The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Brunswick (Propeller), sunk by collision, 12 Nov 1881


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The propeller BRUNSWICK, bound down, foundered off Dunkirk, N.Y. this morning. Three were drowned.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Saturday, November 12, 1881
     
      . . . . .
     
      DISASTERS.
      SINKING OF THE CARLINGFORD AND BRUNSWICK.
Port Colborne, Ont., Nov. 12. -- A telegram from Dunnville today reports that about 1:30 o'clock a. m., as the schooner CARLINGFORD was abreast of Port Colborne, and about twenty miles from land, she was run into by some unknown steambarge and sunk. The steambarge bound up, was seen by the lookout of the CARLINGFORD when over five miles off, and, although they showed her torchlight of red and green signals, she paid no attention to them, but struck the schooner under full speed. Captain Durand, of the CARLINGFORD, hailed the steambarge and requested rescue for him and his men, but received no response. The crew at once took to the small boat. One of them, named Edward Conway, returned to the vessel for something, and before he could return the vessel went down, and he was lost. The remainder of the crew, Captain Durand and six men, landed safely at Port Maitland, about twenty miles from here, after pulling the boat twenty miles in a rough sea. The CARLINGFORD was bound from Duluth to Buffalo, with a cargo of wheat. She is owned in Huron, Ohio, and insured, the amount not known.
      Port Colborne, Ont., Nov. 12 -- Later news from the CARLINGFORD disaster proves that it was the steambarge BRUNSWICK which collided with the CARLINGFORD. The BRUNSWICK was also sunk, losing three men, the balance of the crew landing at Dunkirk. The BRUNSWICK was bound up the lake with coal.
      The J.W. Hall Great Lakes Marine Scrapbook, November 1881.


The sinking of the propeller BRUNSWICK on Saturday was caused by a collision with the schooner CARLINGFORD, it also sinking. It occurred about 12 mioles from Dunkirk, Lake Erie, and it is claimed the schooner ran into the propeller. Four of the CARLINGFORD's crew were also drowned.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Monday, November 14, 1881
     
      . . . . .
     
      COLLISION OF TWO VESSELS IN LAKE ERIE.
      Collide Off Dunkirk And Go To The Bottom In Less Than An Hour.
Buffalo, November 13. -- A collision on Lake Erie, near Dunkirk, at 1 o'clock Saturday involves the loss of four lives and $225,000 worth of property. The new iron steamer BRUNSWICK laden with 1,500 tons of coal, left this port at 10 o'clock on Friday night. When ten miles below Dunkirk and the same distance from shore, she collided with the schooner CARLINGFORD, bound for Buffalo with 25,000 bushels of wheat.
      The schooner was struck on the port side, just forward of the fire rigging, by the sharp stem of the steamer and cut wide open. She went down head foremost in about twenty minutes. Captain Homer Durant and all of the crew of six men, excepting one, managed to get into a small boat and landed safely at Dunnville, on the Canadian shore. A sailor named Edward Conway, living at St. John's Newfoundland, recklessly ran back to save some of his clothing, and went down with the wreck.
      After the collision, Captain C. Chamberlain, of the BRUNSWICK, headed her for the schooner, but soon seeing that his own boat was going down, he turned her towards shore. The bows were burst in and she went down by the head about forty-five minutes after the collision, eight miles or so from Dunkirk. The forward portion of the BRUNSWICK got under water, her stern being high in the air. She broke completely in two and the sections plunged to the bottom. Captain Chamberlain, when it was seen that the steamer was sinking, lowered small boats, and eight of the crew of fifteen took to one, the other seven getting into the remaining. When the huge steamship rushed down, the suction of the water capsized the boat on the starboard side containing Captain Chamberlain himself, the first engineer, John Francomb, and the stewardess, Mrs. A. G. Fletcher, and her daughter, Millie, all of Detroit, all of whom sank at once, and were lost. The other five saved themselves by clinging to pieces of the wreck, and were picked up a half hour later by the crew of the port boat. All twelve then made their way safely to the shore at Dunkirk. The crew of both vessels lost all of their personal effects.
      The reports given by the masters of the lost vessels are very conflicting regarding the cause of the collision. They agree in stating that the vessels saw each other's light for some time before they struck, the BRUNSWICK being headed west-south-west, and the CARLINGFORD about northeast.
      The BRUNSWICK was a new boat, and one of the finest iron steamer on the lakes. She was built this year by the Detroit Dry Dock Company at their iron yard at Wyandotte. She was owned by Charles Bewick and others, of Detroit, and was valued at $150,000. She was insured for about half her value, and her cargo is fully covered. The CARLINGFORD, though built in 1869, was in excellent condition. She was owned by Wickham & Co., of Huron, O., rated A 2, and was worth about $20,000. It was insured for some $17,000. The cargo of 26,500 bushels of Duluth wheat was covered by $41,750, placed in eight different companies. Both of the vessels and both of the cargoes will prove total losses.
      Cleveland Herald
      Monday, November 14, 1881


      . . . . .

