THE BARGE W. L. PECK FOUNDERS
The propeller Oneida arrived here yesterday with the crew of the barge W. L. Peck, which foundered Monday morning off Ashtabula. Capt. G. W. Pardee, of the Oneida, made the following statement to a FREE PRESS representative:
"We left Buffalo, coal laden, for Fort William at 4 o'clock Sunday morning. The Oneida was towing the barges Harold and Peck in the order named. The wind was blowing fresh from the south, and we followed the south shore up. At about 6:30 o'clock Sunday night, the wind suddenly shifted to the northwest, blowing hard, and when the sea began to make, I headed for the north shore to get into smooth water. We were about six miles above Erie when the wind shifted. At midnight a lantern signal was shown from the Peck, and I checked down and sent a boat's crew in a yawl to find out what the trouble was. Her captain reported her aleak, but said her pumps kept her free, so we kept on. At 6:30 o'clock Monday morning her flag was raised, and I let go the towline and turned the steamer around to her. We got as close as we could to the Peck, and her captain informed me that she was rapidly filling and he wanted to abandon her. I then told him to get ready, and while they were doing so I made a circuit of the tow with the steamer. When I got along side again I noticed that they were about to lower the yawl, but they stopped when I told him they would be swamped if they tried that method. One of my men then threw a rope, which was caught on the Peck and tied around the waist of the woman cook. She jumped into the lake and was pulled aboard the Oneida, a little wet but uninjured. The same plan was followed with the four men and the captain. But a few minutes after the last man was taken off the barge made a lurch and sank like a pot of lead. She had coal both on deck and in the hold. She lies in seventy-two feet of water between fifteen and eighteen miles north-northwest of Ashtabula."
The Peck was built at Saginaw in 1873, registered 343 tons, was valued at $3,500, rated B1½, and was owned by Pinett Bros., of Saginaw. On account of her low rating it is thought she was uninsured.
The Oneida lay here all day yesterday making repairs to her shaft bearings.