Great Lakes Maritime History

History of the Great Lakes

Vol. 1 by J.B. Mansfield
Published Chicago: J.H. Beers & Co. 1899

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Vol. 1 of History of the Great Lakes



The Great Chicago Fire, 1871 - Smoke And Disaster - Loss Of The Coburn -Telegraphic Communication - From The Lakes To The Mississippi - Other Events Of 1871 - Shipbuilding Active, 1872 - Phenomenon On Lake Ontario - Foundered In Mid-Lake - Old Wreck Discovered - Severe September Storm - Other Events Of 1872 - Loss Of The Propeller Ironsides, 1873 - Lost On Lake Superior - Terrible Snowstorm - Other Events Of 1873 - Destruction Of Steamer Brooklyn, 1874 - Other Events Of That Same Year - Loss Of The Equinox, 1875 - Other Fatal Losses In The Same Storm - Propeller Comet Sunk By Collision - Persian Burned On Lake Erie - Other Events Of 1875 - Burning Of St. Clair, 1876 - Other Events Of That Year - Adrift On Lake Michigan, 1877 - Lost On A Reef -Two Total Losses - The Lake Carriers - Other Events Of 1877 - Events Of 1878 - Scow Fleet Meets Disaster, 1879 - Memorable Storm, 1880 - Loss Of The Alpena - Disaster On Detroit River - Foundered On Lake Huron -Other Events Of 1880.


The great Chicago fire, in which several vessels and much shipping and dock property were destroyed, together with elevators, etc., will long be remembered on the lakes. The fire broke out about 11 o'clock on the 8th of October, and raged without abatement until the entire business portion of the city was laid in ruins. From Harrison street (south) to Division street (north), and from the river to the lake, and four miles long by one wide, the flames swept everything before them, besides burning away into the outskirts of the city, rendering homeless 100,000 people and destroying $300,000,000 worth of property.  About 2,500,000 bushels of grain in elevators were destroyed.

On October 9 the new propeller Navarino, while lying alongside the North pier at Chicago, was destroyed by the great conflagration; no lives lost; value of steamer, $75,000.  She was owned by the Goodrich Transportation Company.  Other vessels destroyed on this date by the Chicago fire were the schooner Glenbula, owned by Magill and others; schooner Eclipse; the barkentine Fontanella, owned by Beckwith, J. D. Bothwell and others; the schooner Butcher Boy, owned by John Murray and others, partially destroyed; the Canadian bark Valetta, owned by Captain Larkin, and the schooner Alnwick.

This great fire and forest fires at the same date, which ravaged the lake region, caused a dense smoke to overhang the lakes for a number of weeks, made navigation exceedingly hazardous, and many vessels went ashore.  On October 10 the tug Despatch ran into Point aux Barques reef with five barges in tow.  The tug was a total loss. The schooner Seneca Chief, 150 tons, was burned to the water's edge while a fire was raging at Manistee a few days after the Chicago fire. She was built at Buffalo in 1846.  The bark Major Anderson went ashore October 12 and proved a total wreck.  She was owned by Capt. John Prindiville, of Chicago, who suffered great loss by the fire in that city.  The Anderson for several years belonged to the Winslow line, and came out in 1861.  She was 568 tons burden.

Smoke and Disaster. – The navigation upon the lakes during the year 1871 was attended with unusual difficulty, and rendered extraordinarily dangerous by the prevalence of dense smoke caused by fires in the forests of Wisconsin, Michigan and Ontario, which with frequent and severe gales, rendered disasters to shipping in that region frequent and destructive both to life and property.

There were many casualties for the year, and while a great proportion of the number of disasters for the year occurred to sailing vessels, and to persons and property connected therewith, a few also fell upon the steam marine, with terrible severity to life and property.

