The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Benjamin Franklin (Steamboat), aground, 9 Oct 1850


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Thunder Bay Island, Oct. 9, 1850
Messrs. Editors of the Free Press.
Gents: With much regret, I have to inform you of the total loss of the steamer Benj. Franklin, at 5 o'clock yesterday morning, on the shoal on the southeast point of the Island. Passengers, officers and crew all safe.
The steamer was headed for the Island as usual, and, when within her customary distance, her help put "a port" to head her to the eastward, but owning to a long continuance of westerly and north west winds, and a sudden shift of wind from the southward, a most extraordinary current from the westward set across the shoal at the southeast point of the Island, by which the vessel was swept on the shoal.
All that could be done to save her was done by Capt. Jones, her worthy commander.
By the prompt assistance of the fishermen with their boats (from the Island,) and the indefatigable endeavors of Capt. Jones, some 500 barrels of her cargo is now on shore, and most of the boat's furniture has been saved. The wind now is south and a very heavy sea running: the vessel is breaking up. I have been an eye witness to what I have stated. I was first to board her after she struck, and nearly swamped by boat by the unusual force of the current running across the shoal.
      Yours with much respect,
      J. J. MALDEN
      Keeper of Lights, Thunder Bay Island
      Detroit Daily Free Press
      October15, 1850

      . . . . .

      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

      . . . . .

      Steamer FRANKLIN of 231.28 tons, enrolled and licensed in the district of Detroit - 1849.
      Tonnage of the Lakes, 1849
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Friday, March 30, 1849

      . . . . .

      Steamer FRANKLIN, reported ashore on Lake Huron, and gone to pieces October 11th, 1850.
      Casualty List for 1850
      Erik Hyle's private papers.

      . . . . .

      Steamer BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, of 231 tons, built at Buffalo in 1842. Stranded October 9th, 1850 at Thunder Bay, Mich. No lives lost.
      Merchant Steam Vessels of the U.S.A.
      1790 to 1868. Lytle - Holdcamper List.

      . . . . .


Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Notes:
Reason: aground
Lives: nil
Hull damage: $15,000
Cargo: $4,000
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
1850
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
McN.W.17345
Language of Item:
English
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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Benjamin Franklin (Steamboat), aground, 9 Oct 1850