The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Hercules (Schooner), aground, 2 Oct 1818

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      Detroit, Nov. 12, 1818.
      Tremendous gale on Lake Michigan, and wreck of the HERCULES.
      The following letter, containing the melancholy information of the wreck of the schooner HERCULES, Capt. Church, was received a few days since, by express through the interior of the territory.
      Fort Dearhorn, Chicago, Oct. 13, 1818.
      I have to communicate the painful intelligence of the loss of the schooner HERCULES, with every person on board. She sailed from this post on the evening of the 2d instant, and was wrecked near the head of the lake, during one of the most dreadful gales of wind within the recollection of the oldest inhabitants of this country. It came on early on the morning of the third, and continued to rage with unremitting violence until the evening of the fourth, when it in some measure subsided, and the lake became more calm. But no information of the schr. could be obtained until the evening of the ninth, when her untimely fate was communicated by a part of Ottawa Indians from Grand River, and confirmed by the production of several articles they had picked up on their way, known to have belonged to her, together with a scale, recollected as the property of Lieut. Eveleth, of the Corps of Engineers, the only passenger on board. On the morning of the 10th. I detached Lieut. Dean, in company with Mr. Dean, agent for the contractor at this post, in search of the dead bodies, and to obtain, if possible, a more circumstantial account of the melancholy event. They returned last evening and report that they found the remains of one of the unfortunate sufferers only, and that in a situation not to be identified; that the shore was literally strewed with the fragments of the vessel, from twelve to fifteen miles in length; that the main-mast must have been cut away during the gale, and remained entire; and the fore-mast broken in several places. But no information could be gained of the hull, not could they recover any of the lost property, except an old uniform coat of Lieut. Eveleth's. Two handkerchief, and a part of his flute, and some articles of no value belonging to the vessel, which they took From an Indian canoe. The Ottawas, who are the only Indians that have made any report on the subject, state that the Potawatanies, a band of whom reside neat the fatal spot, carried off every article of value they could lay their hands upon, that one party, loaded with the spoils, have gone down the Illinois, and another in the direction of the Wabash.
      This statement is corroborated by the fact, that the Potawatanies from that quarter were previously in the habit of visiting us almost daily, and not one of them has since made his appearance at this post.
      I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant.
      (signed) Daniel Baker
      Major U. S. Army
      Major General Macomb.
      Niagara Patriot
      November 24, 1818

      . . . . .

WRECK OF THE HERCULES. -- Our readers will recollect that in October, 1818, the schooner HERCULES, Capt. Church, was wrecked in a tremenduous [sic] gale on Lake Michigan, and that the captain and crew, with Lieu. Eveleth, of the Engineers, the only passenger, all perished. Capt. Blake, of the MARINER, who has lately arrived from Chicago, informs us that the hull of the HERCULES has lately drifted near the shore, a few rods above Chicago, where it now lies, keel upwards. There was a quantity of whiskey in the hold at the time of the wreck, and it is supposed that the bouyancy [sic] of this article has raised the hull, after the heavy articles has been disengaged from it.
      Detroit Gazette
      August 23, 1825


Media Type:
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Reason: aground
Lives: all
Remarks: Total loss ?
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 43.68473 Longitude: -86.53036
William R. McNeil
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Hercules (Schooner), aground, 2 Oct 1818