Loss of the Equinox. -- In a gale of great fury that swept over Lake Michigan September 10, 1875, that propeller Equinox, with all on board, about 25 persons, including three young ladies, was engulfed near Port au Sable. The Equinox left Saginaw September 5, for Chicago, with the schooner Emma A. Mayes in tow, loaded with salt. The gale struck them off Point au Sable about 11 o'clock on the night of September 10, blowing furiously from the northeast. The crews of both vessels were on deck. The Equinox began reeling from side to side, but kept making steam and going ahead. The gale increased. The night was pitch dark, and through the roar of the wind and waves Captain Lusk, of the Mayes, stated that he heard the sudden cry, "Cut that line," It was immediately loosened and a moment later, without sign of distress, the propeller careened over to the leeward side and went down to the depths, leaving no trace behind. The schooner ploughed onward and reached Chicago with the tidings Saturday morning. Two days later the Schooner Havana arrived at Chicago with Reuben Burr, a survivor of the Equinox. He had been picked up Saturday morning 80 miles south-southwest of Manitou island. He was floating on the pilot house and had been thirty-one hours on the water. Burr said the sea had been frightfully rough. The Equinox began to leak aft, and all efforts to keep out the water were in vain. The water rose rapidly, and calls were made to the schooner to come alongside. Burr thinks the schooner could not have heard the cries, as the schooner was astern several hundred feet and the noise was great. Some of the men started to lower the boat on the port side, which was down in the water. The passengers and remainder of the crew were aft on the fantail. Eleven of the men had entered the boat when the vessel went down. Burr had been forward, and, with the captain, ran to the starboard side to lower the boat, when the ship went from under them. The captain caught the gangway, and Burr and the second cook managed to climb on the pilot house. The sea kept washing over them, but they held on. The next day the cook became exhausted and slipped away. Several schooners passed by, and it was not until Saturday morning that Burr was discovered by the Havana and rescued. The Equinox belonged to the Grand Trunk and Sarnia line.
Other Fatal Losses in the Same Storm. -- The propeller Mendota and one of her consorts, the Evening Star, foundered in the same storm on Lake Michigan, with a loss of 12 lives. The Mendota and two barges, Morning Star and Evening Star, loaded with coal at Buffalo for Chicago, and left September 1. There were twenty persons aboard the propeller, including the captain's wife and the steward's wife. Early Friday morning, September 10, 1875, the Morning Star broke adrift. The arches of the propeller broke away, and she began to make water. About eight miles east of Point Sable they let go the other barge. The sea was running so high that the two life-boats could not be launched, and when the propeller went down eight of the crew reached one of the boats and were saved, among them Captain Fairbanks. William Crossthwaite, son of the owner, had a miraculous escape. He clung to a fragment of the hurricane deck, and after he had been in the water nearly 50 hours was picked up Sunday afternoon by the bark Naiad. When the Mendota let go the barge Evening Star, the latter was leaking. Two pumps were started, but when eight hours later Capt. James Bennett found that in spite of the vigorous pumping there were seven feet of water in the hold, he called all hands and told them they would have to abandon the barge. Up to this time she had answered to her helm, but now became unmanageable. The one boat, fifteen feet long, was launched and the entire crew of seven got away. Though the seas ran high, and the water had to be constantly bailed out, the boat was kept afloat till she reached shore, 27 hours later, at Amsterdam, Wisconsin.
Propeller Comet Sunk by Collision. -- The propeller Comet was struck by the Canadian steamer Manitoba near Whitefish Point, Lake Superior, August 26. The collision happened about 8:40 o'clock in the evening. The Manitoba struck the Comet about 15 feet from her stern on the port side, and the shattered vessel sank within three minutes. During the excitement several of the crew of the Manitoba jumped aboard the Comet, but luckily returned quickly to their own vessel. Of the Comet's crew of 20, ten were lost. The Manitoba, which was bound up, returned with the survivors to the Sault. The Comet was owned by Hanna & Co., of Cleveland, and was valued at $25,000. She was 18 years old, having been built in Cleveland in 1857.
