The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
G. M. Mowbray (Schooner), aground, 10 Nov 1880

Full Text

      Erie, Pa., November 12. - The schooner G. W. Mowbray from Montreal loaded with 40 tons of nitro glycerine for Fort Williams, Lake Superior, ran in here out of the storm, and early this morning had her anchor carried away and drifted on the pier west of the breakwater. The crew barely escaped with their lives. Tugs went to her assistance this afternoon, but were of no use, owing to the heavy weather. Capt. Mellwain abandoned her to-night. He informs your correspondent that the cargo is valued at $50,000 and is owned by the Hamilton Glycerine company of Montreal. The vessel now lies on the pier with five feet of water in the hold, and unless the storm abates she will prove a total loss, besides doing great damage to the property.
      Detroit Post and Tribune
      November 13, 1880

A FLOATING TERROR. -- The schooner MOWBRAY is ashore at Erie and pounding considerably. Efforts to get her off have been unsuccessful. Some fear she may explode having a cargo of 20 tons of nitro-glycerine. The MOWBRAY was built about 40 years ago by Mr. William Power, formerly of Quebec, now of Kingston, for package service. For several years she has been engaged in the transport of nitro-glycerine. Three years since she wintered in Cataraque bay, but Kingstonians were not aware of the fact. The Erie people are greatly alarmed. The explosion is likely to do great mischief.
      Kingston Whig-Standard
      November 15, 1880

Erie, Pa., November 15. - The anxiety of the people of Erie on account of the schooner Mobray (sic), loaded with 40 tons of nitro-glycerine, being aground in the harbor, has been dispelled by the removal of the cargo to a scow which is anchored about three miles from the city. The Mobray being waterlogged it was impossible to get her afloat without unloading her.
      Detroit Post and Tribune
      November 16, 1880

      The owners of a tug at this port say they were offered $1,000 to tow the schooner Mowbray, which has caused such a sensation at Erie, through the Sault canal a short time ago. They did not know she was loaded with nitro-glycerine.
      Detroit Post and Tribune
      November 17, 1880

Annual Report of the United States Lifesaving Service for Fiscal Year 1880-1, p. 130
November 10. - The British schooner George M. Mowbray, of Quebec, Canada, bound from Montreal to Fort Williams, Canada, with a crew of six and a cargo of twenty tons of nitro-glycerine and powder for the Canada Pacific Railway, was driven into the bay at Erie, Pennsylvania, for shelter during a severe northwest gale and snow-storm. In the night she dragged anchors, and drifted onto the bar, afoul of an old pier crib, and pounded heavily. The crew, aware of the character of the cargo, and, alarmed lest and explosion should result from the concussions, abandoned the vessel. At five o'clock in the morning, the crew of Station No. 6, Ninth District (Erie, Lake Erie) discovered the vessel ashore, and went to her assistance, but on learning the nature of her cargo, and that her crew were safe on shore, returned to the station. The next day, November 11th, they joined a tug and boats from the revenue cutter Perry, and the United States steamer Michigan, and assisted in an attempt to pull her off, which, however, was not successful. The vessel finally went to pieces, having been first unloaded.

NOTE:- The GEORGE W. MOWBRAY was a small (57 ft., 40 t.) former yacht which had been in the business of carrying nitro-glycerine for at least five years at the time of her loss.

      The anxiety of the people of Erie on account of the schooner MOWBRAY loaded with nitro-glycerine, has been dispelled by the removal of her cargo. The MOWBRAY being waterlogged it was impossible to get her afloat without unloading her.
      Kingston Whig-Standard
      November 18, 1880

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: aground
Freight: nitro-glycerine
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Pennsylvania, United States
    Latitude: 42.12922 Longitude: -80.08506
William R. McNeil
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
WWW address
Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit

My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.

G. M. Mowbray (Schooner), aground, 10 Nov 1880