The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), Oct. 15, 1893

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Other Vessels Endangered and Many Seek Shelter

Chicago, October 14. - (Special.) - Dispatches from all lake ports from here to Buffalo show that the storm that has prevailed with great fury for nearly twenty hours, has bee terribly destructive to vessel property. In many instances the masters were warned in time to reach a harbor of refuge, but hundreds of craft were caught out in the open lakes, and were obliged to scud before the irresistible wind that came screaming down upon them. A large number are ashore at various points, and a few have gone down. Some are aground in dangerous places, and are pounding themselves to pieces. It is remarkable that among so many disasters there should be no recorded loss of life. This is due in many instances to the efficient work of the life-saving crews.

Six vessels ashore in the vicinity of Cheboygan, Mich., tell the fury of the gale on upper Lake Huron. All dragged their anchors and were carried on the beach. The fist sufferers were the steamer C. F. Curtis and her tow, the Isabel Reid, T. S. Fassett and Nelson Holland. They went on the beach between Point Sable and Cheboygan, striking a rocky bottom. The next were the Knight Templar and Sweepstakes, consorts of the steamer Salina, which went ashore between Cheboygan and Duncan. They landed on a gravelly bottom. All six boats are in bad shape. The Knight Templar is owned by G. D. Dana, of Algonac, Mich., and was valued at $3,000, and the Sweepstakes by I. J. Fish, of Port Huron. She was valued at $2,500.

Tugs were unable to get near the Curtis and tow on account of the severity of the storm. The wrecking steamer Favorite has been ordered to the assistance of the boats as soon as she can get to them. The vessels are owned by Nelson Holland, of Buffalo. The four are valued at $110,000.

The schooner Volunteer went ashore on Lake Huron about seven miles from Port Austin yesterday morning. The wreck is resting easy on a sandy bottom.

Heroic Rescue of the Imperiled Crew by the Reliance.

The tug Acme foundered on Lake Huron about twenty-five miles from Black River. Her crew was saved by the coolness and bravery of the crew of the tug Reliance. The two tugs left French River on the 10th inst. with a raft containing 4,500,000 feet of logs belonging to the Holland & Emory Lumber Company. They were struck by the northwest gale at 3 o'clock yesterday morning. Three hours later the tugs let go of the raft in order to save themselves. They headed for shelter at Thunder Bay, but it was not long before the great strain was too much for the Acme and the water began pouring into her hold. At 9 o'clock the feed pipe bursted and the fires were put out. It seemed as if nothing would save the imperiled crew, for the gale was so furious that aid from the other tug was almost out of the question. The Reliance was in command of Capt. Frank Burke, of Penetanguishene, and by heroic efforts, aided by the most skillful management, he succeeded in taking off every man from the Acme a few minutes before that tug went to the bottom. The following formed the rescued crew, who were taken to East Tawas: Capt. Dore Elliott, West Bay City; First Mate W. H. Lent, Conneaut; First Engineer Loftus House, Bay City; Second Engineer John I. Robertson, West Bay City; Steward E. Billings, Au Gres; Wheelsman Samuel Foster, Marine City; Fireman Gus Brown, Bad Axe; John Smith, Chicago. The raft will be nearly a total loss. The Acme belonged to Michigan Log Towing Company, of Bay City, and was valued at $25,000.

Even the Stanchest Vessels Are Glad of Safe Harbors in Lake Huron

The schooners S. Voges and Savidge reached Port Huron after a hard time in the gale. The Voges lost most of her deckload of cedar, and the Savidge lost her mainsail.

It is believed that the schooner Aunt Ruth, which left Alpena last Monday, has been lost. Nothing has been heard of her crew since she left port. She carried a crew of five men and was owned by C. Bonney, of Port Huron.

Even the stanches and most powerful steamers are in shelter on Lake Huron to-night. At Port Huron there are the Saginaw Valley, Pawnee and barges, Onward, Street, Lozen, Seattle, Roby, Bloom, Minnesota, City of New York, Pease, Planet, Sawyer and consorts and Lillie Smith, while at Alpena the Green and consorts, Massachusetts, Marquette, Maryland, City of Mackinac, Puritan and twenty others out so far in the bay that their names could not be learned, are sheltered.

In the Sand Beach harbor of refuge are the Algonquin, Griffin, Philadelphia, Olympia, Redington, Edward Smith and three barges, Spear and two barges, Snook, Harrow, Sterling, Forester and Chappell. At East Tawas are the Atlantis, James Pickands, Maxwell and Marshall.

At Middle Island, near Alpena, the wind was registered at sixty miles an hour during most of the afternoon by the United States Signal Service office. Only one steamer passed the Straits of Mackinac after the storm began. She was the Soo liner Washburn. The steamers Hudson, Pabst and Ketchum are anchored off Mackinaw City, and the steamers Russia, Grand Traverse, H. J. Jewett and Stewart are in shelter at St. Ignace. A large three-masted schooner and a barge are anchored off St. Ignace, but too far out to get their names.

