The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Oconto (Propeller), U19369, aground, 7 Jul 1886


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The prop. OCONTO which went down in the St. Lawrence yesterday was making her first trip after an almost rebuild made necessary by going ashore in Georgian Bay and stopping the winter winds all through last season.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      July 8, 1886 3-2

      . . . . .

      The OCONTO was wrecked Tuesday night in the St. Lawrence River. The propeller was six miles from Clayton, twelve miles below Kingston, when she went hard on the rocks, and went down soon after. She had on a large quantity of freight. The passengers and crew got off safely. The OCONTO was built at Manitowoc, Wisc. in 1873. She was originally owned by the Goodrich Transportation Company, and from them passed into the hands of Geo. Colwell, who sold her to R. Van Slyke of Detroit two years ago.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Thursday, July 8, 1886

      . . . . .

      Propeller OCONTO struck a shoal near Rock Island Light on Tuesday night at 11 o'clock and sunk, with a valuable cargo. The OCONTO is surely having an unfortunate career. She was built by Rand at Manitowoc in 1872 for the Goodrich Transportation Co., received extensive repairs in 1884, was sunk at the "Charities" in 1885, where she remained all winter, was raised and repaired, and put on a new route. She is a double decker, hails from Port Huron, and is valued at $30,000. There has been litigation going on in the United States Courts against the Goodrich Company by citizens of Green Bay, the cause being brought for fires which it is alleged were started in that City by sparks from the OCONTO.
      The OCONTO is insured for $15,000. The cargo consisted of silks, cotton , boots, shoes, wire and iron to the value of $500,000. The loss on cargo will be at least $300,000. This loss is covered by insursnce.
      Marine Record
      Thursday, July 8, 1886

      . . . . .

      Capt. McLeod telegraphs Smith, Davis & Co. that the propeller OCONTO, sunk near Clayton, St. Lawrence River, was broken in two amidships, and that her hull was a total loss. Of the cargo, consisting of dry goods and other merchandise, Capt. McLeod thought about one third could be saved dry.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      July 9, 1886 3-5

      . . . . .

      The propeller OCONTO, sunk near Clayton, in the St. Lawrence River, is no longer a member of the lake fleet. Capt. McLeod telegraphs her obituary in the following words: " Hull total loss beyond a doubt. Forefoot six feet out of water; vessel standing on end, stern down in deep water and broken amidships." Her cargo consists of 73 tons of dry goods, 27 tons of boots and shoes, 3 tons groceries, 2 tons axes and hardware, 1 ton stationary, 6 tons gum, 160 tons of iron, mostly blooms. Capt. McLeod thinks that one third of the cargo can be saved dry. He can secure a tug and lighter for that purpose. W.B. Dimick left Buffalo to look after her cargo. Her owners are Capt. McGregor and S. Van Slyk of Detroit.
      Marine Record
      July 15, 1886

      . . . . .

      The events of the week have been the sinking of the OCONTO, and excursions every day to the wreck. An effort was made to save part of her cargo. A tug and lighter have been there since Thursday, and have got out some goods. As fast as they lighter her she settles down and is hogging badly and breaking in tow. The heavy swells of the Royal Mail Line play hob. The position she is in on the shoal is NW, four rods above red buoy and 1/4 to 1/2 mile below Rock Island Light. How she came there is a conundrum, as the weather was clear, the lighthouse close at hand, and buoys to mark the course.
      As she sets in the water, her keel, about 40 feet back, rests on the shoal, her forefoot being out of the water, and her stern hanking over a depth of 100 feet of water, only the top of her smoke-stack and flag staff being visible.
      LATER
      The OCONTO slid off the shoal Monday morning into 100 feet of water, with a diver inside, he escaped.
      Marine Record
      July 15, 1886

      . . . . .

Ogdensburg, Oct. 22 - After a period of 10 years wreckers are now recovering the cargo of the stm. OCONTO, which was sunk in 1886. She lies in 60 ft. of water, and the work is going forward at a good rate. A large quantity of hardware, ets. has been recovered in a good state of preservation. The whole load consisted of valuable package freight, and if it can all be recalaimed the wreckers will have a bonanza.
      Buffalo Morning Express
      October 26, 1896 3-1

      . . . . .