Persian Burned on Lake Erie. -- The fine four-masted propeller Persian, laden with grain from Chicago to Buffalo, burned and sank 10 miles east of Long Point, Lake Erie, August 26. She was built at Cleveland in 1874 at a cost of $125,000, and was registered 1,630 tons. There was no loss of life.
Other Events of 1875. -- April: Steamer Eighth Ohio sunk at Detroit. Schooner Granada, wrecked at Oswego, sold. Steambarge East Saginaw sunk off Harrisville. Lighthouse at Port Maitland destroyed by fire. May: Steambarge Swallow severely damaged by collision with the Fred Kelley at Toledo. Barge H.G. damaged by lightning off the Charities. Scow Maria sunk at Nine Mile Point. Schooner D.B. Wright capsized off South Haven. Schooners Scotia and Ontario collide near Forestville. Schooner Nina sunk on Lake Huron. June: Scow Hugh Caine sunk at Cleveland. Schooner Spray capsized off South Haven. Bark Cleveland abandoned at Pilot island. Steamer City of Sandusky collides with the barge Trader at Cleveland and sustains injuries. Severe storm on Lakes Erie, Michigan and Huron. Schooner C. Hillson disabled near Point Pelee and taken in tow by the steambarge St. Clair. Schooners Seaton and Morning Light collide at Point Albino. Schooner Petrel and scow Magdalene collide off Racine. Schooners Emmeline and R. Simmons collide off Grand Haven. July: Schooner Q.A. Gilmore sunk at Cleveland. Propeller Winslow disabled on Lake Superior and taken in tow by the tug Wilcox. Scow Juno sunk on Lake Erie. Schooner Elva capsized near Milwaukee. Scow Dixie burned on St. Clair river. Schooner Dan Marble sunk at Long Point. Schooner Sasco damaged by collision with schooner Hutchinson. Schooners Emma Mayes and Woodruff collide at Chicago. Steamer Northwest disabled on Lake Erie by accident to her engines. Scow Morning Lark capsized and sunk near Detroit. Steamer Dominion burned near Buffalo. Tug Cygnet totally wrecked near East Saginaw by explosion of her boiler. August: Barge Braley, in tow of propeller Allegheny, wrecked on Lake Erie. Schooner Pride of America waterlogged at Point Pelee. Barge D.K. Clint and propeller Pacific collide at Port Huron. Schooner Rosa Belle capsized near Grand Haven. Schooner J.F. Card wrecked at Vermilion Point. Schooner Dick Somers damaged by lightning to the extent of $1,000. Scow C.G. Meisel waterlogged at the Charity islands. Schooners Toledo, Buena Vista and Conquest wrecked near Milwaukee. Schooner Niacaragua, sunk near Chicago in 1864, raised. Canadian steamer Algerian sunk at Split Rock; several lives lost. Tug McClellan damaged by fire to the extent of $5,000. Schooner Mariner sunk near Centreville. Scow Mayflower sunk off Kelley's island. September: Barge Globe waterlogged near Dunkirk. Schooner Ottawa sunk in Sarnia bay by collision with propeller Annie L. Craig. Tug U.S. Grand burned at Fox island. Schooner Onondaga sunk near Chicago. Schooner Wm. Young sunk in Detroit river. Commodore Perry's flag ship Lawrence, sunk at Erie 62 years before, raised. Bark City of Buffalo sunk at Port Huron. Schooner Marion Egan sunk by collision with schooner E.R. Williams. Schooner Emeu sunk at Tawas bay. October: Schooner St. Andrew sunk near Ranney's Bend. Schooner Grace Sherwood sunk at Port Burwell. Tug Miller explodes her boiler and sinks in Thunder Bay. Schooner Jennie Graham sunk in the Welland canal. November: Schooner Geo. Worthington sunk near St. Helena. Tug Swan burned at East Saginaw. Schooner City of Milwaukee sunk in Lake Huron. Schooner Wacousta waterlogged near the Manitous. Propeller Mohawk burned at Buffalo. Schooner A.M. Beers sunk at Manistee. Schooner Parana waterlogged and abandoned by the crew on Lake Michigan. December: Steamer Phil Sheridan burned near Buffalo.
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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.