The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
St. Peter (Schooner), sunk, 1898


Description
Full Text

No Trace Found of Mrs. Griffin - Unsuccessful Search of the Sunken ST. PETER - Lake Diver Matoll makes Two Descents to the vessel, but Could Find Nothing of the Woman Supposed to have Been Imprisoned in the Cabin.
The tug JOHN NAVAGH of Oswego, Captain Scott, having on board W.D. Allen of the South Shore Wrecking Company, Coroner C.J. Vowinkle, Henry Matoll, a lake diver, and Miss Ann Griffin of Toledo, Ohio, were at Sodus Point this afternoon after making two attempts to find the body of Mrs. Griffin, wife of Captain John Griffin of the schooner ST. PETER, who was drowned when that boat was wrecked last fall about seven miles west of Sodus Point in Lake Ontario and sank during a raging storm.
The boat was loaded with coal and had on board, it was reported, besides Captain and Mrs. John Griffin, three sailors, who were drowned. Captain Griffin was picked up in a dazed condition by the life saving boat from Charlotte and has never recovered from the shock.
Miss Griffin, who stands the expense of the search for her mother's body, was of the opinion that she had been caught in the cabin. She had several hundred dollars and several valuable rings on her person, and it was for this as well as the body that the search was instituted. Diver Matoll yesterday afternoon made the first trip down to the wrecked boat. He went down 104 feet and had considerable difficulty in keeping his air lines from fouling and becoming entangled in the rigging.
      Much interest has been shown by the people of Sodus Point to see the diving people and many went in yachts to witness it. The diver found that the cabin had been torn off from the deck and that the vessel lay northeast with two spars gone. owing to rough water, it was decided to make another
attempt this morning.
This morning the diver entered the remaining portion of the cabin and found that the stove had been turned over, but could see nothing of the body of Mrs. Griffin. Several pieces of the wreck were secured and the tug returned to Sodus Point.
If Mrs. Griffin was in the cabin when the vessel went down, the cabin was probably wrecked after her body had been washed away. The arm recently picked upby Mrs. E.V. Peirson of Newark on Lake Bluff is believed to have been part of Mrs. Griffin's body, and as no remains of the three sailors reported to have gone down with the St. Peter have yet been found it is the opinion of many Sodus Pointers that the captain and his wife were endeavoring to run the vessel on her last trip of the season without aid and that the lack of help accounted for the wreck.
      Syracuse (N.Y.) Post Standard
      July 27, 1899

      United States Engineer Captain G.D. Fitch of Oswego has received authority from the Chief Engineer at Washington to remove the spars of the wreck of the large schooner ST. PETER which lies on the bottom of Lake Ontario, a few miles west of the port of Sodus Point. The wreck is in the
path of vessels plying between Sodus, Charlotte and Oswego, and the spars are a danger to navigation.
      A short time ago, when an effort was made to find the body of Mrs. John Griffin, the mizzen mast was broken off by W. D. Allen of the South Shore Wrecking Company and his men. Three or four days after the Government officials, upon the report of Mr. Allen, made an examination of the wreck. It was found that the main mast was gone, the foremast being ten and one-half feet below the surface of the water and the mizzen mast nineteen feet below. They will be removed probably by dynamite, thus destroying what is left of the hull and letting the chestnut coal run into the lake.
      Syracuse Post-Standard
      August 8, 1899

      Lake Ontario - U.S. Lifesaving Service Report
      At 2 a.m., during a NW gale the station lookout reported a torch off Charlotte and soon afterwards saw it again. Keeper notified the harbor tug, but she did not start promptly, her captain reporting it would take some time to get up steam, therefore the keeper decided to try to get the lake tug WM. L. PROCTOR, to tow the lifeboat out, as he feared a vessel was in distress. At 4 a.m. the PROCTOR started with lifeboat in tow; ran out about 10 miles and cruised around until daylight. Seeing nothing the keeper concluded that the vessel had kept on for Sodus Bay and then he returned to the station, arriving about 7:15 a.m. At 8 a.m. a report came to the station that a schooner was flying a distress signal off Bear Creek, about 10 miles E. The PROCTOR was secured again, and in tow of her the life-savers started eastward, the storm having increased in violence. They soon sighted the schooner with distress signal flying, standing inshore through the trough of the sea. Steered directly for her, and, when distant about three miles, were horrified to see her give a lee lurch, go over on her beam ends, partially right again, and then disappear. Steamed ahead as rapidly as possible and soon reached the spot. About 10 feet of the fore and main masts were standing above water, and in the midst of the floating wreckage the life-savers saw a man clinging to a spar. Crew of the tug poured a gallon of oil over the side; the surfmen cast off the lifeboat, and by skillful management, succeeded in rescuing the man in an unconscious condition. Taking advantage of the oiled spot, the surfmen regained the tug promptly and took the rescued man to the fireroom where he was wrapped in blankets and the Service methods of resuscitation used upon him. In the meantime, a careful scrutiny of the surrounding water failed to disclose other bodies, and it was decided to run for Sodus Harbor, as, owing to the fury of the wind and the sea, it would be impossible to return to Charlotte. The rescued man revived after arrival at Sodus, and proved to be Captain Griffin of the lost vessel, who stated that his wife and four seamen must have perished in the catastrophe, which was entirely unexpected by those on board. Surfmen carefully patrolled the beach but no bodies were found. At 1 a.m. on the 28th, the weather having moderated sufficiently, life-saving crew returned to station arriving at 5;30 a.m. Captain Griffin was furnished with dry clothing from the stores of the Women's National Relief Association and succored until evening, when he departed for his home in Toledo.
      (From 1898 Life Saving Service Record Book for Charlotte)


