The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
St. Magnus (Propeller), C77693, capsized, 7 Jun 1895

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Strange Accident in Loading a Steamer
The engraving printed herewith shows the Canadian steamer ST. MAGNUS, a passenger and freight vessel of about 800 tons capacity, as she now lies sunk in the main river at Cleveland, about 2,000 feet from the harbor entrance. The accident that resulted in the sinking of the vessel was of a very strange kind. She is one of four vessels comprising the Merchants' Montreal line, but is owned by R.O. and A.B. McKay of Hamilton, Ont. After loading about 14,000 bushels of grain at Toledo, she came to Cleveland on Thursday last to take on 100 tons of pig iron and 100 tons of wire. As will be noted by the engraving, the vessel was pointed up stream and the pig iron and wire was being loaded from her port side when the accident occurred. Upon being tied to the dock it was noticed that she was listed somewhat to starboard, and on this account the iron was placed largely on the port side of the ship with a view to putting her on an even keel. it would seem strange, of course, that this should be done with no apparent cause for a list in the vessel, but such was the case, however, and the loading continued until suddenly the list to starboard disappeared and the vessel rolled over to port, her masts and smokestack striking the dock. She filled rapidly and settled on the bottom of the river in 18 feet of water.
The sinking of the vessel was, of course, caused by the manner in which she was loaded. The list to starboard when she was first tied to the dock was undoubtedly due to some obstruction at the bottom of the river, from which she was moved off later, or to her fender strake being caught on some projection extending out from the side of the dock. It is probable that the movement of the water in the channel, caused by passing tugs and other vessels, caused the ST. MAGNUS to release herself from the temporary support, whatever it may have been, on her port side, and with the pig iron and wire all loaded on that side she turned over in short order. Divers are now engaged in work preparatory to raising the vessel. The photograph and cut were made by the General Engraving Co., Cleveland, O.
      Marine Review
      June 6, 1895

      . . . . .

      Cleveland, June 10. -- A contract has been closed with the Michigan Wrecking and salvage Company, of Detroit, to raise the steamer St. MAGNUS, which capsized in the river here Friday night. Capt. George McLeod represented the underwriters and agreed to the contract. Work was begun this morning and will be rapidly pushed. The loss on the boat will be about $20,000 and on the cargo $14,000. The contract price for raising the steamer is said to be $3,000.
      Buffalo Enquirer
      June 10, 1895
      . . . . .

McKay Bros., owners of the Canadian steamer ST. MAGNUS, which capsized while being loaded with pig iron in Cleveland harbor, and which was upon survey declared a constructive total less and abandoned to the underwriters, have made a private settlement with the underwriters. It is understood that the amount paid to the owners of the boat was about 40 per cent. of the insurance, which aggregated some $27,000. The underwriters are undoubtedly very well satisfied with their bargain, although they would probably have made a claim of negligence in loading of the boat if the matter had gone into court. The wreck will be taken to Port Dalhousie from Cleveland and rebuilt for carrying freight. A new boat is talked of to take the place of the ST. MAGNUS on the Montreal line.
      Marine Review
      August 29, 1895
Early yesterday morning Muir's Ship and Dry dock wharehouse was destroyed by fire and the steamer St. MAGNUS, lying in the drydock for repairs, burned to the water's edge. One man died.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Saturday, September 7, 1895
Port Colborne, Sept. 5. The wrecked steamer ST MAGNUS was burned to the water's edge here today. The watchman lost his life.
      Chicago Inter Ocean
      September 6, 1895

