The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Superior (Propeller), collision, 8 Nov 1890

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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

      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

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: collision
Lives: nil
Remarks: Uninjured ?
Date of Original:
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Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Superior (Propeller), collision, 8 Nov 1890