The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), 6 Dec 1856

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p.2 Chatts Canal - Pleasant News For The Ottawa - editorial from [Bytown Gazette]


A terrific storm of wind sleet and snow, commenced in this city about half-past 8 o'clock on Tuesday night, and continued with unabated fury util six o'clock yesterday morning. The steamer Monarch, ashore on the Island, was all but completely broken up. The waves swept entirely over her, and her deck and upper works are mostly gone. The steam pumps that were put on board on Tuesday, by Mr. Bundy, the energetic agent of the North Western Insurance Company, with the hope of pumping her out that night, are supposed to have been washed overboard, and some of them lost.

The underwriters, weather permitting, will make a survey of thie wreck this day, and if the prospect should at all warrant them, they will make another effort to get her off. Her cargo, much of which has been washed overboard, will be picked up along shore, also taken from the wreck and brought into port as soon as possible.

The schooner J.G. Beard was driven ashore in the gale of Tuesday night on the Island, a short distance above the Monarch. She is loaded with coal from Oswego. She lies stern on, and apparently easy in the sand. By being discharged and lightened, she may be got off with the assistance of the steam tug Page, which has very opportunately come from Oswego to aid the Monarch.

The large schooner Canada, of Oakville, loaded with salt and corn, left this port on Tuesday evening, and was driven ashore in the tempest about a mile east of Oakville. She is on a rock bottom, but up to 12 o'clock yesterday she had made no water. Captain Crooks came into the city yesterday afternoon to procure the assistance of the steam tug Page, and Captain Dobie of the Page agreed to go to her assistance. It is thought that after being unloaded she can be got off without sustaining material damage.

A large fore-and-aft schooner, supposed to be the Live Yankee of Milan, bound from Oswego to Lake Erie, went ashore yesterday morning in the gale near Port Credit. It is said that the crew in hopes of saving their lives had to take refuge in the rigging. No further particulars have reached us respecting her.

Another vessel went ashore three miles east of Toronto. We have been unable to learn whether she was in ballast or loaded or what is her position otherwise. She is said to be the Caledonia of this city.

The Annie Craig is aground on the bar at the North of the harbor but it is said she can be got off without damage.


Port Hope, Dec. 3rd - The Schooner Niagara ran ashore at Port Hope this afternoon. She left Bond Head harbor in consequence of the severity of the storm and made for Port Hope. She struck against the east pier and swung around grounding about 200 yards from the shore. She was laden with coal from Oswego to Bond Head. The inhabitants of the town went down and rendered every assistance, in saving the crew, and in the Attempt two lives were lost namely: Captain Stephen Woods of the Annie Maude of Port Hope, and Robert Campbell, mate of another schooner. The latter was a brother to Capt. Campbell, who was lost in the Ann Jane Brown a few days since.

From the Globe

The gale of Tuesday night and yesterday was one of the most severe ever known on Lake Ontario, and has resulted in great damage to shipping interests, the full extent of which is not yet known. The wind, which was from the east, commenced to blow very strong about 9 o'clock on Tuesday night and continued increasing until about four A.M. yesterday, when the weather slightly moderated, although there was a heavy sea on the lake all day yesterday.

The wind was most unfavorable for the steamer Monarch, wrecked on the other side opposite this city, and there is every probability that both the vessel and the cargo will prove a total loss. Two of Worthington's steam pumps, belonging to the North Western Insurance Company, were washed overboard during the night, and are not yet recovered. The violence of the sea has caused the hull to sink deeper into the sand, and it is feared that her decks will be lifted off by the waves. A survey will be made today, and efforts renewed to get her off.


A violent snow storm prevailed on the Lake on Tuesday night. In this city it also blew very hard, accompanied with showers of hail, until five o'clock in the morning. From the storm on the Lake many disasters to vessels have, in all probability, occurred. Intelligence of some of these reached the city yesterday afternoon. At Oakville, the schooner Canadian was driven ashore, where she now lies. And at Port Credit, the Live Yankee, a large fore-and-aft schooner, ran ashore about half a mile west of the port. In the morning her hands were seen in the rigging and efforts were being made to extricate the unfortunate mariners from their perilous position.

During the night the schooner J.B. Beard, for this port with a cargo of two hundred tons of coal, was driven ashore at the far side of the island, near Clindinning's hotel. This vessel was valued at $10,000, but was uninsured. Her cargo was worth $12,000. Happily no lives were lost.


Port Dalhousie, Dec. 2nd, 1856

My Dear Father, - As we are lying wind-bound at this port, I will take the opportunity to write you a few lines about matters and things in general. Well we have had awful weather on Lake Michigan - one steady Gale of wind from North and East for days together - our vessel lying to under close-reefed foresail. The second day out from Milwaukee, about noon, we saw a large Barque go down right before our eyes, without being able to render them the slightest assistance. She was a large black Barque, supposed to be the Sunlight of Buffalo. At the end of the third day we had to bear up and run back again to Milwaukee and came to under the Point. Soon the wind veered round to the East, and we had to get underweigh in a hurry I assure you. We lay in a sort of Bight, with the wind blowing right in - and snowing so thick that you could not see a rod ahead. We had an animating time of it, for an hour or two - well our brave vessel behaved nobly - stayed under nothing but her lower and fore staysail, which you know few vessels can do, in a sea like that we were contending with. Three vessels went ashore, and one cut away her masts to save her hull. That is the place to see gales of wind. It can't begin to blow so hard down here. We got along all right until coming out of the Detroit river; we carried away the wheel in jibbing our mainsail, and frightened the man at the wheel almost out of his wits, but he was not a bit hurt - we soon rigged a spare tiller - and made all right. I, however, had my watch below broken, having to turn out at the call of "all hands."


Picton, Dec. 4th, 1856

The propeller Lord Elgin is ashore below Long Point a total wreck, about 70 barrels of flour on the shore, and all kinds of goods coming ashore. No lives lost.

The little steamer Napoleon, belonging to Dundas, was wrecked on Tuesday night last, during the storm, and now lies in a bad condition at the west extremity of Burlington Bay. At the same time and place, the schooner Premier, of Montreal, was dismasted, and otherwise seriously injured, but her cargo of machinery is said to be safe.

Imports - Dec. 2nd - Schooner Evastes, Clayton, 14 cords fire wood, A. Wilson.

Dec. 3rd - Str. England, Ogdensburgh, (gen. cargo).

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6 Dec 1856
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
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Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), 6 Dec 1856