The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
H. P. Baldwin (Schooner), U11199, aground, 7 Dec 1881

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Early Wednesday morning two schooners, the HENRY P. BALDWIN and COSSACK, heavily freighted with iron ore, were driven upon the beach off Lake View Park. They had been beating about for hours to make an entrance, but the terrific storm of wind and sleet and the heavy sea drove them around at will. The tug WINSLOW had them in tow, and when the line parted they were at the mercy of the sea. Signals of distress were fired as the huge vessels were rapidly driven shoreward, attracting the attention of the Government Life Saving Service, all hands of which were on the ground in short notice. The largest of the two vessels, the BALDWIN,
      Struck the Beach About Five o'clock
near the foot of Erie street, and the heavy sea preventing anything like a small boat putting off to the rescue, arrangements were hurriedly made by Captain Goodwin and his Life Saving crew to bring the hands ashore by means of the rescue car. The vessel lay on the beach about 250 feet from the shore, the situation of those on board growing more perilous every minute. The large waves struck the schooner, sweeping over her deck with terrible force and keeling the boat almost over on her side. An immense hole was stove in her stern, and through this the angry waves dashed with a loud roar. Most of the crew had lashed themselves to the rigging to prevent being washed overboard and quietly awaited the completion of arrangements in progress for their rescue.
      The Surf Broke Upon The Shore
With such fury that the men found it difficult to work, but in a short time the regulation mortar for the purpose of shooting a line to the wreck was in readiness, and at the signal the shot was fired. This consisted of an iron ball of twenty pounds weight, to which the line was attached by a spiral wire. When the rocket line had been successfully thrown over the wreck a large line was then attached to the shore and hauled off by the men aboard the rocking vessel. When this line was made safe a still larger one, a four inch hawser, was hauled on board and made fast to the rigging. The hawser having been thus made fast it was set up taut by the crew on shore with tackles and a large crotch. When all was ready
      The Breeches Buoy,
a contrivance for the accommodation of but one person, was sent off to the wreck, the men on board pulling on the hauling line. The first to get into the buoy was the female cook and the passage to the shore was made very quickly. The poor woman was nearly dead with the cold, her garments being saturated with water. She was taken into a warm caboose that stood on a switch near by and the buoy was sent back for another. It made nine trips in all, taking off the cook already referred to, seven seamen and Captain Cassidy. The work of rescuing these was completed about 6:30 o'clock and the Life Saving crew at once turned their
      Attention to The Other Boat,
which lay further west and some 450 feet from the shore. Daylight gave the rescuers some advantage in their work which now went forward with far greater rapidity. Large crowds began to assemble on the banks and many at once lent a willing hand. The first line thrown to the COSSACK parted, and there was quite a delay while the crew went to the station after another line. When all was ready the buoy was sent off to the wreck and those on shore could see the sailors on board conducting- almost carrying a woman to be placed in the car as the first passenger. She was so thoroughly chilled with the cold that she was lashed into the receptacle and all being ready
      The Signal to "Haul in"
was given by a waving of the hand. The buoy came gliding along the line, the rope giving underneath the weight so that the buoy touched the huge waves that mounted upwards as if eager to grasp the woman and drag her down. The men worked with a will, however, cheered on by the hearty voice of Captain Goodwin, and in a few moments the car was safe on shore. The poor, benumbed woman was lifted carefully out and carried to a warm fire in one of the cabooses near by. The buoy made six more trips to the vessel, bringing off captain Pete Bell and five seamen. The poor fellows, who had been out in the storm all night, were almost exhausted, but a warm fire and a few hot drinks soon restored them sufficiently to relate their story.
      The Two Schooners
were the HENRY P. BALDWIN, owned by Messrs. Patrick Smith & Sons, and H. J. Webb, of this city, and the COSSACK, owned by Captain Grummond, the Detroit boat man. They were both from Escanaba, loaded with iron ore for this port. The extreme cold almost paralyzed the seamen, leaving then scarcely strength enough to strap themselves to the rigging and await aid from shore. The rest of the story is already known.
At noon Wednesday the two vessels were in about the same helpless position. Should the heavy sea continue, the breaking to pieces of the BALDWIN is only a question of time. Both are scuttled, but the COSSACK is resting easy.
      The excitement all morning on the lake shore was at the highest pitch. Large crowds thronged the beach and banks gazing out upon the wrecks.
The Life Saving crew deserve great praise for their valiant work, The men stood to their post nobly and did not leave till all that could be done had been accomplished.
The BALDWIN has 850 tons of ore for the Pierce Furnace, of Sharpsville, Pa. She is 494 tons burthen, and was built in April, 1866 by J. M. Jones, of Detroit. She is valued at $15,800 in the Inland Lloyd's Register, and rates A 2½. She was refastened in 1879.
      The COSSACK had 600 tons of ore for the Dalliba Iron Company, of this city. She is 818 tons burthen, and was built in April 1866 by J. Navagh, of Oswego. She is valued at $10,200 in the Inland Lloyd's register, and rates A 2½. In 1880 she received extensive repairs, getting a new deck frame, three new spars and an outfit.
      Miss Bertha Brennan, the female cook aboard the COSSACK, was so completely exhausted that it was found necessary to take her to the City Hospital, where she is doing well. Miss Brennan was wet through in coming ashore, and as her change of clothing was aboard the vessel, Miss Nellie Robertson, on being informed of the unfortunate young lady's condition kindly furnished her with fresh warm clothing. Miss Mary Orris, the female cook of the BALDWIN, was also taken to the hospital. Under the skilful hands of the hospital physician she soon improved.
      The men on the tug WINSLOW gave the following account of the accident: About 3 o'clock they were five miles from here, and not liking the looks of the sky, they blew their whistle as a signal for the harbor tugs to come to them. After waiting some time the signal was given again. After that the whistle was repeated at short intervals, but still no harbor tug put in an appearance. About 3:30 the fleet was about half a mile out from the piers. The wind quickened its pace, and by 4 o'clock it had increased in velocity to thirty-six miles per hour. The WINSLOW headed the vessels around and signaled for the BALDWIN, which was in the rear, to let go her anchor, well knowing that she could not control both vessels. The BALDWIN failed to let go the line, and threw out her anchor. Soon the severe strain told and the line snapped, and the vessels went to the beach. The WINSLOW made an effort to pick them up again, but they were driven on the shore too quickly to allow of any assistance being given them. The tug PATRICK HENRY did not come out of the piers till after the tow line had parted.
      Mr. Grummond's tugs, the M. SWAIN and WINSLOW, are here waiting for the wind to die down, when they will make an effort to release the COSSACK.
      Cleveland Herald
      Thursday, December 8, 1881
      . . . . .

