Vessel Sails for California from Cleveland. - One of the most notable occurrences during the season of 1849 was the departure from Cleveland of the bark Eureka for California via the river and Gulf of St. Lawrence, and with two or three exceptions, the first experiment of sending lake vessels on sea voyages. The Eureka was owned by W. A. Adair, and took her departure in May, having on board 59 passengers. The captain was William Monroe, and first mate F. H. Freeman. The voyage was a success, and all were landed in safety.
Cholera Breaks Out. - The cholera was alarmingly prevalent in 1849 at nearly all the lake ports, and many deaths occurred on ship board. Among those carried off was Captain Chesley Blake, long in the employ of Oliver Newberry, Detroit. This veteran sailor, who had been on the lakes since 1818 and was well known as an able commander, died at the American House, Milwaukee, October 3. He was taken with cholera on board of the steamer St. Louis, on her trip up to Chicago, while on Lake Michigan.
Fatally Scalded on the Passport. - In 1849 there was a terrible accident to the Canadian steamer Passport, on her trip up the St. Lawrence from Montreal to Kingston, by which 44 of her passengers were severely scalded by escaping steam from the engine. About 14 of the scalded died from the effect of their wounds.
Other Events of 1849. - The season was an unusually dull one, both in freight and passenger traffic, owing chiefly to the epidemic which prevailed. The steamer Oregon was burned at Chicago early in the season; loss $15,000. The schooner Outward Bound, Capt. John Church, foundered; eleven lives lost. In 1849 there were afloat upon the northern lakes, craft of every description, a total of 914 vessels as follows: Of side-wheel steamers, there were 95, with a total of 38,492 tons; 45 propellers, 14,435 tons; 15 barques, 1,645 tons; 93 brigs, 21,330 tons; 548 schooners, 71,618 tons; 128 sloops and scows, 5,484 tons, with a total valuation of $7,868,000. January 27: Sloop Speedwell, in command of Captain Ackeron, leaves Cleveland for Vermilion, the first clearance of the season. March 20: Scow Diana, in command of Captain Dayton, arrives at Cleveland from Black River; first arrival of the season. May 26: Sloop Planet, built at Geneva, Ohio, launched; afterward on her trial trip capsized and Capt. Chas. Bogrand drowned. June: Schooner Merchant lost at Point aux Barques; five men drowned. Steamers Saratoga and Hendrik Hudson collide below Erie, by which the latter sustains serious injuries. Steamer New Orleans wrecked at Thunder Bay island; passengers rescued by the Nile, in command of Captain Pierce. July: Sloop Morning Star, in command of Captain Miesel, sunk at Sandusky bay. Loss $600. Schooner Acorn sunk by collision with steamer Troy near West Sister island. Steamer Empire State ashore near Sleeping Bear; passengers transferred to the Delaware. The Empire State was the largest boat on the lakes, owned by Montieth, Hazard & Co., and valued at $180,000. Brig Stambach capsized near Fairport; three lives lost. September: Schooner Big Z, of Silver Creek, sunk at Cleveland. Propeller Detroit and schooner William and brig Rocius and schooner Breeze collide at Cleveland. Steamer Ben Franklin sustains severe injuries on Saginaw bay. Schooner La Salle capsized near Racine. October: Schooner W. G. Buckner capsized off Milwaukee; crew rescued by the schooner Erwin. Lighthouse burned at Cleveland. Schooner Milan, in command of Captain Richardson, sunk off Oak Orchard. October: Propeller Globe sunk near Point Albino. December 27: Navigation still open between Buffalo, Cleveland and Chicago.
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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.