The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Commercial Advertiser (Oswego, NY), Mon., July 8, 1872

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The Jamaica.

We have had an interview with Alderman Wheeler who has just returned from Lake Huron, where he has been to superintend the raising of the schooner, Jamaica, the account of the capsizing of which we published several weeks since.

The attempt to raise the vessel has been entirely successful. Capt. Wheeler reached the scene of his labors on Sunday the 30th ult., at about two o'clock in the morning. The vessel was found in about fifty-five feet of water, three miles from beech, off Rock Falls, on the west shore of Lake Huron, about sixty miles from Port Huron, the nearest harbor.

For the purpose of raising his vessel Capt. Wheeler employed the Coast Wrecking Company, with their apparatus, consisting of the steamer Rescue with large pontoons, recently built. The tug Gen. Burnside was also employed in the work. As the process of raising the vessel was one of interest we will describe it briefly.. The pontoons are large vessels built like a box, one hundred and twenty feet long, twelve feet deep and sixteen feet wide. By means of diving bells, huge chains were swept under the Jamaica, as she lay upon the bottom. The pontoons were ranged upon either side of the sunken vessel, and the ends of the chains were brought up through holes or "wells" in the center of the pontoons; The chains were then hauled tight by means of hydraulic Jacks, After which water was let into the pontoons until they sunk to their decks in the Lake, the chains being constantly hauled tight as the pontoons sunk into the water.

After the chains were made fast, with the decks of the pontoons sunk to the surface of the lake, the pumps operated by steam power, were set going, which emptied the pontoons, the immense floating power of which by means of chains, raised the sunken vessels as the pontoons themselves raised above the surface of the water. When the vessel was thus raised several feet from the bottom the whole was towed towards the shore until the bottom was again touched, when the chains were loosened, the pontoons were again sunk, and the same process repeated.

It was a work of patience, but was entirely successful, and the Jamaica is saved.

Capt. Wheeler states that the only serious damage to the vessel is the lifting of her decks, somewhat, by the swelling of the grain. With proper repairs to the deck, the Jamaica will be as good as new, and will again take her place among the best schooners on Lake Ontario.

The unfortunate woman Mrs Weatherhead, who went down with the Jamaica was first discovered in the kitchen floating in the water in a standing position, with her arms folded. The remains were properly cared for and was buried with funeral services.

The wheat, owing to the coldness of the lake, was not badly injured, and was sold to a distiller at Walkerville, Canada opposite Detroit where Capt. Wheeler left the Jamaica on Friday last undergoing the process of unloading.

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Mon., July 8, 1872
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Richard Palmer
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Commercial Advertiser (Oswego, NY), Mon., July 8, 1872