The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Democratic Free Press (Detroit, MI), 30 Sep, 1847

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The steamer Chautauque, on one of her return trips from Detroit, recently, as is usual, ascended the ship canal at Monroe (Mich.) for passengers and freight. While there, a steamboat, schooner, and one or two scows, entered the mouth of the canal and so arranged their position as completely to prevent all ingress or egress. Meanwhile, the Chautauque, having discharged and received cargo, was returning to the lake. On arriving at the mouth of the canal, and finding it blocked, Capt. Dustin thus addressed the captain of the schooner:

"Will you allow some of my men to cast off your lines, and permit us to pass, we will make all tort again?"

"No, sir," replied the captain, emphatically, "we don't change our position for any such craft."

Capt. Dustin, thinking perhaps the man was not in earnest, sent some of his hands ashore with the friendly purpose of removing the schooner, intending as soon as the boat was through, to replace her, without trouble to her crew. The captain of the schooner, discovering their object, sent his hands ashore, armed with clubs and iron bars, and under instructions to resist any efforts to cast off the lines, by which the schooner was fastened: at the same time giving Capt. Dustin to understand he did not intend to move an inch.

A few moments passed in ineffectual expostulation, convinced the Capt. that he must fight hi way through, or lose his trip.

"Now," said he, "it's not necessary to spend any further time in words, if you don't move your vessel out of my way, I'll run into her and knock her out."

"Ha! ha! my dear fellow," responded the captain of the schooner, "you must be joking, now. We "ain't afraid of any such threat. We've got too much timber here for any such dug out as yours."

"Hold on to your steam," said Dustin to his engineer, "and back her, we'll show them what this 'old dug out' can do."

The little boat was backed to a sufficient distance to give her a full headway, and aimed directly for the schooner's bow. "Now let her go, boys, with a will, and be sure to hit her square."

The boat seemed to leap from the water with the first revolution of the paddles, and rushing on with the speed of thought, and under the full impulse of a powerful engine, struck the schooner by the side of her stem, and cut her to within a foot of the water.

v"There," said Dustin, "that's one of my jokes, and now if you don't get out of my way, I'll crack another just like it, and let daylight in upon your cargo."

The schooner mizzled, and the Chautauque came on. - Toledo Blade.

Media Type:
Item Type:
The sidewheeler CHAUTAUQUE was 124 ft keel, 162 t., and built by the famous J. W. Banta in 1839 at Buffalo. Within a few years of this incident she was being used as a tug on the St. Clair Flats, one of the first vessels so engaged, and burned to a total loss there in 1850. Capt. Dustin was a well-known skipper around Detroit for many years.
Date of Original:
30 Sep, 1847
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Language of Item:
Dave Swayze
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Democratic Free Press (Detroit, MI), 30 Sep, 1847