The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Bay City (Barge), aground, 1 Nov 1880

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On Saturday night the WESLEY, ELDORADO and BAY CITY, three vessels en route from Buffalo to Saginaw, were cast ashore seven miles from Erie. The crews of the WESLEY and ELDORADO got ashore, but the BAY CITY was too far off, and the sea swept over her all night. The vessel in some manner took fire, but the lifesaving crew managed to shoot a line across her, and seven men and one woman were got ashore, fortunte in escaping from burning, freezing and drowning. The WESLEY and ELDORADO were not insured, but the BAY CITY was insured for $5,000.
      The J. W. Hall Great Lakes Marine Scrapbook, November, 1880

The captains of the barges BAY CITY, ELDORADO and WESLEY, ashore near Erie, have left for home. Everything that could be gotten off the wrecks has been brought ashore, and the vessels, being utterly worthless for navigation purposes, are left to the rude mercy of the winds and waves. Capt. Slyfield of the ELDORADO, will call on the owners of the JAMES F. DONALDSON, and if a compromise cannot be effected he and the other captains will bring suit for their losses on the grounds of being unneccesarily abandoned.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      November 27, 1880 4-6
      . . . . .

Erie, Pa., June 17. -- The barge BAY CITY, wrecked near Erie last fall, was raised today. She is badly damaged and will be taken to Bay City for thorough repairs.
      Cleveland Herald
      Saturday, June 18, 1881

      A Supreme Court Admiralty Case.
A question of unusual interest to vessel owners and underwriters will be determined by the supreme court probably during the present month. It grows out of the loss of the barges ELDORADO and GEO. W. WESLEY, near Erie in November, 1880, while in tow of the steamer J.P. DONALDSON. The tow was proceeding from Buffalo to Bay City, encountered a violent storm and was driven on a lee shore. The a steamer, finding she could not pull the barges clear, after signaling her intention, go to do, cut the tow line and escaped, the barges being driven on shore and wrecked.
An action was brought In the United States district court at Detroit, in which recovery for the lost barges was sought on a claim of negligent towage. The case was heard before the present Mr. Justice Brown and the libel dismissed. The case then went to the circuit court and Mr. justice Matthews, on the question of negligent towage, sustained the lower court, but held that the facts made a proper case for contribution in general average, and that the steamer must contribute for the loss of the barges.
The case went to the circuit court of appeals for the sixth circuit, and was by it certified to the supreme court for instructions on the question of whether it was a proper case for contribution. The real question seems to be whether contribution may be enforced between steamer and tow.
      Marine Review
      March 5, 1896

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: aground
Lives: nil
Remarks: Got off
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Pennsylvania, United States
    Latitude: 42.12922 Longitude: -80.08506
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Bay City (Barge), aground, 1 Nov 1880