Voyage of the Dean Richmond. -- The season of 1856 witnessed the first departure of a sail vessel from the upper lakes for an ocean voyage to Liverpool. The pioneer was the schooner Dean Richmond, with a cargo of wheat taken on at Milwaukee in July, and commanded by Capt. D. C. Pierce. She had a prosperous voyage over, demonstrating that lake vessels were adapted for sea voyages. Other vessels had superseded the Richmond in making sea voyages from Lake Ontario, the first of these being the brigantine Pacific, from Toronto, in 1844, with a cargo of wheat and flour for Liverpool, commanded by Capt. George Todd. From that period up to the time of the Richmond's departure, in 1856, there were nine departures for salt-water voyages, all bound for Liverpool, save the revenue cutter Dallas to New York, in 1847, and the bark Eureka from Cleveland bound for San Francisco, in 1849. The others sailing during this interval for Liverpool were the schooner Lillie, Captain Hunter, from Kingston, in 1848; the schooner Sophia, Captain Gaskin, from Kingston, in 1850: schooner Cherokee, 400 tons, Captain Gaskin, from Toronto, in 1853: bark Arabia, 450 tons, Capt. John Calder, from Kingston, in 1854; schooner Cataraqui, 550 tons, Capt. Robert Gaskin, from Kingston, in 1854; schooner Eliza Mary, 850 tons, Capt. R. Gaskin, from Kingston, in 1854; bark Reindeer, from Toronto, in 1855. The propeller Ontario went to California from Buffalo in 1850.
Lake Superior Line. -- The line of steamers which were put upon the route to Lake Superior in 1856 through the Sault canal, then in the second year of its opening, were as follows: Steamer Illinois, 926 tons, Capt. John Wilson; steamer North Star, 1,106 tons, Capt. B. G. Sweet; steamer Planet, 1,154 tons, Capt. Joseph Nicholson; propeller Manhattan, 320 tons, Capt. John Spaulding; propeller Mineral Rock, 560 tons, Capt. John Frazer; propeller General Taylor, 462 tons, Capt. Redmond S. Ryder; propeller B. L. Webb, 862 tons, Capt. C. K. Dixon. The Webb had been rebuilt, and did not come out until late in the fall, and on her first trip was burned in Waiska bay, with the loss of one life, and the boat a total loss.
Burned Under Full Steam. -- The passenger steamer Northern Indiana burned to the water's edge Thursday morning, July 17, off Point Pelee, Lake Erie, while on her passage from Buffalo to Toledo. The passengers and crew numbered about 150, and of these 15 were lost. The water was smooth, and only a light wind was blowing. Captain Pheatt had been detained by sickness at Buffalo, and the first mate, named Wetmore, was in command. The officers were taking tickets when the alarm of fire was given. The steamer Mississippi was about five miles astern, the propeller Republic at a greater distance, and a schooner near by. The mate rang the bell to stop the engine, but the engine room was apparently deserted, for no attention was paid to the signal, and the machinery remained in motion, carrying the burning boat rapidly away from the schooner, and driving the flames aft. Life preservers, consisting of pieces of plank, with two ropes attached to each, were hastily taken from the hurricane deck till the flames drove back the men. The forward deck was then cut to pieces with axes and the fragments thrown overboard, and about one-half the passengers at intervals jumped into the water and clung to the floats. When the engines of the Northern Indiana finally stopped, the Mississippi and the Republic came up and rescued the survivors.
Lost With Nearly Fifty Souls. -- The propeller Toledo went down at night during a storm, October 22, about a half mile off Port Washington. She had come to anchor, and the captain was trying to get up her anchors and beach her as a last resort, but the chains got foul, the seams opened and the propeller soon settled to the bottom. Three deck hands were saved: the remainder of the crew and the passengers, between 40 and 50 souls in all, were lost. The Toledo was a first-class propeller of the American Transportation line, and was in command of Captain Densham. She was bound up with a full cargo of merchandise for Milwaukee.