      The stranded schooners BALDWIN and COSSACK were still aground yesterday. The sea had died down, and the outfits were being taken off the vessels last evening. The BALDWIN is in very bad shape, and it is extremely doubtful if any of her hull or ore is rescued. The COSSACK is not much better off. She appears broken in two, and the starboard side is loosened up, the deck beams not being fastened. Captain Grummond, her owner, was here yesterday, and expected to leave last evening for his home in Detroit. The tug WINSLOW went to Detroit yesterday, but it is understood she will attempt to pull the schooner OGDEN off the beach on Lake Huron before attempting to release the COSSACK.
      Cleveland Herald
      Friday, December 9, 1881

      . . . . .

      Lake Marine. -- The schooner BALDWIN will probably not be experimented with.
The COSSACK was sold yesterday, just as she lies, by Captain S. B. Grummond to Mr. Thomas Axworthy, for a consideration said to be $1,200. The work of taking off the outfit was done by Captain Greenhaigh, and it has been stored in the sail-loft of Messrs. Grover & Son. Mr. Warner's steam pump will be put aboard the vessel, and an effort made to pump the water out of her. Should this be successful, the ore will be taken out and put on a lighter, and the vessel brought into port. This will be tried as soon as the wind is off shore.
      Cleveland Herald
      Saturday, december 10, 1881

      . . . . .

Mr. Axworthy, who lately purchased the schooner COSSACK, says no attempt will be made to release the vessel at present. She will be stripped, even down to taking out the topmasts and spars, and left till the spring. In case she is in fair condition, Mr. Axworthy will try and get her off the beach. It is thought better to do this than spend several days in getting ready to release the schooner and then have the work to do over, becaus of the many sudden storms at this time of year. From this it will be seen that the vessel's condition is worse than was supposed.
      Cleveland Herald
      Tuesday, December 13, 1881

      . . . . .

General Notes. -- The stranded schooners were not going to pieces yesterday, as was commonly reported, but acted as if they have several more days to hand together.
      Cleveland Herald
      Friday, December 16, 1881

      . . . . .
The schooner H.P. BALDWIN, which was sunk at Cleveland, has been floated and taken into the harbor. She will be repaired and fitted out again. The BALDWIN measures 599 tons, was built at Detroit by J.M. Jones, in 1866, and belonging to the late H.S. Halsted, of Chicago. She was a fine vessel and a good grain carrier.
      The J.W. Hall Great lakes Marine Scrapbook, June 1882.

Cleveland Leader. -- "There was a very large attendance at the sale of the wrecked schooner BALDWIN, sold yesterday at Marshal's sale. She was bid in by Mr. James Cunnes, of Smith's Tug office, for $2,900. She will make a capital lumber barge.
      The J.W. Hall Great Lakes Marine Scrapbook, Aug./Sept., 1882

The hull of the schooner BALDWIN is still in Pat Smith's dry dock at Cleveland. She will come out as a lumber barge some time during the summer.
      J.W. Hall Great Lakes Marine Scrapbook, March/April, 1883
Schooner H.P. BALDWIN. U. S. No. 11199. Of 495.15 tons gross; 470.40 tons net. Built Detroit, Mich., 1866. Home port, Cleveland, O. 177.6 x 33.0 x 12.0.
      Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1885

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: aground
Lives: nil
Freight: iron ore
Remarks: Got off
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ohio, United States
    Latitude: 41.4995 Longitude: -81.69541
William R. McNeil
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H. P. Baldwin (Schooner), U11199, aground, 7 Dec 1881