The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Ben Hur (Schooner), U3411, sunk by collision, 8 Nov 1890


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A serious collision took place in the rapids at 1:30 this morning, in which the schooner TREMBLE was sunk and one sailor drowned. The large steambarge W.L. WETMORE with the barge BRUNETTE was coming into the river. The steambarge BLANCHARD, with the schooner TREMBLE was coming up. The BLANCHARD whistled for the WETMORE to take the American side and was answered. The two steambarges passed 200 feet apart. The barge TREMBLE did not make it and was struck by the WETMORE and went down in the rapids in 3 minutes. One man, asleep at the time, drowned. The rest of the crew was taken aboard the car ferry HURON.
      The steambarge WETMORE is badly damaged and is now lying at the waterworks dock with her bow, above the waterline, badly stove in. The sunken schooner was owned by J.T. Fitzpatrick of Cleveland, was loaded with coal and is now lying in the channel on the American side, with her bow to the east, with her spars out of the water about 3 feet. She lies in the channel and is a great danger to incoming vessels.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Monday, September 8, 1890

      . . . . .

      The Murphy Wrecking Company are at work removing the wreck of the TREMBLE, sunk in the rapids.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Wednesday, October 29, 1890

      . . . . .

      Murphy is not making very good success in working on the TREMBLE. He is waiting for a new diving outfit.
      Saginaw Courier-Herald
      Thursday, October 30, 1890

      . . . . .

      The barge SUPERIOR ran into and sunk Murphy's wrecking schooner BEN HUR, on the St. Clair River Saturday night at 7 o'clock. The BEN HUR had been engaged in wrecking the sunken boat TREMBLE and was lying alongside the wreck when she was hit. The wrecking outfit of the BEN HUR is a total loss, everything going to the bottom.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Monday, November 10, 1890
      . . . . .


The work of blowing up the M.E. TREMBLE was completed on Thursday. Ten dymanite charges were exploded. The BEN HUR will be blown up next week. There are now 38 feet of water over the TREMBLE.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      May 1, 1891

      . . . . .

Most of the work of removing the hulk of the BEN HUR has been completed.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Monday, May 25, 1891

      . . . . .

      BEN HUR, schooner of 314.53 gross tons; 297.85 tons net. Official U.S. No. 3411. Built Dunnville, Ont. 1874. Home port, Detroit. 138 x 25.6 x 11.2. Remarks - Formerly British schooner M.C. UPPER.
      List of Merchant Vessels
      of the U. S. A. for 1892

      . . . . .

The case of Thomas A. Murphy against the steamer PASSAIC and her tow, the barges ELMA, HATTIE, W.B. JENNESS and the SUPERIOR, was argued before Judge Coxe at Utica Tuesday. In November 1890, Mr. Murphy was preparing to raise the schooner TREMBLE and cargo, sunk near the head of St. Clair River, and had made some progress. On the evening of November 8 his schooner BEN HUR, used in connection with the work, was anchored at the wreck, when the PASSAIC and tow came along. The last barge in the tow, the SUPERIOR, collided with the BEN HUR, causing her to sink directly upon the submerged schooner TREMBLE and rendering both total losses. The amount claimed for the loss of the BEN HUR and submerged schooner TREMBLE and the wrecking outfit is something like $35,000.
      Milwaukee Library Scrapbook
      October 9, 1896


      Decision in the PASSAIC Case.
Judge Coxe of the United States district court, northern district of New York, has filed his opinion in the case of Thomas A. Murphy against the steambarge PASSAIC and her tow, the barges ELMA, HATTIE, W.B. JENNESS and the SUPERIOR. In November, 1890, Mr. Murphy was preparing to raise the schooner TREMBLE and cargo sunk near the head of St. Clair river, and had made some progress. On the evening of Nov. 8 his schooner, BEN HUR, used in connection with the work, was anchored at the wreck, when the PASSAIC and tow came along. The last barge in the tow, the SUPERIOR, collided with the BEN HUR, causing her to sink directly upon the submerged schooner TREMBLE and rendering both total losses. The amount claimed for the loss of the BEN HUR and submerged schooner TREMBLE and the wrecking outfit is something like $35,000.
Judge Coxe, gives a decree in favor of Mr. Murphy and against the PASSAIC for half damages and costs. The barges in tow were impeded with their steamer, but as to them the libel was dismissed, no fault being shown against them. The PASSAIC was held at fault in that her master in her navigation did not sufficiently consider the position of the BEN HUR, and the character of his tow, conditions calling for the utmost caution. That he was not "particularly solicitous for the safety of his tow, " the court says, "is demonstrated by the fact that he was ignorant of the collision until he stopped at the docks at Port Huron. "
As to the BEN HUR (the schooner sunk) her fault consisted in occupying the position she did, on a stormy night, "so tied up that it was impossible to move her." * * "She occupied a most dangerous position. On a calm, clear night, or even in broad daylight she was a menace to passing vessels. To lie where she did on the night in question was unquestionably negligence." The night was dark, and a ten-mile breeze was blowing diagonally across the river, and the tendency of the tail of the tow to swing across was as well known to one as the other, and her owner took the risk of leaving the BEN HUR anchored there on such a night, when, without serious inconvenience, he could have moved her. The case will probably be appealed by one or both parties.
      Marine Review
      October 29, 1896
     
Schooner BEN HUR * U. S. No.3411. Of 314.53 tons gross; 29785 tons Register. Built Dunnville, Ont., 1874. Home port, Detroit, Mich. 138.0 x 25.6 x 11.2
      * Formerly British schooner M.C. UPPER.
      Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1891


Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Notes:
Reason: sunk by collision
Lives: nil
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
1890
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
McN.W.17478
Language of Item:
English
Geographic Coverage:
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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Ben Hur (Schooner), U3411, sunk by collision, 8 Nov 1890