A TRIP FROM BUFFALO TO DETROIT IN 1825
Six Days on Lake Erie in a First-Class Steamer
No long ago I observed a communication in THE FREE PRESS entitled "Steamers Flying Between Detroit and Buffalo in 1832." Trusting that some of my recollections of early steam navigation on the same route may not be uninteresting, I enclose the following brief account of a trip from Buffalo to Detroit:
In the spring of 1825 I shipped on board the steamer Superior as a deck hand, Sherman being captain, and Dingley and Wadsworth first and second mates. We sailed from Buffalo about the first of May, with three hundred and twenty-five passengers, for Detroit, it being the captain's intention to call at Erie, Cleveland and Sandusky. When we left Buffalo the wind was blowing a gale from the east, and we soon found that we could not land at Erie.. When near Grand River we met a very heavy sea, with the wind blowing freshly from the west, which made it impossible for the boat to head the wind and waves, and she swung around into the trough of the sea, where she rolled with such violence that all the spars aloft went overboard while a complete wreck was made of the crockery below. Many of the passengers beside being badly frightened, were very sea-sick, and altogether our position was anything but enviable. At this time Dingley, the first mate, asked permission of the captain to undertake to manage the boat. This being granted, he ordered the jib hoisted, and in a short time the vessel swung around and we were soon driving down the lake before the wind. By the time we arrived off Erie the lake had become tolerably calm, and the passengers were landed with the yawl. Once more we headed up the lake, and without further mishap, anchored off Cleveland. Here the yawl was manned and sent ashore, landing at a small dock in the harbor, which was reached in safety after one or two ineffectual attempts at crossing the bar at the mouth of the creek. When the yawl returned to the steamer we weighed anchor, and proceeded to Sandusky, where we took in wood, and thence to Detroit, which we reached on Sunday morning, just six days from the time we left Buffalo.
It was understood on the boat that 300 of the passengers on the boat were emigrants from Bloomfield, Ontario county, N. Y., on their way to Pontiac, Michigan Territory.