The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Watertown Times (Watertown, NY), Dec. 11, 1910

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For 32 Hours Crew and Wife of Mate Are in Cabin with Only Heat Supplied from Oil Lamp-Are Finally Rescued by Passing Steamer

Special to the Times

Oswego, Dec. 10, The crew of the steamer John Sharpless, who arrived her late yesterday afternoon from the Galloups, Island where they were wrecked, left for their respective homes this morning. Most of the members of the crew reside in Chicago, although the first mate Frank Russell and his wife reside in Ogdensburg.

Few crews of lake steamers have many more harrowing experiences than these 19 men and one women. From the time their boat crashed into rocks at 2 a.m. Thursday until Friday morning they were on the big freighter, fires all out and the only heat came from oil lamps which they lighted in the cabins. Only the timely arrival of the steamer Hinckley, which was picking up government buoys, saved the crew from probable death from exposure. The Hinckley took the crew and woman to this port where they arrived at 4:40 Friday afternoon, bringing the first news of the wreck.

The Sharpless is owned by Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Navigation co. She was bound from Chicago with cargo of 70,000 bushels of corn, part of which was for the R.H. McEwen Milling CO. Of Ogdensburg. All down the lakes she had had a hard voyage. She left Chicago on Dec. 1 and had encountered rough weather.

All her life boats but one had been smashed by the heavy seas. Thursday morning a blinding snowstorm raged on Lake Ontario. The Sharpless was picking her way through the night when there was a grinding crash and the big boat stopped

Capt. George Longely knew what it meant and aroused the crew.

The Galloups, where the boat struck are a small group of island about 80 miles due north of this city and about 18 miles west of Henderson Harbor. At Stony Island nearby is a light house. The spot is recognized by navigators as the most dangerous and treacherous reef on the entire chain of lakes.

As the boat grounded on the rock giant waves swept her from stem to stern flooding her boiler room and extinguishing her fires. Mrs. Frank Russell, wife of the first mate, was the only woman on board, and, although greatly frightened at first, regained her fortitude and displayed remarkable calmness throughout the rest of the time they were in their dangerous position. The temperature was below zero and a bitter cold wind swept over the boat. Her hatches were battered down and the crew sought the shelter of the cabin where they huddled about oil lamps tying to keep warm. The ice quickly formed on the decks and superstructure of the boat. Such a heavy sea was running that it was impossible to launch a lifeboat and go for aid, and owing to the lateness of the season there was no probability of their plight being noticed by another boat. All day Thursday and all Thursday night the little bland gathered in the cold cabin expecting that each instant a giant wave would wash the boat form the rocks and pound her to pieces.

Friday morning the wind had abated to a certain extent and the members of the crew decided to make a try to get to the lighthouse at Stony Island.

The single life boat was manned and the dangerous trip was made safely. The men returned to bring off the balance of the crew. The fog whistle on the Sharpless which was run by compressed air, was sounded as another ship was sighted. The ship responded and it proved to be the Hinckley, gathering up buoys for the winter. The Hinckley ran alongside the Sharpless and took off the crew and brought them to this port, where they arrived at 4:40 yesterday afternoon.

Although they had suffered greatly from the cold, they were in no danger, and today were as well as ever. The crew went to the Danio hotel, where they passed the night

The officers of the ship were as follows: Captain George Longley, St. Catharines, Ont. First Mate Frank Russell, Ogdensburg; Second Mate Philip Hourigan, Oswego; First Engineer, John J. Jones, Chicago; Second Engineer Thaxter Reed, Oshkosh; Wis. The members of the crew rescued are:

Patrick McGray, Edward Hinckel, Josef Mullen, John Ekbert, Edward Brown, William Elliott Thomas Drake Arie Akesone, Stephen Meade, Chicago; John Boeler, Milwaukee; John Cutler, Pittsburg; Joseph Sumley Toledo, O.

There were three other members of the crew whose names could not be ascertained..

While the boat is in a dangerous position, it is not thought that she will be battered to pieces, as the wind has gone down, and she will probably be gotten off safely. Navigation insurance expires on the great lakes Dec. 1, but any boat which leaves before midnight of the last day of her insurance continued until she arrives at her destination.. The steamer Sharpless is insured for $86,000.

Leaves for Oswego

Special to the Times

Ogdensburg. Dec. 10 Captain William Russell, father of First Mate Russell, left for Oswego this morning. Capt. Russell received the telegram from Oswego last night from his son saying that he and his wife had been saved.

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Dec. 11, 1910
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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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Watertown Times (Watertown, NY), Dec. 11, 1910