The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
John Wesley (Schooner), rescued, 25 Mar 1861

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A Marine Disaster - Narrow Escape of a Schooner!
      The season of disasters on the Lakes has opened early. A schooner was wrecked last week above Milwaukee, and went to pieces. On Saturday night there was a disaster near the mouth of our harbor which came near being a serious one for those involved.
The British schooner JOHN WESLEY of Port Hope, Capt. Alward, cleared the harbor about six o'clock on Saturday evening for Port Hope, having a cargo of plaster, garden seeds and merchandise. The wind was blowing pretty strong but the Captain was anxious to get away and had confidence on his being able to get clear of the land and weather the gale outside.
When he got outside he found the gale increasing, the wind hauling to the north and the sea very heavy. he decided at once to put about and get into the harbor again. In coming in he could not hold the ship up to the wind and she was fast going toward the sunken east pier when the anchor was let go, and the canvas lowered. Fortunately the anchor took hold in time to save the vessel, but she was in peril every moment when she had hauled up.
The sea was running high and breaking over the vessel, and the crew were powerless. A signal of distress was made and the sailors and citizens of Charlotte went to the rescue. One of the Government life-boats was launched, by the means of which a line was got to the WESLEY, and after three hours' labor the craft was got into smoother water and secured from danger. It was midnight, however, before the object was effected. The rescue was creditable to all concerned, but have not not their names to publish.
Capt. Alward is an old sailor, and is among the first to come out in the spring and the last to go into port in the fall. His vessel was the first and only arrival as yet from abroad at this port. Had he kept on his course on Saturday night he would have had a heavy gale to encounter, and if nothing worse befell him he would have been driven far away to the eastward of his destination.
      Rochester Union and Advertiser
      Monday, March 25, 1861

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: rescued
Lives: nil
Freight: merchandise
Remarks: Uninjured
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
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Geographic Coverage:
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 43.15478 Longitude: -77.61556
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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John Wesley (Schooner), rescued, 25 Mar 1861