Loss of the Kent. - A sad casualty was the loss of the steamer Kent on Lake Erie by collision with the steamboat London, about five miles below Point Pelee. The Kent was in command of Captain Laing, and was owned by Messrs. Eberts, of Chatham. She was en route to Buffalo with about 75 passengers. The London was sailed by Capt. H. Van Allen, from Buffalo for Detroit. The reputed cause of the collision was an error of the pilot on board the Kent, who attempted to pass on the wrong side of the London, which brought her directly across the bows of the latter. Both steamers were owned by Canadian parties. The Kent went down in deep water, with nearly all of the baggage, also her books and money; eight passengers were drowned; the London sustained no injury.
A Round Trip Each Month During the Winter. - Navigation commenced at Buffalo April 3, the steamer United States, Capt. H. Whittaker, clearing on that date, and it may also be noted as never before recorded that the same steamer performed one round trip each month during the winter. The feat was never before or since accomplished. The Erie canal was ready for business April 15. The Straits of Mackinac were clear April 4, the propeller Hercules, Capt. F. S. Wheeler, the first to pass through, bound westward.
The Geo. M. Bibb Goes to New Orleans. - The United States revenue propeller Geo. M. Bibb (iron built), the material for which was gotten out at Pittsburg and put together at Oswego, left the lake region for New Orleans. On her arrival at Cincinnati she was placed in the dry dock, where her submerged propellers were removed and side wheels substituted. She was en route to serve on the seacoast. In 1881 she returned to Lake Ontario.
Boisterous Weather. - In the fall of 1845, after the close of navigation, there were put in construction on the upper lakes, 7 steamboats, 9 propellers, 14 brigs and schooners, all of the largest class.
The extremely boisterous weather was very destructive to lives and vessels, amounting to, as nearly as a careful account can make it, sixty lives lost; thirty-six vessels driven ashore. Twenty of these became total wrecks, four foundered at sea, with entire loss of crews and cargoes, producing a loss of property in the aggregate over $200,000. In the five years ending in 1845 more than 400 lives were lost, and destruction and damage to steamboats, vessels and cargoes amounted to more than $1,000,000.
Other Events of 1845 - The schooner Chapman, Capt. Charles Gale, of Port Burwell, laden with lumber, bound for Cleveland, was wrecked a short distance above Long Point, Lake Erie, and was a total loss. On the morning of June 3, the steamer St. Louis, Capt. G. W. Floyd, met with a bad smash-up to her engine off Thunder Bay, Lake Huron, by the crosshead giving way. She had on board 300 passengers for Milwaukee and Chicago. Sail was hoisted and a signal of distress set, and soon after the brig Robert Hunter came alongside and took her in tow. The schooner Havre, laden with merchandise, was wrecked on Middle island, Lake Huron; nothing saved. The schooner Essex, of Oswego, cargo of wheat, was wrecked near the mouth of the Niagara river, Lake Ontario. She was owned by Doolittle, Mills & Co. One thousand bushels of the cargo, shipped from Sandusky, were saved. The schooner H. N. Yates, from Youngstown, with 1,500 barrels of flour and 1,000 bushels of wheat, taken from the Essex, went ashore near the fort at Oswego, and damaged the whole cargo. During the same storm three canal boats, together with the steamer President, were driven from their moorings in Black Rock harbor; the Suavity, with 1,800 bushels of wheat, was also driven ashore. The schooner Ocean was wrecked on Lake Michigan, and Captain McGregor; Mr. Russell, mate; J. Quinn, second mate, and the cabin boy were all lost. The steamboat Indiana, Captain Roby, struck a snag in Maumee bay, and sunk. Steamer Ben Franklin, Captain Edmunds, struck, on entering Cleveland harbor, and a heavy sea lifted her on the west pier. One wheel was entirely carried away, and the wheelhouse and guards shattered, and her false sides stove in. March: Schooner Brothers wrecked on Lake Ontario. Steamer Columbia, in command of Captain Peck, damaged by explosion of boiler on Lake Erie. April 1: Brig T. W. Maurice and sloop Geneva ashore at Conneaut and Ashtabula, respectively; one life lost on the Geneva; 2, brig T. W. Maurice, in attempting to reach Conneaut harbor during a severe gale, runs ashore. May: Schooner John Grant capsized near Erie; crew rescued by the schooner Kinne, in command of Captain Davidson; schooner Texas sunk and total loss near Put-in-Bay island. June: Schooner Henry Hubbard capsized on Lake Huron; crew saved. August 1: Brig Indiana, in command of Capt. T. L. Parker, ashore at New Buffalo. October: Scow Sweden sunk at Buffalo, damaging 1,000 bushels of wheat taken from the schooner Howard; 21, schooner Maryland, during a gale, struck a pier and was sunk at Fairport; cargo of 7,500 bushels wheat seriously damaged; the Maryland was raised and repaired; 23, schooner Mountaineer, after springing a leak, ran ashore at the mouth of Cattaraugus creek. November: Schooner Caledonia, of Kingston, ashore at Cleveland, while attempting to make the harbor; total loss; brig Francis Mills and schooner Aurora Borealis ashore at Huron; subsequently released; 5, schooner Henry Clay ashore at Erie; brig Owanungah ashore at Madison Rock; both subsequently released; 8, schooner J. A. Barker, in command of Captain Shelby, ashore at the head of Lake Michigan; 9, schooner Commodore, in command of Captain Dorrett, ashore at Cleveland in attempting to enter the harbor during the gale; the revenue cutter ashore at Conneaut; brig Maj. Oliver ashore a half mile south of Chicago; cargo of wheat damaged and vessel a complete wreck; schooner Amazon, laden with dry goods and whiskey; sunk at Milwaukee; raised November 10, sloop James K. Polk wrecked near Michigan City; crew of seven lost; schooner Maryland sunk at Fairport, raised and towed to Cleveland; 11, brig Algomah, laden with grain, wrecked, and the schooner Victoria ashore at Dalhousie; 10, brig Preble ashore at Buffalo in attempting to enter the harbor; 14, schooner St. Regis ashore at the mouth of the Genesee river, Lake Ontario; schooner Elizabeth Ward, in command of Captain Crowl, capsized on Lake Erie; crew saved; boat owned by Russell & Crowl, of Cleveland; schooner Texas capsized near Long Point; the vessel and crew of six were lost; 22, schooner North Carolina, wheat laden, ashore at Ashtabula; schooner Western Trader, in command of Captain Barton, ashore at Buffalo; schooner Bluebell beached below Wind Mill Point; schooner Sylph damaged by collision with the schooner Milan, on Lake Erie; schooner Wilcox driven against the pier and sunk at Cleveland; 25, schooners Niles, Mahala and Boliver ashore on Lake Michigan. December: Schooner E. Jenny sunk at the pier in Buffalo; schooner Favorite frozen in and sunk near the mouth of the Maumee river; steamer Lexington damaged by fire on Lake Erie; 14, schooner Pilot ashore and full of water near Mackinaw; schooner Kent, wrecked at Thirty-Mile creek.
Return to Home Port
Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.