The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), 16 Oct 1876

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p.1 sch. Rathbun, while attempting to enter harbor at Southampton, went on reef, got into harbor, nearly full of water.


Loss of The Schooners Maggie Hunter and Mary Grover

The schooner Mary Grover, trading between Toronto and Oswego, is reported lost with all on board. She left here on the 5th for Oswego and sailed from there for Toronto on the 9th instant, and has not been seen or heard of since. Rumors of other disasters on the lake are prevalent but have not yet been verified.

There can no longer be a doubt that the schooner Maggie Hunter foundered off this port last Monday night and carried with her to the bottom of Lake Ontario seven men. Yesterday afternoon the mate of the schooner Marysburg, who had been mate on the Hunter, identified the wheel cover, a box about three feet long and two feet wide placed over the steering gear, as having been on the unfortunate schooner two trips ago. Captain Nixon, of the Hunter, leaves a wife and six children at Toronto, and Sharp, the mate, leaves a wife and children at Port Credit. One of the sailors was a young man named Walter Post, of Perry Point, near Belleville. Two of the crew and the passengers are Thomas and William Martin, (brothers) and John Newman, all of Belleville. They were young men and leave widowed mothers in Belleville. [Palladium]

Port Huron, Oct. 15th - The steam barge New York left Cove Island, Georgian Bay, on Friday last, with the schooner Butcher Boy and the barges Nellie McGilvroy and R.J. Carney in tow. The sea was running mountains high when the Butcher Boy's tow line parted and thus separated her from the steam barge. A short time after the New York commenced to leak, the water was gaining fast and drowned out the fires. The propeller was then twelve miles from land, between Port Hope and Sandbeach. At half-past eleven the crew, sixteen in number, including one woman, embarked in the yawl boat. Twenty minutes afterward the propeller went down. For five hours and a half the crew were at the mercy of the sea. The boat was drifting helplessly into the lake. The weather was cold with frequent squalls and snow. The waves dashed over the open boat which had a foot of water in her all the time. The crew were all benumbed and could not have survived another five hours when the little schooner Nemesis hove in sight and at imminent peril to herself succeeded in taking the crew of the New York on board with the exception of William Sparks, a fireman, of Buffalo, who in climbing aboard fell between the boat and the vessel and was drowned.

p.3 The Gale - passengers on Rochester shaken up in Gap.

W.W. - steambarge Clinton and barge Grimsby through Welland Canal for Kingston.

-sch. L. Lamb on bar near Wolfe Island for a week, pulled off.

Marine - arrivals.

Driven Back - sch. Siberia left Kingston three weeks ago for Toledo, light, had to come back for ballast; a large number of vessels wind bound at South Bay Point.

Oct. 17, 1876

p.2 marine column cut out except along edges.


Its Effect On The Shipping

On Monday and Tuesday mornings the schooner Mary Grover, 10,000 bushels, Captain Dineen, was reported lost in Toronto, but a message was received that she had been driven out of her course by gales, and had put in at Kingston. She left Oswego for Toronto at the same time as the Maggie Hunter.

The small schooner Wood Duck, 4,000 bushels, owned by Cooper Bros., of Island Creek, is reported missing, and it is feared has been lost with all on board. She also left Oswego for this port the same time as the Hunter and Grover, namely this day week.

Toronto, Oct. 17th - No news has yet been received of the schooner Wood Duck, and fears regarding her safety are gaining ground. The schooner British Queen is reported at Cobourg disabled, and is lying at anchor in harbor here and has been since Saturday. Other vessels reported overdue are arriving, and no fears are entertained for the safety of any other boat than the Wood Duck. Captains report terribly rough sailing. Scarcely a vessel puts in that has not suffered some way by the storms of last week.

p.3 Schooner Orient Sunk - the sch. Orient, which had been on the beach at Dexter, was released by the tugs Crusader and Morey, and started for Oswego, but on the way the water gained on the pumps, and the vessel sunk off Stoney Point. The Palladium feared she would be a wreck in the succeeding storms.

W.W. - theft on sch. White Oak.

Currency - Clayton ship yard leased for five years.

- str. Cayuga sold at Ogdensburg on mortgage foreclosure.

Oct. 18, 1876

p.1 Canadian Currency - Ottawa & Rideau Forwarding Co. - assignee appointed.

-sailor fell from yard arm to deck, forty feet, on sch. Hemisphere at Prescott.

p.3 A Fight On the St. Lawrence - bark Hemisphere at Prescott will be seized by deputy-marshall if caught in American waters.

Oct. 19, 1876

p.2 Excursions - str. Picton arrived with last of season, from Brockville.

Marine - arrivals.

ads for steamers Corsican and Magnet.

Larceny - theft from barge Consort, lying above Cataraqui Bridge.

p.3 The Mail Line - running pretty regularly for the season.

Oct. 20, 1876

p.3 Ferry - changes to timetables.

Fruit - brought by prop. Van Allen, sloop Trader, and prop. Armenia.

Big Sturgeon - caught by Mr. Van Order, about seven feet long.

W.W. - 9 cents offered on wheat from Milwaukee to Kingston and Oswego, the highest figures realized for the season so far.

Marine - The schooner C.K. Nims was ashore at the Manitous at last accounts.

-The schooner D.R. Campbell has filled with water and capsized on Lake Michigan. The crew were rescued.

-The bark Two Fannies arrived at Detroit destitute of food. She had been two weeks on the passage from Buffalo.

