Blackhawk's War, and Cholera. - The year 1832 was notable in lake history for the transportation of troops to Chicago to quell Blackhawk's war, and for the simultaneous and destructive breaking out of cholera. In 1832 the first steamboat visited Chicago. There were few traces of civilization after passing the Straits of Mackinac, not a single village, town or city being in the whole distance. Four steamers, the Henry Clay, Superior, Sheldon Thompson and William Penn, were chartered by the United States Government for the purpose of transporting troops, provisions, etc., to Chicago during the Black Hawk war; but owing to the fearful ravages made by the breaking out of the Asiatic cholera among the troops and crews on board, two of these boats, the Henry Clay and the Superior, were compelled to abandon their voyage, proceeding no farther than Fort Gratiot. On the Henry Clay nothing like discipline could be maintained. As soon as the steamer came to the dock each man sprang on shore, hoping to escape from a scene so terrifying and appalling. Some fled to the woods, some to the fields, while others lay down in the streets, and under the covert of the river bank, where most of them died, unwept and alone.
On the Sheldon Thompson, commanded by Capt. A. Walker, with General Scott aboard, 88 deaths occurred from the pestilence. Not one officer of the army nor any officer of the boat was attacked with such violence as to result in death, though nearly one-fourth of the crew fell a prey to the disease while on the passage from Detroit to Buffalo.
The Thompson reached Chicago, July 10, 1832, also the Asiatic cholera. At that time there was a fleet of vessels at anchor in the offing. Some eight days after the arrival of the Sheldon Thompson, the William Penn appeared in Chicago harbor, with troops and supplies.
The first visitation of cholera to this country made its appearance in 1832, first at Quebec, June 11, on which date 34 deaths occurred, principally among emigrants just landed; many had died on the passage. Its next appearance was in New York City, Albany and Buffalo the forepart of July, and it gradually worked westward.
The steamboat Henry Clay, on her arrival in Cleveland had five deaths on board, and the steamer Superior two deaths. The schooner Benjamin Rush also arrived with three dead on board, and like instances were not unfrequent on the lakes.
Wreck of the Ogden. - The Martha Ogden, built at Sacket's Harbor, in 1819, was wrecked at Stony Point November 12, 1832. William Vaughan was her Captain. She left Oswego for Sacket's Harbor, but having sprung a leak, her fires were put out, and her sails spread, but the wind, which in the afternoon was southwest, veered to west- northwest, then to the northwest, and finally to the north, and pre- vented her from doubling Stony Point. Both anchors were thrown in eight and a half fathoms of water, and they held her fast from 4 P.M. to 11 P.M., when they were successfully parted, and she soon struck and bilged in ten feet of water. The crew consisted of six hands, and there were 22 passengers on board. With much peril a man succeeded in reaching the shore, eight rods distant, aroused the inhabitants, built fires, and in the morning a line was passed to the shore, and the whole company on board was safely drawn ashore in a three-bushel basket rigged upon a line with a Dutch harness. Captain Vaughan was the last man to leave the vessel, which went to pieces during the day. She was owned by S. and L. Denison, of Sacket's Harbor, and she was wrecked at Nutting's bay, on the coast of Henderson.
Troubles of the Schooner Supply. - The schooner Supply, Captain Campbell, owned by the mission at Mackinac, was wrecked in the month of November, this year, by getting ashore on a bar at or near Gorse island, where she bilged and sunk. Her cargo, consisting of supplies, was saved, except 150 barrels of salt. A short time prior to her loss she was driven ashore on the Canada side of Lake Huron, and was with difficulty rescued. She had on board a quantity of furs, which were saved in a damaged condition. The cause of her troubles, which were several that season, was attributed to the inefficiency of the crew, who had but little or no experience.
Evergreen from Green Bay. - Steamers visiting the upper lakes during this period of navigation, and more especially Green Bay, would, on the return voyage, arrived decked out with evergreen, tied to flag- staff, masthead and bowsprit, as an indication of the far-off regions they had visited.
Old Hulks at Kingston, Etc. - In 1832 there were yet several hulls of vessels at Kingston that had been begun during the war of 1812, but never completed, on account of the closing of the war. One 74-gun ship was sold for L26, and some time later, during the same year, a heavy rainstorm accompanied by thunder and lightning occurred, and split the St. Lawrence down the center; the props giving way, she broke into a thousand pieces and fell to the ground in heaps of ruins. This year there were built three new Canadian steamers: the John By, of 100 tons, at Kingston; the William IV, of 450 tons, at Gananoque; and the Transit, of 350 tons, at Oakville, the latter having at first been named the Constitution.
Some New Vessels. - On Lake Ontario the new steamer Great Britain (Canadian) was commissioned, commanded by Capt. Joseph Whitney and plied between Prescott and Niagara, calling at way landings and occasionally at Oswego. She had two low-pressure, walking-beam engines of 90-horse power each. The steamer Canada, Capt. Hugh Richardson, was also plying in Canadian waters during that period and previously, but was finally wrecked near Oswego by going ashore and breaking up. On the American side, beside others previously noted, the steamer United States commenced plying in July, 1832, commanded by Capt. Elias Trowbridge. She had two beam engines, 40-inch cylinders, 8 foot stroke, with boilers on the guards.
Other Events of 1832. - Navigation opened April 11 at Erie, by departure of schooner Mary of Milan, Capt. Z. Phillips, Detroit. Schooner Buffalo, 161 tons burden, launched at Huron, Ohio. Navigation opened April 27, at Buffalo, by schooner Gov. Cass, cleared for Sandusky. Schooner Atlanta, 100 tons burden, launched at Fairport; owned by Geauga Iron Company and H. Phelps. May: Schooner John Q. Adams, Capt. B. Stanard, capsized off Grand river; crew rescued by schooner Comet. Schooner Guerierre capsized at the mouth of the Detroit river; five lives lost. July: Steamboat Pennsylvania, launched at Erie; owned and built by Col. Charles M. Reed; largest boat on the lakes. Schooner Jesse Smith, of Oswego, filled and sunk in the Niagara river, near Black Rock. September: Steamboat General Brady launched at Detroit; intended to ply on the Detroit river. Schooner Elisha Whittlesey, Capt. William Hecox, capsized and sunk off Salem, Ohio; eight passengers and two of the crew drowned; captain and remaining members of the crew rescued by the schooner Huron, Captain Perkins. November: Schooner Andrew, owned by Captain Belden, of Cleveland, stranded near Buffalo. Canadian schooner Lord Nelson ashore at Dunkirk. Schooner Supply ashore at Goose island, near Detroit. 12, steamboat Martha Ogden, Captain Vaughn, wrecked at Stony Point; crew and passengers saved; boat owned by L. and S. Denison. Steamboat New York launched at Black Rock. Schooner Governor Cass aground near Detroit river. December: Schooner Caroline capsized between the Ducks and Galoe islands; crew saved.
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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.