      . . . . .

      No Trace Found of Mrs. Griffin
      - - - - -
      Unsuccessful Search of the Sunken St. Peter
      ________
      Lake Diver Matoll makes Two Descents to the vessel,
      but Could Find Nothing of the Woman Supposed to have Been Imprisoned in the Cabin.
      ________
      The tug JOHN NAVAGH of Oswego, Captain Scott, having on board W.D. Allen of the South Shore Wrecking Company, Coroner C.J. Vowinkle, Henry Matoll, a lake diver, and Miss Ann Griffin of Toledo, Ohio, were at Sodus Point this afternoon after making two attempts to find the body of Mrs. Griffin, wife of Captain John Griffin of the schooner St. PETER, who was drowned when that boat was wrecked last fall about seven miles west of Sodus Point in Lake Ontario and sank during a raging storm.
      The boat was loaded with coal and had on board, it was reported, besides Captain and Mrs. John Griffin, three sailors, who were drowned. Captain Griffin was picked up in a dazed condition by the life saving boat from Charlotte and has never recovered from the shock.
      Miss Griffin, who stands the expense of the search for her mother's body, was of the opinion that she had been caught in the cabin. She had several hundred dollars and several valuable rings on her person, and it was for this as well as the body that the search was instituted. Diver Matoll yesterday afternoon made the first trip down to the wrecked boat. He went down 104 feet and had considerable difficulty in keeping his air lines from fouling and becoming entangled in the rigging.
      Much interest has been shown by the people of Sodus Point to see the diving people and many went in yachts to witness it. The diver found that the cabin had been torn off from the deck and that the vessel lay northeast with two spars gone. owing to rough water, it was decided to make another attempt this morning.
      This morning the diver entered the remaining portion of the cabin and found that the stove had been turned over, but could see nothing of the body of Mrs. Griffin. Several pieces of the wreck were secured and the tug
returned to Sodus Point.
      If Mrs. Griffin was in the cabin when the vessel went down, the cabin was probably wrecked after her body had been washed away. The arm recently picked upby Mrs. E.V. Peirson of Newark on Lake Bluff is believed to have been part of Mrs. Griffin's body, and as no remains of the three sailors reported to have gone down with the St. PETER have yet been found it is the opinion of many Sodus Pointers that the captain and his wife were
endeavoring to run the vessel on her last trip of the season without aid and that the lack of help accounted for the wreck.
      Syracuse (N.Y.) Post Standard
      July 27, 1899




      United States Engineer Captain G.D. Fitch of Oswego has received authority from the Chief Engineer at Washington to remove the spars of the wreck of the large schooner St. PETER which lies on the bottom of Lake
Ontario, a few miles west of the port of Sodus Point. The wreck is in the path of vessels plying between Sodus, Charlotte and Oswego, and the spars are a danger to navigation.
      A short time ago, when an effort was made to find the body of Mrs. John Griffin, the mizzen mast was broken off by W. D. Allen of the South Shore Wrecking Company and his men. Three or four dayd after the Government
officials, upon the report of Mr. Allen, made an examination of the wreck. It was found that the main mast was gone, the foremast being ten and one-half feet below the surface of the water and the mizzen mast nineteen
feet below. They will be removed probably by dynamite, thus destroying what is left of the hull and letting the chestnut coal run into the lake.
      Syracuse Post-Standard
      August 8, 1899


Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Notes:
Reason: sunk
Lives: 1
Freight: coal
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
1898
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
McN.W.21443
Language of Item:
English
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 43.27173 Longitude: -76.98914
Donor:
William R. McNeil
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
Contact
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Email
WWW address
Comment on this item
Groups of Related Records
Shipwreck news
Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit




My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.










St. Peter (Schooner), sunk, 1898