-Water communication between Cape Vincent and Clayton is now reduced to a tri-weekly trip of the steamer Junita.

-On Sunday afternoon, during the gale, the timber vessel Sweden, belonging to Calvin & Breck, Kingston, struck the west pier, Port Hope, and damaged it to the extent of several hundred dollars.

-The schooner Orient is now about a half a mile from Stoney Point, three or four miles from where she was left last Friday night, a complete wreck and bottom up. Both masts are broken and the hull is partly sunk in about eighteen feet of water. The Palladium says so.

-On Monday last, during the storm, the Schooner Gladstone, of Kingston, was disabled about five miles east of Cobourg. She was drifting helpless before the gale, and after dragging her anchors at last came to a stand a quarter of a mile from shore. Her sails were torn to ribbons, her rudder was broken, her yawl gone. The waves were washing over her, and the crew were obliged to work constantly at the pumps. Mr. Clark drove to Cobourg to secure assistance, when a boat and crew were despatched. It was impossible, however, for any boat to live in such a sea; after midnight the wind falling, they were able to get to the schooner. They found the crew in a suffering condition, almost overcome with cold and fatigue, and not having any wood to make fires for warmth or cooking; besides which, one was badly wounded by the falling of a block. The Gladstone was loaded with coal; and was on her way to Toronto to discharge.

Oct. 21, 1876

p.2 The Upper Ottawa - The Notes of a Hurried Voyager - some steamers mentioned.

Rondeau - stationary light to show at lighthouse until revolving light is replaced.



Thursday week at nine o'clock the schooner Chandler J. Wells of 549 tons, belonging to our townsman, Capt. Frank Perew, sailed with 1,067 tons coal from Erie for Chicago, under command of Captain Patrick Langan, of Buffalo, and his brother Morris Langan, of Kingston, Ont., first mate, Frank ____, second mate; a Norwegian sailor named Neil Johns, and five other seamen with the cook comprised the balance of the crew - ten men in all. About one o'clock Friday morning it was Morris Langan's watch on deck. They were then off Rond Eau, being eight or ten miles from the Canada shore of Lake Erie, the wind blowing a fierce gale from the southwest. The vessel shipped a heavy sea which swept the first mate overboard. All hands were immediately called on deck, the helm was put hard down and the schooner brought to the wind. The boat was lowered with all possible dispatch, and Captain Langan, the second mate and one seaman, regardless of the terrible risk which they were accepting, sprang in and put off into the darkness, if possible to save the first officer. It was a wildly hazardous attempt, with almost every chance against their own safety. The boat was very soon lost to the sight of those remaining on board the vessel. These were five sailors and the cook. All the officers were gone, but Neil Johns, the Norwegian before mentioned, had long sailed the lakes and was competent to take the command. He assumed charge of the deck and vessel. Twenty or thirty minutes after the boat was lost sight of, they bore up and ran in the direction they supposed it had taken, to try and pick it up if possible, but no trace of her could be found. They laid by in the vicinity until long after daylight, but nothing could be seen of the missing boat, although they watched for it from the mast head and cruised along the shore. When ten or twelve miles above Port Stanley, those remaining on board the Wells sadly accepted the conviction that their late officer and companions were lost, and they shaped the vessel's course back to Erie again. They arrived off that port about five o'clock Friday afternoon, but the wind blew so hard and the sea ran so high that they dared not attempt to enter the harbor, the vessel shipping large quantities of water and making bad weather of it. So they were constrained to shorten sail and keep off for Buffalo, where they arrived and anchored outside the breakwater at eleven o'clock that night. Yesterday morning the Wells was towed into our harbor, her colors flying at half mast in token of the mourning of those on board for those whom they believed to be lost. It may well be imagined, however, that their mourning was changed to joy when Captain Perew stepped upon his vessel's deck and read the following dispatch which he had received the previous evening:

Port Stanley, Ont., Oct. 6th, 1876 - 5:30 P.M.

Capt. Frank Perew - At one this morning the mate was washed overboard, with only two men to man the boat I had to go in and save my brother. The vessel has gone to Long Point or Buffalo. There are five men on board. The vessel was sunk when I left her. I could not get back to her after picking up my brother, but there are good men on board. We landed at Port Talbot at ten this morning. Please tell my wife I am all right. Patrick Langan.

Such is the story, briefly told, of one of the most gallant acts of sailor heroism on record. The history of our lake commerce relates many cases of self-sacrificing devotion for the saving of others, but none stand out with fuller brightness than than that which we have just recounted. None but "those who go down to the sea in ships" can really appreciate the peril which Captain Langan, his second mate, and the sailor who accompanied them, saw when at midnight, with the wind blowing a fierce hurricane, the sea running all over the ship they had left, and themselves nearly stripped of clothing, to be free in case they should have to struggle in the water for their own lives, they jumped into a frail boat and put out into the darkness and tempest to save a shipmate from the deadly peril. There are many people at the seaboard who do not understand that here on the lakes we have waves the same in magnitude as those of the ocean, and as powerful as in their effects, sweeping decks and foundering vessels with their force. Captain Langan and his two aides, with his rescued brother, were in the boat struggling for their lives, from one until ten o'clock. Nine hours before they landed on the Canada shore, stripped of clothing almost, and the mate with his soaked clothing, a heavy gale with cold rain sweeping over them. [Buffalo Courier]

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16 Oct 1876
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), 16 Oct 1876