The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Ontonagon (Propeller), U18963, aground, 16 Sep 1876

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ACCIDENTS REPORTED AT DETROIT. -- The propeller ONTONAGON, loaded with lumber and hoops for Buffalo, which left this port Sunday afternoon with several barges in tow, encountered the storm at midnight, when about twenty miles from Colchester. Breaking her stern pipe, she began to fill, and was taken in tow by the tug BALIZE, while the tug FRANK MOFFAT took charge of the barges. The BALIZE headed for Colchester and when in about twenty feet of water the ONTONAGON parted her line and sank. In reply to a dispatch to this port last night Captain Charles C. Blodgett, the owner, took the tug WINSLOW, a lighter and two pumps and left to raise the propeller.
      Cleveland Herald
      Thursday. September 14. 1876

      Yesterday afternoon the tug WINSLOW, which had been sent with pumps, etc. to receive the propeller ONTONAGON, ashore at Colchester, returned having been unsuccessful in so doing. An effort was made to pump her out, but she was in such a condition that no impression could be made upon the water within her. It would run in, spite of all that they could do, as fast or faster than the pumps could take it out. She lies upon the rocks and is in a bad condition. It is believed that with the winds as they are now prevailing she will go to pieces. About 700,000 hoops were taken off and all her furniture that could be got out. She has been abandoned to the underwriters, who have policies upon her to the amount of $10,000. The ONTONAGON is one of the oldest propellers upon the lakes, and has been once rebuilt. - Detroit Tribune, yesterday.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      September 16, 1876 3-5

The insurance companies having risks on the prop. ONTONAGON ashore at Colchester, have again sent the tug WINSLOW to make a thorough examination of her hull to see if it is practicable to attempt to raise and repair her. A dispatch from Port Huron says that the Coast Wrecking Co.'s pontoons were towed from their anchorage Friday forenoon to the shipyard, where they will be put in shape ready for operations on the ONTONAGON.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      September 18, 1876 3-6

A dispatch announces that the tug RESCUE and her pontoons had succeeded in getting off the propeller ONTONAGON and that she will be taken to Detroit.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      September 23, 1876 3-7

THE ONTONAGON RESCUED. -- This propeller, which went some time since in Lake Erie, has been rescued and raised by the N. T. Wrecking Company. She was yesterday towed inside of Bar Point, where she will remain until preparations can be made to bring her here. --- Detroit Post.
      Cleveland Herald
      Saturday, September 23, 1876

The prop. ONTONAGON rescued from Colcehster Reef arrived up Thursday night and was placed in Clark's drydock. Yesterday a partial survey was made of her by Capt. W.H. Oades and J.M. Jones in behalf of the insurance companies and her owner Capt. C.C. Blodgett. As soon as her cargo of lumber, shingles and hoops can be removed from her hold, the survey will be completed, and the results announced. She is now being recalked to such an extent that she can leave the dock and have her cargo taken out. Judging from the outside view her hull does not appear to be much injured. Her shaft and shaft pipe are broken, and her wheel will not need to be removed, but her bottom appears to be in about its usual condition. Her upper works are nearly if not quite worthless. Most of them have been completely demolished in getting her off, and what is left is so seriously injured as to be nearly worthless. If anything should be done towards putting her again in a running condition, it would doubtless be a barge and not as a propeller.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      September 25, 1876 3-6

The prop. TIOGA will take the place of the wrecked ONTONAGON, for the balance of the season. She will tow the ELMA, HATTIE and KENTUCKY.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      September 26, 1876 3-5

Steam screw ONTONAGON.* U. S. No. 18963. Of 377.71 tons gross. Built Buffalo, N.Y., 1856. Home port, East Saginaw, Mich.
      * denotes vessel Lost, Wrecked or otherwise out of service.
      Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1884

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Reason: aground
Lives: nil
Remarks: Got off
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 41.98339 Longitude: -82.93314
William R. McNeil
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Ontonagon (Propeller), U18963, aground, 16 Sep 1876