The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Dictator (Barge), U6208, sunk, 20 Nov 1880

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Late last evening the stmb. MORLEY, of the Toledo & Wabash Line, arrived in port and brought intelligence of the loss of the barge DICTATOR, at Long Pt. during Saturday night's gale. Capt. J.T. Cotrell of the MORLEY reports leaving Toledo Friday night with the DICTATOR in tow, the barge which generally towed her, the JARVIS LORD, being ashore at Turtle Island. They had fine weather until nearly abreast of Port Stanley, when the wind which was from the southwest freshened materially, and before long was blowing a stiff breeze, which soon raised an ugly sea. They reached Long Pt. Saturday night with the wind blowing a fierce gale, accompanied by heavy snow squalls and a very high sea, in which the DICTATOR labored terribly, appearing at times as if she were going down. They got in under the point and the MORLEY came to anchor with the DICTATOR fast by her tow line. Shortly after bringing up the steambarge commenced to drag her anchor and drifted down alongside the barge during which the line fouled the MORLEY's wheel so they could not work the engines. The DICTATOR fell off into the trough of the sea and the steambarge drifted alongside. As they rose and fell together in the sea the MORLEY struck the DICTATOR so rapidly and with such force each time as to almost bury her in the sea, and Capt. Taylor, her master, fearing she would founder, with his crew went to the MORLEY, and had not been there more than 10 minutes when the barge gave a lurch to starboard and went down in 6 fathoms of water. At the time she went down there was about 14 inches of water in her hold and the leak seemed to be gaining on her. Her crew consisted of the captain, mate, 3 crewmen and a man cook. She was loaded with 21,000 bu. wheat consigned to parties in this city. The DICTATOR was owned by Capt. M.M. Drake and others. She was formerly a propeller and was built in Buffalo in 1864 by Mason & Bidwell. She was extensively repaired in 76 and 77, and was considered a staunch barge. She registered 300 tons and rated A2 1/2 on the Inland Lloyds, and was valued at $9,000. We presume she was insured but owing to the lateness of the hour at which the account of the disaster was received, nothing could be ascertained in regards to her insurance. The MORLEY lay at anchor under the point until yesterday morning at 9:00, when the weather being moderated Capt. Cotrell came to Buffalo. He reports Saturday's storm as the worst he has experienced for many years, the wind being so strong during the height of the gale that he could not stand on the pilot house. The cold was intense and nearly every vessel at anchor under the point was completely sheeted with ice. There was also considerable floating ice.
      Buffalo Morning Express
      November 23, 1880 4-7

The cargo of the barge DICTATOR was shipped to Messrs. Kinnie, Wilber & Co. of Buffalo from Messrs. E.R. Williams & Bros. of Toledo, and insured for $23,300 distributed as follows: New England Underwriters, $10,000; Phoenix $7,300; Manhattan, $5,000. Her hull was insured for $8,000, 7/8 held by the companies represented by Smith & Davis, the remaining 1/8 by Worthington & Sills.
      Buffalo Morning Express
      November 24, 1880 4-6

The prop. MORLEY arrived in port late Monday evening and Capt. J.T. Cottrell reported that the barge DICTATOR had gone down off Long Pt. The MORLEY left Toledo on Friday and when she had passed out of the harbor she was hailed and requested to tow the arge DICTATOR to Buffalo. The latter belonging to the tow of the prop. JARVIS LORD, that had gone ashore on Turtle Island the same day. The barges line was taken aboard, and both started down. When Long Pt. was sighted on Saturday night it was blowing a gale. Both ran in under the point and dropped their anchors. Shortly after the MORLEY began to drift toward the DICTATOR and the tow line becoming mixed up in her wheel she could not use her engine. She continued to close upon her consort and was soon alongside her. The barge rose and fell with the waves and the 2 repeatedly struck. Finally the MORELY crashed heavily against the barge. The latter began leaking badly, and as the fearfull weather had frozen the pumps so that they were perfectly useless, Capt. Taylor and his crew decided to abandon her. With great difficulty they swung themselves to the MORLEY. The DICTATOR now had 14 inches of water in her, and 10 minutes after the last man had landed on the propeller the doomed vessel gave a lurch to the starboard and went down head foremost with a great splash. She lies in 6 fathoms of water, close to the point. The DICTATOR was laden with 26,000 bu, wheat, taken at Toledo and consigned to parties in this city. She was the property of Capt. M.W. Drake, A.W. Drake, John Green and F.A. Georger of this city, and was valued at $9,000. She was built in 1861 by Mason & Bidwell of Buffalo as a propeller. A few years ago she was rebuilt into a barge, and was extensively repaired in 1876 and 1877. She was registered at 300 tons and rated A2 1/2. The hull of the DICTATOR was insured for $8,000 in the Detroit, Toledo, Pacific and Mercantile companies, represented by Smith & Davis; the cargo for $22,300, of which the New England Underwriters, $10,000; Phoenix $7,300; Manhattan, $5,000. It is more than likely both vessel and cargo will prove a total loss.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      November 24, 1880 4-8

As the steambarge MORLEY, of the Wabash & Toledo Line, was about leavingher dock at the foot of Lloyd Street, she was libelled by the deputy United States Marshal, at the suit of the Phoenix & Buffalo Insurance Companies, in the sum of $10,300, being the amount of risks with interest, held by them on the barge DICTATOR, which sank off Long point last November while in tow of the MORLEY. [part]
      Cleveland Herald
      August 12, 1881

U. S. 6208, barge, 133.7 x 25.5 x 11 ft.; 1 deck and 1 mast; built at Buffalo 1864; 300.05 tons
      Buffalo Enrollment
      March 18, 1880

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: sunk
Lives: nil
Hull damage: $9,000
Cargo: $23,300
Freight: wheat
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 42.555833 Longitude: -80.197222
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Dictator (Barge), U6208, sunk, 20 Nov 1880