St. Clair, MI Propeller BOSCOBEL Fire, Sept 1869

A Propeller Burned on the St. Lawrence-Loss of Life.

Detroit, Sept. 3.-The propeller Boscobel, Captain Hodges, of the New-York Central line, caught fire this morning below St. Clair. The boat was run upon the Canada shore, where she continued to burn, and will prove a total loss. The Boscobel was bound to Chicago, and had ten passengers, who were all saved, but they lost all their effects. GEORGE ELY, the second engineer of the steamer, finding it impossible to reach the deck, jumped overboard and drowned. It is feared that one of the firemen suffered a like fate.

The New York Times, New York, NY 6 Sept 1869


Marine Disaster.

The Burning of the Propeller Boscobel in St. Clair River-Three Lives Lost.

From the Detroit Post, Sept. 4th.

It again becomes our painful duty to again chronicle a marine casualty, attended with loss of life. The following dispatch was received from our correspondent at St. Clair yesterday about noon:

“The propeller Boscobel, Captain HODGES, running in the New York Central Line, bound for Chicago, caught fire at 9 o’clock a.m., about three miles below St. Clair. She was beached on the Canada side, where she is now burning. The passengers, ten in number, were saved. The officers and crew were saved, except GEORGE RUEHLE, second engineer, drowned in attempting to swim ashore, and one of the firemen and a deckhand, who are reported drowned. The passengers and crew lose nearly all their effects. The books and papers belonging to the vessel are saved. The loss will be total. The cargo consisted of 170 tons of railroad iron, 40 tons of pig iron, and about 80 tons of merchandise. The fire was discovered near the forward end of the boiler, and spread very rapidly. The passengers and crew were brought here on the propeller Belle of Oshkosh. The propeller Free State was lying close by the Boscobel. The boat was nearly new and was owned by the Peshtigo Lumber Company.

Additional Particulars.

The propeller Neptune, of the Bell’s City Line, arrived last night at about 10 o’clock, having on board seven of the Boscobel’s crew, from whom the following interesting particulars are derived: The fire was discovered by one of the firemen at about 9:30 o’clock yesterday morning. He ran to the upper deck shouting, “She’s on fire!” and in the course of about three minutes the boat was almost completely wrapped in flames. She was, upon discovery of the fire, headed for the American shore, but the wind blowing up the stream, Captain HODGES, in order to keep the flames aft, ordered her to be turned around, which was done, and she was headed upon the Canadian shore heading down the stream. The flame sin the meantime had made such headway that all efforts to save the boat were soon found to be unavailing. The hand pump was first tried, but was quickly abandoned. In the confusion of the moment, the pony was started without the hose being attached, and by the time this mistake was rectified, the hose could not be brought into requisition on account of the heat.