Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Passaic (Propeller), U19691, sunk, 1 Nov 1891
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Buffalo, November 1. -- The PASSAIC stranded off Dunkirk in last night's gale and went to pieces.
      Chicago Inter Ocean
      November 2, 1891

      The PASSAIC disaster was the talk of the docks today. Capt. Blodgett was found in Hand's tug office this morning and he said he had just heard of the wreck. There is no insurance on the hull of the steamer, which is valued at $12,000, but her cargo is covered. The barges ELMA, HATTIE, JENESS and SUPERIOR left the scene of the wreck this morning for Buffalo in tow of two tugs. It cannot be definitely ascertained until; their arrival here whether the crew were saved or not. Vessel men think the steamer sprung a leak, and the crew finding they could not keep the water down abandoned the ship and reached the barges in safety.
      A Dunkirk customs official was here this morning trying to get permission from the consignees of the cargo, to collect all the lumber which is coming ashore in great quantities at Van Buren Point. He said no bodies had come ashore with the wreckage. The four barges will arrive tonight.
      Buffalo Enquirer
      Monday, November 2, 1891
      . . . . .

The PASSAIC foundered 6 miles above and 4 miles off shore near Dunkirk in Saturdays gale and went to pieces. The LIMA, HATTIE, JENESS and SUPERIOR, barges in tow of the PASSAIC, all rode out the storm at anchor. All were lumber laden. The crew were saved.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Monday, November 2, 1891
      . . . . .

      The barge HATTIE, of the PASSAIC tow, lay In the Colt slip In the Erie Basin this morning, and on board an Enquirer reporter found four of the Ill-fated steamers crew working away with a will at the barge's pump. They were a pretty thankful lot or men, and one of them said they were just beginning to get back their circulation at the pumps. One sailor told the reporter that they kept bailing the yawl until they were so cold and exhausted they could stand it no longer, and then each one jumped overboard and was pulled up onto the deck of the HATTIE. Many evidences of their rough experience were visible, the yawl, bearing the name PASSIAC, Is on top of the cabin aft, and to look at it one would think It couldn't hold 15 men on dry land to say nothing of floating them in a heavy sea. Life preservers were strewn about, and the pail they used for bailing still remained in the boats bottom. The yawl is scarcely larger than an ordinary rowboat and the men said the gunwale was within six inches of the water when they were all in it.
      Buffalo Enquirer
      Tuesday, November 3, 1891
      . . . . .
      It seems that the whereabouts of the PASSAIC is not exactly known. Owner Blodgett said to an Enquirer reporter today that the steamer had 75,000 feet of lumber in her hold, and that it is possible she did not go to the bottom in the deep water where her crew left her, but may have drifted on to the beach nearer Dunkirk, or onto the rocks at Van Buren Point. The hold cargo, which was consigned to Cowper & Gregory of Tonawanda, is uninsured.
      Today Capt. Nelson Nellis, the shipper from Bay City, Capt. Canartney of the lost steamer and Mr. Cowper, one of the consignees, have gone to Dunkirk to try to locate the wreck. If it is found she has drifted into shallow water the advisability of raising her will be considered.
      Buffalo Enquirer
      Wednesday, November 4, 1891

      Wrecks and Heavy Losses.
Another boat, the steamer PASSAIC, has been added to the list of Lake Erie losses for the present season. She stranded off Dunkirk and is a total wreck. The Passaic was owned by Capt. Blodgett and others of Detroit. She was valued at $12,000. Two other Lake Erie wrecks, the schooners SAWYER and STEWART, are still on the beach, the former at Avon point and the latter near Fairport. Capt. C. E. Benham refused to superintend wrecking operations on the SAWYER, on account of insufficient wrecking facilities furnished by the underwriters. The schooner BAVARIA, a canaler ashore near Goderich, Out., will prove a total loss. She was owned by Capt. Fraser of Sarnia.
      Marine Review
      November 5, 1891
      Steam screw PASSAIC. U. S. No. 19691. Of 531.61 tons gross; 411.92 tons net. Of 504 horse-power. Built Buffalo, N.Y. in 1862. Home Port, Detroit, Mich.
      Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1884

Item Type
Reason: sunk
Lives: nil
Freight: lumber
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original
Local identifier
Language of Item
Geographic Coverage
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 42.45284 Longitude: -79.41671
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Passaic (Propeller), U19691, sunk, 1 Nov 1891