The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Chronicle & Gazette (Kingston, ON), Nov. 7, 1840

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Gale On Lake Huron and Providential Escape of 150 Persons.

[Buffalo Commercial]

By passengers who came in the Great Western last night, we learn that a heavy gale has been raging on Lake Huron for several days, doing much damage to vessels and endangering the lives of many persons. Among the vessels mentioned as having suffered, is the new and elegant steamboat Missouri, Captain Wilkins. This vessel left our port for the upper lakes, on the 20th inst., with 150 tons of merchandize, and 150 passengers, 40 of whom were females.

On Friday last the Missouri encountered the gale when she was some 30 miles from shore, and from what has been gathered, her situation and those on board must have been deplorable. Soon after the blow commenced, the brick work and connecting pipe of the boilers became loose, which compelled the engineer to quench the fire in order that the disaster might be remedied. Before this was accomplished, however, the force of the waves carried away the rudder post, thus rendering the vessel entirely unmanageable.

In this situation she lay rolling at the mercy of the elements, all of thirty-six hours, and so imminent was the danger that all on board, save the captain and a few others, yielded to their fears, and in a circle of small compass assembled together in the cabin, and prepared by prayer for the fate that threatened them.

Although at every swell of the waves the upper deck moved to and fro, and the hold was four feet deep with water, Capt. Wilkins was firm in his belief to save the boat and those on board. All the goods upon the deck were cast overboard, embracing some ten tons of crockery, hardware, etc. In the hurry was also thrown over a small part of the baggage belonging to the passengers. This relieved the boat considerably, and by continued exertions, Capt. W. succeeded in getting the vessel under command again, and finally returning to Detroit in safety, to the infinite delight and thankfulness of all on board.

To the indomitable and persevering spirit of Capt. Wilkins, may be ascribed the preservation of those under his protection. His boat is a new one, perfect in all her arrangements, and belong mainly to C.M. Reed, of Erie.

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Nov. 7, 1840
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Rick Neilson
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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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Chronicle & Gazette (Kingston, ON), Nov. 7, 1840