A Freakish Turnover - The history of the Great Lakes furnishes hundreds of stories of wrecks in storms, collisions and fire, many of them disastrous. And there are some that are just freakish as they had no storms, collisions or fires to contend with. One of these was experienced by the Canadian steamer ST. MAGNUS in the Cuyahoga River at Cleveland, Ohio in 1895.
The ST. MAGNUS arrived from Toledo on the 7th of June loaded with 14,000 bushels of corn and docked at the Pennsylvania Railroad dock on the east bank of the river with her port side against the dock. She was loading pig iron and wire on her way to Montreal when at about 7:00 p.m., Captain John Clifford, who was getting his clearance papers at the customs office nearby, glanced out the window and noticed the list to star board. He rushed aboard, thinking it was overloaded on one side. Before he could investigate the ship swayed toward midstream and the ST. MAGNUS began to roll over toward her portside against the dock. The captain and the crew jumped on the dock just as the steamer rolled and went rapidly down, her masts and smokestack striking the dock.
She immediately filled with water and settled on the bottom of the river. In striking the dock her rail was damaged and all the light work twisted and loosened. She had been rebuilt extensively only a short time before and was slated for another trip to the dry-dock.
In docking her fender or strake had rested on heavy planking that extended eight inches from the dock, and in loading the heavy iron, she had developed a slight list to starboard. More cargo was placed on the port side to overcome this but the list stayed. Just about the time Captain Clifford boarded the vessel the backwash of a passing steamer loosened the ST. MAGNUS from the planking causing her to roll over, while the rush of water into her hold carried her down.
Passing vessels were warned against any backwash that would shift her again and block traffic. Work was started at once to lighten the ship and about June 10th the Michigan Wreckage and Salvage Company started work on raising the ship. The cargo was a total loss after lying in the dirty waters of the Cuyahoga. After several days she was raised and towed to Port Dalhousie, Ontario and while there in the dry dock on September 5, 1895, she took fire and was totally destroyed with the loss of one life.
Built at Hamilton, Ontario in 1880, the ST. MAGNUS was of 853 gross tons, 160 foot keel, and 28 foot beam and had accommodations for 80 passengers. She was owned by R. O. and A. B. McKay of Hamilton, Ontario and was one of their fleet which included the Cuba, Acadia and Melbourne, which were on the order of the old Anchor Fleet, and often ran on excursion trips from Cleveland to Montreal, stopping at the various ports enroute and at ST. Lawrence River ports also.
      Inland Seas
      January 1947 p. 48-49

Propeller St. MAGNUS. Built at Hamilton in 1880, rebuilt Midland in 1898 and renamed MAGNOLIA, rebuilt Midland in 1919 and again renamed as LUCKPORT:-- DISPOSITION. -- Burnt Midland, Ont. 1934.
      Preliminary List of Canadian Merchant Vessels
      Inland & Coastal, 1809 to 1930
St. MAGNUS. Propeller of 640 tons. Built at Hamilton in 1872 by A.M. Robertson. Owned by A.M. Robertson. Home port, Hamilton. Value $31,000. Class A 2. REMARKS. -- Formerly STANLEY.
      Inland Lloyds Vessel Classification
      Canadian Hulls, 1882
NOTE : The above is incorrect, R.W. STANDLEY being the correct name, [a] R.W. STANDLEY, [b] St. MAGNUS, [c] MAGNOLIA, [d] LUCKPORT.

      Steam screw St. MAGNUS. Official Canadian Number 77693. Built at Hamilton in 1880. Home port, Hamilton. Of 853 tons gross; 541 tons reg. 180.0 x 28.0 x 14.0. Owned by A.M. Robertson of hamilton, Ont.
      List of Canadian Vessels on the Registry
      Books on December 31, 1886
steam screw MAGNOLIA. Official Canadian Number103690. Built Midland, Ont. in 1898. Home port, Toronto. Of 367 tons gross; 191 tons reg. 136.0 x 21.4 x 13.7. Owned by James Playfair, of Midland, Ont.
      List of Canadian Vessels on the Registry
      Books on December 31, 1902
Screw LUCKPORT * Official Canadian Number 103690. Built Midland, Ont., 1898. Home port, Midland. Of 231 tons gross; 134 tons reg. Indicated horse power 57. Owned by the Midland Transportation Company, of Midland, Ont. 126.0 x 21.6 x 12.0
      * formerly MAGNOLIA, a recovered wreck.
      List of Canadian Vessels on the Registry
      Books on December 31, 1920

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: capsized
Lives: nil
Remarks: Raised
Date of Original:
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Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Ohio, United States
    Latitude: 41.50366 Longitude: -81.71235
William R. McNeil
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St. Magnus (Propeller), C77693, capsized, 7 Jun 1895