The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Jessie (Schooner), aground, 31 Oct 1870


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JESSIE, schooner of 312 tons. Home port, St. Catharines. Valued at $6,000 and classed B 1. Bound Toronto to Kingston with a cargo of wheat, anchored off Salmon Point, Prince Edward County, but was driven ashore with a change of wind October 31, 1870. Estimated loss, hull $7,000, cargo $17,000.
      Dept. of Marine & Fisheries
      Statement of Wreck & Casualty, 1870
     
     
JESSIE, schooner, ashore on North side of Salmon Point.
      Sandusky register
      Wednesday, November 2, 1870
     


The telegraph informs us that the schr. JESSIE is ashore on the north side of Salmon Pt., Lake Ontario, and going to pieces. Her cargo of wheat is washing ashore. All hands will be lost. One man is seen clinging to the rigging. Several attempts have been made to launch boats, but a tremendous sea is running.
      Toledo Blade
      November 2, 1870



A Melancholy Narrative of Shipwreck. - During the storm of last week, the Canadian schooner Jessie, belonging at Port Stanley, was wrecked at her entire crew of eight persons lost, on Salmon Point, which lies about opposite this port on the north shore. The Belleville Ontario gives the following account of the occurrence:
During the storm on Sunday the Jessie was seen to approach the lee (north side) of Salmon Point, and getting well into the cove, cast anchor. The wind on Sunday afternoon being nearly from the south, the point formed an
excellent shelter and in all probability the master of the unfortunate vessel hoped to ride safely at anchor until the weather would permit him to reach his destination.
During the night the wind shifted to the west and sealed the doom of the vessel. Before daylight on Monday morning she was discovered in her perilous condition by some fishermen, and in a very short time the inhabitants of the surrounding neighborhood were on the beach hoping to render assistance to the poor fellows on board. But instead of enjoying the happy consciousness that they were instrumental in saving the lives of their fellow beings they were doomed to witness the most appalling scene we have ever been called upon to describe.
The approach of daylight revealed to the bystanders the awful condition of the unfortunate seamen, but brought with it no means of rescue. The vessel had dragged anchor and struck bottom about 30 rods from shore. The wind was blowing a gale from the west and the sea rolling in large waves over the deck of the ³Jessie² broke upon the beach with relentless fury, completely frustrating the efforts of the spectators to reach the wreck.
The main boom had been hoisted above the waves and five men were clinging to it as their only hope of safety until assistance came. Three other unfortunates were hanging to the rigging, looking wishfully on the shore and doubtless hoping against hope that they would be spared to reach alive. A staunch boat was brought to the shore and many willing hands polled by brave hearts, attempted to buffet the waves, but were again and again thrown back upon the beach.
At about ten o¹clock in the forenoon all hope was suddenly brought to an end. The vessel seemed to break asunder in the center, the spars fell, the sea washed over the ruins and eight human beings were enveloped by the angry waters! Two or three of the poor fellows were seen to keep above the waves for a few minutes, and one, who must have been a powerful man as well as an expert swimmer, vainly strove to reach the shore, but carried along the beach by the current and back swell he was thirty rods from the wreck and twenty rods from the shore, he disappeared forever.
This ended those painful hours of Monday morning. The frantic shouting of the crowd on shore, sank into a mournful silence and tears of sorrow were shed for the strangers who perished on our would-be hospitable shores.
      Oswego Advertiser & Times
      Monday, November 7, 1870

      . . . . .

The Schooner Jessie - The bodies of the young men drowned off the schooner JESSIE, which went to pieces off Picton, have not yet been recovered. Several attempts were made on Saturday by fishermen to find them, but without success.
      Daily News, Kingston
      November 7, 1870



      Schooner JESSIE
      The story of the wreck of the schooner Jessie of Port Stanley, was given by the late Amos McDonald of Salmon Point at the Cherry Valley Mariner s Service.
On the 23rd., of October, 1870, the JESSIE was trapped on Wicked or Salmon Point.
" She came into Little Sandy Bay, near the point, in the afternoon. She was a fore-an-after schooner, loaded deep with 13,000 bushels of grain for the foot of the lake. Those who saw her wondered how she got into the bay without striking on the `bar,' but she just cleared it by chance.
What she was ever doing there we never knew. There was a wharf and storehouse in the bay, and barley used to be shipped out of it, but she was fully loaded and did not go to the wharf. Instead she hauled down her jibs and came to anchor, with her lower sails standing
The wind had been light, from the south, south east and perhaps she decided to wait for a shift so as to let her clear Point Petre. No one ever came ashore from her alive. God only knows what happened.
Next day the wind did shift and came roaring in from the southwest. In all my years afterwards, tending the light, I never saw such a gale. It piled up seas like houses.
The schooner tried to get out but failed. Probably she never got away from her anchors. She drove right in on the Point, and the seas burst over her as though she had been a reef. She was quite close in, so close we could have talked to her crew from the shore, had it not been for that raving wind.
We saw four men and a women clinging to the mainboom, the highest part above water. They waved to us again and again for help. The brave farmers and fishermen launched their sturdy boats and tried time and again to get out to the wreck. They would only get to where the storm wave met the backwash from the shore, and then the pyramids of white water would toss their boats and throw then over backwards, and they would all be spilled back on the beach.
One man on board decided to try to swim ashore. He was young, tall and powerful. He made careful preparations for his battle. He was so close that I could see the colour of his hair as he prepared for the plunge.
I can see him yet, as in a nightmare. He climbed up on the rail and noted carefully the eddies the bursting seas made around the schooner like a whirlpool. Then, watching his chance he ran along the rail and jumped clear. I watched him come up, and saw him rise from the water and shake his hair.
He was a strong swimmer, and he struck out parallel with the beach, so as to take the best chance with the undertow, Hundreds were watching him, encouraging him, and running along the beach to where they thought he could make a landing.
Twice he came in so close that he could stand up upon the bar with the seas as only as high as his waist. Twice he was swept out again by the undertow, before those on shore could grasp him.
By this time the surf was full of tossing planks and whirling timbers, torn from the wreck. Every time he made a try for the shore the backwash would hurl a piece of wreckage at him.
He was for hours fighting for his life. At last weakened by his struggle, he failed to dodge a piece of the vessel's rail, launched at him by an enormous sea. It struck him on the head, and he disappeared, sucked lakeward by the undertow.
We found his body afterwards; and he was the only one, living or dead, who came ashore from the schooner JESSIE of Port Stanley"
The JESSIE was built at Port Robinson on the Welland Canal, by shipwright Louis Shickluna in the Winter of 1854.-'5 Her dimensions were 121 feet 6 inches in iength, 23 feet beam and I5 feet depth of hold, 250 tons.
      fron 'CANVAS & STEAM ON QUINTE WATERS'
      by Willis Metcalfe


Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Notes:
Reason: aground
Freight: wheat
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
1870
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
McN.W.21183
Language of Item:
English
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 43.8575 Longitude: -77.243888
Donor:
William R. McNeil
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
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Jessie (Schooner), aground, 31 Oct 1870