A Sixty-Mile Gale Makes Everything Hunt for Shelter.

The storm on Lake Erie was by far the worst of the year. At noon the wind registered sixty mile an hour from the southwest at Buffalo and was increasing.

The steamer Livingstone, in tow of two tugs, parted her stern line and was blown against the Erie basin breakwater. Released from there, the big steamer brought up next on the Lackawanna trestle, but finally succeeded in getting away. A fleet of fifteen vessels is sheltered under the breakwater at Buffalo to-night.

The gale blew out the water in the west end of Lake Erie to such an extent that Toledo harbor is now entirely closed to vessels, the water being so low that craft cannot get in or out.

The steamer City of Naples lay at anchor three miles off Cleveland harbor all day unable to make port. The wind at that point is from the northwest, and a tremendous sea is running, but no casualties have been reported up to dark to-night.

Many Narrow Escapes From Total Wrecks.

Buffalo, October 14. - The full force of the gale struck this port, and several vessels had narrow escapes from becoming total wrecks. The schooner Mont Blanc was picked up by tugs off the breakwater just as the crew expected their vessel to be hurled against the piers and become a total wreck. The schooner Amboy was picked up by tugs when pounding against the breakwater and after a hard fight with the storm was taken inside the harbor. The schooner J. I. Case broke away from the steamer Eddy and came in under a jib only.

The Amboy broke away from the steamer Helena, bound down the lake, and was driven by the storm against the breakwater at the foot of George street. She was pounding badly when the tugs came to her rescue and towed her into the Blackwell. The extent of her injuries has not been learned. She had 60,000 bushels of oats from Detroit. The schooner Mont Blanc was picked up off the breakwater only 200 feet away from it in very bad shape. Three tugs worked on her for a long time before they succeeded in towing her inside. There was three feet of water in her hold. The entire crew with the captain's wife, who accompanied her husband, were gathered on the deck waiting for the boat to strike the piers, where they knew they would have to swim for their lives. The fierce wind had torn every bit of rigging away, except the staysails and jib.

The schooner John T. Mott, caught by the storm off Fairport, ran into that port and sank between the piers. She had a cargo of lumber assigned to E. & B. Holmes. Her hull is insured for $4,000 in the General Marine, Sun. Union, North America, St. Paul and Greenwich Companies. The cargo of lumber is insured in the Union Marine.

Fears for the Safety of the Kershaw, Ironton and Sage

Marquette, October 14. - The wind registered fifty-two miles an hour at the signal station at 7:30 to-night. Fears are felt for the steamer Kershaw and the schooners W. H. Sage and Ironton. It is hoped that they are sheltered behind Grand Island, or succeeded in running back to a safe place behind White Fish Point. The steamer Forest City left Houghton at noon to-day for Marquette, without cargo, and is expected here at midnight, as the wind is nearly astern. The steamers Griffin and Wade and the Kershaw and her tow passed White Fish Point last night before the gale started in. Late to-night the only boat reported in shelter behind Grand Island is the Ira H. Owen.

Powell & Mitchell, the contractors for the new government breakwater at Marquette, to-day completed the extension of 600 feet and the work was accepted by the government. The structure is being submitted to a tremendous strain by heavy seas, which swept completely over it. No weakness had become perceptible at dark. The undertow in the harbor at this point was so strong in the afternoon that vessels were compelled to leave their dock moorings and go to anchor near the breakwater.

An Unknown Four-Masted Schooner Reported Ashore.

Manistee, October 14. - A big steamer with four masts and two stacks passed here at 3 o'clock this afternoon, close inshore, and running before the gale. About the same time a four-masted schooner was reported on the beach at Burnham, eighteen miles from here. The name of neither boat could be learned. The life-saving station loaded their boat on a special train and left for Onekama, to be transferred to the scene of the wreck in wagons. It is thought that the schooner is the consort of the steamer, and fears are entertained for the safety of the steamer, as the gale is terrific and the sea running very high.

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Item Type:
This long article describes the beginning of one of the more destructive storms of the 1890's. The big tug ACME was only one of the vessels lost. The storm is most often associated with the foundering of the propeller DEAN RICHMOND off Dunkirk, New York, but at least 8 other lakers ended their careers at this time, and more than 35 lives were lost. The the wrecked 4-master mentioned near the end was the MINNEHAHA (US#91220) out of Cleveland. She had been in tow of the wooden freighter HENRY J. JOHNSON, which matches the description of the steamer seen in the area. Other vessels lost include the schooners C. B. BENSON and RIVERSIDE on Lake Erie, VOLUNTEER and JOHN B. MERRILL on Lake Huron, EVRA FULLER and JAMES D. SAWYER on Lake Michigan and ANNIE SHERWOOD on Lake Superior. The freighter WOCOKEN was sunk off Dunkirk, not too distant from DEAN RICHMOND, with the loss of twelve lives.
Date of Original:
Oct. 15, 1893
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Dave Swayze
Copyright Statement:
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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Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), Oct. 15, 1893