Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Pioneer (Steamboat), aground, 17 Oct 1825
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SEVERE GALE. -- We had a very severe gale of wind Monday night last, accompanied with snow, which we fear, has been very destructive to property on the lake. It is said that the steam brig SUPERIOR is ashore at Sandusky, and the steamboat PIONEER, at Grand River. What damage has been sustained by these vessels we have not learned. The schooner GENERAL HUNTINGTON, Capt. Foster, is ashore at the mouth of Walnut Creek, 10 miles above this place. She was partly freighted with ashes, the principal part of which will be lost. It is also said that there is a schooner ashore near Ashtabula -- name not known.
      Erie Gazette
      October 20, 1825
      . . . . .
      The steamboat PIONEER, Capt. Miles, will be ready for lake service by the 10th of June. She is now owned by Mr. S. Thompson, of Black Rock, Mr. Tyron, Mr. Fisk of Ashtabula, and Capt. Myles. Her engine is said to be a powerful one, on the high pressure plan, and which, being placed very low in the boat, will make her steady and safe. An engineer has been procured for the boat, who has had long experience on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. The PIONEER received but little injury in going ashore last fall, a few dollars being sufficient to pay all the necessary repairs. She will sail from Buffalo and Black Rock.
      Buffalo Emporium
      May 20, 1826

      . . . . .
      One of the severest gales we have experienced this season, commenced on Saturday night last, and continud with unabated violence until Tuesday morning. At its commencement, the schooners NEPTUNE, PRUDENCE, and MERCATOR, of this port, and the WILLIAM, of Buffalo, were lying at anchor off the harbor, all of which were driven on the beach by the violence of the wind and waves. We do not learn that any of them are materially injured, except the WILLIAM. Some of her planks were stove in, and the hull otherwise damaged.
      The schr. PHOEBE, of Fairport, was driven ashore near the mouth of Grand River, and the schr. JOHN Q. ADAMS, belonging to Mr. N. H. Merwin, of this village, was beached near the light-house, at Buffalo. The steam boat PIONEER, of Black Rock, was driven ashore at Grand River, and sustained some injury, and will probably be laid up for the remainder of the season. The passengers speak in the highest terms of the coolness ot the master, Capt. Pease, and of his judicious managment during the perilous raging of the hurricane.
      Cleveland Weekly Herald
      Friday, Occtober 21, 1825

      . . . . .

      A CARD
      The passengers on board the steam-boat PIONEER, which left Black Rock on the morning of the 14th. inst., return their gratified thanks to Capt. Pease, for his efficient and gentleman like conduct in a gale, which commenced on Saturday evening, and continued to increase until Monday the 17th. at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, the wind blowing a hurricane on shore, and the Boat dragging her anchor, he was compelled to slip her cable and run her on shore, a few rods above the mouth of Grand River, where all the passengers were safely landed. We also feel under obligation to Captain Henry Phelps, of Fairport, and Mr. J.R. Ford, of Painesville, who rendered us much assistance.
      Geo. W. Bush, Black Rock H.H. Sizer, Cleveland, Ohio
      C.P. Livingston, Poughkeepsie, N.Y. A. Sherwood, Newark, Ohio
      Erastus Torrey, Middlebury, Ohio Elliot Gray, Detroit, M.T.
      J.V.R. Ten Eyck, Detroit, M.T. John Bates, Rochester, N.Y.
      Aaron Barker, Morrisville, N.Y. Chas. Stoughton, Syracuse,N.Y.
      Jas. S.W. Hinchman, Detroit, M.T. Joseph Gray
      October 1825
      Cleveland Weekly Herald
      Friday, October 21, 1825

