The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Chronicle & Gazette (Kingston, ON), Nov. 26, 1842

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p.3 Error - We stated in our last that the steamer Oneida had been wrecked in the late gale. We rested our assertion on the information of an American gentleman, who arrived in Kingston on Tuesday. We have now much pleasure in contradicting the report, as the Oneida has since touched at this port safe and sound.

Disastrous Gale On Lake Erie - Shipwrecks - Melancholy Loss of Life.

[Buffalo Commercial of Friday]

Gale - The wind commenced blowing from south-west and finally veered around to the west, last night about 9 o'clock, and has continued a gale down the lake to the present time.

The steamers Franklin, Sandusky and Julia Palmer, which were laid up for the season in the neighborhood of the marine railway, broke from their moorings and drifted ashore on the east side of the creek; and a few canal craft have also been beached in the ship canal.

The steamer Wayne, which had left for the West, and several sail vessels, comprising the whole of those which cleared yesterday, were compelled to return to port again. The brig Owanungah and schooner Scioto are in with full cargoes from Cleveland. All operations along the harbor are for the present suspended.

The brig Ramsey Crooks, which left here on Wednesday evening, and which was within a short distance of Cleveland yesterday, has just returned to this port, having been compelled to do so in consequence of the gale.

From the Buffalo Commercial of Saturday.

p.S. Since the above was in type, we have learned the following particulars:

The schooner Jefferson, Dougall, went ashore at 6 o'clock last night, about three miles above Buffalo light house, and is a total wreck, attended with a melancholy loss of life - one entire family, husband, wife, and five children, together with a young woman, and one of the men belonging to the vessel, having perished! Capt. Dougall, from whom we have the painful recital, says that about two hours after his vessel beached, the companion way was washed off, and the children and young woman drowned in the cabin and forecastle. A portion of the crew had got ashore, in quest of help, and were endeavoring to rescue the family.

The mate wrapped his overcoat around the woman and tried to keep her warm by walking her to and fro on the beach, but she soon became exhausted and incapable of motion, and was placed in the boat which had washed up, where she died in a short time. Her husband was delirious on reaching shore, and attempted to escape into the swamp near by, but perished within a short distance. One of the hands belonging to the vessel, named James Bruce, got into the swamp and was likewise lost. The family were from Hartford, Ct. - names unknown - the chilidren aged from 8 years downward.

The Jefferson was owned by J.W. Ransom, of Chicago, and was bound for that port with a cargo of 500 bbls. salt, 40 tons iron, and some merchandise, which will be mostly lost. The crew succeeded about midnight in getting on board the brig Olive Richmond, beached below them, in a greatly exhausted state.

When our reporter reached the vessel this forenoon the body of the young woman above mentioned was discovered standing in an upright position, in the fore-castle companion-way, frozen stark and stiff, with hands partly raised in an imploring posture, and her eyes fixed with a cold and stony gaze upon the shore.

The brig Olive Richmond, a new vessel, Capt. Dorchester, went ashore about a mile below Jefferson, early yesterday afternoon. She was bound up in ballast, and will be got off without damage.

The schooner Walter Joy, Capt. Lacy, went ashore about the same time, near the Olive Richmond, with a deck load of flour, which will be partly lost, but the vessel will be got off with trifling injury.

The brig Francis Mills, Capt. Langley, went ashore on the Canada side, 3 miles below Point Abino, at 2 o'clock P.M. yesterday. She lies partly filled with water, by which the lower tier of her cargo, consisting of merchandise, will be injured. She was bound for Chicago and St. Joseph's - will probably be got off.

The schr. Edwin Jenny, Capt. Davidson, dragged her anchors and went ashore below Point Abino, a little below the Frances Mills. She was loaded with stone for some port up the lake.

The following additional particulars were communicated by E.R. Jewett, Esq., of the

Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, to Messrs. Pomeroy & Co., proprietors of the express line, and by those gentlemen politely sent to us.

Buffalo, November 19th, P.M., 1842.

Messrs. Pomeroy & Co.

Gentlemen - So far as information has been received, our worst apprehensions have been realized of the disastrous effects of the gale. Since the publication of the Commercial Advertiser this afternoon, the following additional vessels are reported as wrecked.

Schooner Indiana, loaded with salt for Chicago, total wreck.

