The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Corsican (Schooner), U4922, sunk by collision, 2 Jun 1893

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Schooner CORSICAN sunk by collision Lake Huron June 2, 1893. Total loss. Of 500 tons gross capacity and valued at $2,000. Owned by S.B. Grummond. Home port, Detroit.
      Total Losses During 1893
      Marine Review
      December 14, 1893

      . . . . .

      Cleveland, June 3. - A special dispatch says the unknown schooner sunk in collision with the steamer CORSICA, off Alpena, Friday morning, may have been the St. LAWRENCE. The St. LAWRENCE was bound down Lake Huron with pig iron. She was owned by C.E. Chilson of Lorain.
      Buffalo [Sunday Morning] News
      Sunday, June 4, 1893 p.1, c.6

      . . . . .

Chicago, June 5. -- The mystery of the schooner, cut into by the steamer CORSICA last Friday is still unsolved. The SUNRISE and SCHUETTE reached Racine this morning. They were on Lake Huron Friday. The St. LAWRENCE, ELGIN and CORSICAN are still unheard from.
      Buffalo Enquirer
      Monday, June 5, 1893
Schooner CORSICAN. U. S. No. 4922. Of 281 gross tons. Built Olcott, N.Y., 1862. 112.4 x 25.4 x 10.0. Sunk by collision on Lake Superior, 1893.
      Herman Runge List

      It is Possible That All of the Crew Were Lost
Alpena, June 2. - (Special.) - About 3:30 this morning the large steam barge Corsica, bound from Lake Superior to Cleveland with ore, collided with an unknown schooner about ten miles south of Thunder Bay Island. A dense fog had been hovering over the lake during the entire night and was thickest about this time. A careful lookout had been made to avoid any disaster, but it is reported that the Corsica was running fully ten mile an hour at the time. Unlooked for and unexpected, a schooner tried to cross her bows, but unfortunately was too slow and plunged into the Corsica almost broadside. The latter's engines were immediately reversed and everything done to aid the crew of the schooner, but all attempts proved futile. No signs of life could be found; no voice, no yawl boat, nothing to indicated that any person was making a struggle to retain life. After a diligent search had been made, Capt. Cummings gave attention to his own condition and found a large hole had been stove in the upper works and considerable damage done to the hull. He at once headed for Ossineke and case anchor about two miles out. Communication was at once sent to the Gilchrist and Fletcher Wrecking Company and the tug Ralph, accompanied by a diver, ship carpenters, etc., went to her assistance. Repairs are rapidly being made, and no doubt she will be in condition to leave here by to-morrow night. The only mystery is what schooner was it that ran into the Corsica and what became of her crew. Up to this time every effort to obtain reliable information about these questions has been unavailing. Whatever boat it might have been, one thing is certain, it now lies at the bottom of Lake Huron in twenty-five fathoms of water. The fishing tug Angler, from this port, ran into considerable wreckage when about eleven miles southeast of Thunder Bay Island to-day, and this evening brought in various articles, among them a cabin door painted white on both sides; two window sashes painted blue on one side and probably white on the other; parts of an old black walnut table, one of the leaves of which had been repaired or pieced out with pine or a similar soft wood; a red and white table spread, coffee boiler, lead and line, lamp and numerous little articles. On none of these could be found the least thing that would identify the lost craft. The sashes above mentioned each originally contained four lights of glass, but in one of them there were three lights, one being twice as long up and down as either of the others. Capt. Horatio Ferguson of the Angler, says the pilot house is bottom side up, and from all appearances was cut almost in two. It was painted white inside and out. He was utterly unable to turn it over, trying it several times. On his way home and a short distance from the pilot house, he passed what appeared to be a bundle of clothes, mysteriously floating on the water. He turned back and picked it up. It proved to be a plaid, three button sack coat, which caught some air in the sleeves some way and so stayed on top. In the pockets were found a small grocery account and a letter. The name on the account could not be seen and the envelope had been destroyed, thus losing the man's address. The following are extracts from the letter:
Green Bay, March 20, 1893.
Dear brother and wife - Yours of the 13th inst duly received and I was very happy to hear from you. The reason I did not answer the other letters was that I mislaid it and I did not remember your address. You will be surprised, I suppose, to learn that I am living in Green Bay again. I sold our property here and then bought a half interest in Joe Dennis' steam laundry and we are doing very well. Jennie and the babies are still in Chicago."
The writer then goes on to mention some friendly home affairs. He mentions his daughter, Pearl, his father and mother, Victor Moreau and Jake Tenner, all of Green Bay, Wis. He closes his letter as follows:
"Well, I will close for the present, hoping to hear from you soon, and that you are both in good health.
Your loving brother,
Love from Jennie and the babies. Address Green Bay, Wis. 213 Cherry Street."
Beyond this letter, nothing that might identify the lost ship has been found. It is not impossible, however, for the entire crew to turn up somewhere on the Canadian shore, safe and sound. The sea was not running high at the time and they may have taken to their yawl and and pulled out for shore. The weather has been and is calm, though foggy, and there will be no use in giving up for lost what may well and secure, though not at present visible.
      Detroit Free Press
      Saturday, June 3, 1893

Nothing more definite as to the identity of the vessel sent to the bottom of Lake Huron by the CORSICA Friday morning could be learned here yesterday. It was considered by everybody conversant with marine affairs that the lost vessel was none other than the CORSICAN. Still, until the schooner St. LAWRENCE is reported, the matter cannot be said to be positively settled. The latter vessel is now four days out from the Straits, but in view of the winds which have prevailed during that time, can hardly be expected at Port Huron yet. She must sail the entire distance, as tugs do not run far up the lake after vessels now. Capt. Bernier, of the CORSICAN, made Detroit his home, but very little can be learned about him. His wife died about the first of March last, leaving a 2-year old child, which is now in the possession of Mrs. Bernier's sister, but not even the latter person's name has yet been learned.
      Detroit Free Press
      Tuesday, June 6, 1893

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Reason: sunk by collision
Remarks: Total loss
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  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 45.06168 Longitude: -83.43275
William R. McNeil
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Corsican (Schooner), U4922, sunk by collision, 2 Jun 1893