Lighthouse Wreck

Site Description #

  • Steamer
  • 15ffw 5m
  • 135ft Length
  • Long Point, Lake Erie
  • 42 33.075 80 02.721

Chronological History

  • 1849 Laid down as ERIE.
  • 1849 May 14 Renamed HENRY CLAY; documented on 20th.
  • 1851 Rebuilt Black River, OH; 134’4″ x 22’7 1/2″ x 11′; 316 23/95 tons.
  • 1851 Oct 23 Capsized.
  • 1851 Abandoned

Commonly known as the “Light House Wreck,” charter captain Ed McLaughlin suspects this site is HENRY CLAY. The wreck rests on a sandy bottom in 15 feet of water immediately off the tip of Long Point.  This shallow site is home to large schools of fish.  Her keelson and frame members cover a large area.  Occasionally horse bones are found at this site.  Horses were used to work the deck gear on board the steamer.
Considered an excellent site for newly certified divers, it is also a wonderfully relaxing way to breathe the bottom off your tanks after making some of the deeper dives off Long Point.

Selection of News Articles for more #

Cleveland True Democrat 
      November 5, 1851 2-1  #

Capt. Dorr, with Capts. Keating and Root, visited the wreck of the ill-fated CLAY last week. It was aground, south side of Long Pt., bottom upwards, aground fore and aft, vessel total loss. 
      The body of Capt. Callard was found lashed to the upper deck rail, close to the stern; the rail was broken off, and he was underwater, bound to it by the rope. By his side was a female. He had evidently struggled to save her, as well as himself. No other bodies were found. 
      The female, name unknown, aged about 23 years, was buried near the lighthouse, Long Pt., Canada, and a head board put over her grave. The body of Capt. Callard was taken to Buffalo on the WAVE. 
      The funeral of Capt. C. was numerously attended in Buffalo. The Masons and Odd Fellows were out. 
      Some articles of clothing, trunks very much broken, books &c., were found on the shore. A bible belonging to a colored man, was picked up and had written in it, “Atmor T. Carter, of Boston, Mass., a gift of Miss W____ of Baltimore.” Whatever clothing, articles, &c., were found, and some papers belonging to the 2d engineer Mr. Baldwin, and the first mate R.E. Down are in the hands of Capts. Root and Keating. 
      The machinery and most of the freight was out of the CLAY. Not much more will be got from the wreck; some portion of the cargo left, may be saved. 

Syracuse Daily Star 
      Wednesday, November 5, 1851  #

      Further From the wreck of the Henry Clay. 
      We take the following from the Buffalo Advertiser: – We are indebted to Capt. E.P. Dorr, Marine Inspector, who, with Capts. Keating and Root, returned from the wreck of the ill-fated Clay on Saturday evening, for some 
interesting particulars. The body of Capt. Callard was brought down by the steamer Wave. 
      The wreck of the Clay was found on the 31st ult., by the gentlemen above named, lying on the south side of Long Point, Canada, in ten foot water, bottom upward, aground, fore and aft. Pieces of the wreck and cargo are 
strewn along the above for miles each way. The vessel is a total loss. the body of Capt. G. Callard was found lashed to the upper deck rail, close to the stern, the rail was broken off, and he laid under water, attached to it 
by the rope he was lashed with. 
      Capt. C. had evidently exerted himself to save the lady passenger, who was on board, as she was found lashed to a piece of rail also. She was buried decently, and as well as the circumstances would permit, not far from the lighthouse at Long Point, Canada, in a conspicuous place, with a head board to identify the spot. 
      There was nothing discovered by which she could be identified. She was apparently 23 or 25 years of age. No more bodies were found. A few articles of clothing, a few papers, and some of the trunks belonging to a number of the crew were found on shore. The trunks were much injured, and the books and papers were handed over to the friends of the deceased. The trunk of the cook, a colored man, with a bible and some other books, but no clothing came on shore. In the bible was written, “Amos T. Carter, of Boston, Mass., born in Duxbury, Mass.1819; a gift from Miss —-, Baltimore.” 
      It is said that Carter had a wife living in London, C.W., to whom his books were sent. Clothing and papers belonging to the first mate, R.E. Dowd, also came ashore, and are in the hands of Capts. Rot and Keating, friends of the deceased. 
      The funeral of Capt. C. was numerously attended this afternoon from the Baptist Church, on Washington st. He was buried with Masonic honors, of which order, as well as that of the I.O.O.F. he was a member.

Conneaut Reporter 
      November 6, 1851  #

      The Buffalo Commercial Advertiser says the person saved from the wreck of the prop. HENRY CLAY, is an Irishman, who was a deck hand on board, named David Keefe, a single man. He says that after the propeller was disabled the last he saw of Capt. Callard he and a lady passenger were lashed to the jib-stay forward, and soon after, he asserts, the vessel capsized. 
      He and 3 others succeeded in reaching a portion of her deck, on which they floated until the brig JOHN MALCOM hove in sight, in the midst of the gale, and ran so near them as to heave them lines. He was the only one, however, who was able to catch the line, and he was towed through the water, nearly a mile before he was taken on board. The MALCOM was an old vessel running before the gale, and could not put back to save the others. It is quite probable that all are lost. 
      The crew consisted of about 12 persons, including officers. It is probably the vessel had but few passengers. Capt. Callard leaves a wife and family in this city. He had lately returned from California, and purchased an interest the propeller of which he was master. He was universally esteemed a good seaman. 

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