Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Seven Dead 13 Missing In Two Wrecks
Toledo News Bee, 9 Dec 1909
Full Text
Seven Dead 13 Missing In Two Wrecks
Freighter Clarion And Steamer W.C. Richardson Are Lost On Stormy Lake Erie
Survivors Tell Story
Suffer Bitterly In Gale And Zero Weather Following Disaster To Ship
Storm and fire exact a toll of seven men and 13 missing thought to be drowned on Lake Erie during the past 24 hours.

The freighter Clarion was burned to the water line off Point Pelee, Ont., last night. The steamer Richardson, with a valuable cargo, went on the rocks off Buffalo today.

United Press

Buffalo, N.Y. Dec. 9, The steamer W.C. Richardson went on the rocks about three miles out of Buffalo this morning.

Samuel Mayberry of Cleveland, chief engineer of the steamer Richardson, and four members of the engine room crew were drowned. Their bodies have not yet been recovered. Rescuers brought 14 men into the local harbor.

The steamer was owned by the Richardson transportation company of Cleveland, and was in command of Capt. William Burke. It was bound from Duluth to Buffalo with a cargo of 200,000 bushels of flax seed. The boat was valued at $200,000 cargo $370,000.

United Press

Cleveland, Dec. 9-- The Anchor line freighter Clarion burned to the waterline off Southeast shoal Point Pelee, Ont. Last night. The first mate and one of the crew perished.

Six members of the crew are in Cleveland. The captain and 12 others left the ship in a steel life boat. They have not been heard from

The six men brought to Cleveland were taken off the burning boat by the steamer Hanna. They attempted to leave the Clarion with one other in a yawl. The yawl was swamped and six of them swam back to the Clarion. The seventh sank. An hour afterward the Hanna came to the rescue.

Mate suffocates

The mate whose name has not yet been learned was suffocated shortly after the fire broke out. He went into the hold to investigate. Capt. Bell, following 15 minutes later, found him dead in a companionway.

The six survivors brought to Cleveland were suffering severely from exposure, John Marron, Cleveland agent of the Erie & Western Transit Co., which own the Clarion took charge of them.

Physicians who attended them said that while weak and exhausted they would likely recover unless pneumonia set in.

The Clarion was a wooden steamer 240 feet long, 36 feet beam and built in 1881. She was carrying package freight and coal. The fire broke out shortly after the Clarion passed Amherstburg, Ont., and soon the vessel was doomed.

Couldn’t See Signals

At the time the fire broke out a high gale was raging, the sea was running wild and icy waves swept the decks, while a blinding snow storm was falling. This snow storm prevented the vessel’s signals of distress being seen by the life saving crew at Point Pelee.

The burning vessel was first sighted by the steamer H. P. Bope, of the Wolvin line the Bope, which is the first freight vessel on the great lakes to be equipped with wireless apparatus, flashed warning of the disaster to Cleveland where the message was received by the United Wireless.

Item Type
Date of Publication
9 Dec 1909
Language of Item
Geographic Coverage
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 42.88645 Longitude: -78.87837
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 41.843611 Longitude: -82.466111
Randy Johnson
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Seven Dead 13 Missing In Two Wrecks