The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Iron City (Barge), U12092, sunk, 25 Sep 1872

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The old barge IRON CITY with a cargo of oil from Cleveland for Messrs. Nelson & Lothridge of this city, foundered and went down on Lake Erie last night. The captain and crew are missing, and supposed to have been lost. The crew consisted of Capt. Richard C. Gunning, of this city, one woman and 4 men, names unknown.
The IRON CITY was in tow of the tug MILLS of Detroit, and both are owned by Mr. Edward Kean of this city. The line parted when near the middle of the lake, between Gravelly Bay and Pt. Abino, and owing to the heavy sea and the fact that neither the IRON CITY nor the tug had a small boat, they were unable to get another line fast. In this predicament the tug left her about 5:00 yesterday afternoon, supposing they would cast anchor, but this morning the IRON CITY was found on her beams-end in Sturgeon Bay. The tugs MILLS has been to her this morning and returned, reporting her condition as reported. The fate of the crew is unknown, though the circumstances lead to the unpleasant conclusion that they must have all been lost. It is possible they were picked up by a craft or got ashore on a portion of the wreck. The tug GARDNER has gone in search of the wreck. Words are inadequate to convey the expression of condemnation of owners of vessels who permit them to go to sea without a single small boat, or any provisions for the security of the lives of the crew. Capt. Gunning is well known on the Lakes, having had many years experience as a navigator. It is hoped he will yet return alive to relieve the present suspense and uncertainty in the minds of his family.
The names of 2 others who were lost by the foundering of the ill-fated schr. G.J. WHITNEY have reached us. The mate or first officer of the ship was Lafayette Carpenter, brother of the captain, also the cook, Kate Kelly, whose home was at Otter Creek, 5 miles from Monroe, Mich.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      September 26, 1872 3-3

      . . . . .

      The old barge IRON CITY, with a cargo of oil from Cleveland to Buffalo, foundered and sunk Wednesday night near Sturgeon Point, 18 miles from Buffalo. She was formerly the popular steamer of the same name which plied for several years on the Lake Superior route. She was built at Cleveland in 1856 and was 607 tons burthen.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Friday, September 27, 1872
      . . . . .

      The Barge IRON CITY Deserted By a Tug While In The Middle Of The Lake.
      Wonderful Escape Of The Shipwrecked Crew.
      Wednesday night while the tug MILLS was towing the barge IRON CITY down the lake, the line parted, and the tug came into this city, leaving the barge in the middle of the lake, the captain, stating that he was unable to get out another line or rescue the crew, as a high sea was prevailing at the time, and neither of the crafts had a small boat.
      The IRON CITY, which was loaded with oil and lumber, ran ashore at Sturgeons Point, and went to pieces. The crew with the female cook previous to the foundering of their boat, succeeded in lashing themselves to pieces of lumber, and drifted on to the beach near Tiffs farm last evening. They stated that the last time they saw the captain, Richard C. Gunning, he had become wedged in between some oil barrels. It was therefore supposed that the unfortunate man had been drowned. Last night, however, a dispatch was received stating that he had been picked up and was safe and sound at Dunkirk.
      The cargo of the IRON CITY, valued at $60,000, and fully insured, was consigned to Messrs. Nelson and Lothridge, of this city. It is possible that a good portion of it will be recovered.
      The crew speak very harshly of the captain of the tug MILLS, and say that his abandonment of them was willful and inhuman. A statement from Captain Gunning will be awaited with no little interest.
      Since the above was put in type we have learned that Capt. Gunning arrived in Buffalo last night in a very exhausted condition. The story of the conduct of George Bennett, the captain of the tug, as related by the crew, is corroborated, and he states further that Bennett knew the barge was in a very leaky condition, and saw the crew including even the cook, at the time the line broke, laboring steadily at the pumps to keep the boat afloat, and that he did not try to get another line to them, but turned a deaf ear to their entreaties to rescue them from their perilous position, left them to their fate.
      Buffalo Evening Post
      September 27, 1872

It is understood that te owners of the prop. IRON CITY, a staunch old craft, are considering the expediency of converting her into a barge.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      March 13, 1871 3-5

Steam screw IRON CITY. U. S. No. 12092. Of 667.86 tons. Home port, Cleveland, Ohio.
      Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1871

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Reason: sunk
Freight: oil, lumber
Remarks: Total loss
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  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 42.69089 Longitude: -79.04754
William R. McNeil
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Iron City (Barge), U12092, sunk, 25 Sep 1872