      THE LOSS OF THE BRUNSWICK.
Detroit, Nov. 14. -- Captain Chamberlain, of the sunken steamer BRUNSWICK, has arrived at this city and gives the following account of the collision between his vessel and the schooner CARLINGFORD, off Port Colborne, Saturday: "We left Buffalo at 10 Friday night with a cargo of 1,500 tons of hard coal, bound for Duluth. It was snowing and a little thick when we left, but at 11 the night was quite clear, wind about east, southeast and blowing seven miles per hour. At 12 the first mate, John Fraser, took charge and went aft for lunch. When I left the deck the weather was a little hazy, although I could plainly see the Dunkirk Light twelve miles off; went into the cabin and took off my overcoat and boots; ate lunch, and sat down by the steam heater for a smoke; and just finished my smoke and was putting on my boots to go forward where my room was, when I felt a slight jar and immediately afterwards heard a signal for the engine to stop and back. A second jar was felt which I suppose was caused by the vessel rolling and striking against the bow of the BRUNSWICK. Immediately ran forward and found we had collided with a schooner. I said to the mate, This is a bad job Mr. Fraser, to which he answered, Yes, sir, it is. The second mate came on deck at this time and sent him below to see if we were leaking. He quickly returned and said, "Captain, we're sinking." I saw that the men on the schooner had lowered their yawl and could save themselves, so I headed the BRUNSWICK for the shore. I did not believe, at the time, that we were sinking, but I went below and found that she was rapidly filling, I closed the bulkhead down and set the pumps to work, three-quarters of an hour after the collision the BRUNSWICK went down head first. Seven men, including the two mates, were in the port boat, and the two cooks, myself, and the remainder of the crew, eight persons in all, were to go in the starboard yawl. The boats were hoisted and swung out on the davits, and some of the men remained on deck to push her off. We all had on life preservers, except myself. As the steamer sank she seemed to me to break in two. As she took a sudden lurch to the starboard and rolled over the yawl. Mr. Francomb, the engineer, who was on deck, shoving the yawl out, seemed to get jammed between her cabin, as I never saw him after she went over. I let loose the stern yawl, but the man at the bow didn't unkook his end, so the yawl was taken down with the steamer. I thought the yawl would come up again, and told the cooks to hang to the seats. They did so, and I never saw them again. I went down a great distance before I let go, and when I did let go thought I would never get to the top again. When I got up I caught on to some pieces of wreck and was picked up by the port boat and with others taken to Dunkirk. When I reached land I was so exhausted that I had to be carried ashore.
      The J.W. Hall Great lake Marine Scrapbook, December 1881

      . . . . .
     