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      THE LATE GALE.- The storm which we briefly noticed in our last, and which was of short duration at this place, was a tremendous gale on lake Erie. The Steamboat PIONEER which left this port for Detroit on the 14th. inst. came to anchor near Grand River on the night of the 15th, and rode the gale admirably well until Monday morning, when her anchors unfortunately lost their hold, and she was driven ashore. We learn that the schooner PHOEBE was also beached near the same place, and that the schooners MERCATOR, NEPTUNE, PRUDENCE, and WILLIAM are ashore at Cleveland, the WILLIAM quite destroyed; the MINERVA had come into Cleveland safe after the storm; the YOUNG AMARANTH rode out the gale off Black River; but the HUNTINGTON, which parted her cable at Cleveland, had not been heard of --- fears are entertained that she is lost.
The following is an extract of a letter from a gentleman on board the PIONEER at the time of the disaster. It is due to Capt. Pease to state, that he was perfectly cool and collected, during the long time the boat remained so dangerously situated, and preserved to the last moment in making every exertion for the safety of the boat, and in paying every attention to the passengers and securing their baggage.
"Grand River, O. Oct. 17, 1825.
"After leaving Black Rock and getting on our course for Erie we had a fair breeze which continued until we had nearly made Ashtabula, it then came about to the south, and Saturday about sunset we made this place wind blowing fresh from the west; there was so heavy a sea running that the captain judged it advisable to come to anchor, as he could not with what wood he had on board reach Sandusky against such a sea. He anchored about a mile from shore, and by 9 o'clock the wind came round northwest and a most tremendous heavy sea running all night; but the boat rode it like a duck. Next morning the wind died away a little and we were in hopes we should be enabled to get under way, but we were disappointed; it continued blowing fresh all day, sea after sea breaking over her from stem to stern most furiously. We again hoped the wind would go down at 12 o'clock on Sunday night, but it blew very hard all night. She held on by her anchors during all this time extremely well until on Monday morning about 9 o'clock, when she dragged; the captain then set her engine to work, and found it eased her anchor very much, but the sea growing higher and higher, she kept slowly dragging until she struck, when the captain slipped his cable, up jib and endeavored to run her bows on, but she obeyed a heavy sea in preference to her jib, and went on broad side, where she now lies in about 3 feet of water. The passengers were all safely got ashore."
      We have understood that the boat was not injured, but that it might be necessary from her situation to take out part of her machinery, before she can be got off. As the season is brought to near a close, it is not anticipated that she can make another trip this fall.
      Black Rock Gazette
      October 25, 1825 p.2 c.4

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WRECK OF THE PIONEER. -- It is with much regret that we announce the loss of this new and elegant Steam-Boat. She was beached at Grand River on Monday the 17th inst. and so much damaged in her hull and machinery, that there is no probability that she will be refitted the present season. We learn the following particulars from J.V.R. Ten Eyck, Esq. who was a passenger on board.
      The PIONEER left Black Rock on Thursday the 14th instant, at 10 o'clock A.M. and arrived at Grand River at 3 o'clock on Saturday afternoon, where she landed some passengers and received others. Immediately after, a very heavy gale commenced, the wind blowing from the shore, and the vessel was kept as near the land as possible. In a short time the wind changed and blew towards the shore, about forty-eight hours.
      Notwithstanding she had two anchors out, assisted by all the steam which could be raised upon her, she came ashore about four o'clock on Monday, having fortunately avoided the piles at the outer works of the harbor, and her passengers were landed in safety, by the assistance of the people of Fairport and its vicinity. The passengers proceeded by land to Cleveland, whence they reached this place in the Steam-brig SUPERIOR on Saturday evening last.
      The PIONEER was built the present season, at Black Rock, was about 130 tons burthen, and cost about 17,000 dollars.
      Detroit Gazette
      October 25, 1825
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      It is said the steam-boat PIONEER, which was driven ashore at Grand River, will be broken up, and the machinery used for a new one. The schooner WILLIAM, also, which was driven ashore on the beach at this place, is so much injured as to be unworthy of being repaired.
      Cleveland Weekly Herald
      Friday, October 28, 1825

      . . . . .

The Steamboat PIONEER, which was beached at Fairport last Autumn, instead of being broken up, as was then stated, was last week put afloat and safely moored in the harbor, at a trifling expense. She was sold by her former proprietors to some gentlemen residing in Ashtabula, who will probably have her fitted for sea at an early day. ----- Painesville Telegraph
      Cleveland Weekly Herald
      Friday, April 14, 1826

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Item Type
Reason: aground
Lives: nil
Remarks: Got off
Date of Original
Local identifier
Language of Item
Geographic Coverage
  • Ohio, United States
    Latitude: 41.76032 Longitude: -81.28066
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Pioneer (Steamboat), aground, 17 Oct 1825