The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Gilbert Mollison (Schooner), sunk, 28 Oct 1873

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Delayed Vessel.
There has been considerable anxiety for several days past about vessels, which left Chicago a week ago last Saturday and at the present writing are not reported as having passed Detroit. Among the delayed vessels is the
schooner GILBERT MOLLISON, Captain Joel A. Turner of this port. and although she has not been heard from we think that she is safely harbored in some bay distant from the usual course and will shortly make her appearance.
The gale in which the Mollison, with many others, was caught, continued Monday and Tuesday, October 27th and 28th, and with more than usual severity, and the foot of Lake Michigan has many wrecks which are not yet
reported. Many vessels returned to Chicago and Milwaukee with canvas torn and in a disabled condition, while many took refuge in the numerous bays and under the lea of the islands.
The MOLLISON is a staunch vessel in good trim, but her canvas is tender and we think that she is disabled by torn canvas and is under one of the many islands making repairs. Captain Turner is a man of experience and excellent judgment and will, we are confident, bring his vessel through all right.
      Oswego Palladium
      Thursday, November 6, 1873

      . . . . .
      The Missing Vessel.
At this writing there is no intelligence as to the whereabouts of the schooner "GILBETRT MOLLISON," and in the minds of many there is a growing uneasiness that more than the loss of canvass or spars has happened to the vessel. There have been instances where vessels were out from Chicago as long as the Mollison has been, and afterward they have turned up all right.
Two or three years ago the schooner ADIRONDACK was unheard from for two weeks after leaving Chicago, and fears wee entertained that she had gone down with all hands, but she was found at anchor on Lake Huron, dismasted, shortly after, and towed through to Ogdensburg, her destination.
This morning morning a cunning chap started a story that he was told by a gentleman who arrived from Detroit, that the captain of the schooner HENRY FITZHUGH saw the MOLLISON on Lake Huron, dismasted and at anchor. After some little time our reporter found that gentleman from Detroit, and learned from him that he had brought no such news, and had not heard anything about the MOLLISON until his arrival here. The story, as near as we can learn, originated in the fertile brain of the smart young man. Mr. E. Mitchell, one of the owners of the MOLLISON, is at present in Detroit and is doing everything in his power to learn the whereabouts of the schooner.
A telegram from Port Colborne, date yesterday, says the schooner L.L. LANB was jammed against the stone wall by a passing propeller, causing her to leak so freely that she had to return to the dry dock at Port Robinson for repairs.
      Oswego Palladium
      Friday, November 7, 1873

      . . . . .

      The Missing Schooner.
      Two weeks ago last Saturday afternoon the schooner GILBERT MOLLISON, Captain Joel A. Turner, left Chicago for this port with 20,022 bushels of corn, and since that time nothing has been heard of her whereabouts. Several Oswego vessels left at the same time the Mollison did, and all of them have arrived at this port. Mr. E. Mitchell, one of the owners, has returned from Detroit, unable to hear a word from the vessel, and now entertains the worst fears. The gale in which it is feared she was lost was the worst ever experienced on Lake Michigan, bursting upon the vessels without much warning, two weeks ago tomorrow morning. The wind came from the northeast, strong and fearful, accompanied with blinding snow, and continued for two days, driving vessels before it onto reefs and shoals, to harbors of refuge and some, to the bottom of the lake.
"Hope deferred maketh the heart sick," and so it has been with all who have friends and relatives on the MOLLISON. Day after day they have looked for tidings of the missing vessel; awaiting for the morrow to bring something that never came, and at last have brought to look stern reality in the face. If the MOLLISON has gone, she has taken with her as good men as ever trod the deck of a vessel.
Her crew, as near as can be learned, consisted of the following: Joel A. Turner, captain; William Halliday, mate; Judson Prosser, second mate; George Halliday, George Messmore and another whose name is not known, seamen; Kate Shaughnessey, cook. The captain, two mates and Matthew lived in the town of Scriba, about four miles from this city; Driscol and George Halliday in this city; Messmore in the Welland Canal and Kate Shaughnessey in Belleville, Ontario. Captain Turner leaves a wife and five children and George Halliday a wife and two children.
      The MOLLISON was built by A. Miller & Co., this city, in the spring of 1870, and rated A 1. She was a substantial vessel, and was valued at $22,000. She was insured for $16,000 - $10,000 in the Aetna and $6,000 in the Phoenix, and owned by E. & O. Mitchell and M. Murray of this city. The cargo of corn with which she was laden, Welland Canal load, belonged to E. & O. Mitchell, on which there was no insurance.
      Oswego Palladium
      Monday, November 10, 1873

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      The Detroit Free Press says: "The last that was seen of the schooner GILBERT MOLLISON, now supposed to be lost, with all hands, was near the South Manitou. She sailed from Chicago Saturday evening, October 25th, in company with the schooners MONTBLANC and MARGARET MUIR in the above locality. This just prior to the terrible storm which set in. All others which left at the above time have since arrived at their respective
destinations on their return voyages, and two of the number were at this port yesterday.
      Oswego Palladium
      Monday, November 11, 1873

      . . . . .

      The Mollison
      The Yawl Washed Ashore on Lake Michigan.
Messrs. E. & O. Mitchell, of this city, received the following despatch this morning from R.P. Fitzgerald of Milwaukee: "The yawl boat of the schooner MOLLISON washed ashore at Good Harbor, on mainland, southeast of North Manitou island, November 3d. No particulars of the vessel."
The charts we have consulted do not locate Good Harbor; but we should judge that it is a small harbor between Grand and Little Traverse. It is thought by some that the yawl containing four men, which was seen by the crew of the schooner JOHN WEBER some days after the MOLLISON was missing, was the MOLLISON's boat, but we do not incline to such belief. We think, when the particulars come to hand, that it will be found that the boat of the MOLLISON got adrift from the schooner either by the davits or falls breaking or by the eye bolts in the bottom of the boat pulling out. We do not think the crew had time to take to the boat before the vessel went down.
      Oswego Palladium
      Monday, November 17, 1873

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      Along the Docks. -- The schooner HENRY FITZHUGH, Captain George Budge, which arrived in port last night, left Chicago with the schooner MOLLISON, and was in company with her at dusk Monday evening, October 27th, when the MOLLISON was about three miles to leeward of the leeward of the FITZHUGH. Both vessels were at the time off and to the northward of the Manitous. Captain Budge says the squall struck his vessel about 4 o'clock Tuesday morning, and although his canvas was reefed, the wind was so strong and violent that the schooner was thrown on her beam end, shifting her cargo of corn, not withstanding she had shifting boards.
Volumes of water rushed into the cabin and forecastle, and for a time it seemed impossible for the schooner to regain her upright position, but finally she luffed and then was put before the wind, which was blowing from the north-northeast. It was found after the vessel was headed up the lake that her foresail and jib were badly rent, and that her safety was in making a port of shelter.
When the vessel was off Port Washington the wind changed to the southwest, and her course was changed for the Straits again, but arriving off Manitowoc the captain concluded to go in there and make repairs, which he did.
Protest was noted at Manitowoc and extended here, as it is thought that some of the cargo is damaged. The captain says that Tuesday and Wednesday were the worst he has ever seen on the lakes, the wind being accompanied by a blinding snow storm rendering it impossible to see the land.
      Oswego Palladium
      Tuesday, November 18, 1873

Media Type:
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Reason: sunk
Lives: all
Freight: corn
Remarks: Total loss
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 43.68473 Longitude: -86.53036
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Gilbert Mollison (Schooner), sunk, 28 Oct 1873