The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Friday, November 21, 1879

Full Text
The Company's Safe, Containing Valuable Papers, Wages of the Crews and Money Lost on the Gordon -- A Large Sum of Money and Valuable Papers on the Body of Mr. Arnoldt -- Reward for its Recovery -- The Fleet Warned at the Cape -- Mr. Hall Opposed to the Undertaking -- Additional Statements -- Three More Men Reported Saved from the Scow.

As the thrilling sensation over the loss of life on lake Ontario Monday night subsides, and all the obtainable details as to such loss having been made public, other features of the case are coming to light. It appears that besides the sacrifice of human life and the loss of a property worth about $ 40,000, the owners of the fleet and the persons who were aboard have sustained other serious pecuniary losses. Mr. John Hickler, the senior proprietor in the firm of Hickler & Arnoldt, last evening informed a PALLADIUM reporter that on the dredge Gordon, which sunk, was the company's safe containing the time books, the firm's books of account for this year, several bills for work recently done for the Canadian government, a note against Buffalo parties for something over $ 4,300; the wages of the men aboard the fleet, which had been paid to them, but placed in the safe for keeping till they should reach their destination, other bills and papers of unknown value and probably some money. The Gordon was considered perfectly safe and they felt that this valuable property was perfectly secure there. Mr. Hickler thinks she never would have sunk had she not been run into by the tug Becker, and he thinks that the accident resulted from excitement and want of precaution on the part of the tug's crew. He says the Hickler was the poorest tug of the fleet, but she towed the two dredges and the scows to a place of safety and by good management saved sixteen lives. He is of the opinion that if similar good judgment had been shown by the rest of the fleet the great loss of life and property would have been averted. The Riter, which was abandoned and towed into Oswego, was considered the best boat.


Mr. Julius Arnoldt, brother of Richard V. Arnoldt, who was lost, offers a reward of $ 800 for the recovery of the body of his brother, together with his watch and valuable papers which he had -- no questions to be asked as to any money which may be found upon his person. Mr. Arnoldt had from $500 to $1,000 in money with him.


Capt. Pappa of the tug Morey, which found and brought in the tug Riter, and made a trip part way to Big Sodus and return on Wednesday, it is understood has presented a bill of $ 750 for the services of his tug, but has offered to accept $ 500. The company are understood to decline to pay the bill at that amount, and Mr. Hickler is said to have told Capt. Pappa that he may tie up the Riter on his claim, and they will contest it.

-- Since the above was written we understand that the question of salvage on the Riter has been amicably settled between Mr. Hickler and Capt. Pappa. Mr. Hickler says the terms are private, but he did not pay $ 500.


John Wood, engineer of the tug Thayer, which sunk first, and who boarded dredge Nl. 1 in tow of the Hickler, says the Hickler, stuck to them nobly. He declares that the crew of the Seymour showed great cowardice and says that at Cape Vincent experienced navigators warned them of the danger of starting out with such a tow, and had their advice been heeded nobody would have been lost. Mr. Wood's son Charles is among the lost.


Mr. Hall of Hall & Seymour, owners of the tug Seymour, considered the season too late and the weather too uncertain for the undertaking, and the Seymour took the tow much against his wishes. She was to be paid $ 150 a day.


It was rumored last night that Hickler and Arnold would commence action against the owners of the Seymour for the damage sustained for the loss of the fleet, but Mr., Hickler says that no such thing have been considered yet.


J. B. Young, fireman of dredge No. 1, says when the gale struck them they were towing in the following order: Tug Seymour, dredge Gordon with tug Becker alongside, dredge John Hickler No. 2 with tugs Riter and Hickler alongside, dredge John Hickler No. 1 with tug Thayer alongside, scow No. 6 with derick, scow No. 5, scow No. 7 with derrick, scow No. 2, scows Nos. 1, 4 and 3, coal scow and two flat scows. The tug Thayer sunk and her crew got on dredge No. 1. The line between the Gordon and No. 3 parted, leaving the balance of the tow with the Riter and Hickler. He aske the Ritter and Becker to take a line and keep the tow straight. They steamed up toward the Seymour and were not seen again. The tug Hickler then took a line and straightened the tow out and kept it. During the night all the scows broke away. About 10 A. M. Tuesday the dredge anchors were dropped, all the persons on them got aboard the Hickler and were saved.


Capt. Fleming of the Seymour says when they got outside of Grenadier island on the way up there were no signs of snow and the barometer was way up, and that the small tugs let go of the fleet when the wind freshened up, eight or nine miles past the Galloups. A little after that he made Oswego light and told the tugs they better make for that. The Riter ran into him and her crew jumped aboard. The captain of the Riter told him he had but one dredge, which was the first he knew that the tow had parted. The bridle gave way twice and they fixed it and sung out "all right, go ahead !" The Becker went to drop aboard the dredge Gordon and stove a hole in her, and she sunk and also the Becker, but one end of the dredge was out of water. In the morning he took three men off from her. He had hard work to keep clear. Mr. Arnoldt had his big coat on when the dredge sunk, and the last Smith saw of him he was trying to pull the coat off.


Tom Smith, engineer of the Gordon, who by his coolness and pluck saved his own and two other lives on the Gordon, has arrived here, but has nothing to add to his thrilling story which was telegraphed to us Wednesday.


A man who has been looking after the scows ashore up the lake, and who is understood to be one of the party which was saved on the Hickler, arrived here this afternoon and reports that he found the three Frenchmen who were aboard the scows, ashore, and watching the property. He says they told him that they were on the scows in tow of the Hickler, and when they found they were adrift, they closed down the hatches, and that the scows came ashore three miles above Little Sodus, day before yesterday. That they concluded that they would stay there and watch the property till somebody came. The man who brings this information says he does not know the names of the men, but they got on the fleet at Ogdensburg. The three men who are reported as having been on the scows are Charles Wood, Noah Garrow and H. Marchau. If this man's story is correct, it reduces the number of the lost to six, unless Beauseau of Montreal, not heretofore accounted for, was on board, in which case the number would be seven.


Tom Smith says Beauseau was not on board. This leaves six lost -- those on the Gordon.

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Friday, November 21, 1879
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Richard Palmer
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Friday, November 21, 1879