Schooner Mississippi, Capt. Raymond, for Kingston, loaded with floura and pork, total wreck.

Schooner Ohio, Capt. Robertson, light.

Schooner M. Kingman, freight not known, lies high and dry and it is supposed will be got off without much damage.

The above vessels were all in Gravelly Bay.

Schooner Florida, loaded with flour, pork and whiskey, for this port, ashore a little above Point Abino, total wreck.

Schooner Henry Roop, Captain Fisk, 2000 bushels of corn, at Silver Creek.

Of the vessels heard from, eleven in number, all have been wrecked in a distance of some twenty miles from this port, which is the extent of the coast heard from. What the effect has been beyond is unknown; but it is apprehended will prove most fearful. I will write you again, tomorrow p.m.

In great haste, yours, E.R.J.

In addition we would add that the steamers Great Western and Wisconsin, from the upper lakes, and due at Buffalo on Thursday, had not arrived. The canal is closed at Rochester and Westward.

Pomeroy & Co.


The Sir Francis Bond Head and the John Simpson - At the time of our writing this, these Schooners were still aground off the bar, in the same position as when they first struck. We have been favored with a few particulars relative to the disaster as far as concerns the Sir Francis Bond Head from the Captain, Capt. Newman, and subjoin them for the information of our readers. On Thursday last, the Sir Francis was riding at anchor, in three fathoms water, all snug; when about 2 or 3 o'clock in the afternoon the schooner Shamrock lying about one hundred yards to windward of her, parted her starboard chain cable, and while endeavoring to clear the Sir Francis, it blowing a gale from the South West, ran foul of her, carrying away her bowsprit, flying jib boom, and best bower anchor, which disabled the vessel entirely. About 10 o'clock P.M., the Sir Francis began to drift, and on Friday night about 11 o'clock P.M. struck on the bar. The wind had increased to a perfect hurricane. It was snowing at the time; very dark, and the vessel a mass of ice fore and aft. The Captain had gone on board the Sarnia on Thursday about 3 P.M. for wood. The vessel at that time was still holding on to her anchor. He endeavored to board her the same evening, when the boat foundered, the crew consisting of seven hands narrowly escaping with their lives. Immediately after the vessel struck she heeled and fell on her side, the sea making a clean breach over her; the cold was intense. In a short time there were four feet of water in the hold; the fire was extinguished and the hands on board, five in number, benumbed and drenched to the skin, were obliged as their only chance of safety, to huddle themselves into the cabin berths.

In this precarious situation, expecting the vessel to go to pieces every moment, and without a dram of grog on board to put life into them, they remained till the following morning; when Capt. Richardson of the steamer Transit, with that promptness and energy for which he is conspicuous, got under weigh and went to their relief. Being obliged, however, to anchor within half a mile of the stranded vessel, the boats, in spite of the severity of the weather, were hoisted over the side; Capt. Richardson, Capt. Boylon, and three men manning the gig, Capt. Richardson of the Queen and four men, the stern boat; together with the life boat with one man in it - Capt. Newman also, with a boat belonging to the Sir Francis, and three of the crew who were absent with him, were on the perilous expedition. According to Capt. Newman's statement the life boat was upset, but eventually reached the John Simpson. He himself, also, with those on board the boat of the Sir Francis, rowed alongside of her, and as the boat was full of water, hoisted it on board and bailed it out. The crew then manned it again, and by straining every nerve succeeded at length, in spite of the heavy surf and breakers, in reaching the wreck of the Sir Francis, and eventually landed the poor fellows on board in safety. The Sir Francis is lying in about 5 1/2 feet of water, the bows of the other schooner in about one foot and a half, the stern part in about 4 feet. The former vessel is 110 tons burthen, and had, when she struck, upwards of 1100 brls. of flour on board; 300 the property of Wm. Gamble, Esq., consigned to Hooker & Henderson; the remainder shipped by Mr. Dyer of Cleveland, and consigned to Macpherson & Crane. Capt. Newman visited her again on Sunday morning, when he found her full of water up to the deck, and seventy barrels missing. He is of opinion that he will be able eventually to get the vessel off, should the weather admit of it - but of course under any circumstances the damage will be very serious. With respect to his personal loss, his watch, wearing apparel, etc., are on board. [City Observer]

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Nov. 26, 1842
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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.
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Chronicle & Gazette (Kingston, ON), Nov. 26, 1842