The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Nov. 8, 1880

Full Text
Our First November Gale.
The Storm Which Swept the Lakes - A Story of Perils and Disaster - The Efforts to Rescue the Wood Ducks at Oswego - Disasters to Lake Ontario Fleet and Other Vessels - Lives Lost and Property Destroyed.

The Storm.

There is reason to fear that yesterday's gale has been scarcely less disastrous than that of three weeks ago, which strewed the shores of the great lakes with the stark bodies of hundreds of men and the shattered wrecks of scores of vessels. It was much such a storm, coming on suddenly and with terrible ferocity. Of the craft out on this lake, two or three reached this port yesterday. Their masters say, no doubt with truth, that they never encountered such terrific seas on this water. Certainly we never saw Ontario in such a tremendous fury. The waves were literally mountainous. And the extraordinary grandeur of the scene brought crowds of people to the beach. It seemed to be the opinion that nothing could live outside, and in fact such vessels as struggled into port were boarded and buried by the seas, From midnight Saturday till 1:30 am Sunday the wind appears to have been about six miles and hour and at 2 a.m. flopped around and was blowing 32 miles an hour.

The Wood Duck's Adventure

About 11:30 yesterday forenoon, a little vessel hove in sight, buffeted around by the billows like a cockle shell, sometimes buried entirely from view and apparently unable to survive the storm. She came on rapidly and about noon was off this port. A tug crept out into that furious maelstrom, to the amazement of every spectator. She tumbled and rolled about and plunged downward, burying herself as if she never would rise again. Her struggles excited great anxiety and surprise. As the vessel comes along, the tug dashes out for her; she fails to get the line; the vessel sweeps by toward the beach; the tug follows up, apparently careless of the danger; both are buried in that howling sea; and everybody says they will be lost; the tug gets a line; she straightens up; something is the matter; the vessel hurries on and plunges ashore, while the tug struggles wearily back into port. It was a gallant effort and deserves success. Hundred of hearts along the shore testified to that and vowed that the master of the tug was a hero. It was the tug F. D. Wheeler, Capt. C. W. Ferris and the vessel was the Wood Duck, owned by Marks & Sons of Frenchman's Bay sailed by Geo. Marks, the junior owner, and laden with 4,688 bu. Of barley for Irwin & Sloan. The captain tells the following story:

We left Frenchman's Bay at one o'clock Saturday morning; wind SW. No sea until we got off Port Hope, when about 8 p.m. the wind shifted to the north; at midnight it shifted to west and thence south; the sea increased fearfully, filling the cabin and wetting everything on board; we lost our boat and forestaysail; we had taken in everything and she was running under the peak of the foresail, jaw lashed down; we lost our towline on the lake, before we sighted Oswego; We got off here about noon and attempted to make the harbor; the tug Wheeler ran out to us, but missed our line; we began drifting down the lake, sideways, but the tug to our surprise came for us again and this time got our line but it was a short line and there was a kink in it; when the tug straightened up, the line ran off the timber head and the tug kept on he way in; we put the helm up and struck the beach; the life crew rescued us; I think the tug did nobly, coming almost too far for her own safety; twice she filled with water an we could not see her; if we had a good tow line, I think the vessel would have been towed in all right; she was worth about $2,500 but is not insured

A Palladium reporter found the crew enjoying the hospitality of Capt. Blackburn and his life crew, to whom the shipwrecked tars felt very grateful. Keeper Blackburn was on the end of the pier with a hawser; when he found that the tug had lost her line with mortar and other apparatus he got abreast of the vessel; he fired mortar No. 6 over the main boom the first time, sent out the breeches buoy and within three-quarters of an hour had the crew, which consisted of the captain, mate, two men and man cook ashore with their bags. The vessel was about 300 feet from the shore but was constantly working in and lay high out. It was evident that there were holes in her bottom as the barley washed ashore. The vessel is not insured and will be got off. The cargo is insured. Captain Blackburn and his crew and all the sailors who saw Capt. Ferris's attempt to save the Wood Duck say it was one of the most daring marine feats done at this port.

