The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Goliath (Propeller), fire & explosion, 16 Sep 1848


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Rumored loss of the propeller Goliath: We have received the following by O'Rielly's line: Detroit, Sept. 23d-12 o'clock. To the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser:
      We have rumors brought down from Mackinac that the propeller Goliath, loaded with provisions, hay, powder, &c., for the Sault took fire on Saginaw Bay and was blown to pieces. Masters of vessels give this report who heard the explosion. The steamer Globe last night from above gives the same. A telegraphic dispatch from Chicago yesterday, at 3 P.M. says the Sultana and Louisiana arrived bringing same news, which they got at Mackinac. The Goliath was loaded at Cleveland and this city.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Saturday Evening, September 23, 1848

      . . . . .

      Loss of the Propeller Goliath- The fearful loss of this vessel on Lake Huron is confirmed, in the most melancholy aspects. The Detroit Free Press, of Monday, gives us the fullest particulares of the disaster, which are yet known. there is nothing yet authentic, but all the steamers and vessels from above, bring the same rumors in relation to the seeing of the light and hearing the explosion, by several vessels and by people on shore, at the time and in the direction, where the Propeller is supposed to have been, at the time. The Detroit Press says: One master of a schooner that sailed in company with the Goliath until driven in a different direction by the severity of the gale, saw the light in the course of the propeller, and the explosion was so great as to arouse the crew from their berths in the fore-castle. People on the shore give nearly the same versions of the story, and locate the burning light in about the same direction. There are the thousand rumors afloat of every character, and after a careful investigation of them all, we must say that from the fact that several vessels have passed in the course of the propeller which have seen no traces of her, the probabilities are strong that there is some truth in the report, however much we may wish it may not prove true. From the light combustible materials comprising her load between decks, fire whould spread with great rapidity, but it would take a great while for it to reach the powder, that was in the extreme bow of the vessel.
      We have no means of ascertaining the exact number of person on board the propeller: but, from what information we can gather, there was probably nor far from twenty five, who have all doubtless perished in the ill-fated wreck, as it would have been impossible for any of them to have saved themselves by taking to the water, the storm being one of the most severe that has occurred in some time, and such that no open boat or raft could withstand for a moment. The propeller was under charge of the mate, Cootell, the captain, Ferry Palmer, having left at China, on account of sickness in his family. John E. Behwarz, son of the Adjutant General, was the clerk, and Dodge and Edwark Cook of this city, were both passengers, together with eight miners, on their way to the Minesotoba and Ontonagon locatons.
      The crew consisted of some ten more persons, most of them from this city, but whose names we are unable to learn. The second mate's name was Alvah McNett, and the cook's Cooley. The propeller was owned by D.N. Barney, of Bufflo, and we are informed, she was fully insured. The cargo was mostly shipped from Buffalo and this city, and belonged to the different mining companies in the copper country, consisting of flour, pork, hams, groceries of all kinds, paints, oils, lumber, powder, hay and the usual stores wanted for mining operations.
      It was a large load and a general assortment, belonging principally to C.C. Cushman, Quebec and Lake Superior Co., H. B. Chamberlin of Eagle River and S. A. Knapp, of Ontonagon. these are the owners of the goods shipped from here, and we are unable to give those of Buffalo shipments. There is an insurance of over $6,000 on the bills of lading from here, about one hundred tons bulk.
      About eighty kegs of powder were put on board the Goliath here and one hundred and twenty five at Detroit, which were stowed carefully in the extreme bow of the vessel, the farthest from the fire, and covered with merchandise. There were 60,000 shingles, 30,000 feet of lumber, and about 40 tons of pressed hay stowed away between decks and on the promenade deck-forming, altogether, a highly combustible cargo.
      The Free Press mentions a report that the cook had come ashore in a small boat near Lexington. He saw the fire making its way towards the powder, when he lowered the small baot and made his escape. When a short distance from the vessel it blew up with a tremendous explosion, and he was the only one left to tell the tale. The Free Press, however, still hopes that the propeller is ashore, and the crew and passengers all safe. But from all that can be gathered in relation to the matter, we cannot join in this hope. The Cleveland Herald, of Monday says that Capt. Sweet, of the Propeller Republic, who arrived in that city, on the day previous, conversed wtih Capt. Fuller, of the schooner Spartan, who says he was within five miles of the Goliath at the time of the fire - distinctly saw it and heard the explosion-the force of which was so intense as to shake every timber of his vessel, but from the force of the wind was unable to reach her.
      There can be but little doubt, we think, but that the Goliath, and its crew and passengers, have been destroyed.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Wednesday, September 27, 1848



