The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Charles Hebard (Propeller), U126491, aground, 1 Dec 1902

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In a terrible west gale in Lake Superior Saturday night the CHARLES HEBARD was driven on the rocky shore at Point Mamainse and was soon dashed to pieces by the seas. Her crew consisting of 13 men and a woman cook have not been heard from and it is feared all have perished. The schooner ALOHA one of the consorts which the HEBARD had in tow broke away from the steamer in Lake Superior. She has not reported. The other two consorts the WARMINGTON and the FRANCOME succeeded in reaching an ancorage at Copper Mine Point. The four boats had loaded lumber a West Superior and were bound for Lake Erie ports.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Tuesday, December 2, 1902

All the crew of the CHARLES HEBARD have arrived safely on board the tug GENERAL at Sault Ste. Marie. The steamer was wrecked at 3:30 a. m. on Sunday morning about 3 miles above Mamainse Point on Lake Superior. The schooner ALOHA and crew have been picked up.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Wednesday, December 3, 1902

      Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., Dec. 3. - When the tug GENERAL steamed into port last night after a day's absence in search of the steamer CHARLES HEBARD, wrecked on Point Mainse on Sunday, she had on board the crew of the ill-fated steamer. Nobody had thought there was much of a chance that they had escaped death and their stories of the wreck show how wonderful it was.
      After losing her tows the HEBARD tried to hold her course for the shelter of White Fish Point. Saturday night she ran before the storm without a light being seen. At 3 o'clock in the morning the lookout discovered that she was in the breakers and an effort was made to sheer her out of danger but a minute later she went bow on to the rocks. In an instant she swung broadside to the shore and began to pound to pieces.
      The yawl boats were frozen to the rigging and could not be launched, but on deck was a small skiff used by the crew for fishing while in port. This boat was put over the side but immediately shipped a lot of water. With lines tied under their arms and held by their fellows P.F. Burrell of Detroit and Arthur Jackson of Buffalo, first and second mates of the vessel, dropped over the side into the frail craft and succeeded in bailing it out and finally made shore.
      They carried ashore a line and in a short time a "boatswains chair" was rigged. The cook Jennie Barnes, was the first to be brought ashore in it and one after another the crew followed. Capt. George D. Ryan was the last to leave the ship. The lines had become fouled and the chair could not be moved. Capt. Ryan had fallen into the hold of the vessel but it was nearly filled with water and he was saved from death by the water. He managed to scramble to the deck again and get hold of the life line. Then he made the fearful journey to shore, hand over hand, displaying heroic fortitude.
Ashore, the crew was still in a pitiful plight. Apparently there was not a habitation within many miles and they were frozen stiff, and all would have perished had not unexpected help come to them in the person of Oscar Carbon, a mine keeper whose cabin was in the woods less than half a mile away. Carbon and his son helped the half-frozen sailors to the cabin where they were revived and fed. The crew consisted of the following persons:
George D. Ryan, Captain, Detroit
P.F. Burrell, first mate, Detroit
Arthur Jackson, second mate, Buffalo
William Schumacker, first engineer, Detroit
Joseph Roy, second engineer, Detroit
Charles Bartman, wheelsman, Mount Clemens, Mich.
Thomas Eastman, wheelsman, Chicago
John Curtis, watchman, Detroit
James Gibson, watchman, Buffalo
Jennie Barnes, cook, Owen Sound
Gustav Bartz, second cook, Buffalo
William Hager, fireman, Tonawanda
Edward Hughes, fireman, Buffalo
George Turpin, deckhand, Buffalo
George L. Lust, deckhand, Buffalo.
      Buffalo Evening News
      December 3, 1902

      . . . . .
      The crew of the grounded wooden steamer CHARLES HEBARD held their breath as two brave comrades risked their lives riding a small boat through a cruel surf, trying desperately to make landfall on Lake Superior's rock strewn coast. They watched as the ship's mates Burrell and Jackson struggled against terrible odds, a frail cord leading from the wrecked ship wrapped around one man's waist. Every man knew that cord, attached to a larger rope. in turn attached to a breeches buoy lying on the wooden deck, was their lifeline. The success of Burrell and Jackson's bold effort to reach shore against almost impossible odds could mean the difference of death and survival for the entire crew of the HEBARD.
A writer told of the incident in a story that appeared in the Vermilion (Ohio) News on Dec. 4, 1902: "The ship's yawl had been stove in by the sea and nothing remained for the perilous trip ashore but a little skiff. In this frail craft the two mates set out. Twice their boat was hurled back by the waves when they had all but reached the goal. The third time the boat spilled them out just inside the line of safety. Clamoring up the rocks. clinging tightly to the line upon which hung the lives of their comrades aboard ship, the two men, bruised and bleeding from head to feet, fell exhausted on the shore."
The story said the two men were too weak to pull the heavy rope ashore and secure it to a solid anchor to support the breeches buoy. Luckily Oscar Carleson and his sons lived in an Ontario farmhouse nearby. Carleson was watching the plight of the HEBARD and when the two mates stumbled ashore. he was there to lend a hand. (Article by James Donahue, weekly series run in paper.)
      Port Huron Daily Tribune
      November 27, 1997

      . . . . .
      Port Huron, Jan. 14. - The wreck of the steamer HEBARD has been purchased by Capt. R. H. Thompson of this city and will be raised by him in the spring. The boat is on the rocks at Malmaise Point, Lake Superior, and the miraculous escape of the crew is marine history.
      Buffo Evening News
      Wednesday, January 14, 1903
      . . . . .
      The wrecker RUMBRILL arrived at Sault Ste. Marie with another installment of the lumber cargo of the steamer HEBARD, lost in Lake Superior last fall, amounting to 50,000 feet.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Saturday, May 2, 1903
      . . . . .
      The wrecking tug CASTLE left Port Huron yesterday to recover the machinery and boilers of the CHARLES HEBARD, stranded last fall in Lake Superior, North of the Soo.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Wednesday, September 2, 1903

Steam screw CHARLES HEBARD. U. S. No. 126491. Of 763 tons gross; 614 tons net. Built Detroit, Mich., 1888. Home port, Buffalo, N.Y. 184.0 x 34.3 x 13.6 Crew of 15. Of 650 indicated horsepower.
      Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1902

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Reason: aground
Lives: nil
Remarks: Total loss
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 47.033333 Longitude: -84.783333
William R. McNeil
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Charles Hebard (Propeller), U126491, aground, 1 Dec 1902