A Dull Season. -- The season of 1843 was a dull one, and not a few boats had small margins at the close. The steamer Thomas Jefferson was laid up in August for the season: steamer Missouri lay by two months: the Buffalo was hauled off the upper lake route to fill the place of the Jefferson between Buffalo and Detroit.
A Most Deplorable Disaster - The schooner South America, Captain Brady, left Buffalo, November 4 with a cargo of salt for Toledo, and was never heard of afterwards. This was the most deplorable disaster of the season; six lives lost.
Oil Consumed in 1843. - There were upon the lakes in 1843 44 light- houses and beacons, consuming annually 10,000 gallons of oil. The contract for furnishing oil for the United States lighthouses was let at 53 cents for winter and 51 cents for spring oil. These 44 light- houses and beacons had 430 lamps, each requiring 27 gallons of oil annually. Each steamboat consumed 100 gallons, or three barrels, a month for her machinery, lights, etc., which was 750 gallons for the season, and an aggregate for steamers of 18,750 gallons. The number of sail craft in commission at that time was about 300, which consumed 6,000 gallons, making a total used on the lakes, including lighthouses, etc., of 33,930 gallons.
Iron Government Vessels. - An iron revenue cutter was built for the United States Government this year at Oswego, of the following dimensions: Length, 150 feet; beam, 23 feet; depth, 8 feet. The United States steamer Michigan was in the process of construction at Erie, Penn., this season, of iron, the plates of which were transported from Pittsburg, via Cleveland, at a cost of $6,000 between the latter port and Erie. Also an iron survey steamer for the United States Government at Buffalo, which was launched in the fall and named the Colonel Abert. She was 97 feet long, 18 feet 3 inches beam, and 8 feet hold. She was propelled by one of Hunter's submerged water wheels and two engines, 16 inches diameter and 26-inch stroke, with a draft of 40 inches; nothing visible above the deck except the smokestack.
Other Events of 1843. - Outside of the steamboat combination there were several independents, which established rates to their own liking, resulting in the reduction of fares. The following extract is taken from the Cincinnati Atlas November, 1843; "We noticed at the upper landing the two-masted schooner Dolphin, Captain Doyle, from Buffalo, N.Y., loaded with white fish and bound for New Orleans. She entered the Ohio via Cleveland, through the Ohio canal, and is probably the first schooner that has ever floated from Lake Erie to the Ohio." The steamer General Wayne, Captain Perkins, made the voyage from Chicago to Buffalo in three days 11-½ hours; the schooner Sandusky, Capt. J.P. Davidson, from Buffalo to Detroit and back with cargo, in four days and a half; schooner Windham, Capt. O. Shephard, from St. Joseph to Buffalo in five days and three hours. The last link of the railroad from Buffalo to Albany was finished in the winter of 1843, and the Michigan Central extended to Jackson. In February the steamboat Sandusky, laid up at Buffalo, was set on fire by some unknown miscreant, and almost totally destroyed. In the spring she was rebuilt and converted into a full-rigged bark, with Capt. Charles Marsh in command. April 1: Ice 30 miles around Nine Mile Point lighthouse, averages a thickness of 20 inches; 25, sloop Erie, flour, floundered on Lake Michigan; six lives lost. May: Steamer Illinois leaves Detroit for Chicago with the largest load of passengers ever carried on the lakes; the number of persons aboard was over 700. Schooner Troy lost near Manitou Isle during a storm. July: Schooner Hudson damaged by lightning while at anchor near Peshtigo. August 2: The Columbus damaged by collision with the Great Western on Lake Erie near Conneaut. September: Schooner Equator sunk by collision with the steamer Rochester near Conneaut; loaded with 1,200 barrels flour from Detroit consigned to Waring, Stockton & Co. Steamer Kent disabled on Lake Erie, and towed to a Canadian port; passengers transferred to the steamer Huron. October 1: Severe storm on Lake Erie. Brig Rebecca damaged by collision with the steamer Cleveland near Silver Creek. Propeller Porter damaged during a gale on Lake Erie, while making her first trip. Steamer Constitution sustains injuries during the storm. Schooner Albany, cargo of salt and 123 passengers, in command of Capt. Jacob Imson, wrecked near Mackinaw. Schooner Wyandot struck a pile and sunk at the dock in Detroit; flour cargo damaged. Schooner Alabama, cargo of wheat, sunk in attempting to make Fairport harbor; total loss. Steamer Missouri struck on Point Aux Barques; on reaching St. Clair river, sunk at St. Clair. Steamer Bunker Hill and propeller Independence damaged by collision south of Milwaukee. Ship Superior, in command of Captain Munson, ashore at Michigan City; total loss. The C.A. Van Slyke sunk at Black Rock; loaded with merchandise for American Transportation company. Schooner J.C. King, loaded with groceries from Detroit, ashore near Conneaut; total loss. November: Propeller Chicago damaged by running on a reef near Mackinaw. Brig Osceola a total wreck at Southport.
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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.