The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Magellan (Schooner), sunk, 7 Nov 1877

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      Special Telegram to the Inter Ocean.
Manitowoc, Wis., Nov. 9. -- This morning the masts of an apparently large vessel, sunk off Two Rivers, were discovered but a few rods from the pier. The tug ENDRESS was summoned from this place to investigate, and when about midway discovered a large piece of the wrecked vessel washed upon the beach, and with it the body of an unknown sailor. The last letters of the wrecked vessel's name were "lan." She was undoubtedly heavily loaded, as she lies solid on the bottom. Other bodies are reported by the tug to have been seen floating on the water, one a rather large man, with heavy black beard. The ENDRESS is still trying to gain information of the unfortunate vessel and crew.
Special Telegram to the Inter Ocean.
      Manitowoc, Wis., Nov. 9. -- It is positively asserted that the ill-fated vessel that foundered off Two Rivers this morning is the MAGELLAN. The body found about midway between here and Two Rivers was taken to the latter place, where an inquest was held, which proved fruitless. He is about 35 years of age. of light complexion, light brown hair, light mustache, medium height, plainly clad in sailor's apparel. Another body was recovered at 4 o'clock this afternoon about a mile north of this place. He is of heavy build, about five feet eight. Weight about 180 pounds, hair light and somewhat gray, no beard except mustache, and evidently 45 or 48 years of age. Nothing could be found about his person to give light upon the subject. The face presents a frightful appearance, being badly mangled, and it is evident that he was killed outright.
      The MAGELLAN was a Canadian schooner, full Canal size, and one of the finest of her class. She was laden with 20,488 bushels of corn, and bound for Toronto. She is doubtless the vessel seen by Captain Riley, of the propeller NEBRASKA, making such bad weather in the neighborhood of Two Rivers. Her crew consisted of eight men, all told. Captain Jessup was well known on this lake, and was highly esteemed. He hailed from St. Catharines, where the vessel was owned. Further particulars of the disaster will doubtless be received here today. Vessel and cargo are insured.
Hardly a season passes that at least one canal schooner does not founder with all hands. Heavy seas coming over the quarter fill their cabins, and in a twinkling they are buried beneath the angry waters. The cabin should be on deck, but almost every one of them has it below. The news of this latest horror may have the effect of bringing about a reform in construction that is imperatively demanded for any degree of safety in severe weather.
      The names of the unfortunate crew are as yet unknoon, and may never be known, as no record is kept ashore.
      The J.W. Hall Great Lakes Marine Scrapbeek, November 1877
      Names of the crew.
The master of the foundered schooner MAGELLAN, was John Belyea, of St. Catharines. His brother Jessup Belyea, is also one of the victims. John leaves a wife, Jessup, no wife. He resided at Bronte. The second mate, John Sullivan, was single, and belonged at St. Catharines. The cook, Sandy Kennedy, single, resided at Port Colborne. Another of the crew's name was Baker, a single man. Another was Ben Marshall, married. He belonged at Clayton, N.J.
was owned by Isaac Cockburn, of Toronto. She measures 370 tons, rated A2, and was valued at $14,000. He believed she was insured.
      THE CARGO,
of grain was shipped by John L. Ramsey, of Chicago, and was consigned to parties in Toronto. It was insured in the Aetna, St. Paul, and a Canadian Company.
      The dispatches speak of the effect of a woman cook coming ashore. The MAGELLAN carried a man cook, and the report only strengthens the belief that two vessels were lost between Two Rivers and Manitowoc.
      Special telegram to the Inter Ocean.
Manitowoc, Wis., Nov. 10. -- Your correspondent visited the body of a sailor found last night, and learned that the description given was not exactly correct, as his age is not over 35 or 36, and hair not gray, as stated. On his person was found an envelope addressed H. P. Larson, Sailor Home, Glasgow, also $75, which was rolled up in a paper and not discovered till this morning. Two more bodies were found this morning, both of dark complexion - one a middle-aged man with heavy black beard; the other rather young with black mustache and small chin whisker. The bodies being frozen, no inquest can be held at present. There are undoubtedly more bodies not yet recovered, as none of these are dressed in Captain's gard. It is impossible to give definately the name of the foundered vessel. Some say it is the MAGELLAN, and others claim it to be the MILAN, or some other vessel. It is again asserted by old vessel captain's that a collision is the cause of the disaster, and that another vessel has suffered the same fate.
      The J.W. Hall Great Lakes Marine Scrapbook, November 1877