The Minnes and What She Reports

The Annie Minnes made port about 10 a.m. yesterday. As she was coming in she started to drift down below the East pier, and the line parted, but the tug Major Dana got it again and started in. Her quarter struck the pier, doing slight damage She lost a few boards of her deck load. The Minnes reported the Albatross, Great Western and W. J. Suffel as accompanying her down the lake as far as Charlotte yesterday morning. The mate thought the Albatross might have entered Charlotte, but the other did not arrive here yesterday and must have run down the lake. The Schooner Baltic, which came down with Wood Duck, also passed down probably. These four vessels were bound for Oswego.

The Maria Annette

The Maria Annette was picked up by the tug Wheeler while making this harbor yesterday, just as she was going to the eastward of the pier. She lost her boat and main gaff and split her mainsail outside yesterday.

The Ariel's Trip

The Ariel which arrived yesterday with barley and shingles had a rough time. She had 150,000 shingles on deck of which she lost 100,000. She shipped terrible seas, which filled the cabin and forecastle, and the crew had to knock out the bulwarks so she would clear herself.

A Wet Cargo

The Olivia arrived yesterday from the Bay. She had a very rough passage, the sea filling her forecastle and cabin and probably wetting part of her cargo.

The Fleet At The Bay

Capt. Wm. Dandy of the Annandale which arrived from the Bay yesterday says that about twenty vessels left the Bay for Oswego Friday night. Saturday afternoon the wind blew fresh from S.S.E. and a number of the ran back. Those of the fleet which arrived here yesterday were the Kate Eccles, Jessie McDonald, N.P. Downey, Starling, Olivia E. K. Hart, Annie Falconer and Annandale. The last named lost her jib topsail and spit her fore gaff topsail. Among the vessels which ran back were the Julia, St. Clair and Forest Queen.

The Bay Fleet

Downey Bros. Had 21 vessels barley laden for Oswego, all of which left the Bay Friday night or Saturday. Only four of them have arrived and a telegram was to-day received from Mr. Downey, who shipped the barley at the bay asking for news of the fleet. As he said nothing of any returning, the whereabouts of 17 of the schooners are unknown. About 40 vessels left the Bay together.

The Preston Damaged.

A despatch from Capt. Van Alstine of the Schr. Preston to Mr. George Goble ,dated the 7th says he ran back yesterday morning with foresail, foreboom and gaff boat and davits all gone. The Preston was from Buffalo to Toledo with railroad iron

In Harbor at Sacket's.
special despatch to the Palladium

Sacket's Harbor No. 8 The following are in port. Nassua, John Magee, Senator Blood , L.B. Stone, Monitor, Mollie Cook. No disaster reported yet

At Charlotte
special despatch to the Palladium

Charlotte, Nov. 8. The schooners St. Andrew, Flora, Two Brothers and Wm. Elgin are here for shelter. No disasters reported.

Marine Accidents at the Cape
special despatch to the Palladium

Cape Vincent Nov. 8 The schooner Sea Foam, loaded with barley, at anchor at th mouth of Fox Creek, lost both anchors during the gale, and hoisting sail ran shore to save herself. The schooner Dorr loaded, lay at anchor during the gale and passed down this morning. The schooner Rogers is here light. The tug Gardner with tow is lying here

Wreck of the Oades

The schooner W. H. Oades owned by N.S. Stone of Oswego, with a cargo of white wheat from Detroit to Buffalo went ashore at the latter place yesterday. The Buffalo Express says she arrived during the height of the storm and ws driven down the river until a little above the New York Central round house near the foot of George street, where she went on the beach, close to the track. She is not out of shape any, but had about two feet of water in her yesterday afternoon as no care was taken to keep her free, the captain and all hands deserting her during the morning. This conduct was the subject of considerable discussion among the marine men yesterday, some of whom consider it strange that the captain should leave her in such a manner when as they claimed, there was no danger to himself or crew in remaining. Late last evening it was reported that a crew was on board pumping her. She rates A2 1/2 on the Inland Lloyds, and has a valuation of $8,000 She was built at Detroit in 1869.

The Belle Sheridan And Crew Lost

A special despatch reports the schr. Belle Sheridan ashore at Weller's Reef near Consecon, Ont. And her crew of six men lost. She was built in 1852.

The Nellie Sherwood Ashore

The schr. Nellie Sherwood with 2,000 bushels of barley for C. C. Morton is ashore at Pine Point, near Burlington Ont.