Loss of the Coburn. – One of the greatest disasters of the season was the loss of the propeller Coburn, Captain Demont, of E. B. Ward's Lake Superior line, October 18, in Saginaw bay, whereby 16 passengers, the captain and 15 of the crew, including every officer, except the second mate, were lost.  There were upward of 70 persons on board, about 40 passengers, and a crew of 35.  Among the passengers were eight women and five children, and two families in the steerage.  The Coburn was bound from Duluth to Buffalo with wheat and flour.  Shortly after passing Presque Isle harbor, the wind commenced blowing from the north-east, and there was so much smoke on the lake that the engine was checked down, and the steamer held head to the wind.  A few hours later the wind veered to the southwest and blew a terrific gale.  The Coburn labored heavily, but shipped no water of consequence until her rudder was torn off when she drifted into the trough of the sea, making her roll heavily, shifting her cargo.  Holes were cut in her bulwarks, and the crew set to work throwing her cargo overboard, but the waves washed over her, tore off her smokestacks, and she began settling.  Soon the fireman's gang was stove in and the water rushed into the hold in immense volumes.  Ten men got into one of the yawls and seven into the other, leaving the life-boats bottom side up, untouched.  When the Coburn went down Captain Demont stood just aft of the texas with his hand on the rail. There were quite a number of persons on the hurricane deck when it floated off, but they were seen only a short time.  The Coburn was a fine, stanch, new propeller of 867 tons burden, well found in every department, having come out in June, 1870.

Telegraphic Communication. – In June a matter of great importance to all branches of business was the establishment of telegraphic commun-ication between Marquette and Sault Ste. Marie.  By this enterprise a through circuit was established between the iron ore regions and the lower lake ports.

From the Lakes to the Mississippi. – Quite a sensation was caused by the passage of the steamer Wisconsin from Oshkosh, Wis., to Prairie du Chien, via Fox and Wisconsin rivers. The trip was made in 60 hours, and good weather was reported the entire distance.  This occurrence gave life to the project of connecting the waters of the Mississippi river and Lake Michigan by ship canal.

Other Events of 1871. – The propeller Raleigh brought down in August 51,500 bushels of corn from Chicago to Buffalo; this was reported to be the largest cargo of grain ever carried by a steam vessel on the lakes. The old Canadian propeller Cromwell, sunk by collision in the Straits near Mackinac island, in 1857, was raised August 28.  The barge Marquette, which was sunk in the fall of 1870 in the Straits, was raised and converted into a three-masted schooner.  The renowned tug Winslow took down from Saginaw the champion tow; it consisted of 11 lumber-laden barges, and against a hard wind.  Freights at the close of this season were quoted as follows; Coal, Buffalo to Green Bay, 75 cents; ore, Escanaba to Cleveland, $2.75; lumber, Bay City to Lake Erie ports, $5.00 per M.  

March 12: Schooner Union sunk at Milwaukee.  

April 5: The Welland canal opened, and the Sault canal on the 6th. The steamers Olean and Orontes were the first boats out of Buffalo; 4, the propeller W. T. Graves was the first through arrival at Buffalo.  By collision between the steambarge Jaques Cartier and the little schooner St. Joseph, in April, near Fighting island, the latter sunk; 8, the schooner Kingsford, bound down, sprang a leak and sunk near Waugachance light.  The Kingsford was built at Oswego in 1856, and was owned by Chicago parties; 25, the towing boat S. V. R. Watson struck by schooner S. G. Simmons and capsized near Chicago harbor; three lives lost; 27, schooner Pearl wrecked at Napanee.  Schooner Lucy J. Latham damaged by collision at Buffalo.  

May: Bark Lottie Wolf sunk at Milwaukee.  The tug B. B. Jones exploded her boiler while lying at the railroad dock at Port Huron, instantly killing seven of the crew and injuring three.

June: Tug W. A. Moore sunk in Saginaw bay.  Schooner Resolute sunk at Erie.  The propeller Alexander Weston caught fire at Lambton, Ont., and was burned to the water's edge.  The Weston was a new boat of 150 tons burden, and was built at Wallaceburg in 1870.  

