left with the SCOVILLE and kept her company as far down as Thunder Bay Island, in Huron, where they parted company in a fog. She may, however, have been driven onto the Canada shore, and may yet be safe.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Monday, October 31, 1853

      . . . . .
LOSS OF THE BRIG "SCOVILLE." - The new brig PHILO SCOVILLE, bound for this port from ports on Lake Michigan, was lost a week ago Saturday, on the Canadian side of Lake Huron. The following letter from Captain Nelson will give the particulars:
      Main Station, Fishing Islands
      Canada West, October 24th, 1853
E.S. Bemis, Buffalo:
      Sir - I regret to inform you that in a severe gale from the W. S. W., our rigging, shrouds, and topsail sheets being carried away, we were driven ashore on a small island surrounded by trees, about half a mile West of this place. In about two hours after striking, the brig PHILO SCOVILLE commenced breaking up and went all to pieces; the hands got ashore by the foremast, are now all safe, though myself severely bruised. The only inhabitants within twenty miles of us are parties fishing. I understand the fishing season only lasts two or three
weeks longer, when all will leave. The weather still continues so as to prevent us as yet, saving anything from the wreck; but we intend to hang on and do all we can. When I arrive at Goderich or Ganseer - our nearest point - I shall not protest, after which I shall at once proceed to your city.
Should you have occasion to write me, address at Dark's Hotel, Goderich.
      I am, &c., N.P. Nelson
P.S. Cargo total loss.

The vessel was entirely new, being on her first trip. She was insured for $8,000; $4,000 in the Sun Co., New York, and $4,000 in the Mercantile, New York. The following is a list of her cargo, which is insured, as well as her freight money.
      13,000 bu. wheat, consigned to Niles & Wheeler
      100 bbls. flour, consigned to Niles & Wheeler
      106 bbls. flour, consigned to Hopkins & Co.
      40 bbls. fish, consigned to Bemis Bros.
      25 bbls. potatoes, consigned to Bemis Bros.
      412 pigs lead, consigned to P.S. Marsh
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Tuesday, November 1, 1853

      LOSS OF THE BRIG PHILO SCOVILLE A letter read this evening from Captain Nelson, of the new brig PHILO SCOVILLE, and dated Main Station Fishing Island, Canada West, on Lake Huron, Oct. 24, states that his vessel which left Milwaukee, about the 15th ult. encountered a heavy gale on Lake Huron and lost her top mast, shrouds and sails, and was driven ashore breaking into a thousand pieces. The crew got ashore on the main-mast all safe though badly bruised. The vessel was built this season at Sheboygan for C.A. Bemis of this city and was on her first trip down loaded with 10,000 bushels of wheat for Niles & Wheeler; 200 barrels flour, 412 pig lead, and 45 bbls fish. Vessel and cargo total loss. Vessel insured $8,000, cargo also insured; neither covers loss.
      Cleveland Daily Forest City Democrat
      Tuesday, November 1, 1853

      Buffalo, Oct. 31 - A letter received this evening from Capt. Nelson of the new brig PHILO SCOVILLE, dated Main Station Fishing Island, C.W. on Lake Huron, Oct. 24, states that his vessel which left Milwaukee about the 15th. ult., encountered a heavy gale on Lake Huron and lost her top mast, shrouds and sails and was driven ashore breaking into thousands of pieces. The crew got ashore on the main mast all safe though badly bruised. The vessel was built this season at Sheboygan for C.A. Bemis of this city and was on her first trip down loaded with 10,000 bushels of wheat for Niles & Wheeler; 200 bbls. flour, 412 pigs of lead, and 45 bbls. fish. Vessel and cargo total loss. Vessel insured $8,000, cargo also insured, neither covers loss.
      Detroit Free Press
      November 3, 1853

      . . . . .

WRECK ON LAKE HURON - The Brig PHILO SCOWILL of Buffalo from Milwaukee to that Port laden with Wheat, flour, fish and lead, lost part of her rigging and went on shore on the "Scotch bonnet" three miles from the Canada Main land on Sunday the 23rd ult. She was upwards of 200 Tons burthen and a new vessel and has together with her cargo become a total loss.
      Goderich Huron Signal
      Thursday. November 3. 1853

      . . . . .

