Ships 2

City of New York

Ships 3

City of New York

Wreck Of The City of New York

By James Donahue

Eight people perished when the tired old wooden-hulled bulk freight hauler City of New York foundered in severe weather off Lake Ontario’s Duck Island on November 25, 1921.

The 136-foot, 58-year-old propeller was laden with coal, making what was to have been a short run from Oswego to Trenton when it was caught in a November storm. The vessel, owned and commanded by Captain Harry Randall, was carrying an unusually light crew of about four other men. Also riding as passengers were Randall’s wife and 19-month-old child, plus a 14-year-old adopted son. All perished in the disaster. Five of the eight bodies were recovered in the ship’s yawl the next day by the steamer Isabelle.

Because there were no survivors, details about the loss of the steamer were not known. There was speculation that the ship was under staffed, which may have contributed to the disaster when the vessel got caught in the storm. It also was thought that the hull may have been speared by the masts of another sunken ship, the schooner Oliver Mowatt, known to be in the area where the City of New York went down.

Working as crew members on the fateful trip were Wesley Warren, first mate; Harry Dorey, engineer, and a 17-year-old deck hand Gilbert Dorey.

A story in the Winnipeg, Manitoba Free Press noted that Randall lost another steamer, the John Randall, in the same area one year earlier. He and his crew, many of the same men lost on the City of New York, were marooned for a week on Main Duck Island before they were rescued. For a few days they had all been given up for lost.

The City of New York was launched at Cleveland in 1863 as a package freighter. It was sold to Canadian owners and converted to be a bulk carrier in 1891.