The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), 7 Nov 1870

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p.2 steamer Otter burned to water's edge at Ottawa.

-barge J.H. Hollin towed into Kincardine waterlogged, crew lost.


The following particulars of the loss of the vessel are taken from the Picton Gazette and Belleville Ontario, and will be of deep interest to the bereaved ones in Kingston:-

The most heart-rending marine disaster that has occurred on the shores of Prince Edward for many years is the loss of the Schooner Jessie of Port Stanley, in the cove near Salmon Point, on Monday last. The vessel is a complete wreck and all hands on board, eight in number, are lost. On Sunday last, and during a gale of awful severity, a large white vessel was seen to approach Salmon Point, and afterwards cast anchor in a small cove, where all was apparently secure, as the wind was blowing from the South - the point providing a complete protection. The Captain could not have been fully up to business, else he would have known that the prevailing wind at this time of year comes from the west, nor could he have calculated his chances of escape from his retreat in such an event, as all who know the locality are well aware that it would be impossible, unless the vessel could ride out the storm at anchor, which is a dangerous experiment. As might have been expected, the wind shifted around to the west and sealed the doom of the fated vessel. Before daylight on Monday morning she was discovered in her perilous condition by some fishermen, and in a very short time the inhabitants of the entire surrounding neighborhood were on the beach, hoping to render assistance to the poor fellows on board. But instead of enjoying the happy consciousness that they were instrumental in saving the lives of their fellow beings they were doomed to witness the most appaling scene we have ever been called upon to describe. The approach of daylight revealed to the most frantic bystanders, the awful condition of the unfortunate seamen, but brought with it no means of escape. The vessel had dragged anchor and struck bottom about 30 rods from shore. The wind was blowing a gale from the west and the sea rolling in mountain waves over the deck of the Jessie broke upon the beach with relentless fury, completely frustrating the strenuous efforts of the terror stricken spectators to reach the wreck. The main boom had been hoisted above the waves and five men were clinging to it as their only hope of safety until assistance could reach them. Three other unfortunates were hanging to some other rigging, looking wishfully on the shore and doubtless hoping against hope that they would be spared to reach it alive. A splendid staunch boat was brought to the shore by the Messrs. Huff and many willing hands impelled by brave hearts, attempted to buffet the waves, but were again and again thrown back upon the beach, their proudest efforts being "laughed to scorn" by the merciless waters. This condition continued for some time, the fate of the poor unfortunates becoming every moment more inevitable. At about ten o'clock in the forenoon all doubts and all hopes were suddenly brought to an end. The vessel seemed to break asunder in the centre, the huge spars fell in different directions, the sea washed over the crumbled ruins and eight human beings were enveloped by the angry waters! Shrieks from the assembled crowd of witnesses mingled with the howling of the winds to constitute the funeral dirge of the poor creatures so suddenly plunged into watery graves. Two or three of the poor fellows were seen to keep above the waves for a few minutes and one who must have been a powerful man as well as an expert swimmer, vainly strove to reach the shore, but was carried along the beach by the current and back swell until he was thirty rods from the wreck and twenty from the shore, then he disappeared forever. This ended those painful hours of Monday morning. The frantic shouting of the crowd on shore, sunk into a mournful silence and tears of sorrow were shed for the strangers who perished on our would be hospitable shore.

The cargo which consisted of wheat, now began to be washed on shore, together with the fragments of the ill-fated vessel. The beach for nearly half a mile is literally covered with fragments - the heaviest of which, two men could lift. Nearly every timber seemed to be completely rotten - in fact we scarcely saw a fragment amongst to the tens of thousands that we could not pound to pieces and pulverize with a light mallet. On Tuesday a fishing seine was brought into requisition for the purpose of trying to secure the bodies, but upon being hauled no bodies were discovered, and it is probable the under-current has taken them out into deep water where they will remain forever.

-Imports - 5.

-ad for Wolfe Island ferry - new schedule.

- An Admirable Suggestion - The drowning of the crew of the schr. Jessie, and the annual loss of life on the shore between Long Point and Kingston, owing to the dangers of navigation, has given rise to the suggestion that a number of life boats be placed at convenient places along the shore, to be made useful in saving life in cases like that of the ill-fated Jessie, when on account of the heavy seas the ordinary boats were of no service whatever. Corporations, it is said, have no souls, but if an offer were made to the Government, we believe they have humanity enough in their composition to respond right heartily for so laudible an object.

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7 Nov 1870
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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pd [more details]
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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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Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), 7 Nov 1870