WRECKS ON LAKE HURON - A correspondent of the Guelph Herald writing from Southampton, (Saugeen,) under date of 29th October says:- "We have had a couple of wrecks on Lake Huron this week; one a large vessel, the PHILO SHOFFIELD, owned in and bound to Buffalo, with a cargo of wheat, flour, and fish; her complement of wheat was 18,000 bushels, flour 300 barrels, and fish 200 barrels; she went ashore at the Fishing Islands, and is a total wreck. The other wreck occurred at Goderich; the vessel was owned at Kincardine, was on her way up the lakes with merchandise, etc., for Kincardine, and endeavoured to make Goderich harbor during a north-west gale, but as it is a very difficult harbor to make at all times, she was dashed against the north pier, and lies there a total wreck."
      The above comment which has been extensively copied by the Provincial Journals, has evidently been put into circulation for the purpose of damaging Goderich harbor in public estimation, and probably with the view of raising the character of those other places. We have no objection that our friends at Southampton or the advocates of the ports and places on the Georgian Bay should take every 'honourable' and fair means of bringing their espective ports into notice, but we decidedly object to allow the petty jealousies of those parties by such a contemptible distortion of facts, to stigmatize our harbor with impunity. Indeed the gross culpability of such conduct is too apparent and is deserving of the severest censure, although we are sorry to say that this is not the only instance in which a mere shadow of pretext has been used to gain credence for slanders so dangerous.
      We have had, and still have, just occasions to complain of the disreputable decay which has been allowed to prey upon its wharves and piers, but we never doubted the many superior advantages of Goderich harbor, we never yet heard any competent judge of such matters, who is at all acquainted with our harbor, but who spoke kindly favourably of its present, and with unbounded confidence of its prospective capabilities.
      Its approach and entrance are by no means difficult, now, to those who have the least knowledge of it; there being a good bold shore on both sides, free from rocks or shoals for miles and ten feet of water in the entrance channel; this channel is near the north pier, near the south pier the water is more shallow on account of the formation of a bar. This it is asknowledged on all hands, can be easily removed by carrying the piers further out into the lake as originally intended, and experienced sailors state with confidence that Goderich
Harbor might then safely challenge Lakes Huron and Erie for its superior. With reference to the account of the last above mentioned wreck which is charged against our harbor, there is scarcely a vestige of truth in the whole statement. Our readers will remember that we alluded to this wreck a few weeks ago; it was that of the ANNE of Kincardine, Captain Morrison. The real `facts' of the case, as declared by Captain Morrison in his protest, were that his vessel had become water-logged before he got near the harbor, and was perfectly "unmanageable" when he attempted to enter it and would not in consequence answer her helm.
Thus our harbor is charged with a wreck, which, in reality, took place out on the lake, and it was only a wreck, in a sinking state, with which the captain sought to enter it nor is it strange, in these circumstances, that she should have drifted past the harbor mouth. It is stated in the above, that the wind was blowing a north-west gale at the time. This, also, is directly at variance with the truth, as the wind was from the southward, and the vessel, had she been manageable, could have entered the harbor with the greatest ease. So much, then, for the malicious slander.
      Upon the completion of our Railroad, the western traffic will soon prove the capabilities of our harbor to be fully equal, if not superior, to those of any other on Lake Huron, and its slanderers will then lack employment. We are happy to state, in connection with this subject, that the BRITISH QUEEN, Captain Mitchell, from Kingston, entered our Harbor in fine style yesterday morning, laden with iron for our Railroad. She is a Brigantine of 255 tons register.
      Goderich Huron Signal
      Thursday. November 24. 1853

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: aground
Lives: nil
Hull damage: $33,681
Cargo: included
Freight: wheat, flour, &c.
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
William R. McNeil
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Philo Scoville (Brig), aground, 22 Oct 1853