      FIRE AND PROBABLE LOSS OF LIFE ON LAKE HURON.
There has been great excitement during these few days past. from Goderich Northward, along the coast, occasioned by the shore being strewed with the wreck of what must have been a vessel of considerable size. At Pine Point on the 20th inst., the upper works of what appeared to be a steamer, were washed upon the beach, and which seems to have sustained much damage by fire. Upwards of 200 barrels of Flour and Indian corn, a considerable number of boxes of
candles and raisins. also an immense quantity of lucifer matches, a large quantity of dried apples. - lso considerably injured by the fire - nd a vast number of other articles wich have literally strewd the shore at various points. have been picked up. Mr. McGregor, of Ashfield, is now in possession of what appears to have been the Yawl of the ill-fated vessel, which he found at Pine Point, It has 18 feet keel. is painted white, wlith a green stripe outside, and of a lead color , within, but without a name. It has sustained no in,jury from fire. From a box containing 7 kegs of blasting powder, and many of the barrels marked "City Mills. D. Harvey". and other goods being directed to the Sault Ste. Marie,
and the Midea Bay Mining Company, it is presumed that the wrecked vessel was on a voyage North to the Mining Districts. None of the bodies of those on board have been heard of, and consequently the mind is left to its worst fears
in reference to their fate. We learn that the Magistrates have with praiseworthy zeal, sent constables along the beach in order to rescue the property that has been saved, and we feel confident that the farmers along the shore will give
all assistance in this laudable undertaking.
      Goderich Huron Signal
      Friday, September 29. 1848
      . . . . .
     
      Wreck of the Gloliah- We received the following this noon from Mr. Gibbs, the gentlemanly operator having charge of the O'Reilly Telegraph Office in this city: (Reported for the Commercial Advertister.)
      Detroit, Sept. 30.: The Free Press of this morning contains the following particulars in relation to the propeller Goliah. The charred deck of a large steamer or propeller was driven ashore at Pine Point, above Goderich, Canada, on Wednesday last. The circumference of the mast is described as about equal to that of a flour barrel. Both deck and mast were burned black. The topmast was about 18 or 20 feet long and was painted white. Many of the wooden hoops by which the sails are run up and down the mast drifted ashore and appeared to have been cut away with an axe.
      The yawl boat which drifted ashore is about 18 feet on keel and is painted lead color on the inside and white with a green streak on the outside, but has no name whatever upon it. It is not at all burned. It is now in possession of John McGregor of Ashfield, who found it on the shore at Pine Point. Burned parts of another small boat have also been picked up.
      Among other articles which the Northwest wind has driven ashore are between 200 and 300 barrels flour and Indian corn. There were picked up by various parties between Kincardine and Goderich a large quantity of candles in boxes, boxes of raisins, also an immense quantity of lucifer matches in round boxes, and seven kegs of blasting powder in oats. Many of the flour barrels are marked "City Mills, D. Havey."Other goods received from the wreck are directed to the Sault Ste. Marie and the "Medea Bay Mining Company." There appears to have beeen a great quantity of dried apples on board as the beach is strewn with them.
      Half burned barrels, staves and other parts of the wreck continued to be washed ashore until the wind changed to the N.E.
      There is no doubt that the unfortunate boat first caught fire and was then blown up, as various parts of the wreck indicate that the timbers have been torn asunder by explosion. No body has as yet been discovered. At a special meeting of the inhabitants of Godereich it was determined to send constables along the coast to protect the recovered property.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Saturday Evening, September 30, 1848:

      . . . . .