July: Brig Lucy J. Clark badly damaged by collision with the propeller St. Joseph at Chicago. Schooner Wanderer sunk at Port Huron. Scow Fairy capsized off Cleveland.  Schooner Sweepstakes damaged by collision with the propeller City of Concord at Chicago.  Schooner Castalia wrecked on Georgian Bay.  Scow Advance sunk by collision with the U. S. Grant at Put-in-Bay.  Bark St. Lawrence severely damaged by collision at Chicago. Bark Harvey Bissell sunk at Point Pelee. Schooner J. S. Newhouse burned off Grand Traverse bay; she was built in Cleveland in 1856 and measured 381 tons.  She was raised and rebuilt.  The propeller J. Barber, while on her passage from St. Joseph to Chicago, was destroyed by fire about ten miles off Michigan City, Ind.; two lives were lost.  While the steamer Maine was on her west-bound voyage from Ogdensburg, she collapsed one of the main flues of her boiler, at or near Brockville, on the St. Lawrence river, causing thereby the death of six persons. August: Schooner San Jacinto wrecked and sunk in Sheboygan harbor. Scow Emma Young sunk at Algonac by collision.  City of Montreal disabled on Lake Michigan.  Scow Scottish Chief wrecked on Lake Michigan. Propeller Tonawanda, sunk last fall near Buffalo, raised.  Schooner Winfield waterlogged off Spider island.  Schooner Winfield Scott capsized near Death's Door; crew taken off by the propeller G. S. Truesdell. Schooner St. Joseph waterlogged on Lake Huron; taken in tow by steamer Galdna. Schooner Geo. M. Abell wrecked at Port Burwell.  Tug Swan sunk at East Saginaw.  The Canadian scow Dunham, coal-laden, was lost on Lake Erie. She sailed from Cleveland August 19, in command of Captain Wright, with a crew of five men, all of whom were lost.  The wreckage was washed ashore at Point Pelee.  The steamer Akron, while lying at the wharves at Ogdensburg, was discovered to be on fire in the hold.  To prevent a total loss of the vessel and cargo, she was scuttled and sunk; she was subsequently raised. The hull of the capsized schooner Stella was towed into Manistee by the tug Caroline Williams.  She hailed from Racine, and was bound for Pentwater when she was overtaken by the gale.  Her captain and half-owner, J. M. Raemunson, and crew of three were drowned. The schooner Winfield Scott, Capt. H. Faith, sprung a leak near Death's Door and soon capsized.  The crew clung to the wreck 24 hours until rescued by the schooner Ethan Allen.  The Winfield Scott was built in Cleveland, and was of 118 tons burden.  

September: Schooner New Lisbon capsized off Fairport.  Bark Sunrise a total loss at lower end of Lake Huron. Propeller Michigan sunk opposite Sister islands in Alexandria bay.  Schooner Clyde ashore and wrecked at Big Sodus.  Schooner Grace Murray sunk at Erie.  Schooner North Star a total loss on Lake Michigan.  Propeller Dictator sunk by the Jay Gould at Manitou islands.  Schooner Union sunk near Sheboygan.  Schooner Miranda abandoned at Port Austin.  Scow Duncan waterlogged and capsized near Cleveland.  Schooner S. J. Layton sunk by the schooner Brooklyn in Welland canal.  Schooner Lucy J. Latham sunk in Welland canal.  Tug Little Rebel explodes her boiler at Chicago.  Propeller Pacific sunk in Sault river.  Barge Robin sunk at Galoo Rapids, St. Lawrence river. Barges Ruby and Regulator, ladened with baled hay, took fire in the Detroit river near Fighting island, and were entirely consumed with their cargoes.  Propeller Dictator, while lying at the dock at Manitou island, was run into by the propeller Jay Gould, causing her to sink immediately.  She was subsequently raised and taken to Buffalo for repairs.  Steamer Free State, 949 tons burden, of Buffalo, while on her voyage down from Chicago to Buffalo, and during the prevalence of thick weather, struck on Gray's reef, Lake Michigan, and was totally lost together with her cargo.  The Canadian scow Maggie went ashore near Goderich and proved a total loss. She was built in Cleveland by Sanford & Moses in 1847.  Propeller Michigan of the Northern Transportation Line, sunk opposite Sister island, six miles below Alexandria bay. She was raised and repaired at the company's dry dock at Ogdensburg.  The schooner J. L. Hurd was struck by a gale near the Manitous, sprung a leak and sunk; all hands were lost except the captain, W. O. Harrison, who saved himself by clinging to a broken spar.  The Hurd sailed from Chicago to Buffalo on the 21st with a cargo of 28,000 bushels of corn. Captain Harrison's wife and child were on board.  