      THE LOSS OF THE BRUNSWICK
Detroit, Mich., Nov. 14. -- Captain Chamberlain, of the sunken steamer BRUNSWICK, has arrived at this city and gives the following account of the collision between his vessel and the schooner CARLINGFORD, off Port Colborne, Saturday: "The BRUNSWICK left Buffalo at 10 Friday night with a cargo of 1,500 tons of hard coal, bound for Duluth. It was snowing and a little thick when we left, but at 11 at night it was quite clear, with the wind about east southeast, seven miles per hour. At 12 o'clock the first mate, John Frasier, took charge and went aft for lunch. When I left the deck the weather was a little hazy, although I could plainly see Dunkirk Light twelve miles off; went into the cabin and took off my overcoat and boots; ate lunch, and sat down by the steam heater for a smoke; and just finished my smoke and was putting on my boots to go forward where my room was, when I felt a slight jar and immediately afterwards heard a signal for the engine to stop and back. A second jar was felt which I suppose was caused by the vessel rolling and striking against the bow of the BRUNSWICK. I immediately ran forward and found we had collided with a schooner. I said to the mate, This is a bad job Mr. Frasier, to which he answered, Yes, sir, it is. The second mate came on deck at this time and sent him below to see if we were leaking. He quickly returned and said, "Captain, we're sinking." I saw that the men on the schooner had lowered their yawl and could save themselves, so I headed the BRUNSWICK for the shore. Did not believe, at the time, that we were sinking, but I went below and found that she was rapidly filling, closed the bulkhead down and set the pumps to work, three-quarters of an hour after the collision the BRUNSWICK went down head first. Seven men, including the two mates, were in the port boat, and the two cooks, myself, and the remainder of the crew, eight persons in all, were to go in the starboard yawl. The boats were hoisted and swung out on the davits, and some of the men remained on deck to push her off. We all had on life preservers, except myself. As the steamer sank she seemed to me to break in two. As she took a sudden lurch to the starboard and rolled over the yawl. Mr. Francomb, the engineer, who was on deck, shoving the yawl out, seemed to get jammed between her cabin, as I never saw him after she went over. I let loose the stern yawl, but the man at the bow didn't unkook his end, so the yawl was taken down with the steamer. I thought the yawl would come up again, and told the cooks to hang to the seats. They did. I never saw them again. I went down a great distance before I let go, and when I did let go thought I would never get to the top again. When I got up I caught on to some pieces of wreck and was picked up by the port boat and with others taken to Dunkirk. When I reached land I was so exhausted that I had to be carried ashore.
      Captain Chamberlain states that he learned the following facts from members of the crew; The BRUNSWICK was heading west by southwest, and the schooner seemed to head about northeast by east. She was showing her green light when she was reported by the watchman. The mate said to the wheelsman: "Starboard your wheel -- we'll go under her stern." This course was pursued for some time when the wheelsman called out to the mate, " Mr. Fraser, the schooner is coming in stays." "Port your wheel then," called out the mate. Then looking at the schooner through his glass he said, " No, keep her to starboard; we haven't time to port." Before any other move could be made the collision occurred. The fact that the schooner "luffed" when immediately ahead of the steamer would seem to be borne out by the fact that she was showing her green lights on the starboard side when approaching, yet she struck on the port side. John Fraser, the mate, is an experienced sailor, having had command of several large steamers, including the ISAAC MAY and MINERAL ROCK. He is about sixty years of age. John Francomb, the lost engineer, was also about sixty years old and has several grown-up sons. He formerly lived in Windsor and was formerly engineer on the transfer steamer UNION. Mrs. A. G. Fletcher, the cook, was a widow, and had beside the daughter who was lost with her, a son and daughter, the latter being the wife of Captain Tucker, of the barge WINONA.
      The BRUNSWICK was owned by Charles Bewick, of this city. She came out only last spring, and was valued at $150,000; insured for $55,000 in the Phoenix, Lamar, of Philadelphia, and Underwriters.





Dunkirk, Oct. - The tugs PURITAN and STAUBER will begin the search this morning for the iron stmr. BRUNSWICK, which went down off Dunkirk, December 12, 1881 in a collision with the schr. CARLINGFORD. The Cavenaugh Wrecking Co., of New York is doing the work.
      Buffalo Enquirer
      October 8, 1894 7-1

      . . . . .

Dunkirk, Oct. 1 - The stmr. BRUNSWICK, which sunk off Dunkirk Dec. 12, 1881, in a collision with the schooner CARLINGFORD, and which is now to be raised, did not carry 5,000 tons, as the Express stated, but about 1,700 tons and was bound for Duluth.
She was built by the Detroit Drydock Co. at Wyandotte and was one of the first boats they ever launched. The BRUNSWICK went into commission in the summer of 188! and ran from Buffalo to Duluth with coal at $1.50 per ton, from Duluth to Ashland light, Ashland to Chicago with lumber at $4.50 per M and from Chicago to Buffalo with grain at the going rate.
      Buffalo Enquirer
      October 9, 1894 7-1

      . . . . .

BRUNSWICK, Iron bulk propeller, launched May 5, 1881 by the Detroit Dry- dock Company at Wyandotte, Mich. U. S. Official Number 3148, of 1120 gross tons.
235' x 35.6' x 15.6'. - Sunk in collision with Schr. CARLINGFORD, November 12, 1881, off Dunkirk, Lake Erie; 3 lives lost.
      Master List of Vessels
      Milwaukee Marine Historical Co.

      . . . . .

BRUNSWICK Built May 21, 1881 Bulk Propeller - Iron
U. S. No. 3148 1120 gt - nt 235.0 x 35.6 x 15.6
Sunk in collision with schr. CARLINGSFORD, Dunkirk, N.Y., Lake Erie; 3 lives lost.
      Detroit/Wyandotte Master Shipbuilding List
      Institute for Great Lakes research
      Perrysburg, Ohio


Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Notes:
Reason: sunk by collision
Lives: 4
Freight: coal
Remarks: Raised ?
Date of Original:
1881
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
McN.W.15859
Language of Item:
English
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 42.4795 Longitude: -79.33393
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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Brunswick (Propeller), sunk by collision, 12 Nov 1881