The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Alpha (Schooner), aground, 31 Aug 1872

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Probable total loss of the Schooner ALPHA
      The schooner ALPHA, Captain Morris Fitzgeralds, left Toronto Wednesday evening, with a cargo of lumber, consigned to J. K. Post of this city and when abreast of Genesee, Thursday night got the first of the heavy gale now
blowing. Soon after the gale stuck her the steering apparatus gave way, but it was finally repaired and she was headed down the lake again.
On arriving opposite this port the steering apparatus gave away again, the vessel broached to and while jumping in the heavy sea, carried away both bowsprit and jib boom. The vessel of course, became unmanageable, the waves
rolling over her and filling her with water, and she drifted down the lake to a point about one mile below Four Mile Point, where she struck on the reefs about 5 o¹clock yesterday afternoon.
As soon as she struck, the yawl was lowered, the vessel lying head to the wind, and the Mate T. McLaughlin, with three seamen, and the cook, Margaret Fitzgerald with two little girls, Ellen McLaughlin and Hannah Fitzgerald, who had come over on a pleasure trip, got safely in the boat and made a landing on the beach near by.
The captain and two seamen remained on the vessel, with every wave breaking over her from forward to aft, until this morning about daylight, when they were taken off by the life-boat belong to this city manned by the following men: Capt. R. Wynne, of the schooner CECELIA JEFFREY, Captain F. Nixon, of the schooner J. S. CLARK, Captain P. Crokin, of the WEST WIND, Captain Harry Jackman, of the NEW YORK, Captain Robert Williams, of the HOMEWARD BOUND, Captain Richard Manley of the S. A. MARSH, Captain A. Fitzgerald and I.W. Raven of this city, and William Hand, mate of the NEW YORK.
      Too much praise cannot be give to these gentlemen, and the others associated with them in getting the life boat down to the wreck, for the noble and heroic manner in which they worked to save the lives of their fellow men.
      About eleven o'clock last night Mr. I. W. Raven foremen in the lumber yard of J. K. Post & Co. Started out to get a volunteer crew to man the lifeboat, meeting with a hearty response from all he met and after considerable time
spent in getting teams, the boat was put on a wagon and started about two o¹clock with the volunteers in the wagons. On reaching the beach the command of the boat was given to Capt. R. Wynne of St. Catherines and nobly did he guard his trust. The boat was launched about half a mile below the wreck without taking in any water and with long, steady strokes was pulled up to the wreck and the drenched and chilled seamen were taken off and safely landed.
It requires nerve to get into a lite boat at night, on a coast almost unknown, and battle with the angry elements. It is heroism, and the men who do it should be recognized by the government with badges of honor.
The Revenue Cutter Chase made a bold attempt about seven o'clock in the evening to render assistance to the distressed vessel, and after running down to within about one thousand feet of her, let go her starboard anchor
and drifted in until she pounded on the bottom. It was then impossible then to do anything, so the Cutter steamed back, having to slip her anchor to get safely away. The captain is deserving of credit for showing his good will
and the masterly manner in which he handled his boat.
The ALPHA was owned by Thompson Smith and Sons, Toronto, and was probably insured. She is pounding very badly and will go to pieces.
      Oswego Daily Palladium
      Saturday August 31, 1872

      . . . . .
Oswego, Aug. 31 - A gale of unusual severity for this season of the year has prevailed here since Thursday. The schooner ALPHA, from Toronto, for this port went ashore, five miles below the harbor, and will probably be a total wreck. Her crew were taken off in the life-boat last night. The schooner ORION, from Cleveland for Kingston, with building stone is sunk off Long Point, Canada. He crew drifted ashore in the yawl, nine miles below here yesterday. The schooner RICHARDSON, from Toronto, with corn is ashore at Presque Isle.
      The Toronto Mail
      Monday, September 2, 1872

      . . . . .
      The schooner ALPHA Afloat and Taken to Kingston
Friday night the steamer HIRAM A. CALVIN, of Calvin & Breck's line, of Kingston, arrived here sent by the insurance companies to try and get the schooner ALPHA off from the beach. Saturday morning about six o'clock the
steamer with two floats went to the scene of the wreck, and getting as close to the shore as possible, let got her anchor and despatched the floats with timbers to the schooner. After getting the timbers across the deck of the
vessel under the rail, and sinking the floats under the ends of the timbers, an effort was made to float her off by pumping out the boxes. Although the vessel raised about two feet, it was found that the water on the bar was one
foot less than she required. A hawser was passed to the vessel and the steamer commenced pulling and after about three hours work succeeded in getting her off and into deep water. The schooner was towed up to the west
pier where she remained until Saturday night, when the Calvin took her to Kingston, where she will go into a dry dock and receive the necessary repairs. The schooner is not injured as badly as was reported, and the only damage we could see was a broken foremast, the house deck warped, hatchways broken, and the hull hogged a trifle forward.
      Oswego Palladium
      September 9, 1872

. . . . . .

Kingston, Sept. 16 - The schooners SWEET HOME, ALPHA and MARY GROVER are being hauled out at Powers Ship-yard for repairs.
      The Toronto Mail
      Tuesday, September 17, 1872

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Reason: aground
Remarks: Got off
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Geographic Coverage:
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 43.45535 Longitude: -76.5105
William R. McNeil
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Alpha (Schooner), aground, 31 Aug 1872