the Steamship ” Martha Ogden ” which was built at Sackets Harbor in 1819 and was wrecked at Stony Point November 12, 1832. Accounts of the wreck vary from some being told that the Martha Ogden was heading from Sackets to Oswego with others stating the opposite. At any rate, the captain of the ship was William Vaughn. The ship had sprung a leak, her fires were put out and she was forced to go under sail. But the wind on that afternoon prevented her from “doubling” Stony Point. After an attempt to lay, anchors, the Martha Ogden was blown into 10′ and was aground sometime after 11:00 pm on the night of the 12th. The crew consisted of 6 hands and there were 22 passengers on board. With much peril a man succeeded in reaching shore, raised locals, built fires and in the morning a line was passed to shore and everyone on board was safely drawn ashore in a three- bushel basket rigged upon a line with a Dutch harness. Captain Vaughn was the last man to leave the vessel. The Martha Ogden was owned by S. & L Denison of Sackets Harbor and was a total loss.

Sketch By Captain James Van Cleve ca. 1827

The Story of S. S. Martha Ogden of Sackets Harbor

Compiled by Ralph Dodge Johnson

The Martha Ogden was built in 1819 at Sackets Harbor, two years after completion of the first steamship on the Great Lakes, the S.S. Ontario. The ship continued in service until lost in 1832. On the afternoon of November 12, 1832, the Steamer Martha Ogden, Captain Vaughn, Master, took her departure from Oswego and her return trip to Sackets Harbor. Encountering boisterous weather of gale proportions from the South she was unable to regain the Port of Oswego and having her seams opened in the heavy weather the fires were put out and the sails were raised with the expectation of continuing the trip under sail. But the wind having been from the South to Southwest veered to the West then Northwest to North making the Ellisburg coast a lee shore prevented her from passing Stony Point. Captain Vaughn seeing the peril of being driven ashore put out both anchors in eight and one half fathoms of water which held from 4 to 11 PM when the anchor cables successively parted and she soon afterward struck and stranded in ten feet of water. One of the seaman volunteered to swim ashore with a light line and after much peril reached the shore, about eight rods from the ship. He rallied the inhabitants who built immense bonfires and in the morning a stout line with a pulley and a Dutch Harness rigged with a three bushel basket landed the twenty-two passengers and six sailors safely. Captain Vaughn was the last one to leave the stranded steamer which being battered by the high seas broke-up during the afternoon. This early shipping disaster occurred in Nuttings Bay on the coast of Henderson. The S.S. Martha Ogden was owned and operated by S. & L. Denison and is said to have the second American steamship on the Great Lakes. What is left of the old ship may be seen on calm days a short distance off-shore. See Johnson’s Chancery Reports, Chapter IV, page 148.

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