      In contracting to raise the sunken steamer OCONTO the Donnelly Salvage & Wrecking Co., of Kingston has undertaken quite a difficult task. The wreck lies in 105 feet of water, opposite the Thousand Island Park on the St. Lawrence River. At the time she was lost the OCONTO was laden with general merchandise. She struck a shoal and then slid off into the deepest part of the river. That was 10 years ago and this is the first move to recover the steamer and cargo.
      The insurance was held by Smith, Davis & Co., Buffalo, who have just awarded the contract to the Donnelly Co. Wrecks have sometimes been raised on the lakes from depths of more than 100 feet, but always from rivers or connecting channels where the water was still and divers had the oppertunity to work continuously. The Donnelly Co. is an old concern and has done many good pieces of wrecking work.
      The founder of the firm, John Donnelly, died recently. His two sons Thomas and John, have been active managers of the business for some time and will continue it.
      Marine Review
      July 26, 1900

      . . . . .

Kingston, Ont., July 24. -- A contract has been awarded to the Donnelly Wrecking and Salvage company to raise the steamer OCONTO, which sank in 105 feet of water off Thousand Islands Park ten years ago. The OCONTO was laden with a valuable cargo of general merchandise, and ran into a shoal, and, as she filled, slid off the rock and went down in the very deep water.
      The insurance firm of Smith, Davis & Co., of Buffalo, paid the losses on the cargo, and now own it. They have given the wrecking company their contract. Owing to the great depth of water considerable interest attaches to the wrecking operations.
      ALSO
      There have been several vessels raised as from great depths as the OCONTO lies in, and wreckers think the Canadians should have success. "The steamer F. E. SPINNER was sunk in St. Marys River, in the Canadian Channel," said Captain J. J. Rardon, "and her stern was in 125 feet of water. The bow was somewhat higher. Two or three divers were paralyzed by working under the great pressure of the water, but they kept right on with the work, and finally got the boat up in good shape. The Canadian steamer CITY OF COLLINGWOOD, a passenger boat, went down off Cove Island, in Georgian Bay, in 110 feet of water. She was brought to the surface. The steamer ONEIDA was sunk in seventy-five feet of water in Alexandria Bay, not far from where the OCONTO lies, and the ARMOUR, which went down in collision at Southeast Bend, in St. Clair River, was seventy-five feet from the surface.
      All of these successful wrecking jobs were in comparatively still water, where the diver had a good chance to work right along without interruption. The Lehigh liner CAYUGA which was sunk by the J. L. HURD off Skillagalee light, lies out in the open. There is 120 feet of water there, and the wind and sea have a full sweep. This is responsible for much of the delay of the wreckers in getting any results from their labors." The Donnelly Company is an old concern, and has done many good pieces of wrecking work. The founder of the firm, John Donnelly, died recently. His two sons, Thomas and John, have been active managers of the business for some time, and will continue it.
      Milwaukee Library Scrapbook
      July 25, 1900
     
      . . . . .

      It is understood that another attempt will be made to raise the old OCONTO, the large freight and passenger steamer which was sunk near Thousand Island Park 14 years ago, with a valuable cargo of silk and pig iron on board. She was sunk near Rock Island Light-station and now lies in about 90 feet of water. Divers are expected soon and the work of raising the remainder of the valuable cargo will be at once begun. About 4 years ago a stock company was organized by some speculators and effort was made to raise the cargo. It was late in the fall, when the divers began work and they did not accomplish much. A few hundred dollars worth of silk in tin cases was taken up and sold, and then further effort was given up.
      Marine Record
      August 23, 1900

      . . . . .
     
Steam screw OCONTO. U. S. No. 19369. Of 505.35 tonbs gross; 447.60 tons net. Built Manitowoc, Wis., 1872. Home port, Harrisville, Mich. 143.0 x 32.0 x 10.0
      Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1885


Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Notes:
Reason: aground
Lives: nil
Hull damage: $30,000
Cargo: $300,000
Freight: silk, iron, &c.
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
1886
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
McN.W.16477
Language of Item:
English
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 44.28005 Longitude: -76.01856
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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Oconto (Propeller), U19369, aground, 7 Jul 1886