The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
David Dows (Schooner), collision, 12 Sep 1881

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Detroit, Sept. 12. -- On Saturday evening a severe squall visited Lake Erie, doing great damage. The schooners DAVID DOWS and C. K. NIMS passed down the river in the same tow and were sailing parallel on Lake Erie, when the squall struck them. The DOWS luffed quickly, and though the NIMS' wheel was put hard over she was slow in coming up. The bows of the schooners came together with a terrible shock. The DOWS lost the headgear, foremast and topmast, but did not sink. The NIMS lost her headgear and floated nearly two hours, during which time she rolled out her fore and main masts, finally sinking in six fathoms off Bar point. The DOWS remained at anchor till today, when she was picked up by a tug and started for Buffalo.
      The crew of the NIMS floated all night in a yawl boat, and were picked up Sunday by the steambarge BIRKHEAD and brought to Detroit. Both vessels were grain laden, bound down.
      Cleveland Herald
      Tuesday, September 13, 1881

      Her Arrival At Buffalo.
Buffalo, N.Y., Sept. 13. - The schooner DAVID DOWS, which collided with and sank the schooner C.K. NIMS, in the passage between Point au Pelee and the islands Saturday night last, arrived in port this morning in a somewhat dilapidated condition and looking very badly, necessitating the working of all of her pumps to keep her free. Her bowsprit and jibboom were gone, together with maintop mast and the whole of her head-gear. The foremast was broken off half way, and nearly all of her sails are torn. Captain Sheldon, of the DOWS, says that the squall struck him about 8 o'clock Saturday night, five or six miles from Point au Pelee Island. The wind came up suddenly and furiously without warning, the night being quiet before the squall. The vessel was going at about nine miles an hour with a fair breeze from the southward, when the wind commenced blowing fast. had taken in some sails when the NIMS was sighted coming towards coming towards and working across my bow. I endeavored to change my course, but before it could be accomplished the NIMS struck me on the starboard side with her port bow, and immediately passed away from us. The forward rigging of the DOWS came down with a rush, and all the crew who were forward escaped accident. I called out to the NIMS, to know if any assistance was needed, but go no response, as she went out of hearing distance. As soon as some of the wreckage could be cleared away the anchor was let go and she came head to. The pumps were sounded and it was found there were twenty-two inches of water in the hold. We lay at anchor at the Point until 8 o'clock Sunday night, and was then taken in tow by the tug OWEN and brought to this port. The damage to the vessel will amount to several thousand dollars. She is loaded with 78,000 bushels of corn, consigned to A.P. Wright & Sons. he cargo is thought to be damaged some.
      The J.W. Hall Great lakes Marine Scrapbook, June/Sept., 1881

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Reason: collision
Lives: nil
Freight: grain
Remarks: Repaired
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 42.055277 Longitude: -83.116388
William R. McNeil
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David Dows (Schooner), collision, 12 Sep 1881