The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Rosa Stearns (Schooner), aground, 8 Sep 1871

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The waters of the lake, Wednesday night (9/6) were in a terrible commotion.
The wind blew strongly during the afternoon and evening, and at night the waves ran high. At about 4:00 in the afternoon the beautiful schooner ROSA STERNS started out from this port, bound for Port Stanley. She was quite heavily laden with put coal. She made a successful exit from the harbor, and seemed likely to be able to weather the rough seas without trouble. The fury of the waves continued to increase, however, and as night came on it was deemed unsafe to attempt the voyage, and she was turned about for port again. The waves rolled higher and higher, until it seemed every moment that she would capsize. Between 12:00 and 1:00 she reached the harbor again, but pitched and rolled so such that
she became unmanageable, and, just outside of the mouth of the river, a hugh wave struck her and turned her from her course. She ran up against the outside of the east pier, striking heavily against that structure. The crew all succeeded in making their escape from the doomed boat, and she was abandoned to her fate. Every wave threw her hard upon the pier, and she went to pieces in a very short time. Nothing whatever of the vessel was saved, and both ship and cargo will prove a total loss. The beach this morning, east of the pier was
strewn with the fragments and timbers of the unfortunate vessel. In striking the pier she tore up the planks somewhat, and after she had sunk, considerable portions of her timbers drifted in and against the coal dock. The schooner was owned by Collei and Woodhard, of Port Roundeau, and was valued at $5,000, independent of her cargo. This is the first wreck of the season at this port, but with the coming of all storms such occurrences will doubtless become altogether too common.
      Cleveland Leader
      September 8, 1871 3-6

      . . . . .

The severest gale of the season, amounting to a first class hurricane, swept over the lake about midnight Wednesday (9/6). The stmr. LADY FRANKLIN left for Port Stanley in the fore part of the night but was compelled to put back and on of her officers state that the gale was the hardest he ever was out in though it did not last very long. The sea ran extrodinarily high and it is not unlikely that vessels were driven ashore in various places.
The schr. ROSA STERNS, of Port Burwell, John Collett, Captain, was driven upon the stone pier at about 1:00 and within an hour was a total wreck. The wind blew from the northeast, and the schooner, failing to make the harbor, was thrown against the east side of the pier about half way between the end and the lighthouse. The place where she struck is plainly marked by dents, the torn planks and broken chain. When the vessel struck, the crew numbering 6 or 7, all succeeded in jumping to the pier and a small amount of baggage was saved. The sailors had hard work to keep from being washed off the pier, the waves ran so high, and but for the chains on the side everyone would have been carried overboard and drowned. With great difficulty they slowly crept ashore but at last every man was safe.
The schooner was not long in being reduced to firewood. It is as complete a wreck as could be imagined. The remnants were swept along the side of the pier to the coal dock and did considerable damage, knocking out of place not a few of the spikes and breaking down a portion of the dock.
The ROSA STERNS was owned by her captain, Mr. Collett, and was a schooner of about 200 tons burden. She had recently been rebuilt by Capt. Foster, who only a short time ago traded her for the NEW DOMINION. The ROSA STERNS cleared from this port Wednesday afternoon with 194 tons of coal shipped by Barrett & Rhodes for Port Stanley. The vessel and cargo are a total loss. The schooner was insured in a Boston Company for almost half her estimated value. The cargo was fully insured in the Commercial Co. of Chicago.
      Cleveland Plain Dealer
      September 7, 1871 3-4

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: aground
Lives: nil
Freight: coal
Remarks: Total loss
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ohio, United States
    Latitude: 41.4995 Longitude: -81.69541
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Rosa Stearns (Schooner), aground, 8 Sep 1871