Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Great Gale on Lake Erie
Syracuse Daily Star (Syracuse, NY), 13 Sep 1851
Full Text
Great Gale on Lake Erie.
Loss of Dan Rice's Circus.

Mr. Frost, of the Burnet House, Cincinnati, who arrived here on the Express train, yesterday, from Buffalo, informs us that on Saturday night there was a terrific gale on Lake Erie. The Buckeye State, on which he was a passenger, and was hourly expected to founder. As the boat approached Buffalo, the wind subsided, and they made the harbor at 4 P.M. on Sunday.

For miles around, the lake was strewn with wrecks and floating furniture, trunks, etc., etc. Dan Rice's Circus, which left Buffalo on Saturday on two Canal boats, in tow of a steamer, it is feared, has gone to the bottom. Several dead bodies are said to have been seen upon the lake, which were supposed to be members of his company.

This, if true, is melancholy news - but, we fear, only a tithe of what we are yet to hear, if the account of the gale received by us, be not exaggerated. Mr. Frost, whom we have known for years, is a gentleman of the strictest veracity, and an old traveler. He states that the gale was terrible beyond conception, and that at one time, Capt. Stanard of the Buckeye State, feared that all was over. The boat was crowded with passengers - many of whom were Western and Southwestern merchants, and their families, on their way to New York and Boston to make their Fall purchases, and having money and bills from $10,000 to $50,000 each.

A sadder scene can not well be imagined. The howling of the tempest, the roaring of the remorseless waters of Erie, "the lightning's red glare" - the pealing thunder - the convulsive throws of the mighty engines, seemingly instinct with life and battling, like giants with the storm - the strong ship trembling in every fibre, and staggering under every blow - these united with the wail of women and the despair of men, made up a scene that will never pass from the memory of any one who witnessed it.

Item Type
Date of Publication
13 Sep 1851
Language of Item
Geographic Coverage
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 42.2624044553991 Longitude: -81.1322019249201
Richard Palmer
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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Great Gale on Lake Erie