October: Schooner Montezuma sunk by the Hattie Johnson off Saginaw bay. Schooner Groton stranded in the St. Lawrence river.  Schooner Major Anderson total loss at Two Rivers Point.  Bark Fontanelle burned at Chicago.  Schooner Levant wrecked off Sheboygan; six men drowned. Schooner Alnwick burned at Chicago.  Schooner La Petite lost on Lake Huron.  Schooner Geo. J. Whitney sunk at Sugar island reef.  Schooner John Burt sunk at Leland Rock, Lake Michigan. Bark H. C. Winslow wrecked on Lake Michigan.  The brig Mechanic, Capt. Henry McKee, bound for Chicago coal laden, was struck by a squall and foundered with all hands on Lake Michigan.  Bark J. C. King sunk at Buffalo.  Steamer Dean Richmond burned at St. Mary's river.  Tug Eclipse burned at Lakeport, Lake Huron. Schooner Maggie Thompson sunk at Port Huron. Schooner R. P. Mason in tow of the tug Leviathan, capsized and five lives lost. Schooner Plover, of Cleveland, which left Duluth October 7, with 18,000 bushels of wheat, when abreast of Whitefish Point struck and sunk. Schooner La Petite, Capt. O. B. Smith, of Huron, Ohio, was overtaken by a gale on Lake Huron.  She was bound from Alpena to Huron with a cargo of lumber.  The storm drove her from her course and the seas swept her entire deck-load overboard, after which she sprung a leak and capsized. Schooner Olivia, Captain Bradbeer, from Mill Point to Oswego, capsized on Lake Ontario.  The crew hung to the sides of the schooner until they got the small boat loose, when they all got in and drifted ashore seven miles down the lake; the schooner sunk.  Schooner R. P. Mason while being towed to Little Traverse by the tug Leviathan, capsized and five lives were lost. The sea was so rough that the tug cut her loose, after which she immediately capsized and drifted ashore.  Steamer Dean Richmond, 1,416 tons burden, of Buffalo, while on her voyage from Lake Superior to Buffalo, and at the time lying at anchor in Mud lake, a part of the Sault Ste. Marie river, was totally destroyed by fire.  The vessel was valued at $75,000 and the cargo lost at $44,480, making a total loss of $119,480.  By this disaster but one life was lost; the passengers and crew reached the shores in the small boats. November: Schooner Kate Brainard ashore and wrecked at Kincardine, Ont. Propeller India sunk at Lake George.  Schooner Juliette sunk on Lake Erie.  Scow H. G. Williams capsized and foundered at Cleveland; two lives lost.  Schooner M. Courtright abandoned near Racine.  Schooner R. P. Mason capsized and drifted on a reef in Little Traverse bay. Propeller Roanoke disabled at Long Point.  Scow Curlew wrecked at Port Hope.  Bark Twilight went ashore near Port Sanilac, Lake Huron, November 18, and all hands except two perished.  Schooner Wm. Sanderson sunk on Lake Ontario.  Schooner E. M. Portch went ashore on Beaver island, Lake Michigan, and was pulled off, but sunk when about two miles away.  The crew escaped in the small boats.  Steamer Meteor, while making Put-in-Bay, struck a boulder near Gibralter Point, and sunk in seven fathoms of water.  By collision between the schooner E. B. Allen and bark Newsboy off Thunder Bay light, the former was sunk.  Schooner Eli Bates, which cleared at Cheboygan with a cargo of wheat consigned to G. S. Hazard, foundered in Lake Erie, between Conneaut and Ashtabula, and nine persons perished.  The Canadian schooner Pearl, 97 tons, went ashore at Napanee; she was subsequently named the Absalom Shade. Schooner Almeda, Capt. Charles Hanscom, of Buffalo, bound for Toledo with 200 tons of hard coal, went ashore near Manson dock; the force of the waves was so great that the vessel was thrown high and dry upon the beach, and the crew walked ashore.  Steamer Evergreen City, 797 tons burden, of Buffalo, while on her westward-bound voyage from Buffalo, November 18, went ashore in a gale on Long Point, Ont.; the vessel and cargo considered a total loss.  Bark P. C. Sherman was driven ashore at Long Point and rolled over.  The crew left the vessel in a small boat and were driven out into the lake, where they lost their lives.  Brig Frontier City went ashore near Kincardine, Ont., and proved a total loss.  She was constructed on the hull of the brig Canton in 1860; the crew were saved. Schooner Charger, which was supposed to have gone down on the night of the Coburn disaster, was over four weeks in making the passage from Oswego to Milwaukee.  Schooner Nomad sunk off Presque Isle. Schooner Dominion sunk by collision with propeller Dromedary at Hamilton.  Schooner E. B. Allen sunk by collision with bark Newsboy off Thunder Bay.  Schooner Jessie Anderson sunk at Long Point cut.