Propeller GOLIATH - The melancholy loss of the GOLIATH, as obatined from reliable sources, can no longer be a matter of doubt. She was seen by a number of persons on the Lake Shore, and by the crew of one or more vessels. The GOLIATH left St. Clair River about 4 o'clock P.M., on Monday, September 13th, with a very heavy cargo consisting in part of 200 kegs powder, 20 m. brick, 30 m lumber, 40 tons hay and about 2.000 bbls. of provisions and merchandise, destined for the Lake Superior Mining Companies. On Thursday morning, soon after daylight the Propeller was seen about eight miles from shore, with her mast and smoke-pipe overboard, the wind blowing S.E. by East, and the vessel drifting toward shore. It was evident from the large volume of smoke that issued from her that she was on fire. She drifted to within two miles of the shore; the surf being very high, and the wind subsiding. About 9 A.M., the wind shifted to south west, and the burning hull receded from the shore, and when about three miles out, exploded with a tremendous noise, throwing fire and fragment to a great height.
      Efforts were made by Mr. Whitcomb and others to launch a boat with a view of rendering assistance, if possible, but the heavy breakers prevented the possibility of getting a boat beyond the surf.
      There were no less than fifteen persons on shore who saw the burning and explosion of the propeller as stated- Detroit Advertiser.
      From the Detroit Free Press of Monday we glean the following additional particulars:
The propeller was insured for $9000-$3000 in each the Columbus, North West and another company. The cargo was mostly insured in the North West and Columbus compnaies, to the extent of about $8000 in this city and how much at the east we cannot learn.
      From the best information we can gather, there were 18 lives lost by the explosion, and we give below the names of those who left the mouth of the river, as given to me by Capt. Palmer. A number of the crew shipped at Buffalo, whose names are not known, and can only be ascertained from the books and papers in possession of the clerk of the vessel should they be found.
      Henry Cottell, Captain, leaves a wife to whom he was married only three days before the departure, resides in St. Clair county.
John E. Sehwarz, Clerk, son of the Adj. General.
Silas Campbell, first mate, from this city.
Alvah McNatt, second mate, leaves a wife and family in this city, and a large circle of friends.
      Busha, first engineer, a Frenchman, for a long time a resident in this city.
      Edward Griffon, second engineer, from Detroit.
      Richard Conley, cook, has a father residing in this city.
      John Murphy, deck hand, and the only one whose name is known.
      William Prignon, fireman from Detroit.
      Richard , waiter, from this place.
      Two wheelsmen, names not known, shipped from Buffalo.
Two deck hands, names no known, shipped from Buffalo.
One fireman from Buffalo.
One deck hand, from Buffalo.
Edward Cook, Clerk in the employ of S. McKnight, Esq., of Sault St. Marie, on his way up, long a resident in this city and a young man universally esteemed.
Wm. Dodge, Carpenter, also a pasenger on his way to the Sault, a young man with a large circle of friends and aquaintances in this city.
Capt. Beckly, of Cleveland, was reported to have been on board the propeller, but this is not so.
      The Insurance Companies and owners of the cargo, will, we understand, charter the SCOTT today and proceed to the wreck for the purpose of securing such of the articles as may come ashore, and to search for the bodies of the crew and passengers.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Tuesday, October 3, 1848

      . . . . .

      LIST OF VESSELS LOST IN THE LAKE SUPERIOR TRADE. - Since the discovery of copper in the Upper Peninsula in 1845, and the commencement of the Lake Superior steamer and vessel trade, many craft engaged in the trade have been lost. Previous to the discovery of copper, there was no other trade but that of furs, and one of the fur trading vessels was lost - the JOHN JACOB ASTOR. We have compiled the following table, which will be found of interest to those connected with the Lake Superior copper trade:
      Name of vessel Value Value cargo Year Lives lost
Schooner MERCHANT $4,000 $2,000 1847 18
* Propeller GOLIATH $18,000 $18,000 1847
Steamer BEN FRANKLIN $15,000 $4,000 1850
Propeller MONTICELLO $30,000 $10,000 1851
Schooner SISKOWIT $1,000 $500 --
Schooner SELBY $500 $500 --
Propeller INDEPENDENCE $12,000 $18,000 1853 3
Steamer ALBANY $30,000 $2,500 1853
Propeller PENINSULA $18,000 $12,000 1854
Steamer E.K. COLLINS $100,000 $1,500 1854 20
Steamer BALITMORE $15,000 $4,000 1855
Steamer SUPERIOR $15,000 $10,000 1856 54
Propeller B.L. WEBB $50,000 $15,000 1856
Prop. CITY OF SUPERIOR $50,000 $25,000 1857
Propeller INDIANA $8,000 $2,500 1858
      --------- ------- -----
      $366,500 $125,500 95
      --------- -------- -----
Making a grand total of $492,000. - Detroit Advertiser.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      Saturday, December 11, 1858
      . . . . .

