The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Prescott (Schooner), sunk, 8 Apr 1831

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We are sorry to observe in the Guardian a distressing account of the loss of the schooner PRESCOTT of Toronto, Capt. Ross, the largest on the lake, which foundered on the bar near the York Light-house, during the severe gale on Friday night. There were twelve persons on board. Three of the passengers were drowned, five very badly frozen, and the other four hands escaped with trifling injuries. They were got off in the morning by two small boats of the CANADA steam packet. 4,500 bushels of wheat and a quantity of flour, the property of Messrs. Geo. Munroe & Co., York, were lost.
      We also learn that another schooner, the NIAGARA, laden with rye and corn for John Brown, Esq. of Port Hope, went on shore during the same gale a few miles above that village; no particulars have yet reached us.
      Cobourg Star
      Tuesday, April 12, 1831

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Dreadful Shipwreck In York Bay - On last Tuesday night, about 10 o'clock, a gale sprung up on the lake from the westward, which was more violent than was ever remembered in this place, and proved more awful in its consequences. The fine schooner Prescott, laden with upwards of 5000 bushels of wheat in bulk, and having a crew of five men, besides the captain, and four or five passengers; which had put to sea a day or two before, and which being driven back by an easterly wind, had anchored at the mouth of York Bay, was driven from her anchorage, about two cables length to the southward of the buoy and every effort to get her under sail - on account of the violence of the storm, proving abortive, she was blown on the bar, where she beat with such violence that she bilged and foundered, about two o'clock this morning. The sea making a clean breach over her, swept her boats and deck cargo of barrels away. The crew and passengers took to the shrouds with the exception of three, two of whom were drowned in the forecastle, and the third was frozen to death in the gib shrouds.
Captain Richardson, of the steamer Canada, upon discovering the situation of the wreck, early next morning, put off with his two boats and crew, and succeeded in rescuing the captain and crew from their perilous situation - most of the sufferers had lashed themselves to the rigging, and when found by Captain Richardson, their arms and legs were frozen to the shrouds, rendering it extremely difficult to extrigate them - Capt. R. brought them on shore, where they were taken to the house of Mr. Ferham, on the wharf, where several medical gentlemen are now in attendance on them, and it is hoped they will ultimately be restored, with exception of one of two of them, of whom little hope is entertained.
The exertions of Captain Richardson upon this occassion, are beyond praise, and entitle him to the thanks and esteem of every humane individual in the county.
The Prescott was owned by Mr. Macpherson of Montreal, and the wheat was the property of Mr. Geo. Monroe.
The schooners George The Fouth, Lady Colborne, and Lady Hillier, are also on the shore in the Bay. - Courier.
      Colonial Advocate
      April 14, 1831

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      Melancholy Accident. - We regret to learn, that on the night of the 8th. inst., the schooner PRESCOTT of Toronto, Ross, Master, the property of John McPherson Esq., foundered on the bar, north west of the York lighthouse, opposite the Garrison. It appears that there were 12 persons on board, including passengers and sailors. Three of the passengers were drowned, and five badly frozen; 4,500 bushels of wheat, and a large quantity of flour, were
on board, the property of Messrs. George Munro and James F. Smith, York merchants. The Courier states, that the schooners GEORGE FOURTH, LADY HILLIER and LADY COLBORNE are on shore in the York Bay.
      Kingston Chronicle
      April 16, 1831

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      MELANCHOLY OCCURRENCE. - The PRESCOTT of Toronto, (the largest schooner on the lake), commanded by Captain Ross, foundered last night on the bar, west or north west of the York Light-house, opposite the Garrison. There were twelve on board including passengers and sailors. Three of the passengers were drowned; and five are very badly frozen, the other four hands escaped with trifling injury. 4,500 bushels of wheat and a considerable quantity of flour, owned by Messers. George Monro and James F. Smith, Merchants of this town, was lost. The names of the passengers drowned are not known.
      The Captain had cleared for Prescott but meeting with a heavy head wind, he ran under the point and anchored, waiting for a favorable breeze. Last evening at a late hour the wind suddenly sprang up from the west, and blew almost a hurricane. Attempts were made to lift the anchors, and then to slip the cables but in vain.---The vessel dragged the anchor and presently struck on the bar, and immediately filled with water.
      Some of the hands saved their lives by climbing up into the rigging, others by fastening themselves fast on deck. Their distress was discovered this morning from the Garrison, and they were relieved by Capt. Richardson, with two small boats, belonging to the CANADA steamer. Two other small vessels lying near the PRESCOTT, but further out in the lake, made out to get into the harbor One of them, however, was driven aground in the Bay. The schooner PRESCOTT belongs to Mr. McPherson, Forwarding Merchant of Prescott.
      Free Press, Hallowell
      April 26, 1831

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The Schooner PRESCOTT. - This fine schooner, which was wrecked three weeks ago on York 'bar' with her hull several feet under water, was yesterday raised and towed up to the wharf by the NIAGARA steam-boat, a number of hands are now engaged in getting out the wheat. The schooner tho' a great deal injured, will undergo repairs, after the cargo is discharged. --York dispatch
      Kingston Chronicle
      May 7, 1831

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      We learn that Mr. Monro will lose about 1,000 Pounds by the wreck of the PRESCOTT. It is said he had an offer of 500 Pounds for the damaged wheat next day and refused it. A great part of the wheat has been since re-shipped for Lower Canada. In about 21 days the PRESCOTT will again be ready of the lake.
      Colonial Advocate, York
      Thursday, May 19, 1831

Media Type:
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Reason: sunk
Lives: 3
Freight: wheat, flour
Remarks: Raised
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 43.634444 Longitude: -79.370833
William R. McNeil
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Prescott (Schooner), sunk, 8 Apr 1831