The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Madeira (Schooner), U9032, aground, 10 Oct 1877

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The schooners MADEIRA, BRITISH LION, and TURNER, lying within a distance of three miles of Long Point, have all been stripped, and are all going to pieces.
      Cleveland Herald
      October 19, 1877

      In view of all that has been published relative to the loss of the schooner MADEIRA on Long Point, perhaps some of the interested parties will be so good as to answer the following pertinent question: Why was not the W.R. CROWELL - acknowledged to be the fastest and strongest tug in the harbor - sent to the relief of the MADEIRA in response to Captain Mack's dispatch, received at 1 P. M., instead of the A.P. WRIGHT, when the CROWELL was all ready to start, and could have reached the disabled vessel in time to rescue her !. -- Buffalo Courier.
      Cleveland Herald
      October 30, 1877

THE LOSS OF THE MADEIRA. - Capt. Wm. Mack, of the lost schooner Madeira, is out with a letter in which he bitterly complains of the delay or cowardice of the Buffalo tug men not coming to his relief when telegraphed for. He wants to know if a competent tug is owned in Buffalo. The statement of the experience of himself and crew during the terrible storm reads more like romance than fact, namely:
" It is well known what Sunday night, Oct. 7, was on Lake Erie. At 1 o'clock that night we were abreast of Conneaut, in twelve fathoms of water, with double-reefed mainsail, double-reefed foresail, and staysail and jib on, steering east, trying to hold that depth of water along down, when a terrible squall struck us from the south and buried us up. All thought it was "good-by, John." She straightened up however, and we found that she was
listed a foot. Took in foresail and jib and held her close to untill daylight, when we saw both shores. She was drifting fast to the north shore and I saw that I must start her shied to get past Long Point. Pulled up the foresail, gave her a little sheet, and headed east-southeast. But she wouldn't live in the sea. She filled up five times. The last time I thought she was gone. Some of the crew started for the rigging. Had to settle the foresail down to keep her from foundering. I never saw such a sea for 20 years as I then saw. Our steering gear was jumping very hard, and it soon all broke in pieces. I got the wheel chains to tackle, but one of them broke, and we were helpless. Blue seas would roll clean over us. Everything was swept overboard. The boat was thrown clean over the davits and came down all broke. On striking five fathoms we let go the big anchor and all the chain. It was a long one. We were then three miles off the beach. The seas never stopped at all but came over the knightheads and broke over the cabin. I never gave a canaler credit for living through such a time. We held on all night. Dragged about half a mile the shore people said. At daylight Tuesday morning we hoisted a signal up. No oars, and only a broken boat to get to shore with. Three of us started. Nailed up the boat some and nailed canvas around her. Two boats started out to us, but could not get out. Lowered our boat to the water. Two of us got in, and kept her before the sea with a piece of broken oar that was lashed in the fore-rail. Struck the surf, and the boat filled, and we struck out for land. I struck for Port Rowan just in sight. Got a punt and crossed the bay and telegraphed to Buffalo, as already stated. When I got the tug I intended to steer with chain over the quarter. No tug came, and we went on shore at Wednesday evening at 7 P.M. Had to get the woman cook on my back over the booms to the jib and tied her there. Some of the crew went into the cross-trees. We lost all our clothes. In the morning the vessel was rails under. Two of us attempted to get a line to shore, but we had to let the line go and look out for ourselves. At 10 o'clock, with the assistance of Captain O'Donnell, of the St. Lawrence, and his mate, got the rest of the crew off the boom, and we staid on the sand all night."
      Detroit Post and Tribune

      October 20, 1877

Three masted American schooner MADEIRA, of 322 tons, bound from Milwaukee to Buffalo when on October 3, 1877, due to stress of weather vessel stranded on Long Point, Lake Erie. and was classed as a total loss. Amount of vessel loss $27,000. Amout of cargo loss, $15,000. No lives were lost.
      Statement of Wreck & Casualty during 1877
      Dept. of Marine & Fisheries. Sessional 1878


      SCHOONER MEDEIRA. - The new schooner MEDEIRA, launched at Oswego Saturday afternoon, was built by the well known ship builder, Goble & McFarlane. Her length of keel is 139 feet; length over all 142 1/2 feet; breadth of beam 26 feet 3 inches; depth of hold 11 feet, and her keelson is 22 by 10 inches.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Monday, August 21, 1871
      . . . .

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Reason: aground
Remarks: Total loss
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 42.555833 Longitude: -80.197222
William R. McNeil
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Madeira (Schooner), U9032, aground, 10 Oct 1877