The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Sail Craft on Lake Superior
Buffalo Courier (Buffalo, NY), 17 Jul 1847, p. 3

Full Text
Sail Craft on Lake Superior

From the Detroit Free Press

We notice in some of our exchange papers, various accounts of the number of vessels on Lake Superior, which are very imperfect. Many seem to be under the impression that until a few years past, there were no vessels of any considerable tonnage on that Lake. this is an error.

As early as 1806, the fur companies owned two or three schooners that navigated those waters.-- Mr. Houghton, in his excellent work on the minerals of that section, gives an account of several. The schooner "Recovery," belonged to the British North-Western Company [sic: North West Company], before the last war. As soon as the two countries were known to be at odds, a stratagem was resorted to in order to save her. She was secreted in a narrow bay, on the north side of Isle Royal, and stripped of her spars, and covered with brush wood, where she lay until peace was declared. She was afterwards run down the rapids of the Ste. Marie, and used in the lumber trade on Lake Erie, by Capt. Fellows.-- Her hull now lies off Fort Erie.

The schooner "Mink," was in commissioni there before the war. She was also run down the rapids, and Tom Hammond, an officer who served under the gallant Perry on Lake Erie, employed her as a freighting craft for some years in this vicinity. She was finally sunk in the river Rouge, a few miles below us.

The third vessel, form Lake Superior, which had been employed there -- name not recollected -- was run down the rapids, and unfortunately went to pieces.

From 1815 to 1822, we learn from Mr. Houghton's work, the Lake was navigated by only a small schooner.

Some twelve years since, the fur business was again prosecuted with much success, and the American Fur Company built the "Astor," of 112 tons. Her timber was got out at Charleston, O., in the fall of 1834, and was shipped to the Sou [sic: Soo] in the spring following, by Oliver Newbury, Esq.-- The timber and plank was carried to the head of the rapids and put together. She was finished in August, and was sailed for La Pointe, by Captain C. G. Stanard, who continued to command her until 1842, when his brother took charge of her. She was wrecked at Copper Harbor in 1844, where her hull is still to be seen.

In 1837, the fur company built two other vessels, of some 20 tons each; one of them, however, was never launched. The "Madeline" was sailed by Capt. Angus, and employed in the fish trade.

In 1838, the fur company built the schooner "Wm. Brewster," of 73 tons, John Wood, master. Four years after, she was run down the falls, and is we believe, now on Lake Erie.

The fleet on the Lake is now rapidly increasing. Since the mines on its shore have commenced working, considerable tonnage is required, and will rapidly increase yearly. The present force on that Lake is--

Steamboat Julia Palmer 280 tons
Propeller Independence 280 "
Schooner Napoleon 180 "
" Algonquin 70 "
" Swallow 71 "
" Merchant 70 "
" Uncle Tom, about 40 "
" Chippewa, " 40 "
" Fur Trader, " 40 "
" Siskawit, " 40 "
" White Fish, " 50 "
" _____ "
" Total 1,161 "

The amount of tonnage now exceeds that on all the Lakes in 1819.

It is feared the "Merchant" is lost. At the latest dates from the Sou, nothing had been heard of her.

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Date of Publication:
17 Jul 1847
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 47.2696100547096 Longitude: -86.72507584375
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Sail Craft on Lake Superior