December: Schooner Myra sunk on Lake Erie.  Schooner Challenge sunk at Sheboygan.  Schooner Dacotah abandoned on Lake Erie; cargo valued at $60,000. Schooner Guide lost with all hands. Other losses of the season were the schooner Pioneer, barge Transport, bark Mainland, brig Lowell, schooner Dan Tindell, barge J. T. Warner, schooner H. T. Fairchild, schooner Gear, schooner Victoria, schooner Rosa Sterns, schooner W. S. Lyons, schooner Skylark, bark Excelsior, schooner J. S. Miner, schooner Wm. Fisk, brig Saxon, tug Ram Lewis, schooner E. Blake, schooner Phoebe, scow American Eagle, schooner Dane, scow Gold Hunter, schooner Loring, scow George Goble.  The number of disasters during the season of 1871 on the lakes were 1,167.  Of this number 225 were caused by collision, 280 vessels went ashore, 31 were burned, 26 capsized, 19 foundered, 132 sprung a leak, 65 were water logged, 60 were dismasted, 110 lost deck loads, and 10 exploded boilers.  There were many other disasters of a minor character which are not enumerated in the above.  Compared with other years the record stands as follows:  1868, total number of disasters, 1,164; 1869, 1,914; 1871, 1,167.  During the season 214 persons were drowned on the lakes.


Shipbuilding Active. - The abundant and profitable freight that prevailed during the season of 1871 on the lakes had a tendency to stimulate shipbuilding in 1872, and many large, fine vessels went into commission, and there was general activity in shipping circles early in March.

Phenomenon on Lake Ontario. - A phenomenon of the most unusual kind occurred on Lake Ontario June 13, between 3:30 and 5 o’clock. There was but little wind, and that from the southeast, and the surface of the lake was quite smooth.  The water would rise with great rapidity by successive little swells for 15 or 20 minutes, remain stationary for a short time, then fall with the same rapid, silent, imperceptible manner. This occurred five or six times, and then remained stationary at the lowest ebb until a gale in the afternoon came up, after which it found its normal condition.

The shipments of oil to the seaboard by way of the Erie canal, were begun in June in canal boats in tow of tugs. The experiment was closely watched by oil men.  While it did not prove the best or most economical means of transfer, a great quantity of oil has passed through the canal since that date.

A convention of steamboat owners Met at Cleveland, Sept. 24, in pursuance to an invitation issued by Cleveland vessel owners, and in conformity with a resolution of the executive committee of the Steamboat Men’s National Convention, held at Washington on June 11.  Thomas Sherlock, of Cincinnati, chairman of the committee, called the meeting to order and was afterward chosen president;  John T. Whiting, of Detroit, and David I. Smith, of New York, vice-presidents; B. S. Osbon, formerly publisher of the Nautical Gazette, New York, corresponding secretary; W. L. James, of Pennsylvania, recording secretary.  The convention met for the purpose of taking action to right certain abuses under which steamboat men were laboring, and resolutions were passed condemning the action of the supervising inspectors at their annual meetings in foisting upon steamboatmen certain patents and so-called improvements.  Capt. J. T. Whiting produced evidence wherein it was shown that steamers had been arrested for not carrying Ashcroft’s register.  Mr. Whiting held that the courts were not inclined to impose these burdens on the shipping of the country, and that the Act of February 28, 1871, recommended by the supervising inspectors, should be repealed.

