The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), 6 May 1853

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p.2 Further Particulars Connected With the Burning of the Ocean Wave

The escape of Mrs. Stevenson, wife of Jas. Stevenson, Esq., of the Branch Bank of Montreal, in Hamilton, was a very extraordinary one. She was sleeping in a stateroom with her little daughter, when she was alarmed by the cries of the passengers. She rushed to the adjoining state-room, where her two young sons and her maid were sleeping; failing to make them hear by calling, she burst in the door, only to find them suffocated by the smoke. Taking her remaining child, she was pursuaded by the purser to jump overboard, and was tied to one of the braces of the wreck by the first mate, where she remained two or three hours, slightly exposed to the action of the fire, till taken up. Her daughter was lost, however, and the gallant first mate who assisted her, is also among the missing. Mrs. Stevenson went up to Hamilton on Sunday by the Mayflower, and it is said will recover entirely from her injuries. Miss McLellan, of Cornwall, belonged to the party we have mentioned as bound for Cincinnati. She altered her intention, however, when she reached Niagara Falls, and returned - to meet her death. None of the boats were launched. They were all upon the promenade deck, and were first attacked by the flames. The fire engine and buckets were in the same quarter, and the use of them was prevented by the same cause. The Ocean Wave was a very fine vessel of large burden, built by the Messrs. Molson last season in Montreal for the Through line, but sold to the Ogdensburgh Company, to be used as a freight boat. The cargo consisted of about 1800 barrels of flour, 64 barrels of pearl ash, from 60 to 80 barrels seed, 300 kegs butter, and some hogsheads of hams, besides way freight. The vessel and the flour were fully insured. Mr. Henry Sherwood is said to have intended to go by the Ocean Wave, on her unfortunate voyage, but missed his passage by a few minutes. [Globe]

The Ocean Wave - The steamboat Ocean Wave, burnt on Lake Ontario, and said by Telegraph to have been owned in Ogdensburgh, had no insurance on her in Wall street. It was believed by some that she was a British vessel, and owned by merchants in Canada. It was said that English steamers trading to our ports ought to come under the laws of Congress regulating the safety of passengers going on board of them, because the English Government regulated and limited the number of passengers which were engaged by American vessels sailing from Liverpool and other English ports. The Ocean Wave was evidently burnt in British waters (the middle of the lake being the boundary line.) If she was an English vessel the investigation would fall under the cognizance of the British Canadian authorities. If she was an American vessel, although burnt on the British side of the line, it was said that she would still be under the jurisdiction of the United States, and the cause of her disaster subject to the legal examination of the United States Government authorities, because sovereignty goes with the flag of the country. [N.Y. Herald]

* The New York Herald is informed, that the Ocean Wave was a Canadian Steamboat, sailing under British Colors, but owned by the Ogdensburgh Railroad Company. An investigation is now taking place at Kingston, through the medium of a Coroner's Inquisition, and it is not probable that the Verdict of the Jury will be received until the melancholy case has been fully enquired into.

The Steamer Scotland

This much talked-about vessel came down the Lake very early on Thursday morning. As the boat had to proceed onwards to Montreal, and as Capt. Patterson and his Crew were deeply anxious to dispel the calumnies so industriously circulated respecting the share the Scotland did take or should have taken in the rescue of the Passengers and Crew from the burning wreck of the Ocean Wave, a City Magistrate was called from his bed, and the subjoined examination taken. The Mate staid behind to attend the adjourned Inquest held last night.

City of Kingston - To Wit: Personally appeared before me, James O'Reilly, of the City of Kingston, Esquire, one of Her Majesty's Justices of the Peace for said City, George Patterson, Master of the Steamer Scotland, and owned by Messrs. McPherson & Crane; John Cousins, Purser; and John McCollough, Engineer; Henry Wilson, Mate; David Stalker, Pilot; Joseph Harris, Steward; Samuel Cutler, William Clancy, and James Flanigan, Wheelsmen; William Chiverton; Robert Campbell, James Chanier, James Bates, Henry Mee, Patrick Drew, Peter Laughry, John McCadden, Charles Dorson and Oliver Bedour, deck hands, belonging to said steamer; and being sworn upon the Holy Evangelist, deposeth and say - That the said steamer Scotland left the Port of Kingston, bound for Hamilton, twenty minutes before one o'clock of the morning of the thirtieth of April last; at about half-past one, when near Nine Mile Point, saw a light ahead, supposed to be between the Ducks and Long Point, and at a distance of about twenty-five or thirty miles; between four and five o'clock, discovered it to be a burning vessel; the course of the Scotland was immediately altered a few points, so as to make the light; and at about sun-rise got abreast of the hull of a vessel burned to the water's edge, then distant from us about thirty yards; the engines were immediately stopped, and we examined all round the burnt vessel, and could see nothing floating about; there were two Schooners lying, one on the larboard quarter of the wreck, heaving her anchor, the other on the starboard beam, heading down the lake, with mainsail and jib set; the Scotland made for the last mentioned vessel, and as the steamer approached the schooner, the latter hoisted her flying jib and foresail and continued on her course, with a moderate breeze from the north-west; in about a quarter of an hour Captain Patterson ordered the Mate to hail the schooner, which proved to be the Emblem, then distant not more than forty feet; the Captain enquired the name of the burnt vessel, and asked where were the people belonging to her; some person on the deck of the Emblem, supposed to be the Captain, replied, "The Ocean Wave," and that they had some of them on board; the Mate then asked them if they required any assistance; no answer was given. The other schooner was steering on her course for Kingston considerably ahead of the Emblem. We then supposed, as no answer was given to the last question, that all were saved. The Scotland then proceeded on her way to Hamilton. Before we got abreast of the wreck it had sunk. - Deponents are positive that there were no persons floating in the water near the wreck. The morning was beautiful and clear, and we could easily distinguish any object at a considerable distance from the steamer.

Sworn before me at the City of Kingston, the 5th day of May, 1853.

James O'Reilly, J.P.

Capt. Geo. Patterson, Jno. Cousens, Purser,

John McCulloch, Henry Wilson,

David Stalker, Joseph Harris,

Samuel Cutler, Henry Mee,

Patrick Drew, William Claney,

Peter Laughrey, James Flanagin,

William Chiverton, John McCadden,

Charles Dawson, Robert Campbell,

Oliver Bedard, James Conner,

James Bates.

-Imports - 4 5; Exports - 4 5.

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6 May 1853
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), 6 May 1853