Maritime History of the Great Lakes
George Stone (Propeller), U86261, aground, 13 Oct 1909
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Cleveland, October 13. -- At the office of A.M. Bradley Company here it is announced that a steamer reported ashore on Grubbs Reef, is the GEORGE STONE, a wooden vessel of 3,000 tons capacity, commanded by Capt. Howell. How the accident occurred is not known.
      The keeper of the Grubb Reef light, talking over the Canadian government telephone to the Journal here at noon, says the GEORGE STONE is now on fire and burning rapidly. He dosen't know what has become of the crew, but thinks they were taken off by a passing steamer this morning. They are not now on the STONE.
      Buffalo Evening News
      October 13, 1909

      Wooden Freighter Goes Ashore at Point Pelee, and Small Boat is Capsized in Heavy Surf.
Detroit, Oct. 14. -- In the wreck of the steamer GEORGE STONE of Cleveland on Point Pelee, Ont., upper Lake Erie added a gruesome chapter to the history of marine disasters on the Great Lakes. Six lives were lost and twelve were saved and the tail end of the recent gale is lashing a hopelessly lost vessel that was not insured and belonged to M. A. Bradley of Cleveland.
      The victims who lost their lives were Paul Howell and Peter Daley of Erie, Pa., who was a passenger and friend of the captain, and six members of the crew, who were capsized in the surf attempting to go ashore for assistance. Two of the crew clung to the overturned boat four hours until the drifted ashore, six were drowned when the life boat capsized and the remaining ten members of the crew were taken off the wreck about noon by the steamer F. M. OSBORNE of Cleveland and brought to Detroit late in the day.
      One of the ten brought to Detroit, John Diedrich, was knocked into the Detroit River by a crowd of strikers on the docks and narrowly escaped drowning.
      Battle For Life.
The wooden steamer GEORGE STONE, 270 feet long and 40 feet beam, built in 1893 and having a gross tonnage of 1841, left Ashtabula, O., Monday at 3:30 P. M., with a load of coal for Racine, Wis. She began to feel the effect of the southwest gale about 6:30 Monday evening and at midnight she began a desperate battle for life.
      All day Tuesday she fought valiantly, but towards evening it became apparent that the pumps were unequal to the task of removing the water that poured into her hold through the seams opened by the buffeting of the waves. About 2:30 A. M. today the STONE struck with a terrific jar upon the sand bar known as Grubbs reef, nearly five miles off the western shore of Point Pelee.
      Until daybreak the shipwrecked crew remained in the forward cabins and pilot house. Then one man was sent aloft with a bed sheet which he waved from the forward mast. But though three or four steamers came within sight, none responded and it was decided that help must be summoned from the shore. The vessel was now beginning to break up forward.
      Fire added to the danger of the situation. The pilot house burned to the deck before the blaze was subdued by the waves and spray. It is thought that one of the many lamps that were kept lighted in the pilot house during the night to warm the drenched and shivering men was overturned by pounding of the boat on the reef.
      Crew in the Breakers.
      Towards 9 o'clock today the danger of the vessel being broken to pieces became acute and captain Howell picked his crew for an attempt to reach shore in one of the small boats. The wooden boat was tried first but while the attempt was being made to launch her, the sea drove her against the steamer's side and broke a great hole in her side. Then was launched the steel life boat, having air compartments at each end. In this boat the captain and his seven companions pulled away from the wreck.
      The staunch little craft fought her way towards shore but when almost outside the zone of danger, a mountain comber capsized her and left her eight passengers struggling in the icy breakers. Second mate Hindle and wheelsman Conner were the only ones who managed to get a hold on the life boat and they clung to it until driven ashore by the storm.
      Captain Grubb of the Point Pelee Light House took Hindle and Conner to his home where they quickly recovered from the effect of their four hour experiences. The bodies of Peter Daley; Cook Lucas and oiler Boyer were recovered from the breakers by Captain Grubb.
      Meanwhile the ten members of the crew who were left on board the wrecked vessel, knew nothing of the fate of their companions. About 11 o'clock the upbound steamer F. M. OSBORNE of Cleveland responded to their signal of distress.
      Buffalo Evening News
      October 14, 1909
      An examination of the sunken steamer STONE made by the Reid Wrecking Company, has led to the belief that after a bulkhead has been built in the forward section of the boat it will be possible to remove her to a drydock at Port Huron. Almost 2000 tons of coal have been lightered from her.
      Buffalo Evening News
      November 11, 1909
GEORGE STONE Built June 20, 1893 Bulk Propeller - Wood
U. S. No. 86261 1841 gt -1501 nt 270' x 40' x 19.1'
Stranded and burned on Grubb Reef, Pelee Passage, Lake Erie, on October 13, 1909; 5 lives lost.
      Frank Wheeler & Co., West Bay City Shipbuilding Master List
      Institute for Great Lakes Research
      Perrysburg, Ohio

Steam screw GEORGE STONE. U. S. No. 86261. Of 1,841 tons gross. Built 1893. On October 13, 1909 vessel stranded on Grubb Reef, near Point Pelee, Ont. With 18 persons on board, 6 lives were lost.
      Reported Loss of American Vessels
      Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1910

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Reason: aground
Lives: 6
Freight: coal
Remarks: Total loss
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 41.908055 Longitude: -82.508888
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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George Stone (Propeller), U86261, aground, 13 Oct 1909