Capt. B. S. Osbon believed that if the executive committee of the convention should go to Washington, make a plain statement of the facts in the matter, they could do much toward having the grievances remedied. These views were adopted by resolutions and a committee appointed.

Foundered in Mid-Lake. - The loss of the schooner George F. Whitney, in September, was a peculiar one.  She must have foundered in mid-lake, as not one of the crew of eight men were ever heard of, nor has the manner of her loss ever been known.  Captain Carpenter was in command. A strange fatality seems to have hung over the Whitney for more than a year.  She had been wrecked on Sugar island, on a trip from Buffalo to Chicago in 1871; was released in the spring of 1872, and reconstructed, and on her first trip she was wrecked again at Vermilion.  During the next voyage she was lost with all on board.  It was said that while lying at dock at Chicago, Captain Carpenter displayed all his flags at halfmast, the American ensign with union down.  Upon inquiry why he did this the captain explained that it was merely an invitation for the tugs to transfer him up the river.

Old Wreck Discovered. - Capt. Paul Pelkey, of the tug Ida Stevens, on the 21st of July, discovered the wreck of the Westmoreland, sunk in the winter of 1855, near Manitou island.  Being extremely cold weather, early in December, she had foundered with the accumulation of ice, in 12 fathoms of water.  Captain Pelkey was mate on the Westmoreland at the time, and one of the survivors.  On reaching shore he took bearings and followed the beach via Mackinaw to civilization. She was a new boat and measured 800 tons.

Severe September Storm. - During the storm on the lakes, September 29 and 30, five propellers, one tug, two barks, one brig, 18 scows, 19 barges and 47 schooners were damaged.

Other Events of 1872. - April:  Schooner William Jones water-logged at Grosse point.  Schooner Liberty wrecked at Milwaukee.  Schooner Eva M. Cone ashore and total loss near Port Ulao.  Bark Graham capsized on Lake Huron.  Schooner Speed ran on some piles in Kenosha harbor, stoving a large hole in her bottom, causing her to sink.

May:  Barge Enterprise sunk by collision at East Saginaw.  Tug-steamer Compound exploded her boiler and sunk at Buffalo.  Scow Forest Maid damaged by collision with the propeller Granite State. Schooner Star of the North capsized near Point Pelee.  Barge Somerset wrecked off Monroe. Propeller Chicago water-logged at Buffalo.  Tugboat H. P. Smith totally destroyed by fire on Saginaw river while towing a raft.  Propeller Manistee, on her passage from Pentwater to Milwaukee, wind southwest, weather thick, struck and sunk the schooner Samuel Robinson, bound for Buffalo with a cargo of corn.  The Robinson was sixteen years old. June:  Tug Odd Fellow sunk by collision with the Mystic at Sandusky. Tug J. C. Ransom capsized near Tonawanda.  Propeller Maine, bound from Ogdensburg to Chicago, with merchandise, sunk at Goose bay, six miles below Alexandria bay. The schooner Jamaica, Capt. David Bothwell, which sailed from Milwaukee June 15, was caught in a whirlwind or tornado on Lake Huron and immediately capsized. The crew clung to the vessel until a small boat from the schooner Starlight went to their rescue.  The Starlight had met the same kind of accident a year or two before at that same place.  The Jamaica came out in 1867 and was 318 tons burden. July:  Schooner G. J. Whitney, wrecked at Sugar island last season, raised and taken to Detroit.  Schooner D. L. Couch sprung a leak within 15 miles of Long Point and sunk.  The crew were rescued by the schooner Citizen.  

