The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
One Dead in Storm; 4 Hurt at Statler as Skylight Falls
Cleveland Leader (Cleveland, OH), 10 Nov 1913, p. 1-2

Full Text
One Dead in Storm; 4 Hurt at Statler as Skylight Falls
Glass Crashes on Diners in Hotel Cafe; Live Wires Fill Streets, Car Service Demoralized, City completely Cut off From Telephone and Telegraph Communication Since Early Last Night; Boats In Peril, City in Darkness
Thunder and Lighting Flashes Amid the Snow

Cleveland was dealt a paralyzing blow yesterday by one of the worst storm [sic] in its history. Thousnds [sic] of homes, many of the city's hospitals, churches and other public institutions were plunged into darkness when electric light wires were torn from poles and lay in the streets, a menace to life.

A wind that shrieked and howled through the city all day and nearly all night attained a velocity of more than sixty miles an hour and swept pedestrians and vehicles before it like autumn leaves. One man was killed and hundreds had narrow escapes from death.


Lifesavers ready as Steamer Fights waves to Reach Shelter of Harbor

While the storm was at its height the steamer Isabella Boyce, with the barge J. J. Barlum in tow, boiled into the harbor after what Captain W. R. Pringle, 5122 Woodland avenue, called one of the most desperate battles with the elements he ever had experienced.

Close behind the Isabella Boyce and Barlum came the fish tugs Castnet, Lorain and Rowira, all of which had struggled for hours against the mountainous seas and terrific gale.

So high were the waves and so fierce the wind that tugs refused to venture outside the breakwater when Captain Pringle, of the Isabella Boyce, blew signal after signal for a tow. He was forced to take a chance of piling his own steamer and the barge upon the breakwater. Old-time lakemen shook their heads when they saw the two boats making for the harbor entrance.

Captain Hansen, of the life-savers, had his crew ready at their life-boat when the two ships were sighted in a smother of foam far up the lake.

Every member of the crew of nine on the Boyce wore a life-belt when the boat tore through the harbor entrance into the comparatively still water behind the breakwater.

Crews in Peril of Lives as Current Threatens to Drive Ship on Breakwater

"We left Port Huron at 1 o'clock yesterday," said Captain Pringle. "And when we tied up at the dock here this afternoon I considered myself one of the luckiest men in the world."

"Many times on the trip down I though [sic] we never would sight land, but the old Boyce is a pretty good sea boat and she stood up all the way. Some of the time our propeller was entirely out of the water threatening to tea the engines out of her as it thrashed around. Sometimes the boat seemed to fairly stand on end. Then she would take a big sea over the bow and I would think she never would come up from under it.

"When we neared the harbor entrance I though we wouldn't be able to make it. The wind was right out of the nor'west and a current was ripping across the harbor mouth that threatened to send us onto the east breakwater time and again. I shudder to think what might have [p. 2] happened to those fellows on the barge if our tow line had parted while we were close to the breakwater."

The crews of the fish tugs all told stories of equally thrilling battles with the storm. The Rowira and Lorain, both owned by the Ranney Fish Company, fought their way against the wind and head sea all the way from Dunkirk, N.Y. The giant waves almost completely wrecked the deck houses of all three tugs.

When the tug Lorain reached her dock near Main avenue and W. 10th street, Captain John Purdy found his wife, worn from anxiety for his safety, waiting for him.

Mrs. Purdy had come on from Dunkirk Saturday night to join her husband here. Captain Purdy had told her he would arrive at about 10 o'clock yesterday morning. All morning and until late afternoon, when the tug arrived, Mrs. Purdy stood on the Superior viaduct drenched with rain, chilled and worn out with the fight to keep her balance against the force of the gale.

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Date of Publication:
10 Nov 1913
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  • Ohio, United States
    Latitude: 41.4995 Longitude: -81.69541
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One Dead in Storm; 4 Hurt at Statler as Skylight Falls