Thunder Bay Island, Oct. 9, 1850
Messrs. Editors of the Free Press.
Gents: With much regret, I have to inform you of the total loss of the steamer Benj. Franklin, at 5 o'clock yesterday morning, on the shoal on the southeast point of the Island. Passengers, officers and crew all safe.
The steamer was headed for the Island as usual, and, when within her customary distance, her help put "a port" to head her to the eastward, but owning to a long continuance of westerly and north west winds, and a sudden shift of wind from the southward, a most extraordinary current from the westward set across the shoal at the southeast point of the Island, by which the vessel was swept on the shoal.
All that could be done to save her was done by Capt. Jones, her worthy commander.
By the prompt assistance of the fishermen with their boats (from the Island,) and the indefatigable endeavors of Capt. Jones, some 500 barrels of her cargo is now on shore, and most of the boat's furniture has been saved. The wind now is south and a very heavy sea running: the vessel is breaking up. I have been an eye witness to what I have stated. I was first to board her after she struck, and nearly swamped by boat by the unusual force of the current running across the shoal.
Yours with much respect,
J. J. MALDEN
Keeper of Lights, Thunder Bay Island