The most disastrous event of the season of 1851 was the total wreck of the propeller Henry Clay, which rolled over near Long Point, Lake Erie, with a loss of sixteen lives. The Henry Clay left Detroit, October 24, for Buffalo, and in a severe gale off Long Point, a part of the deck load shifted and was thrown upon the engine, breaking it and making the vessel unmanageable. The high waves tore the deck from the hull and it floated off with ten of the crew, all of whom were lost except one deck hand, picked up by a passing schooner. The hull was beached near Long Point. The Henry Clay was commanded by Capt. George Callard. She was loaded with flour and wool. Of the crew of 17 only one was saved.
Other Events of 1851. - There were 263 disasters during the season (1851) with a loss of hull and cargo amounting to $730,537, and 79 lives. Navigation opened at Buffalo, April 2, the steamer Canada being the first to depart. The Straits of Mackinaw were clear April 3. The first notable incident of the season was the explosion of the Canadian steamer Comet, at Oswego, with the loss of eight lives. She was afterward rebuilt, and her name changed to Mayflower. The Champion, Highlander and Mayflower in 1851 formed a line between Niagara and Montreal, touching at intermediate points, and the Maple Lead, Arabian and New Era were added to the line the next year. April: Steamer Southerner disabled near Point Pelee; loss $5,000. Schooner Moses and Elias wrecked on Bass island; loss $4,000. Schooner E. Bowen ashore at Grosse Point. Schooner Wabash totally wrecked at Port Dover. Schooner Atlanta wrecked near Dover. Schooner Brewster wrecked near Port Dover. British brig Beaver sank at Rondeau; 20, steamer Comet exploded and sunk in Oswego harbor, eight lives lost. Propeller Allegheny damaged to the extent of $4,700, by collision with the propeller Ohio, on Lake Huron. Schooner Palmyra wrecked at Gull island. Schooner Rush filled and capsized by collision with propeller Paugassett on Lake Erie. May: Schooner Ellen Stuart sunk at Long Point cut. Steamer Sultana damaged to the extent of $4,000 on Lake Erie. Schooner Dawn sustains a loss of $4,740, during a storm on Lake Erie. Brig Mayflower disabled on Lake Erie. Brig Ramsey Crooks disabled, and jetted deckload. Brig Constellation disabled. Schooner D. D. Bogart sunk at Dunkirk. Steamer Dewitt Clinton sunk at Dunkirk. Schooner O. V. Brainard ran ashore on Lake Ontario and burned; loss $6,590. Schooner Gallinipper sunk in Milwaukee harbor. Schooner Clay lost off Ashtabula. Schooner Marvin Henry totally lost off Grand Haven, nine lives lost. June: Schooner Mackinaw sunk off Cleveland by propeller Princeton; schooner Welland sunk in St. Lawrence river; steamer Atlas sunk in St. Lawrence river. July: Schooner Gallinipper capsized and lost on Lake Michigan; schooner Rose, Canadian, wrecked on Georgian Bay. Lake Huron; schooner Acorn loses deck-load in a gale on Lake Ontario; scow Sacramento capsized off Buffalo; propeller Manhattan sunk by collision with the propeller Monticello on Lake Superior; schooner Ontanagon capsized off the Twin rivers; schooner Chicago, Canadian, founded on Lake Michigan. August: Schooner John Ward wrecked on Erie Basin pier at Buffalo; schooner H.N. Gates disabled on Lake Erie; brig Ramsey Crooks capsized near Point Pelee; schooner Big Z sunk in Grand river; schooner Arcadia ashore at Point Pelee; cargo lost, valued at $2,000. September: Steamer Bunker Hill burned at Tonawanda; schooner T. P. Handy burned at the same place; steamer Empire State loses a tow valued at $2,400; steamer Geo. Clinton, with two boats in tow, lost near Genesee, Lake Ontario; schooner Monson sunk at Port Hope, Canada; schooner Oneida disabled on Lake Ontario; propeller Ottawa sunk by propeller Reindeer near Kingston, Canada; schooner Kentucky wrecked at Presque Isle; schooner D. D. Bogart total wreck at Erie. October: Schooner Christina capsized on Lake Ontario, 11 lives lost; schooner Osceola wrecked on Lake Erie; schooner Erie sunk by collision near Sandusky; propeller Monticello totally wrecked on Lake Superior; schooner Abby Wrecked near Cleveland; schooner Hannah Counter wrecked on the Canada shore; brig Chicago capsized near Long Point; eight lives lost; schooner Wm. Penn capsized on Lake Ontario; three lives lost; schooner E. G. Merrick wrecked at Vermilion; brig Fashion stranded on Lake Michigan; brig Wabash sunk near Chicago; schooner Cambria sunk at Ashtabula; schooner Illinois wrecked on Lake Erie; steamer Queen Victoria abandoned on the rocks at the head of Niagara river; schooner Billow, lumber, wrecked on Long Point; schooner Grace Amelia wrecked; schooner Helena wrecked near Kalamazoo; schooner Saratoga sunk by collision with the Buckeye State; loss estimated at $8,500; four men drowned; steamer Atlas wrecked near Grand river; schooner Prince Albert (Canadian) wrecked on Long Point; propeller Vandalia wrecked by collision with schooner Fashion on Lake Erie; loss $14,000. November: Propeller Ireland sunk in the St. Lawrence river; schooner Home wrecked near Dunkirk; schooner Texas wrecked at Rondeau; schooner Caledonia wrecked on Lake Erie; scow Flying Dutchman wrecked at Long Point; schooner Luther Wright sunk at Oswego; schooner Meg Merrilies wrecked at Manistee; steamer St. Lawrence sunk in the St. Lawrence river; steamer Seneca burned at Chicago; schooner W. G. Talcott total loss on Lake Erie; brig S. B. Ruggles lost near Buffalo; loss on cargo and boat $27,000; schooner Eudosa wrecked at Dunkirk; schooner Sciota sunk by collision with the brig Quebec near Ashtabula; brig Empire wrecked at Oswego; schooner Huron wrecked at Sandy creek; brig L. A. Blossom sunk by steamer Niagara in Detroit river; loss $10,000; brig Clarion lost two locomotives off deck, valued at $16,000; schooner California wrecked near Barcelona; schooner Whip ashore near Erie. December: British schooner Rachel sunk in the Welland canal; steamer Sultana sunk at Sandusky; scow Anawan total loss off Huron; five men drowned.
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Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.