The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
George C. Finney (Schooner), U10545, sunk, 20 Nov 1891

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The schooner G. C. FINNEY is undoubtedly lost with all hands. As near as can be learned her crew was as follows; Capt. Riordan, Mate George Christansen of Buffalo; sailors William Smith, also from Buffalo, James Conway of Cleveland, Samuel J. Tracy of Sodus, N. Y.; Harry Popper of Buffalo. The name of the female cook could not be learned, but it is said she shipped from Toledo.
      Buffalo Enquirer
      Monday, November 23, 1891
      . . . . .
      It has now been established beyond a doubt that the spars appearing above the water below Long Point are those of the FINNEY. Two of Capt. Riordon's sons went to Port Colborne, and taking a tug visited the scene of the wreck. They identified the masts positively, as they had helped fit her out. The report that Capt. Riordon's body was found could not be substantiated today, and is regarded as unfounded.
      Buffalo Enquirer
      Saturday, November 28, 1891

      . . . . .
GEORGE C. FINNEY, schooner. Official U. S. Number 10545, of 300.66 gross tons, 285.63 net tons. Built at Oswego in 1866. Home port, Buffalo. 136.7 x 26 x 10.8
      List of Merchant Vessels of U. S. A., 1891
      . . . . .
      The Schooner Lost In Gravelly Bay Is The C.B. BENSON for Toledo.
      The schooner sunk in Gravelly Bay is the C.B. BENSON, which left Buffalo Friday for Toledo. She had seven men on board, all of whom are drowned.
      Capt. D.W. Carter of Port Colborne telegraphs: "Tugs visited the wreck and she is loaded with coal. Her foremast is gone and the remaining topmasts are painted black. I believe it is the C.B. BENSON. Have just sent another tug with diver and will telegraph you later."
      No bodies have been found. Not a single body of the crew of nine men on the J.C. FINNEY, which went down last fall in the Bay, was never recovered. The G.M. CASE, the MONTICELLO and E.P. DORR were lost near the same spot and only one man's body found.
      Captain Duff of the BENSON was one of the best known navigators in this county.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Wednesday, October 18, 1893 p.1, c.1

      . . . . .
      Wrecks and Heavy Losses.
By far the most distressing accident in the recent snow storm was the loss of the schooner GEORGE C. FINNEY, owned by Capt. Thos. Riordan of Buffalo, who was drowned with a crew of six in the sinking of the boat.
      Marine Review
      November 26, 1891

      Schooner FINNEY, lost on Lake Erie November 20, 1891, with her crew of six.
      Casualty List for 1891
      Chicago Inter-Ocean
      December 7, 1891

      . . . . .
      Cleveland, July 16. -- On Saturday evening, Nov.14, 1891, the schooner GEORGE C. FINNEY left toledo for Buffalo with 21.000 bushels of wheat. On board were Capt. Thomas Riordan, five seamen and a woman cook. A heavy storm prevailed on the lakes for several days and the FINNEY was lost off Erie, neither captain nor crew ever being beard of. The Ashtabula Beacon prints the following:
      Last Saturday evening W. F. Richards was walking on the beach when he found a bottle close by the waters edge. He noticed that it was sealed and contained some paper. Breaking it open he found on one of the slips of paper, in large printed letters, the word "Notice." On the other piece, which was about as large as a sheet of note paper, and written on both sIdes, was the following communication:
      "I, Pat McCarty, on this awful night in November write this letter to inform the one who finds It that the boat I am on is about to founder. Her name is the FINNEY, and I am going to Dave Jones' locker. Tell my wife that I leave all my possessions to her. She lives in Michigan. The waves are so high now that I can hardly write. The Captain was washed overboard just now. Goodbye."
      The communication was on a piece of wrapping paper, written with a lead pencil, and in a legible hand.
      The letter was turned over to Postmaster Large, and a copy of it forwarded to Mrs. Tom Riordan, Buffalo, who, he thinks, will know the Michigan address of the wife of Mate McCarty. If she can be found, the letter found in the bottle will be forwarded to her. So far as known this is the first message that has ever been found from any of the crew of the lost boat.
      Buffalo Enquirer
      Saturday, July 16, 1892


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Reason: sunk
Lives: 7
Freight: wheat
Remarks: Total loss
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 42.873333 Longitude: -79.255555
William R. McNeil
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George C. Finney (Schooner), U10545, sunk, 20 Nov 1891