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A. E. Vickery Project: History of the A. E. Vickery

News reports compiled by Ari Friedman, 05/15/2012

Three names refer to the same ship: Vickery, Vickory, and Penfield.

1884 Vickery runs aground but is released to sail again
Port Huron, May 6 – The wrecked schr. E.A. VICKERY arrived here today. She has been ashore on the north reef of Middle Island, where she stranded last Friday morning during a heavy snow storm. She had a full cargo of oats consigned to L. ALger, Smith & Co., Black River, of which 8,000 bushels were saved and landed there. The balance of her load, of which there was 14,000 bushels, is damaged and a loss. She will be repaired here. The tug SWAIN released her.
Buffalo Morning Express
May 7, 1884 5-5

VICKERY, A.E. Schooner. Home port, Chicago. On May 2, 1884 vessel went ashore on Middle Island, Lake Huron, with a cargo of oats; got off with cargo loss of $3,508. Hull loss $3,900. Insurance $27,000.
Disasters to Lake Vessels, 1884
Cleveland Herald Nov. 28th. 1884

Schooner J.B. PENFIELD. U. S. No. 13303, of 291.84 tons gross; 277.25 tons net. Home port, Chicago, Ill. Changed name to A.E. VICKERY on February 25, 1884.
List of Vessels Whose Names Have been Changed under the Act of March 2, 1881
U. S. Merchant vessel List, 1885

1889 Vickery runs aground and sinks
Thousand Island Park, Aug. 17 – Special). – The schooner VICKERY of Chicago, which struck on a shoal off this place Thursday night (Aug. 15), is sunk in eighty feet of water. Nothing can be seen of the vessel but her topmasts, which stick a few feet out of water. At the time of the accident the VICKERY was sailing down river and was obliged to make a short tack to clear the shoal in front of the lighthouse. In coming about she missed stays and went on the rocks. The captain and crew were on deck at the time, with pilot Henry Webber of Clayton at the wheel. After striking the vessel remained clinging to the shoal for four hours when she slipped off the rock and sunk in deep water. The crew consisted of Captain Massey, the mate, cook and four seamen. Two women were also on board. They were cared for at the lighthouse and are now at Clayton with the captain and crew. The channel is very narrow and crooked there and the current strong. Preparations for raising the vessel are already being made.
Oswego Palladium
Saturday, August 17, 1889


A Schooner Wrecked near Thousand Island Park.
( Special Correspondence of the Standard)
FRONTENAC, N.Y., Aug. 16. – At 10:30 o┬╣clock last evening the large three masted schooner VICKERY of Chicago struck on a shoal off Rock Island light house, just opposite Thousand Island Park and after hanging to the rocks for four hours, sank in about 80 feet of water. She was sailing down the river and had to make a tack to clear the light house, but missed stsys in coming about and went onto the rocks.
A stiff breeze was blowing at the time and she struck hard. The captain and crew were on deck at the time with Pilot Henry Webber of Clayton at the helm. The crew saved all their effects and no one was injured. The VICKERY is owned by Vickery & Co. of Chicago and valued at $20,000. She had a cargo of 21,000 bushels of conr, valued at $10,000 which will be a total loss. it was consigned to J.B. Wiser of Prescott. Nothing can now be seen of the vessel except her topmast heads.

Her crew consisted of Capt. Massey, mate, cook and four men, all of whom are now at Clayton awaiting orders. Two ladies were aboard. They were taken off and cared for at at the light house station on Rock Island. The point where she struck is one of the most dangerous on the river and has been the scene of a number of wrecks. The channel is very narrow and crooked there and the current strong. Preparations for raising the vessel are already being made.
Syracuse Daily Standard
August 17, 1889

It is reported that the schooner A. E. VICKERY with grain from Chicago is sunk in the St. Lawrence near Clayton.
Buffalo Evening News
Saturday, August 17, 1889

The Schooner and Cargo Regarded as a Total Loss
Captain Bauprey of the schooner WATERTOWN and Captain Flemming of the tug SEYMOUR report that they passed the wreck of the schooner VICKERY. They say that it is a total loss. The schooner struck on the lighthouse island and swung around, and then slid off into deep water. The wreck lies on the south side of the “Narrows” and went ashore about 10 o’clock Thursday night.