Many Lives Lost on Lake Superior. -- The steamer Superior was lost near Grand Island, Lake Superior, October 29, 1856, during a violent storm. Her rudder was carried away and the boat fell into the trough of the sea. She commenced making, the fires were put out and she struck the rocks, soon after going to pieces. Thirty-five lives, including 11 passengers, were lost, and 16, including five passengers, were saved. Capt. Hiram J. Jones was among the lost. The Superior was considered one of the best sea boats in the trade, and had lived through many a storm. She left Chicago October 25, loaded principally with supplies for miners.
Other Disasters of 1856. -- The propeller J. W. Brook foundered in Lake Ontario in a heavy gale, and all on board lost, 22 lives. The loss on cargo and hull in this instance was $90,000. The bark J. V. Ayer, laden with wheat, foundered in Lake Michigan, and ten lives found watery graves. She was commanded by Capt. Thos. McClelland. The schooner Mary Maria was wrecked on Presque Isle, Lake Ontario, and seven lives lost. The schooner Iowa foundered in Lake Michigan with nine lives lost: loss on hull and cargo $33,000. Steamer Niagara burned off Port Washington, Lake Michigan, and 60 lives lost: $70,000. Propeller Tinto burned on Lake Ontario, and 18 lives lost, $31,000. Steamer Northerner sunk by steamer Forest Queen in Lake Huron with 12 lives; $23,000.
Other Events of 1856. -- In this year one boat was running direct through from Montreal to Chicago, a freight steamer, owned by Jones & Co., and stopping at many intermediate points. The number of craft owned by Canadians in 1856 was 47 steamers, 17 propellers, and 171 schooners, aggregating a total of 42,000 tons and a valuation of $3,500,000. On Lake Ontario during the season of 1856 there were six steamers plying on the America side controlled by the Ontario & St. Lawrence Steamboat Co., of which E. B. Allen, of Ogdensburg, was president, and Capt. James Van Cleve, secretary and treasurer at Lewiston. The steamers made daily trips, calling on the downward passage at Charlotte, Oswego, Sacket's Harbor, Kingston, thence to Ogdensburg, and returning by the way of Cape Vincent, Toronto, thence to Lewiston. On May 9, the boiler of the propeller Inkerman exploded as that vessel was backing away from Upton & Browne's wharf, Toronto, her entire crew being either instantly killed or badly wounded. The only passenger on board, Miss Eliza McGill, was dreadfully injured. The boat was a complete wreck, and most of the cargo was lost. March 26: Navigation opened on Lake Michigan by the steamer Huron, which left Chicago for Milwaukee. April 11: Schooner Sea Witch leaves Cleveland for Huron, the first clearance of the season at that port; 18, schooner Pride capsized near Venice. Steamer Northerner sunk in Lake Huron by collision with the steamer Forest Queen, twelve lives lost. June: Schooner Fulton collides with the schooner Lookout off Bar Point. July: Brig Cuyahoga capsized off Point Pelee; five lives lost. October: Schooner Kenosha wrecked at Chicago. Schooner Dean Richmond sold in Liverpool, England, for $27,000. Steamer Hudson sunk near Cedar Point. Schooner Tempest sunk at Cleveland. Schooner Royal Oak sunk at Port Stanley. Schooner Etna abandoned at Point Albino. Schooner Wyandotte wrecked at Buffalo. Canadian steamer New Era sunk in St. Lawrence river. The Mary wrecked on Lake Erie. Propeller M. P. Spaulding burned in Buffalo. Propeller Nicol sunk near Montreal. November: Bark American Republic wrecked at Buffalo. Schooner Ellen Gillmore lost on Lake Erie. Schooner Forest Queen sunk in Genesee harbor. Schooner Industry total loss at Port Colborne. Schooners Hamlet and McKay sunk at Chicago. Scow Brant sunk at Sandusky bay; raised and towed into port. Schooner Belmont lost near North Manistee. The City of Hamilton sunk near Hamilton. Propeller Northern Michigan sunk near Genesee river; raised. Steamer Mazeppa a total loss at Saugeen. Schooner Ellen sunk in Thunder bay. Steamer Superior lost on Lake Superior during a storm. Propeller B. S. Webb burned on Lake Superior. Bark Norman lost near Simcoe. Schooner Cherokee lost on Lake Michigan; ten lives lost. Propeller Manhattan sunk by collision in Cleveland. Steamer Golden Gate goes to pieces near Erie; one life lost. December: Schooner Storm King and brig Algomah sunk at Milwaukee. Schooner Chas. Howard wrecked at Chicago. Scow Falcon sunk off Kelly's island. Steamer Lord Elgin totally wrecked off Long Point. Schooner Crevola sunk at Milwaukee. Schooner Odd Fellow sunk at Toronto. Schooner Cordelia sunk near Ashbridge's bay. Schooner Belvidere capsized and crew lost.
