USS Scourge (1812) A Virtual Cemetery created by: Rubbings
Description: USS Scourge was an American warship converted from a confiscated merchant schooner. She foundered along with the American warship Hamilton during a squall on Lake Ontario at 2:00am on Sunday, August 8, 1813,. during the War of 1812.Scourge began its career as the Lord Nelson, which was built at Niagara in Upper Canada for merchant James Crooks. Lord Nelson found its way into American naval service after it was stopped and searched by the American warship Oneida under the command of Lt. Melancthon T. Woolsey on 5 June 1812, almost two weeks before war was declared. Lord Nelson was confiscated under the Embargo Act of 1807 and taken to Sackets Harbor, where it was armed with four 6-pounder cannons, four 4-pounder cannons and fitted with bulwarks. The ship was placed in Captain Isaac Chauncey's squadron and patrolled Lake Ontario during the War of 1812.Scourge and Hamilton sank during a sudden squall off Fourteen Mile Creek near present-day Hamilton, Ontario around 2:00 am on Sunday August 8, 1813. The sinkings took more than 80 men to their death. Scourge was under the command of Sailing Master Joseph Osgood. According to a Letter of August 1813 after both ships were lost sixteen survived. A survivor of the Scourge, Ned Myers, told his story to James Fenimore Cooper. According to Myers about eight men from the Scourge were saved, and about 42 were lost.The site of the sunken ships was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1976. The Ontario Heritage Act was amended in 2005 to provide special protection to the shipwrecks of the Hamilton, the Scourge, and the SS Edmund Fitzgerald because of their historical and cultural significance and because they contain human remains.The original owners of the boat demanded compensation. On 11 July 1817, the Court of Northern District of New York, determined that the boat had been seized illegally. Despite the court's decision, compensation to the Crooks family was not paid because the funds had been embezzled by the clerk of the court. The descendants, persisted and finally won compensation for the boat 95 years later, thanks to the determination of Henry James Bethune. The award: $5000, plus 93 years of interest!