A collision occurred at the Flats on Thursday night which resulted in the sinking of the schooner R.J. GIBBS by the propeller COLORADO. The GIBBS was bound up with corn while the COLORADO was bound from Chicago. The crew of the GIBBS left their schooner and climbed aboard the propeller, while the vessel sank in 15 minutes.
Port Huron Daily Times
Saturday, May 5, 1877
THE PROPELLER COLORADO RUNS INTO THE SCHOONER R.J. GIBBS.
The Latter Sunk --- Crew Saved
On Thursday evening about seven o'clock, or shortly after that hour, the schooner R.J. GIBBS, upward bound, from Toledo to Sarnia with corn, when in the Southeast Bend of the St. Clair River, was run into by the propeller COLORADO, downward bound, and sunk almost immediately. The GIBBS was struck upon her starboard side just forward of her main rigging, her whole side at that point being crushed in. The crew seeing instantly that the GIBBS must sink, immediately rushed upon the propeller before she backed out. As soon as the boats separated the GIBBS went down. She now lies, we are informed, upon the north side of the channel, giving plenty of room for passing vessels.
The propeller COLORADO was loaded with corn and flour from Chicago for Buffalo. The injury she received was slight, and not much of a character as to prevent her proceeding on her trip. She came as far as this port, landing the crew of the schooner GIBBS. During the day she laid upon the Canada side about a mile or more below Windsor. While there she was quite carefully examined and found to have sustained no serious injury. She could not go forward to her destination as she is very heavily loaded, rendering a passage over the Lime Kiln Crossing unsafe, if not impossible, in the present state of the water. She is kept here also from the fact that the channel is obstructed by the propeller EGYPTIAN and barge PELICAN, which are on the rocks at that point.
The schooner GIBBS belongs to Fred L. Wells, of Port Huron, and to Capt. D.H. McAllister, who sailed her. She was rebuilt about three years ago, and was in good condition at the time of the disaster.
Saturday, May 5, 1877
Attempts to raise the GIBBS are abandoned. She is cut almost in two and is going to pieces and will prove a total loss.
Port Huron Daily Times
Monday, May 7, 1877
. . . . .
The Toledo fleet has made a bad start this spring. Disaster has overtaken three schooners which left that port this week. The M. CAPRON has gone ashore at North Harbor Reef, at the head of the lake, but as yet no further particulars have been received. She cleared from Toledo Wednesday with 11, 020 bushels of wheat for Oswego, and ran aground during the night on the reef, which is unprotected by any light. The tug OSWEGO has gone to her assistance from Detroit. The CAPRON is a new vessel. The schooner G. M. NEELON left that port the same day with 14,500 cubic feet of ship timber for Kingston. Thursday she ran aground on one of the Sisters. The steamer JAY COOKE went to her assistance. After pulling at her all the afternoon, she succeeded in releasing her. A dispatch from D. H. McAllister, captain of the schooner R. J. GIBBS, which left Toledo Thursday, announces that the propeller COLORADO sunk his schooner at South East Bend, St. Clair River. She had on 7,650 bushels of corn for Port Huron. She went down in very deep water, and probably can never be raised.
May 7, 1877
Port Huron, May 7. - . . Schooner GIBBS, to which the wrecking expedition went, has been abandoned as a total wreck. She was broken almost in two.
May 8, 1877
Miscellaneous. - The schooner R. J. GIBBS, sunk at the Flats the other day by coming in collision with the propeller COLORADO, had no insurance on her hull. The cargo was insured in the Phoenix, Northwestern and Mercantile agencies for $5,000.
May 8, 1977
The tug MARTIN, with divers and wrecking apparatus, left Port Huron Sunday to raise the schooner GIBBS, which was sunk by coming in collision with the propeller COLORADO last week. The raising of the craft is regarded as quite feasible notwithstanding reports at first to the contrary. The cargo, corn, will be nearly worthless. The Captain of the Gibbs denies that he ran across the COLORADO's bow, and blames the captain of the latter boat for the accident.
May 11, 1877
Schooner R.J. GIBBS. U.S. No. 21195. oF 176.61 tons gross; 167.78 tons net. Built at Vermillion, Ohio, in 1855.
Home port, Detroit, Mich. 121.7 x 23,9 x 7.9
Merchant Vessel List, U.S., 1891