The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Lydia Ann (Schooner), overboard, 2 Apr 1860

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Perilous Voyage of the Schooner LYDIA ANN - Loss of Life - One person Afloat on the Lake in a Yawl. --- The Schooner LYDIA ANN, Capt. A.M. Rogers, which arrived here last night, met with a disaster, which resulted in the loss of life. The Lydia Ann is the first vessel that has arrive here this season. The following is the Captain's statement.
      Schooner LYDIA ANN left Charlotte at 6:30 a.m. April 1st, for Port Hope, light - wind from the S.E. When abreast of Braddock's Point, wind hauled into the S.W. and blew hard. Put single reef in foresail and mainsail, and took in jib. At 10 a.m. we tried to stay her, but could not on account of the heavy sea. We then had to wear her, and in so doing we carried away the band to the main sheet around boom, and then took the main boom pendant and
made fast to cavel, got one of the boom tackles and got boom in board; told mate to get a small chain in the forecastle and use as a band for sheet. He got the chain and went to take it aft- went to the leeward side, and in passing cabin fell overboard. Could not say how he came to fall. The next I heard the man at the wheel cry out, "Tom is overboard!" I ordered the helm to be put down, and his son Arthur Vance, ran to lower away boat. I had no plank on board, and wood was in the hold. I started as soon as I could to stop him from going, and when I got aft he was over the taffrail. I got hold of him to pull in board, but he said he wanted to go after his father.
The boat was in was in water. He then got hold of the stern davy fall, and got in boat, threw off the tackles and started for his father. We then got one of our boom tackles as a substitute for main sheet, and wore her around again, and passed to windward of him. We then wore her again, and came to leeward of him, about 20 to 30 feet, put helm hard down. I had a line to throw to him, and just before we got to to him I mentioned to him to scull the boat down towards the schooner. But he said he could not. he could not do any more.
      It was 10 minutes to 12 when the mate fell overboard, and about 10 miles off Charlotte. In wearing her the last time everything gave way, and one of the lifts to the main boom came down on deck - the eye-bolt carried away at cross-trees that held the lift-block aloft. We tried to make Charlotte but could not, and at 2:30 p.m. we squared her away for Oswego - took in her mainsail and ran under single reef foresail and staysail. It was very thick and some rain. We got down abreast of Oswego at 10 p.m. -ran in close, but could not make the light. We ran in where we thought the light house should be, but it was so dark we could not see it until we were so close to it we had no time to luff up and clear the east pier. It was not lighted.
We then mainsail and stood out. We headed N.W. - kept her on the course all night, and at 6 a.m., April 2, we made out the Galoe island. We then squared her away for Stoney Passage - thought we could run down to Henderson Bay and come to, but when we got in the passage could see ice. I then hauled her up under Stoney Island, and when near the foot, threw out the lead, and found seven fathoms water; and I thought by the soundings we
were in good holding grounds, put helm hard down and let go anchor, and lowered away all sail. We dragged until we fetched up in the ice. Then we got up anchor and lay there very well.The mate's name is Thomas Vance, aged about 45; - lived at Charlotte. his son's name is Arthur Vance, age about 19. The last we saw of the boat he was running about quarter with the seas headed for land.
      We layed in the ice until Thursday, April 4th, at 5 o'clock. Wind blew from the N.E. - made sail and shoved out. We arrived here at 12 o'clock last night.
      Oswego Advertiser and Times
      Friday, April 5, 1867

      . . . . .

      The Mate of the LYDIA ANN. The Rochester Democrat, alluding to the sad fate of the mate of the schooner LYDIA ANN, and his son, says: "The death of the two Vances is much regretted in Charlotte. The father was an experienced seaman, having been sailing for 15 or 20 years. Arthur, the son, had been on the lake four or five seasons. They were the only persons on board the LYDIA ANN who could claim to be sailors, as the captain and two remaining hands had neither of them been afloat more than two or three seasons. Indeed, it is generally believed that if the schooner had been well handled after young Vance left in the yawl, his life, at least, might have been saved. - The elder Vance left a widow and several young children, we understand.
      Oswego Advertiser & Times
      April 11, 1867

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Reason: overboard
Lives: 2
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 43.795555 Longitude: -77.905555
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Lydia Ann (Schooner), overboard, 2 Apr 1860