Lake Ontario Shipwreck - Steamer Perserverence
Found by: Dan Scoville and Jim Kennard
Article by: Doron Isreal
Location: Bear Creek, NY
Update: Homer Warren is likely the Perseverance.
Last Voyage of the steamer Perseverance
The Perseverance was a 177ft first class steamer bound from St. Catherines to Oswego. It was owned by the Welland Railway Line and was built and tasked to carry grain. It was equipped with two boilers and propelled by a single screw. At the time it floundered it was carrying a cargo of 20,417 bushels of corn. Early in the morning of October 8th, 1868 the ship caught fire near the smoke stack and burned to the water's edge in 15 minutes. The survivors were picked up by the Perseverance’s sister ship the Enterprise that was 15 miles behind the Perseverance at the time of the fire. Not everyone was so lucky and 14 perished from fire, the elements, or drowning.
Shipwreck enthusiasts, Jim Kennard and Dan Scoville were initially searching for the lost wreck of the Homer Warren. During a search for the Warren they stumbled upon a ship that matched the Warren’s propulsion, location, and size. The only thing that did not add up was the cargo of corn instead of the reported cargo of coal. As many mistakes are made in written history, it was assumed this was another mistake.
In 2013 Doron Israel was researching wrecks in the Charlotte, Pultnyville, and Sodus areas. When researching a missing wreck called the Perseverance, it reminded him of a wreck that was discovered a decade earlier, the Homer Warren. As he started to look into both ships, he realized things didn’t add up. Both ships sank in the same area, were the same length, and had the same propulsion; that is where the similarities ended. The known facts of the wreck were: there were two boilers, a cargo of corn, and the wreck was in very bad shape. These facts supplied by Scoville and his team supported the notion that the Perseverance might actually be the ship that they thought was the Warren. The Perseverance was laden with corn, had two boilers, and was ravaged by fire when it sank. The ship condition reminded Israel of two other ships that went down by fire, the Conestoga and the Islander.
The Warren on the other hand was owned by a coal company, had proof it carried coal in the past, and by all reported accounts was carrying coal at the time of the sinking. Furthermore, the Warren was equipped with only one boiler to this wrecks two. Lastly this wreck was in really bad shape for a wreck that deep and that sank in a storm in 1919.
"The steamer, owned by the Welland Railway, was en route from Port Dalhousie to Oswego with 20,132 bushels of corn consigned to Thomas S. Mott, a local merchant there." "She was equipped with two boilers, 26 feet in length and 8 feet in diameter, each with 100 flues."
Last trip of the Steamer Perseverance by Richard F. Palmer 1991
"The cargo of the PERSEVERANCE consisted of 20,147 bushels of corn for P.S. Matt of Oswego, and both boat and cargo were insured."
Goderich Signal. Semi-Weekly Thursday, October 15, 1868
Atlantic/Homer Warren References
"41" x 36", 230hp @ 70rpm, low pressure condensing engine, Cuyahoga Furnace Co., 1863; 9' x 26', 45# firebox boiler, Cuyahoga Furnace Co., 1858."
"1918, May 1 Owned Milnes Brothers, Milnes Coal Co., Toronto, ONT."
Alpena County Public Library Vessel Database
"It was carrying coal from Oswego, N.Y. to Toronto. Ontario. when the 56-year-old hull opened up..."
Port Huron Daily Tribune October 27, 1997
Doron Israel is an avid diver and amateur historian. He has only recently got into shipwreck hunting and research. He currently works as a System Engineer contractor at Xerox.