The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Philo Scoville (Schooner), U19620, aground, 6 Oct 1889

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      The Autumn Gales Did More Damage to Shipping Than Was First Reported.
The list of accidents made by the late gale grows larger. On Sunday morning the schooner PHILO SCOVILLE went ashore at Russell Island, Georgian Bay. Capt. John O'Grady was drowned. The remainder of the crew reached the shore safely. Off Forestville the propeller G. W. DYER is at anchor disabled, rudder and shoe are lost. A sailor, name unknown, who was injured by the wheel of the barge WEEKS, died at Port Huron yesterday.. The schooner STARLING is full of water at Lyons Head, Georgian Bay, the result of being in the gale. She was bound for Buffalo. Near the Beavers, Lake Michigan, the schooner MINERAL STATE is reported ashore.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Tuesday, October 8, 1889

      . . . . .
LOSS OF THE PHILO SCOVILLE.- The tug George Douglas came down from Tobermoray on Wednesday, bringing the Mate and a sailor of the Philo Scoville, which was wrecked on Sunday, 6th inst., off Rabbitt Island. The sailor, N.R. Nelson, who is lying at the Ross House here recovering from his injuries, gives the following account of the disaster:
The Philo Scoville left Collingwood light for Escanaba, Mich., on Saturday morning. We had a strong, fair wind until we were passing the Flower Pot Island. As we came past the end the wind came so strong around the island that we found it impossible to bring the vessel up and clear the land, so we had to jibe her. This caused us the loss of her foresheets, and as they were carried away the vessel became unmanageable. As the vessel jibed I was at the wheel, and the sheet of the mainsail caught around my ankle and dragged me on the wheel. I was stunned and knew nothing till they were taking me clear of the ropes. I was pretty badly hurt, but managed to get down into the cabin. I heard them getting down the sails and letting the anchors go. A man was kept in the chains heaving the line, and we knew we were dragging anchor steadily. Just as night was closing in the anchor held, and then our boat was only some twenty or thirty feet from the shore. The wind blew heavily all night and there was a heavy sea, but at daylight on Sunday morning we were in the same place. Then I think the wind shifted, for the vessel began to pound on the rocks. Capt O'Grady saw then that there was no hope for the boat, and he set the stay and paid out the chain to beach her. She swung round and caught on the rocks, and men were sent to try to reach shore to make lines fast, but no one could reach shore. The vessel took a lurch towards deep water and the captain thought he would try to reach shore and make a line fast. He got on the rocks but the breakers caught him and dashed him back. I heard him about two or three times. They threw lines to him, but he did not get them. I think he was drowned and then jammed between the boat and the rocks. The mate meanwhile had got ashore and made a line fast and all the rest were saved. My injuries consist of three or four broken ribs. We were kindly cared for by the fishermen, who came to us on Sunday morning and took us to Tobermoray. I think the Scoville may be saved, but she must be badly damaged by the pounding she got. Captain O'Grady did all that could be done to save his vessel and crew. The captain's body was sealed up in a casket and expressed to Chicago. One arm is gone from the shoulder, and one leg from the hip.
      Owen Sound Advertiser
      October 17,1889

      On Oct. 6 1889 the Detroit schooner PHILO SCOVILLE bound from Coliingwood to Escanaba, Michigan, light, was overwhelmed by a northeast gale as she entered MacGregor Channel. She was soon blown into the rocks on the north shore of Russel Island, a short distance west of the wreck of the NELLIE SHERWOOD. When Captain John O'Grady tried to get ashore he fell into the water and was crushed to death between the vessel and the rocks. The balance of the crew were taken off by a life-saving party from Tobermory and were later conveyed to Owen Sound on the tug DOUGLASS with the body of their unfortunate master.
      At Russel Island the weather closed in. "The schooner PHILO SCOVILLE has been abandoned to the underwriters. The last reports represented her condition as hopeless." She quickly broke up and sank in deep water.
      The PHILO SCOVILLE was launched by Quayle & Martin at Cleveland on Aug. 18, 1863. In 1881 she was sold to a Canadian, H.M. Cook, and was registered at Collingwood. At that time her name was changed to MIDLAND ROVER (Can. #71120). About 1886 she was sold back into United States registry and resumed her original name and number.
      by Patrick Folkes

Schooner MIDLAND ROVER. Official Canada No. 71120. Of 353 tons gross. Built Cleveland, O., 1863. Home port, Collingwood, Ont. 140.0 x 30.0 x 12.4. Owned by Thomas Marks, of Port Arthur, Ont.
      List of Vessels on the Registry Books of the
      Dominion of Canada on Dec. 31, 1886

Schooner PHILO SCOVILLE. U. S. No. 19620. Of 323.50 gross tons; 307.33 tons net. Built at Cleveland, Ohio in 1863. Home port, Detroit. 139.6 x 30.4 x 11.3
      Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1889

RIG: Schooner
GROSS: 323.50 (Pre-list; 1869; 1870; 1871; 1872; 1873; 1875; 1876; 1877; 1878; 1879; 1880; 1880-
81; 1882; 1883; 1884)
CITY: Cleveland
HOME PORT: Buffalo, NY (Pre-list; 1869; 1870; 1871; 1872; 1873); Cleveland, OH (1875); Rochester, NY
(1876); Geneva, NY (1877); Rochester, NY (1878; 1879; 1880; 1880-81; 1882; 1883; 1884)
YEARS LISTED: Pre-list; 1869; 1870; 1871; 1872; 1873; 1875; 1876; 1877; 1878; 1879; 1880; 1880-81; 1882;
1883; 1884.

Media Type:
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Reason: aground
Lives: 1
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 45.265277 Longitude: -81.696944
William R. McNeil
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Philo Scoville (Schooner), U19620, aground, 6 Oct 1889