The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Maria Martin (Schooner), U16433, collision, 27 Sep 1881

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Detroit, Mich., Sept. 27. -- A collision occurred at 3 o'clock this morning, off Amherstburg, between the propeller JAY GOULD, bound down, and the tug MARTIN SWAIN, bound up, with a tow schooner. The tug was struck on the starboard side and badly smashed, sinking at once in thirteen feet of water. The cause seems to have been bullheadedness all around. The SWAIN is said to have blown two whistles, which the GOULD answered with one. This whistling was repeated until the collision occurred. The SWAIN lies on her port side, in as good condition as could be expected. The damage to the JAY GOULD was slight. She proceeded on her course.
      Cleveland Herald
      Wednesday, September 28, 1881

      . . . . .

The Detroit Tribune of to-day has the following: The Detroit River and the upper end of Lake Erie are furnishing an immense number of collisions this season.
      The NIMS - DOWS smash was still the chief topic in marine circles when the MACY - VICTOR collision occurred and furnished a new subject for conversation among the marine lawyers who are so plentiful along the wharves. Early yesterday morning news reached here that another had been added to the "unavoidable disasters on the river.
The propeller JAY GOULD, bound down, collided with and sunk the new tug MARTIN SWAIN, bound up with two vessels in tow, a few minutes after 2 o'clock yesterday morning. Captain Ed Tormey, of the MARTIN SWAIN, arrived in this city shortly after the accident, but refused to tell anything about the matter. It was learned, however, from reliable authority that the accident happened about as follows:
      The SWAIN, on arriving at a proper distance from the GOULD, blew two whistles, which the GOULD answered with one. The SWAIN blew two again, and again the GOULD answered with one. By this time the boats were dangerously close, but neither captain was willing to give in, both claiming to have the right of way. The SWAIN for the third time blew two whistles and received the same answer as at first. The echoes of the whistles had scarcely died out when the JAY GOULD came crashing into the starboard side of the tug, sinking her almost instantly.
The schooner MARIA MARTIN, which, with the MARENGO, was in tow of the SWAIN at the time, came on and lost her headgear in collision with the GOULD. She came to anchor, and will probably come here for repairs. The MARENGO passed on up in tow of the McCLELLAN. The SWAIN lies on her port side in 13 feet of water, at the head of Bois Blanc Island, and will, it is thought, be easily raised. She is comparatively a new tug. Her hull was launched six years ago, and she was allowed to remain in an unfinished condition until last winter, when she was completed. She is the property of Captain S. B. Grummond, of this city, and is valued at $30,000. The accident to her is particularly unfortunate at the present time, as she is intended chiefly for the wrecking business, which is generally very lively at this time of year.
      It is generally conceded that a great amount of what is usually called bullheadedness was displayed by both captains in adhering with such tenacity to the course on which they started. The SWAIN, having a tow should have received some consideration from a propeller with no consort, while on the other hand the downward bound boat is usually supposed to have the right of way, as it is much more difficult to stop or handle her, while a boat bound up can be easily managed.
      Correspondence from Amherstburg states that the tug was keeping along the Canada shore, and seeing the propeller coming down, head towards the SWAIN, the latter blew one whistle, and the propeller answered with one whistle, but did not change her course. When it was seen that the propeller was continuing her course, the wheel of the tug was put hard over. Just then the GOULD struck the SWAIN amidships on the starboard side, making a hole through her planking and frames four feet wide, and extending from the rail almost to the keel. Those on board the SWAIN who were on deck immediately climbed up the stern of the GOULD, but were hardly on board when the MARIA MARTIN came up and struck the GOULD amidships. The crew of the SWAIN were then transferred to the schooner. As soon as the SWAIN could release herself she was given full head of steam and ran across the river and beached herself on the head of Bois Blanc Island.
      Cleveland Herald
      Friday, September 30, 1881

      . . . . .

      THE WRECKED SCHOONER. -- Detroit, Sept. 29. -- The schooner MARIA MARTIN, damaged by collision with the propeller JAY GOULD, arrived here today for repairs, but was forced to go to Port Huron, as she could not get a dry dock here. Her head gear is gone and her stem split. The work of raising the sunken schooner VICTOR has been started.
      Cleveland Herald
      Friday, September 30, 1881


Schooner MARIA MARTIN. U. S. No. 16433. Of 568.45 tons gross; 540.03 tons net. Built Cleveland, O., 1866. Home port, Cleveland, O. 175.0 x 32.7 x 13.4
      Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1891

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Reason: collision
Lives: nil
Remarks: Repaired
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William R. McNeil
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Maria Martin (Schooner), U16433, collision, 27 Sep 1881