Other complete losses of the season were as follows: Steamer British Empire sunk by steamer Fashion in the St. Lawrence; steamer Monarch wrecked near Toronto; steamer Brunswick sunk in Lake Michigan and one life lost; steamer Welland burned at Port Dalhousie, Lake Ontario ($50,000); steamer Brothers wrecked on Thames river; steamer Fashion lost at Bayfield, Lake Huron; propeller Paugassett burned at Dunkirk; propeller Protection sunk by steamer Boston in the St. Lawrence; propeller Falcon burned at Chicago; propeller Sandusky wrecked at Conneaut; propeller M. B. Spalding burned at Buffalo; propeller Louisville burned in the St. Lawrence river ($30,000); propeller St. Joseph wrecked near Fairport ($46,000); propeller Lord Elgin lost on Lake Ontario; brig Oxford sunk by propeller Cataract in Lake Erie, and five lives lost; brig Sandusky lost in the Straits, and seven lives lost; brig Seneca wrecked at Kalamazoo; brig A. R. Cobb wrecked near Chicago; brig Nebraska sunk by propeller Oriental in Lake Michigan; brig F. C. Clark wrecked at Manitowoc; brig Arabian wrecked on Lake Huron; brig Cumberland wrecked on Lake Huron at Bayfield.
The following named were all schooners: Wm. Penn wrecked at Point Pelee; Marengo sunk off Middle Sister, Lake Erie; Kate Hayes lost on Spectacle reef, Lake Huron; Signal wrecked at Oswego; Maid of the West lost on Lake Michigan; J. E. Shaw lost in the straits; Ohio lost off Dunkirk with one life lost; Colonel Camp sunk by propeller Plymouth in Lake Michigan; Caledonia lost on Lake Michigan with six lives; Defiance sunk by brig W. Treat in Lake Michigan; J. W. Ross wrecked at Buffalo; War Eagle wrecked at Ashtabula; Maria Hilliard wrecked at Death's Door, Lake Michigan; Europe wrecked at Chicago; General Taylor wrecked near Chicago; Bohemia wrecked at Port Washington, Lake Michigan; Magnolia lost on Gull island, Lake Michigan; St. Anthony wrecked at Goderich; Canadian foundered in Lake Erie and 11 lives lost; J. G. King wrecked at Kalamazoo; Trenton lost on Lake Michigan; Egyptian lost at Point Pelee; George M. Chapman wrecked at Oswego; Perry lost on Lake Ontario; Industry wrecked near Port Colborne; A. J. Brown wrecked at Presque Isle, Lake Ontario, with two lives lost; Orion lost at Point aux Barques; Kansas foundered in Lake Michigan with 11 lives lost; Cherokee foundered in Lake Michigan and ten lives lost; Montgomery wrecked on Lake Ontario; Robert Bruce lost at Port Burwell; Thomas Bradley lost near St. Joe; Allegan wrecked on Lake Ontario; J. T. Williams lost on Lake Ontario.
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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.