An Unknown Vessel

Napanee, Ont. Nov.8- A medium sized vessel was observed this morning from the Adolpustown side ashore on the north side of the Prince Edward shore. nearly opposite Crossy. She is loaded and appears to be lying well up on the beach. The sea is making a clean sweep over her decks. Her name is not known and further particulars could not be obtained, as it was impossible to cross on account of heavy seas.

Damage to Shipping at Kingston
special despatch to the Palladium

Kingston Nov. 8- A terrific gale commenced blowing Saturday night which by Sunday mornng amounted to almost a hurricane. The schooner Sligo broke from her mooring at the K&M.T. CO. s' upper dock and drifted against the adjoining wharf where were moored the schr. Lilly Hamilton, barges Warriner, Princess and an elevator, all of which the collision set adrift. The shear poles at the shipyard and also a portion of the dock were carried away. The barges and elevator drifted over the bay and went ashore on Point Frederick. One barge, light is sunk, The other with 9,000 bushels of wheat, is not making any water. The Sligo let go her anchor and rode out the gale. She lost her bow sprit, jib boom and foretopmast by the collision. The Lilly Hamilton threw her anchor but dragged, and grounded at Martello tower. She had 8,000 bushels of wheat and is making water. The barge Odessa transferred some of the wheat probably about 2,000 bushels, wet. The schr. Alexandria, light is ashore on Wolfe Island. Th schr. Ryan is ashore in the same vicinity with 7,000 bushels of barley. The schr. Howard lost her anchor off South Bay Point and ran in here. She reports a fleet of vessels outside and a number of vessels ran in with their canvas tor to ribbons. They might come to anchor in the harbor safely.

The Loss of the Sheridan

A Toronto Dispatch says The schooner Belle Sheridan

The schooner Belle Sheridan from Oswego, went ashore at Weller's bay yesterday and is a complete wreck. Capt. Mc Sherry and three sons were drowned. One of the crew was saved

Two More Ashore

A Wellington despatch reports the schooner Albatross and barque T.C. Street ashore and all hands saved.

The Gale At Buffalo

At Buffalo the wind was 60 miles an hour. Thieves stole everything in the cabin of the Oades while the crew were away. The Fleetwing came into the harbor flying, ran her jibboom into the barge Ajax, which in turn swung against the dock, smashing her bow and the Fleetwing also took away the Ironton's jibboom. The Fleetwing lost her foreboom and gaff outside and jibboom and bowsprit inside, besides splitting her stem and staving in her bulwarks. The C. J.King lost her jibboom, main boom forestaysail and jib and had her mainsail spit outside. Several other vessels were damaged by collisions in harbor. The Francis Palmer lost her foreboom foresail and mainsail of Conneaut and the boat near Point Abino. Th Sea Gull put back with loss of foreboom and gaff, mainboom and gaff jibboom and lower sails. Her steering apparatus was also disordered. The Onconta came back with loss of anchors, the Morey with canvass all gone and Page without foreboom. The Francis Palms is terribly riddled The Queen City is anchored off Grand river with her steering gear all gone. Th schooner E. Kelly is aground on the shoals north of the old breakwater. She has grain and is valued at $10,000 .

Various Casualties

It is said that the schr. Baltic is at Kingston minus every stitch of canvas, booms et.

The tug Gardner and four barges lumber laden for Oswego ran back to Cape Vincent Saturday for shelter.

A stone scow belonging to the dredge Giant broke away in the west cove yesterday and was driven across the harbor on to the beach in an east side slip.

The yacht Early Bird broke from her moorings in the harbor Saturday and was driven ashore. She pounded a hole in her bottom.

Capt. Nichols of Pleasant Point, who was in town to-day say there is nothing on the beach between Nine Mile Point and Texas or some distance below

A special from Toronto says "The Hannah Butler's cargo is a total loss" and another that the "Vienna is on the beach at New Castle" The Hannah Butler was loaded with barley at Cobourg and the Vienna with barley at New Castle, both for Smith Murdock & Co. Oswego.

Telegraphic inquire for the schr. W. J. Suffell was received here at noon. Therefore she could not have reported up to 10 a.m. today.

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Nov. 8, 1880
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Richard Palmer
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
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Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Nov. 8, 1880