      The fleet on Lake Superior is rapidly increasing. Since the mines on the shore have commenced working, considerable tonnage is required, and will rapidly increase yearly. The present force on that lake is -
Steamboat JULIA PALMER . . . . . 280 Tons
Propeller INDEPENDENCE . . . . . 280 "
Schooner NAPOLEON . . . . . . . 180 "
      " ALGONQUIN . . . . . . . 70 "
      " SWALLOW . . . . . . . 71 "
      " MERCHANT . . . . . . . 70 "
      " UNCLE TOM . . .about. . 40 "
      " CHIPPEWA . . . .". . . 40 "
      " FUR TRADER . . .". . . 30 "
      " SISKAWITT . . . .". . . 40 "
      " WHITE FISH . . .". . . 50 "
      Cleveland Weekly Herald
      Wednesday, July 21, 1847

      . . . . .

      FIRE AND PROBABLE LOSS OF LIFE ON LAKE HURON.
      There has been great excitement during these few days past, from Goderich Northward, along the coast, occasioned by the shore being strewed with the wreck of what must have been a vessel of considerable size. At Pine Point on the 20th inst., the upper works of what appeared to be a steamer, were washed upon the beach, and which seems to have sustained much damage by fire. Upwards of 200 barrels of Flour and Indian corn, a considerable number of boxes of candles and raisins, also an immense quantity of Lucifer matches, a large quantity of dried apples, - also considerably injured by the fire - and a vast number of other articles which were literally strewed the shore at various points, have been picked up. Mr. McGregor, af Ashfield, is now in possession of what appears to have been the yawl of the ill-fated vessel, which he found at Pine Point. It has 18 feet keel, is painted white, with a green stripe outside, and of a lead color within, but without a name. It has sustained no injury from fire. From box containing 7 kegs of blasting powder, and many of the barrels marked "City Mills, D. Harvey", and other goods being directed to the Sault Ste. Mary, and the Midea Bay Mining Company, it is presumed that the wrecked vessel was on a voyage North to the Mining Districts. None of the bodies of those on board have been heard of, and consequently the mind is left to its worse fears in referance to their fate. We learn that the Magistrates have with praiseworthy zeal, sent constables along the beach in order to rescue the property that has been saved, and we feel confident that the farmers along the shore will give all assistance in this laudable undertaking.
      Goderich, Huron Signal
      Friday, September 29, 1848

      . . . . .

