SHIPWRECK AND LOSS OF LIFE ON LAKE HURON
It is our painful duty this week to record the loss of four of our townsmen by shipwreck. The following are the particulars as they are likely to be known:
On the afternoon of the 30th Mr. John Bedford, a native of Birmingham, Warwickshire, England, Mr. Thomas Miles, son of (George Miles of Henley-in-Arden, of the same county, John Reynolds, son of Mr. Reynolds, Toronto, and a young lad Francis Longe, left this harbour in Mr. Bedford's sail boat bound for 'Manitouwahning' at the head of Lake Huron. The wind was blowing freshly from the south and the sky was cloudy and indicated a change of weather. At twilight the boat appeared about seven or eight miles distant from the harbour. At ten o'clock a violent squall came up from the southeast, accompanied with rain and thunder, and the night was very dark. At 12 o'clock the wind veered to the southwest and blew a gale. From a report it was hoped the young men had affected a landing on the [shore] north of Pine Point, about thirty miles distant, but this report turns out to be unfortunately incorrect, as a small schooner came into port on Wednesday bringing the mournful intelligence that the boat was seen at daybreak on the morning of the 31st running for the channel between Chiefs Point and Whitefish Island, about thirty miles dIstant, and missing the channel struck the reef of rocks and immediately disappeared, and the storm raged so furiously that no assistance could be rendered. The captain of the sloop who saw the disaster informed the crews of some other vessels and the next morning a party went out in search of the wreck. On searching the shore the first object they saw was a dog which was instantly recognized as Mr. Bedford's and in following the poor faithful creature he led them to the remains of the boat which had drifted over the reef and was in the bay about two miles from the fatal spot.
Search was immediately made for the bodies and repeated daily until the vessel left, but unfortunately without success. A few barrels and boxes were picked up, and Mr. Bedford's portable writing desk which are now in the possession of the master of the schooner MARY ANN. A party [is] going up with a return vessel to make a further search for the remains of the four unfortunate men. Mr. Bedford was a member of one of the oldest and most respectable families in Birmingham and having been ten years in Goderich his warm friendly feelings and obliging disposition had gained him many friends who deeply regret his melancholy fate.
Note: --- After foregoing was in type we received from Capt. Crabb of the MARY ANN a communication on the subject which will appear in our next issue.
Goderich Huron Signal
Friday. November 10, 1848
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Goderich, Nov. 8, 1848
SIR - The following details will inform your readers of the melancholy loss of the schooner rigged boat WING AND WING of this port, together with crew, consisting of John Bedford, owner, Thomas Miles, John Reynolds, and Francis Longe, on Chiefs Point, about three miles below Whitefish Island, being one of the Chantry Islands, situated on Lake Huron. About ten o'clock on Monday evening, October 30th, the wind which had been blowing from the southeast suddenly chopped around southwest and blew a perfect hurricance on Tuesday morning. Just before sunrise the captain of the schooner DRAGON observed, as he thought, a vessel run ashore but which proved to be the above boat, but having no boat and it blowing too hard to make any of the other vessels hear by hailing, the sea was at the time running tremendous and breaking on the reef mast high. How she lived out the night was a miracle. From the anpearance of the boat when found she apparently up ended right over, her bowsprit being drove clean in and her mastheads looking as if they had been pounded with a sledgehammer. The boat finally bent over the reef and drifted ashore on the bar. On Wednesday I sent my boat ashore after learning the above particulars, which could not return until the next day on account of the weather. A thorough search has since been made for their bodies but up to Sunday evening last without success. On the same day [of] I the above wreck the propeller RACINE, from Chicago hound to Kingston with a load of beef, tallow, and hides had drifted over this shore having lost her canvas and boat, and got out of wood. She must have driven ashore and probably all hands have perished if she had not opportunly discovered the vessels then lying in Whitefish harbour, which was loaded there with fish, when she fortunately ran in with safety. Immediately after her another large vessel, which proved to be the GEORGE DAVIES of Buffalo with near 10,000 bushels of wheat on board, hove in sight round the point, and likewise discovered the vessels, the captain of which had given up all hopes of saving either the vessel or their lives having lost most of his canvas but which got in the harbour safe. If there was a chart of the Canada coast with the courses from the particular principal points from the opposite shore laid down many lives and much valuable property might be saved.
Goderich Huron Signal
Friday. November 17. 1848