The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
S. S. Ellsworth (Propeller), U23796, fire, 9 Jul 1877

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Advices from Oswego, 11th, say the steam barge S. S. ELLSWORTH was burned at Stoney Island, Monday night. No lives lost.
      Cleveland Herald
      July 14, 1877
      . . . . .

      Loss of the Propellor at Stoney Island- Down the lake with an Oswego Party
      The telegraph operator at Sackets Harbor reported the following at 1 o'clock today:
      The steam barge Ellsworth burned last night near Stoney Island. Only one man aboard. No lives lost.
The ELLSWORTH, which was owned by Hon. A. C. Mattoon of this city, left here Monday morning with a party consisting of her owner, Dr. E. A. Mattoon and wife, Mrs. M. B. Clarke, and family and other persons, bound for a ten day's cruise among the islands at the head of the St. Lawrence and vicinity. No particulars are received as to whether the Ellsworth is a total loss, but further information is expected before our last edition..

Later- A despatch from Mr. Mattoon at 3:30 p.m. From Sackets Harbor, says:
Steamer ELLSWORTH burned entirely up at Stoney Island and sank no lives lost- at 10 o'clock. Will be home at nine.

The ELLSWORTH was built in 1869 on Seneca Lake, was bought by Mr. Mattoon in 1870 and fitted up as a steam vessel. She was built as a sail vessel to run on the inland lakes and canals, through from Canada to New York without trans-shipment. After fitting out as a steam vessel she made a trip to Florida and returned in 1872. In 1878 she ws lengthened and since that time has been engaged in Lake commerce. She is probably insured but for what amount if any is not known here.
      There was $7,500 fire insurance on the ELLSWORTH effected by Mr. Mattoon in New York.
      Oswego Palladium
      Wednesday, July 11, 1877

      . . . . .

      The Burning of the ELLSWORTH
Hon. A.C. Matton returned from Stony Island last evening. It appears that the steam barge ELLSWORTH lay at anchor off Stony Island in about 21 feet of water when she burned Tuesday evening. She had landed the party from this city and they had gone into camp on the island. The fire occurred about 10 p.m. The captain and the engineer had gone in a boat further down to a minnow pond after minnows for bait. Mr Mattoon had rolled himself up in a blanket and turned in and the steward was in the cabin. They were aroused by cries of fire, which they afterwards found came from fishermen who had discovered that the boat was afire and were rowing out towards her. Mr. Mattoon awoke to find the cabin full of smoke. He sprang up and found the fire in the after part of the boat burning furiously and appearing to have originated in the kitchen. He saw that situated as they were it would be impossible to spot the flames and he ran to the wheel house after his books and papers. He seized the compass and when he supposed ws the marine glasses, but afterwards found that he had only the empty case and also got hold of the hatchet, when the fire and smoke became so hot and thick that he was obliged to get out, leaving the boat's book and papers which were destroyed. Himself and steward then escaped in one of the boats. The ELLSWORTH burned between three and four hours lighting up the whole region and finally sunk. Yesterday Mr. Mattoon got a sailboat and made Sackets Harbor where he took the train for Oswego. We understand that all the things belonging to the excursionist hd been removed from the boat. How the fire originated is not known, Mr. Mattoon, says the ELLSWORTH's ($7,500) was about three-fourths of her value. The fishermen on the island led by Mr. Sprague and son, were promptly on hand to render any possible assistance but could got get on board.
      Oswego Palladium
      Thursday, July 12, 1877

      . . . . .
The Oswego Palladium says: -- "A.C. Mattoon returned from Stoney Island Saturday night, where he has been endeavoring to raise the machinery of the sunken ELLSWORTH. He found the hull so deeply sunk in the mud as to make it impossible to recover anything from the wreck.
      Chicago Inter Ocean
      August 8, 1878

      The Ellsworth's Machinery
      Next week Hon. A.C. Mattoon will pobably raise the machinery of the propeller Ellsworth, sunk at Stony Island. There is considerable talk of building a first freight and passenger boat to run between Oswego and the river. It is believed that a safe, reliable and reasonably speedy vessel will do a good business, and we are of that opinion. The machinery of the ELLSWORTH is first class and would be entirely suitable for such a steamer as talked of.
      Oswego Palladium
      Tuesday, May 20, 1879

The propeller ELLSWORTH, which was partially burned and is now sunk at Stoney Island, near Buffalo, is to be raised.
      Detroit Post & Tribune
      Friday, June 13, 1879

The wrecking expedition which is at work attempting to raise the steam barge ELSWORTH, sunk a year ago off Stony Island , Lake Ontario, is meeting with fair success. The hul was raised the other day, but it was so badly burned that it broke in two and settled to the bottom again. A diver was then secured and the engine was raised in pieces.
      Detroit Post & Tribune
      June 26, 1879
      . . . . .

      Mr. Mattoon's New Steamer.
      Mr. John E. Riley has just completed a handsome model for a steamboat which Hon. A.C. Mattoon contemplates building. The proposed steamer is to be of the following dimension: 98 feet overall; 17 feet 10 inches beam; 8 feet
depth of hold. She will be built to carry freight or passenger or both. Work on the boat will be commenced in the Miller shipyard immediately, Mr. Riley superintending it, and it is expected will be completed so that the steamer will be ready for business at the ime of opening navigation in 1880. As may be seen by the dimensions the boat will be a large and safe one and will have the ELLSWORTH's large boiler and engine. Her passenger deck will be five feet from the bottom of the hold.
      Oswego Palladium,
      Saturday, July 19, 1879


Schooner S.S. ELLSWORTH. U.S. No. 23796. Of 113.49 tons. Home port, Seneca Lake, N.Y.
      Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1871

Media Type:
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Reason: fire
Lives: nil
Remarks: Total loss
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 42.12588 Longitude: -83.13215
William R. McNeil
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S. S. Ellsworth (Propeller), U23796, fire, 9 Jul 1877