The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
David W. Rust (Propeller), collision, 7 May 1877

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Erie, May 8 - The schooner FRANCIS BERRIMAN, which collided with the steam barge RUST last night off East Tawas, and immediately went down, drowning two men, was owned here. She was valued at $30,000, and insured for $20,000, including the cargo of wheat which she carried. The loss will be $100,000.
      Detroit, May 8. - A dispatch from East Tawas, reports the collision of the steam barge D. M. RUST and barque F. BERRIMAN, twenty miles southeast of Thunder Bay last night. The barque, wheat laden, sank in fifteen minutes. Andrew Halcrow and Charles Myers, of Milwaukee, were lost, but the rest of the crew were saved. The RUST, though badly shattered, succeeded in getting into East Tawas, where she now lies waiting for help.
      Cleveland Herald
      May 9, 1877

      The steam barge D.W. RUST and the bark FRANCIS BERRIMAN came in collision Monday night about 20 miles S.E. of Thunder Bay, on Lake Huron. The barge was coal laden and the bark carried 40,000 bu. of wheat. The latter sank in 15 minutes and two were lost. The RUST arrived in East Tawas in a badly shattered condition and afterwards sank. The tug WINSLOW has gone to raise her.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Wednesday, May 9, 1877

      . . . . .

The steamship RUST and the schooner FRANCIS BERRIMAN collided about twenty miles southeast of Thunder Bay on Monday night. The BERRIMAN sunk immediately, and A. Harlow and Charles Myers of her crew were drowned. Captain Norris, his mates, and the remainder of the crew were saved, one of them with a bruised limb. It is supposed that those saved were taken on board the RUST. The RUST was injured in the collision, however, and as we hear now that she is ashore at Tawas it is very likely that captain Pringle beached her in order to avert sinking in deep water, and to save the lives of all on board.
The BERRIMAN has 40,625 bushels rejected wheat on board, shipped by C.J. Kershaw & Co., of Milwaukee, and insured in the following companies: -
      Pacific Mutual, $10,000 - Manhattan, $6,875 - Inland Union, $12,500 - Providence, Washington, $5,000
      Brewers & Malters, $5,000 - Western, Toronto, $5,000 - Mercantile Mutual, 7,500 -- Manufactures, Boston, $5,000.
The BERRIMAN was 669 tons, was built in 1872 and rated A 1. She was a fine vessel, but with a depreciation of the past few years in vessel property it would be hard to put a value upon her - $28,000 would perhaps be fair. Whether insured or not we have not been able to lean.
      Captain Billy Norris, in command, was only in the place on the BERRIMAN temporarily. His vessel is the J. S. RICHARDS. It may be stated in this connection that, although captain Norris has sailed for many years, this is the first vessel that has "gone out from under him" -- about the first disaster indeed that he has ever met with. He has lived "a charmed existence." In this case, too it may prove that he is in no way responsible. Steamers, of course are always expected to keep out of the way of sail vessels, but before passing sentence, or praising anyone, we must hear from captain Pringle.
      The RUST is a double decker of 884 tons, was built in 1873, rated A 1, and was valued at $60,000. Rust, King & Co., of Cleveland, are the owners. She has coal for Duluth, but whether vessel or cargo is insured we have not been able to learn.
      The J. W. Hall Great lakes Marine Scrapbook, May 1877.
      . . . . .
      The body of Capt. Norris was taken to Erie Tuesday where it was placed in a handsome casket. At midnight Capt. James Mahoney, of the A. O. U W., and J. W. Allison, of the Knights of Honor of Hastings, this State, left with it for Hastings where it was interred Wednesday. The countenance of the departed captain looked as natural as if sleeping, and a large number of ladies and gentlemen called to take a last look at it at Erie. He leaves a wife and one daughter , a young lady, who accompanied the remains to Hastings, where the captain's and his wife's friends reside. The widow will receive $2,000 from each lodge.
Concerning Capt. Norris'death the Erie Dispatch says: The accounts intimate that the captain committed the deed because of business prospects. We are assured, however, that this could lhardly have been the case as money matters were easy with him, and some of his friends in the city are disposed to attribute the cause to temporary insanity produced by gloomy feelings which have troubled him more or less since the sinking of the schooner BERRYMAN, about one year ago, of which he was the commander at the time of the disaster. A propeller collided with the schooner and she sank in a short time, taking down two of his own men, and it is said that he has never been known to speak of that unfortunate event without crying bitterly. He left Erie for Buffalo about a week ago to fit out his vessel and this was his first trip of the season. She had taken on a cargo and was expected to have sailed yesterday. The sad event has caused a gloom over our city, for all who knew Capt. Norris loved him.
      Detroit Free Press
      Friday, August 23, 1878

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Reason: collision
Remarks: Repaired
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  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 44.27946 Longitude: -83.49025
William R. McNeil
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David W. Rust (Propeller), collision, 7 May 1877