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 her 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
NOTE: hull of the propeller EQUATOR
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.
March 5, 1896