The navigation of 1862 commenced with the freights ruling firm and remunerative. Tugs received from $25 to $35 per vessel for towing from Lake Huron to Lake Erie. The tug E. M. Peck carried the broom on the rivers, claiming a superiority of speed over all others. The barks Northwest and Oneonta had a trial of speed between Chicago and Buffalo. Both vessels passed through the rivers in the same tow, but the latter succeeded in reaching Buffalo first. The bark Sleipner from Bergen, Norway, Captain Waage, arrived at Detroit, August 24, en route to Chicago with 105 passengers on board. The schooner Oriole, Captain McAdam, laden with ore, collided with the steamer Illinois, and sunk with the loss of twelve lives, including the captain, his wife and mother-in-law. The bark British Lion arrived at Detroit wire-rigged, the first with a wire fitout on the lakes, Capt. R. Gaskin master and owner. A freshet took place in the Genesee river, forcing the steamer Maple Leaf from her winter moorings into Lake Ontario with only her captain on board. The schooners Col. Cook and Minnesota shared a like fate, but all soon after got into port again little harmed. The propeller Stockman, built for the fishing trade and for a time on passenger routes, was this season converted into a brig.
Struck by Lightning. - A singular fatality occurred on board the schooner Fortune on the night of May 1, on Lake Erie. The crew were engaged in making sail immediately after a heavy thunder squall. John Corbett, first mate, with the crew, were at the fore halliards on one side of the mast, and Neil Duncan, second mate, was on the opposite side, also aiding in making sail. A bolt of lightning killed both mates, but the rest of the crew were unharmed. The mates were not more than three feet apart.
Opening of the Navigation. - Navigation opened at Buffalo March 28, the propeller Eclipse, Captain Crosby, being the first boat to leave for Toledo, arriving at that port the following day. The Welland canal did not open until April 10, although some vessels which were laid up at Port Colborne sailed from there April 4. The Sault canal was in readiness for business April 27, the steamer City of Cleveland, Capt. George Ryder, being the first boat through; the Straits of Mackinac, April 19, the propeller Prairie State, coming eastward, the first to pass through.
First Iron Propeller Built. -- In 1862 the propeller Merchant was built at Buffalo, the first iron propeller on the lakes. Her iron hull was 192 feet keel measurement, and 200 feet over all, afterward lengthened 30 feet. She engaged in the freight and passenger service between Buffalo and Chicago, developing a speed of 14 miles an hour.
Sailed for Europe. -- The schooner Sirius, laden with oil, took her departure from Detroit September 11 for Liverpool, and was wrecked at Farther Point October 20. The bark Thomas F. Park, Capt. William McLeod, departed from Detroit for Liverpool, laden with oil, October 22, but on reaching Quebec her way was obstructed by ice, and there she went into winter quarters.
The following craft also passed out of existence, and were total losses during the season of 1862: Steamer Bay City, formerly the Forest City, wrecked at clay banks, Lake Erie; propeller Pocahontas lost on Long Point, Lake Erie; propeller Moira sunk off the Ducks, Lake Ontario; propeller General Taylor lost at Sleeping Bear; propeller California wrecked on Mohawk reef, Lake Erie; propeller Bay State foundered in Lake Ontario, and twenty-two lives lost; tug Zouave exploded in Lake St. Clair, and four lives lost; tug Union exploded off Chicago, and three lives lost; tug Tom Cochrane, wrecked on Point Albino; bark Northern Light wrecked at Port Barwell; brig Ocean Eagle wrecked at Sheboygan. The following named vessels were all schooners: Pacific lost at the Humber, Lake Ontario; Souvenir foundered in Lake Michigan, and four lives lost; Cadet foundered in Lake Erie, with loss of six lives; Zephania foundered in Lake Ontario, crew saved; Sirius wrecked at Father Point, St. Lawrence; Christiana wrecked on Lake Ontario; Flora Watson sunk by schooner H. Ross, in Lake Erie; Ontonagon wrecked near Oswego; Chief Justice Marshall wrecked near Barcelona; Post Boy lost near Dunkirk; A. Moulton wrecked in Lake Ontario; Mary Ann wrecked in Lake Ontario; Condor lost on Lake Michigan; Bridget wrecked on Long Point, Lake Erie; Helen Mar wrecked at Oak Orchard, Lake Ontario; Mary foundered in Lake Ontario, with loss of five lives; Excelsior lost at Port Stanley, Lake Erie; Huntress wrecked at Port Maitland, Lake Erie; A. Stowell lost near Sodus, Lake Ontario; Stephen A. Douglass went down in Lake Michigan. The following named vessels were all scows: Rugby lost on Lake Erie, with seven lives; Forest Chief wrecked at Cleveland; Lily lost off Vermilion, with one life.
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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.