      Chicago, Nov. 9. - An Inter-Ocean special, says the schooner which sunk at Two Rivers was the MAGELLAN, a Canadian vessel, which carried a crew of six men besides the captain, all these are undoubtedly drowned.
      Cleveland Herald
      November 10, 1877

      The schooner MAGELLAN foundered on Lake Michigan last week with all hands. This occurred on Thursday after a collision with the propeller HURD near Two Rivers, Wisconsin.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Tuesday, November 13, 1877

The loss of the schooner MAGELLAN, near Manitowoc, Lake Michigan, is now thought to have been caused by collision. A corespondent of the Milwaukee Sentinel writes the following: But few more facts have transpired regarding the ill-fated MAGELLAN. The inquest on Saturday and subsequent identification, showed that two of the bodies found were those of D.B. Marshall, of Clayton, N.Y., and --- Tait, supposed to be of Canada. A letter on the body of Tait, showed him to be a man of family. On Marshall's body was found a memorandum book, showing that he shipped on the bark MAGELLAN October 3rd, last. A part of the body, consisting of the lower part of the abdomen. hips and thighs, all jammed together, was also found on the beach, and is supposed to have come from the wreck.
Many theories exist as to the cause of the wreck. One part of the vessel, seemingly the upper part of the hull, now lies just off Two Rivers, and the hull of a large vessel now lies midway between Two Rivers and this place, which leads many to think that there are two wrecks. Means will be taken to test the matter thoroughly. The bodies found do not all indicate death by drowning, they being clothed in the warmest manner possible, and were found with eyes closed and mouth shut, as though they had died while sleeping.
      Again, the theory of a collision is strongly supported, from the fact that but the small part of one body has been found, and another had the skull crushed in and an arm broken; neither would the lost men have so cumbered themselves with clothing had they been contemplating such active work as rowing a boat or swimming to save their lives. I fear that the poor fellows saw their fate, calmly took their places or sought safety in the rigging, there became benumbed, and dropped off as sleep brought death to them.
      It is rumored that the propeller HURD ran through the rigging of a vessel in making this port during the storm of Thursday night last. For its truth I cannot vouch, but give it as heard.
      Cleveland Herald
      November 15, 1877

      Chicago, Nov. 16. - The Inter-Ocean has, after investigation of the recent disaster at Two Rivers, Wis., by which the schooner MAGELLAN, with all hands, went down, obtained indisputable evidence that the propeller HURD, Catain Hunt, from Chicago to Lake Superior, was the vessel which collided with the MAGELLAN.
      Cleveland Herald
      November 17, 1877

      The widow of Captain John Belyea, of the schooner MAGELLAN, which was lost with all hands at Two Rivers in November last, was in the city yesterday, en route for Manitowoc. She cannot reconcile herself to the opinion that the vessel was not run down, and her visit west is for the purpose of satisfying herself upon this point. --- Milwaukee Sentinel.
      Chicago Inter-Ocean
      August 3, 1878

Barque MAGELLAN, of St. Catharines, of 370 tons register. On a voyage from Chicago to Toronto, capsized and found floating bottom upwards on Lake Michigan. A total loss with the loss of 8 lives. Value of loss $8,000.
      Statement of Wrecks & Casualties, during 1877
      Dept. of Marine & Fisheries. Sessional, 1878
      Schooner MAGALLAN. Of 370 tons Register. Built at St. Catharines, Ont., 1873. Home port, St. Catharines, Ont. 137.0 x 23.3 x 11.8 Owned by James Murray of St. Catharines, Ont., shipowner.
      List of vessels on the registry Books of the
      Dominion of Canada on December 31, 1874

Media Type:
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Reason: sunk
Lives: 7
Remarks: Total loss
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Wisconsin, United States
    Latitude: 44.15388 Longitude: -87.56925
William R. McNeil
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Magellan (Schooner), sunk, 7 Nov 1877