August:  Scow Snowbird sunk at Detroit.  Steamer Ajax burned while at anchor in Saginaw bay.  Propeller Riverside damaged by fire in the Detroit river.  By the foundering of the schooner Louis Meeker, on Lake Huron, the captain and four of the crew lost their lives.  The Meeker was a new vessel, and had a cargo of 22,000 bushels of wheat. Propeller Annie Laurie collides with a bridge at Chicago and sustains serious injuries.  Tug Danforth was burned at the dock, Duluth. Brig Ocean sunk on Lake Ontario.  Schooner Day Spring was struck by lightning off Ahnapee, and a sailor instantly killed.  Schooner Black Duck foundered in deep water; crew saved.  Schooner Fearless, Captain Speed, spring a leak off Whitefish Point, waterlogged and capsized. Propeller Bertachy, Captain Vance, took fire at the pier at Depere, August 25, and was partially consumed. The schooner Erie sunk at her anchor off Marblehead during the gale of August 30. She was owned and commanded by Capt. John Andre; crew escaped in the small boat.  The Erie was one of the old timers, having been built in 1833 at Buffalo. For many years she served as a revenue cutter, and was afterward taken to Lake Michigan and run in the lumber trade.  

September:  Tug Bemis burned near Alpena.  Barges Elliott and Foster lost at Port Burwell.  Scow Louisa waterlogged at Kingston.  Barge Iron City sunk at Sturgeon Bay; cargo and vessel valued at $36,000.  Barge Table Rock lost at Tawas Point.  Barge Ontario waterlogged at Tawas bay. Schooner Neshoto, Capt. B. Gray, foundered off Sturgeon Point light, Lake Huron, in eight fathoms of water.  Four men and one woman were drowned. The schooner Summit went ashore at Tawas Point; two lives lost. By collision between the propeller City of Fremont, Captain Jones, and the B. R. Lummis, near Northport, Lake Huron, the latter was sunk, the crew all being lost with the exception of one man, who got on board the City of Fremont just as she struck.  Propeller Dalhousie, bound from Montreal to Chicago with pig iron and merchandise, was burned, September 26, forty-five miles below Niagara river, in Lake Ontario. The crew were taken off by the propeller City of Concord.  The Dalhousie was owned by the Welland Railway Company. Schooner Rapid capsized in Lake Erie during a gale, and seven men were drowned.  The Rapid had a cargo of 5,000 railroad ties.  The schooner Orion was one of the victims of the storm of September 1, on Lake Erie.  She was built in 1853 and was owned by E. Zealand, of Hamilton, Ont.  The small tug Ada was burned at her dock on the east side of Grand island.  She had been used in light work on the Niagara river; she was rebuilt. The passenger steamer Galena, bound from Alpena to Chicago, ran on to North Point reef, Lake Huron, September 25, and became a total loss. She had a cargo of lumber, which was saved.  The following were also lost in September: Tug: Advance. Bark: Butcher Boy.  Brig: Montezuma.  Schooners: Corsair, Lydia Case, Matthew McNair.  Scows: Ned Robinson, Hirondelle, Granville. Barges: John H. Drake, Hunter.  

October: The tugboat L. H. Boale, while towing a vessel into the piers at South Haven, Lake Michigan, got the tow-line foul of her propeller wheel, which disabled her, and she drifted ashore, becoming a total loss.  The passenger steamer Lac la Belle foundered about 20 miles off Racine. She sprung a leak after leaving Milwaukee, and the water gained so rapidly on the pumps that the fires were put out, leaving the steamer at the mercy of the waves.  Five boat-loads of passengers and crew left the wreck and all reached shore; eight men went down with the steamer. Schooners Phalarope and Cortland abandoned near Rondeau.  Schooner Narragansett abandoned at Hammond bay.  Propeller China burned on Lake Ontario and sunk.  Propeller Alaska, sunk at Malden, raised.  Schooner Bessie Boalt went ashore at St. Joseph, Mich., broke in two and became a total wreck.  Barges Baltic and Adriatic, in tow of the tug Moore, parted lines in a gale and both went down with their entire crews off Long Point, Lake Huron. