The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Fayette Brown (Schooner), U9748, sunk by collision, 4 Jun 1891

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Detroit, June 4. -- A collision took place last night below the dummy in Lake Erie between the steamship NORTHERN QUEEN and the schooner FAYETTE BROWN, by which the latter vessel was sunk in nine fathoms of water.
      Buffalo Enquirer
      Thursday, June 4, 1891

The schooner FAYETTE BROWN was run down by the propeller NORTHERN QUEEN in Lake Erie Thursday morning and sunk. No insurance.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Friday, June 5, 1891

      NORTHERN QUEEN Strikes the Schooner FAYETTE BROWN.
At 2 o’clock yesterday morning the propeller Northern Queen and schooner Fayette Brown came in collision on Lake Erie, eight miles below the Dummy, the schooner sinking in over sixty feet of water. The Brown was bound for Buffalo loaded with Portage Entry block stone, and contrary to her usual custom, was sailing alone. The Northern Queen was bound for Duluth, coal laden. The weather was very thick at the time, and at just what speed the propeller was running could not be ascertained. The Northern Queen struck the schooner a square stem-on blow on the port quarter, and she sank almost immediately. One of the crewmen climbed aboard the propeller; the others barely had time to reach the schooner’s cross-trees, before she went down. The Northern Queen was immediately lost sight of by the crew of the Brown. An hour after the disaster, the steamer Robert Mills, bound up, came along, when those on watch heard the cries of the unfortunate seamen. The Mills was at once stopped, a boat lowered, and the two men rescued. All were made as comfortable as possible aboard the Mills. They were landed here, and an hour afterward Capt. Halstrom and his men took the train for Cleveland. The Queen came on up, apparently little injured, and stopped here just long enough to enable Captain Smith to enter a protest. She then proceeded on her way. The wreck lies eight miles east northeast from the Dummy.
The Brown was a well-preserved schooner, and was built in 1868 by Presley at Cleveland. She was owned by M. A. Bradley and others, of Cleveland, registers 528 tons, is valued at $16,000 and is rated A2. It is customary for Bradley to operate his boats at his own risk, and it is probable, therefore, that the Brown is uninsured. He, however, never loses any time sending wrecking expeditions after his boats when sunk, and it is probable that the Brown will be raised and repaired, if practicable.
      Detroit Free Press
      June 5, 1891

Chicago, June 6. -- The schooner A. BOODY was released from Peshhtigo Reef, Green Bay, last night. The cargo of brownstone will be taken out of the sunken schooner FAYETTE BROWN in Lake Erie, but the boat is believed to be a total loss. Hert cargo is worth $16,000 and is insured. It is believed the sschooners LENA BELEM and C. L. FICK, ashore north of Chicago, will break up in today's big seas.
      Buffalo Enquirer
      Saturday, June 6, 1891

The schooner Fayette Brown, as surmised by THE FREE PRESS, was not insured, but her cargo of block stone was covered for $9,000. Mr. Bradley’s boats do not have the best of luck in collision cases. Last season the propeller City of Cleveland ran down and sank the schooner Charger, wheat laden, near the entrance to Maumee Bay, Toledo, and the accident cost him a cool $16,000. The Brown was in tow of the Selah Chamberlain when that boat was struck by the Pridgeon a few years ago, and narrowly escaped being struck herself.
Charles E. Kremer, attorney for the Northern Steamship Company, has been instructed to meet the Northern Queen at West Superior and take the testimony of her crew, so that the company will be prepared for the law suit which is bound to follow the striking of the Brown. It is now thought that the latter will be blown up, as she is an obstruction to navigation. The Northern Queen is insured in the London Lloyd’s against collision liability, and if held responsible for the loss of the schooner the insurance companies must foot the bill.
      Detroit Free Press
      June 7, 1891

      A Detailed Story of the Collision
West Superior, June 7. - The steamer Northern Queen arrived at an early hour this morning. Captain Smith says he is in a position to say nothing at present concerning the collision with the schooner Fayette Brown on the up trip, but declares that all published accounts of the disaster seen by him do gross injustice to his boat. E. C. Kreemer, attorney for the North Steamship Company, is here obtaining details of the matter from the boat’s crew. Mr. Kreemer exhibited considerable reluctance in talking about the disaster, but finally spoke as follows: "On June 4, about 2 o’clock in the morning, the steamer Northern Queen, bound from Buffalo to Superior, collided with the schooner Fayette Brown, bound from Portage Entry to Buffalo, striking her a glancing light blow on the port quarter. At the time of the collision the steamer had almost entirely lost headway. She immediately rounded to and steamed toward the Brown and lowered a boat, manned by the mate and four men, who rowed over to the Brown and took from her one man, when she commenced to careen, and in order to prevent the boat from being carried down they pulled away. One of the crew of the Brown jumped into the water, from which he was saved by the Queen’s boat, and the others took to the rigging. The Brown was lost in the fog and the boat returned to the Queen. The latter cruised about trying to find the men who were known to be in the Brown’s rigging. Notwithstanding every effort, and the constant whistling of the Queen, the master was unable to find them until daylight, when they were seen and the boat again sent to them, but before it reached them the boat of the Mills, which was closer to them, and had taken them off. The Queen was uninjured.
      Detroit Free Press
      June 8, 1891

The special Dispatch in last evening's Toledo Blade says a collision took place last night below the docks in Lake Erie between the steamship NORTHERN QUEEN and the FAYETTE BROWN by which the last sank in nine fathoms of water.
      Sandusky Register
      June 8, 1891

Capt. Smith, of the Northern Queen, says he did all in his power to rescue the crew of the Fayette Brown, but could not find them owing to the thick weather. Capt. Kalstrom, of the Brown, says that after sinking his boat the Queen passed along and paid no heed to the cries of his crew for assistance. You pays your money and you takes your choice of the two statements.
      Detroit Free Press
      June 9, 1891

      Captain Dwelle of the schooner LOUISE, just having past a large quantity of wreckage below the sunken schooner FAYETTE BROWN, off Pelee.
      Sandusky Register
      June 9, 1891

      Mr. Bradley Exonerates The Northern Queen
To the Editor of the Detroit Free Press:
Since the sinking of the schooner Fayette Brown by the steamer Northern Queen, The Detroit Free Press, as well as some of the Cleveland papers, have published (through telegrams from Detroit) accounts very damaging to the captain of the Queen, charging him with a lack of humanity in passing right on after sinking the Brown, regardless of the fate of the crew.
According to the statement of Capt. Ahlstrom and his crew, the Queen stayed in the vicinity until daylight, at which time she hove in sight of the wreck, just after the steamer Mills had taken the wrecked crew on board. The Queen did lower a boat and picked up two of the Brown’s crew and pulled back to the steamer, of course they could not again find the wreck until daylight, about one and a half hours after the sinking. I am very sure you will be glad to be able to justify the course of Capt. Smith, of the Queen.
Cleveland, June 8. M. A. Bradley
      Detroit Free Press
      June 10, 1891

It is stated that the cargo of brownstone will be taken off the sunken schooner Fayette Brown, sunk in Lake Erie, but the boat is believed to be a total loss. The cargo is worth $16,000 and is insured. The stone was bound from Portage Entry to Buffalo.
      Detroit Free Press
      June 11, 1891

      In a Collision Case the Crew of the Sinking Vessel Must be Helped.
      Here’s Some Information.
The recent Northern Queen-Fayette Brown collision case and the charge (afterward denied) made against Capt. Smith, of the Queen, of keeping on his way without attempting to succor the crew of the sinking Brown, raises a controversy as to whether or no there is a law bearing on the latter subject. There is such a law, but comparatively few persons are aware of its existence. It was passed and approved last fall and went into effect on December 15. It provides that in every case of collision between two vessels it shall be the duty of the master or person in charge of each vessel, if and so far as he can do so without serious danger to his own crew and passengers If any), to stay by the other vessel until has ascertained that she has no need of further assistance, and to render to the other vessel, her master, crew and passengers (if any) such assistance as may be necessary to save them from any danger caused by the collision, and so also to give to the master or person in charge of the other vessel the name of his own vessel and her port of registry, or other port or place to which she belongs, and also the names of the ports to and from which she is bound. If he fails so to do, and no reasonable cause for such failure can be shown, the collision shall, in absence of proof to the contrary, be deemed to have been caused by his wrongful act, neglect or default.
Section 2 provides that every master or person in charge of a United States vessel who fails, without reasonable cause, to render such assistance or give such information as aforesaid, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be liable for a penalty of $1,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; and for the above sum the vessel shall be liable and may be seized and proceeded against by process in any District Court in the United States by any person; one half of such sum to be payable to the informer and one half to the United States.
      Detroit Free Press
      June 21, 1891

It is not probable that any effort will be made for the present at least to raise the sunken schooner FAYETTE BROWN. Her stern is all knocked out. The cargo was insured for $10,000. The owners of the vessel win, of course, look to the Northern Steamship Company for a settlement of loss on the boat as well as a season contract.
      Marine Review
      June 25, 1891

Two sunken wrecks on Lake Erie should receive attention as obstructions to navigation. The schooner FAYETTE BROWN, sunk a short time ago near the dummy in collision with one of the Northern Steamship Company's steel boats is in the channel of boats passing to and from Buffalo, and outside of Cleveland a short distance northwest of the piers the spars of the schooner TWO FANNIES, which foundered in a gale last season, are but a few feet below the surface of the water. Mr. M.A. Bradley, owner of the FAYETTE BROWN, says she is not worth raising a and no one claims the hull of the sunken TWO FANNIES, which is certainly a total loss.
      Marine Review
      July 16, 1891
      . . . . .

The topmasts of the schooner FAYETTE BROWN still mark the wreck of the vessel on the course between the Detroit river and Buffalo, Lake Erie.
      Marine Review
      August 6, 1891

      . . . . .
      Mr. M.A. Bradley will sue the Northern Steamship Company for the loss of the schooner FAYETTE BROWN, sunk in collision with one of the Northern Company's steamers near the " Dummy," Lake Erie a short time ago. It was thought that a settlement would be made without resorting to legal action. Capt. F.H. Hackett of Amherstburg has removed some of the rigging and will cut out the spars from the sunken boat. This work is understood to be under the direction of the Canadian government as the wreck is a source of danger to navigation.
      Marine Review
      October 22, 1891

      Schooner FAYETTE BROWN became a total loss June 4, 1891, weather foggy and overcast. No lives were lost. Sunk by collision in the fairway of Lake Erie tonnage, and was a menace to navigation throughout the entire season of navigation until removed by the Dominion Government. Estimated value of vessel and cargo $30,000.
      U.S. Weather Bureau's Report of Wrecks
      Occurring on the Great Lakes, 1885 to 1893

      . . . . .

      Schooner FAYETTE BROWN sunk on Lake Erie by collision with the steamer NORTHERN QUEEN, June 4, 1891. Loss $40,000
      List of Vessel Losses for 1891
      Chicago Inter-Ocean
      December 12, 1891

      . . . . .

On June 4 last on Lake Erie, just east of the "dummy," the schooner FAYETTE BROWN was sunk by the Northern Steamship Company's steamer NORTH WIND. It was thought that it would be necessary to go into court for a settlement of damages but the owners of the steamer a few days ago agreed to pay $25,500 for the loss of the BROWN and her cargo of block stone. The BROWN was owned by the Bradley estate of Cleveland.
      The Marine Review
      January 7, 1892
      . . . . .
      FAYETTE BROWN, American schooner, sunk 9 miles east of Dummy Lighthouse at Point Pelee, removed as she was a navigational Hazard.
      Dept. of Marine & Fisheries
      Sessional Papers 1892 Vol. 25 No.10

      . . . . .

      Amherstburg, April 10 - The Northern Steamship Company is hard hit in the result of the schooner FAYETTE BROWN case, which was made public today. Some 3 years ago the FAYETTE BROWN was sunk on Lake Erie by one of the company's steamers. F.B. Hackett last fall undertook the job of wrecking. The steamship Co, sued Hackett last fall and the case was tried before Justice Falconbridge at Sandwich. The Justice referred it to J.E. Marcon of Windsor to ascertain what amount was due Hackett for services in connection with the wreck. The master's report has just been made and awards Hackett $8,408. This will throw the cost of the references on the Northern Steamship Co. also, which will be between $7,000 and $8,000 more.
      Buffalo Enquirer
      April 10, 1894 7-5

      . . . . .

      The case of the Northern Steamship Company v. Hackett, which has been before the courts for the last four years, and which has at last been decided by the court of appeals in favor of the plaintiffs, arose over the sinking of the schooner FAYETTE BROWN near Point Pelee in Lake Erie.
      Capt. Hackett, who lives at Amherstburg, and who makes a business of wrecking, wrote to the Canadian authorities and asked permission to remove the steamer, as it was in the channel of navigation. Permission was accorded him, and he at once set to work to remove the wreck. He succeeded in getting most of the loose stuff out of the vessel and brought it to Amherstburg. The Northern Steamship Company claimed ownership of the wrecked craft and warned Hackett not to proceed with the work. At the same time it offered him compensation for what work he had done. This did not suit Hackett, and he applied for a reference before F.E. Marcon, Windsor, to decide what he was entitled to.
      Referee Narcon allowed Hackett $8,000, but this was objected to by the Steamship Company and its solicitor appealed to the high court, Toronto. Judge McMahon, who presided, reduced the original verdict to $3,500. This sum did not satisfy the appellants, and they carried the case to the court of appeal. The court of appeal, after hearing the evidence further decreased the original finding of Hackett $2,373 with costs. When the costs of the action in the different courts is paid, Hackett will have nothing for his work on the wrecked schooner.
      Milwaukee Wisconsin
      July 14, 1896
      Schooner FAYETTE BROWN. U. S. No. 9748. Of 553.35 tons gross; 525.08 tons net. Built Cleveland, O., 1868. Home port, Cleveland, O. 178.5 x 31.3 x 12.8
      Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1885

Media Type:
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Reason: sunk by collision
Lives: nil
Remarks: Total loss
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 41.908055 Longitude: -82.508888
William R. McNeil
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Fayette Brown (Schooner), U9748, sunk by collision, 4 Jun 1891