The stern is in the water about 100 feet deep, the mizzen topmast being entirely submerged. By the appearance of the foremast Captain Beaupry thinks the bow is about eighty-five feet under water and that thewreck lies on the bank at an angle of about forty five degrees. The wreck has been abandoned and no wreckers are called for. The VICKERY had on board 21,000 bushels of corn for Wiser of Prescott.
Oswego Daily Times
Saturday, August 17, 1889

WRECKED ON THE RIVER — Fisher’s Landing, Aug. 23. — The three masted schooner A. VICKERY, with 21,000 bushels of corn for cargo, bound for Prescott from Chicago, struck a shoal near the Rock Island light house near Fisher’s Landing, Thursday night, August 15. The schooner left Chicago August 5, and arrived at Clayton Thursday night. Here she took on a pilot to take her through the river. Henry Webber, Jr., of Clayton, was the pilot employed. The vessel struck the shoal at 10:15 p.m., and filled and sank quickly. The crew escaped in the small boats and remained at the lighthouse all night, coming to Clayton the next morning.

She was owned by J. T. Vickery, of Chicago, and was valued at $12,000. The grain was consigned to A. Wiser, of Prescott. John Massey was the captain and L. Massey was the mate. There were four other sailors. At two o’clock Friday morning the vessel drifted away from the shoal and sank in deep water, just showing her spars. The vessel was partially insured; the grain entirely so. Captain Massey has abandoned her, leaving the insurance companies to decide as to whether they will raise her or not
Watertown Herald
Saturday, August 24, 1889

The masts have been taken out of the schooner VICKERY, wrecked near Thousand Island Park last season.
Toronto Globe
April 10, 1890

One of the U.S. Marshals is investigating the prospect of removing the spars from the sunken schooner VICKERY in the canal opposite the Thousand Island Park.
Daily British Whig, Kingston
April 25, 1890

U.S. Marshal Mattoon had a peculiar experience the other day. He went to seize the schooner A.E. VICKERY, libeled by Alexander Bain for wreckage etc., the amount claimed being $902.79 The VICKERY was sunk in August last on the head of Well’s Island. The question was how to make the seizure of a vessel which is out of sight. In this dilemma Mr. Bain produced a suit of diving armour which Mr. Mattoon put on and went down to the vessel and made the seizure in true naval style. Not finding a convenient place upon which to affix his notice, he came up again and placed it upon a tree near at hand. Mr. Mattoon also found and took possession of the tackle, etc., saved from the wreck and gave it in charge of Mr. Essletynn of Clayton.
Daily British Whig, Kingston
April 26, 1890


Libraries which have collections on shipwrecks in the area

  • Milwaukee Public Library, WI
    -They have two pages copied from the U.S. Life Saving Service Annual Report of 1884, pages 247-248.
    -Relevant pieces to me:
    -“On August 15, 1889, the Vickery stranded and sank in the St. Lawrence River near Rock Island Light House. Lost $7,500.” “383 old measure. 291 gross. 277 net.” From “Inland Lloyd’s 1899”
    -Dimensions 136.2×26.2×10.8 Owner D. McCullum, Oswego. Value: $11,000. “She was a canal schooner.”
  • Mystic Seaport, CT

Material likely about the Vickery specifically

  • McCollom D, Wilcox Asa. A.E. Vickory. (Archival material in folder 22x28cm). WorldCat Entry Number 19890322 update 20040425. Accession No OCLC 19414825. (Housed in Milwaukee Public Library).
  • Annual reports of the Steamship Inspection Board
  • Navigation Protection Program, Canadian Coast Guard. List of shipwrecks for the areas of the St. Lawrence River and the Gulf, 1868 to 1994. English Book 1 v. (unpaged) ; 28 cm. Ottawa. 1998. (Housed in Milwaukee Public Library).

Material about shipwrecks in the area not specifically mentioning the Vickery

Information already found

  • Built by Asa Wilcox, Three Mile Bay, N.Y. for D. McCollum, Oswego, N.Y. in July 1861, as a canal schooner called the J.B. Penfield./ Rebuilt in 1884 and renamed the A.E. Vickory. Sold to a buyer in Chicago. On August 15, 1889 stranded and sank in the St. Lawrence River near Rock Island Lighthouse. WorldCat Official no.: 13303./ Bio/History
  • Dimensions 136x26x11
  • Gross tonnage 292, Net tonnage 277