      LOSS OF THE PROPELLER GOLIATH - DREADFUL EXPLOSION AND LOSS OF LIFE.
      A correspondent of the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, writing from Detroit, under date Sept. 23rd, says that rumours have been brought down from Mackinac, that the propeller GOLIATH, loaded with provisions, hay, powder, etc., for the Sault, took fire on Saginaw Bay, and was blown to pieces.
      The Detroit Free Press, of Monday, says, that one master of a schooner that sailed in company with the GOLIATH until driven in a different direction by the gale, saw the light in the course of the propeller, the explosion was so great as to arouse the crew from their berths in the forecastle. People on the shore gave nearly the same version of the story, and locate the burning light in about the same direction. There was a thousand rumours afloat of every character; and, after a careful investigation of them all, we must say that from the fact that several vessels have passed in the course of the propeller, which have seen no trace of her, the probabilities are strong that there is some truth in the report, however much we may wish it may not prove true. From the light, combustible materials composing her cargo between decks, fire would spread with great rapidity, but it would take a great while to reach the powder; that was in the extreme bow of the vessel; we have no means of ascertaining the exact number of persons on board the propeller; from what information we can gather, there was probably not far from twenty-five, who have all doubtless perished in the ill-fated wreck, as it would have been impossible for them to have saved themselves by taking to the water, the storm being one of the most severe that has occurred in some time, and such that no open boat or raft could withstand for a moment. The propeller was under charge of the mate, Cootell, the captain Perry Palmer, having left at China on account of sickness in his family. John E. Schwartz, son of the adjutant-general, was the clerk, and --- Dodge, and Edward Cook, this city, were both passengers, together with eight miners, on their way to the Minnesota and Ontonagon locations. The crew consisted of some ten more persons, most of them from this city, but whose names we are unable to learn. The second mate was Alvah McNett, and Cook's --- Cooley. The propeller was owned by D.N. Barney, of Buffalo, and we are informed she was fully insured The cargo was mostly shipped from Buffalo and this city, and belonged to the different mining companies in the copper country, consisting of flour, pork, hams, groceries of all kinds, paints, oils, lumber, powder, hay, and the usual stores wanted for mining operations. It was a large load and a general assortment, belonging principally to C.C. Cushman, Quebec and Lake Superior Company, H.P. Chamberlin, of Eagle River, and S.A. Knapp, of Ontonagon. These are the owners of the goods shipped from here, and we are unable to give those of the Buffalo shipment. There is an insurance of over $6,000 on the bills of laging from here, about 100 tons bulk.
      The Buffalo Commercial Advertiser of Wednesday, adds to the above:- About 80 kegs of powder were put on board the GOLIATH here, and 125 at Detroit, which was stowed carefully in the extreme bow of the vessel, the farthest from the fire, and covered with merchandise. There were 60,000 shingles, 30,000 feet of lumber, and about 40 tons of pressed hay stowed away between decks and on promenade deck - forming altogether a highly conbustible cargo. The Free Press mentions a report that the cook had come ashore in a small boat near Lexington. He saw the fire making its way to the powder, when he lowered the small boat and made his escape. When a short distance from the vessel it blew up with a tremendous explosion, and he was the only one left to tell the sad tale. The Cleveland Herald of Monday, says that Captain Sweet, of the propeller REPUBLIC, who arrived in that city, on the day previous, conversed with Captain Fuller, of the schooner SPARTAN, who says he was within five miles of the GOLIATH at the time of the fire - distinctly saw it, and heard the explosion - the force of which was so intense as to shake every timber of his vessel, but from the force of the wind was unable to reach her.

      The Detroit Daily Advertiser, 29th: The melancholy loss of the GOLIATH, as obtained from reliable sources, can no longer be a matter of doubt. She was seen by the crew of one or more vessels. The GOLIATH left St. Clair River about 4 o'clock P.M., on Monday, Sept. 13th, with a heavy cargo consisting in part of 200 kegs powder, 20 M bricks, 30 M lumber, 40 tons hay, and about 2,000 barrels of provisions and merchandise destined for the Lake Superior Mining Companies.
On Thursday morning, soon after daylight the propeller was seen about 8 miles from shore, with her mast and smoke-pipe overboard, the wind blowing Southeast by East, and the vessel drifting towards shore. It was evident from the large volume of smoke that issued from her that she was on fire. She drifted to within two miles of the shore; the surf being very high, and the wind subsiding About 9 a.m., the wind shifted to the Southwest, and the burning hull receeded from the shore, and when about three miles out, exploded with a tremendous noise, throwing fire and fragments to a great height.
      Efforts were made by Mr. Whitcomb and other to launch a boat with a view of rendering assistance, if possible, but the heavy breakers prevented the possibility of getting a boat beyond the surf. It is ascertained that about eighteen persons were on board. Captain Cottrel, Captain Beckly, and Lieut. Swartz were part of the crew.
      There were not less than fifteen persons on shore who saw the burning and explosion of the propeller as stated.
      From the extracts given in other columns relating to the loss of the propeller GOLIATH on Lake Huron, there is little doubt that the merchandise which has strewed the shore around Goderich for the past ten days has been part of the cargo of that unhappy vessel - of whose crew on one is left to relate the mournful catastrophe. The runour of the Cook being saved, as a solitary exception, is too romantic to entitle it to notice.
      Goderich, Huron Signal
      Friday, October 6, 1848

      . . . . .


Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Notes:
Reason: fire & explosion
Lives: 18
Hull damage: $18,000
Cargo: $18,000
Freight: merchandise
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
1848
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
McN.W.17344
Language of Item:
English
  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 43.75002 Longitude: -83.66664
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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Goliath (Propeller), fire & explosion, 16 Sep 1848