The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
H. B. Preston (Canal Boat), sunk, 1 Jul 1878

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A Canal Boat Lost
      The H. B. Preston Goes Down About a Mile off Oswego - Boat and Cargo
      Insured - Rescue of Crew.
      The canal boats Rising Star, Morning Star, Evening Star and H.R. Preston left here last Tuesday morning for Canada, after ashes, in tow of the tug Alanson Sumner. The three Stars went to Napanee for loads and the Preston to Picton. The Stars were towed from Napanee to Picton by some other tug and from there all four were taken in tow by the Sumner.
      Adrift on the Lake
      When about fifteen miles from this port, a fresh sea running, the Preston, which was the last of the tow, broke loose, and it took the Sumner about an hour to get her again. The Sumner had to use her own bow and stern lines to tow her with, and this time she was tied direct to the tug. The Preston was a quarter deck boat and covered with a bin which was further covered with canvas.
      The Sinking
When about a mile outside and about 4:30 p.m., the sea knocked the bin off and she filled with water and gave every evidence of sinking. When. Capt. Dobbie found she was bound to go down, he ordered the line cut, which was done. The Preston went down bow first, but after the bow went under, the stern tilted up about fifteen feet out of water and remained in that position several minutes before she disappeared entirely.
      The Crew Afloat
John Tully and John Watson of this city were the only persons aboard the Preston. They tied boards together, and on these, aided by a pike pole, kept themselves afloat. The Sumner sounded her whistle and put up her flag. Capt. Pappa of the tug Morey heard the signal and not having steam up, jumped aboard the tug Wm. Avery, Capt. Albert Thompson, and they with several persons aboard put out and rescued Tully and Watson. Captain
Blackburn and another man of the Life Saving Service also put out in a small boat with a view of rendering assistance.
      The Boat- Insurance, etc.
The boat H.R. Preston was built on Oneida Lake and finished in October last, by H.C. Le Roy who owned her. She was insured for $1,000 for lake and $2,000 for canal navigation. She had 240 or 250 tons of ashes consigned to James A. Bill, Lyme, Conn. and bought and shipped by Charles O'Hara. The cargo was insured for $600.
      The Other Boats
      The Evening Star lost her post and coming into the harbor bumped against the docks, breaking her sides and taking water freely. All of the boats are leaking and have about a foot of water in the cabins. There were three men on the Star boats, which are owned by C.W. Pratt.
      Oswego Palladium
      Wednesday, July 24, 1878

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: sunk
Lives: nil
Freight: ashes
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 43.45535 Longitude: -76.5105
William R. McNeil
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H. B. Preston (Canal Boat), sunk, 1 Jul 1878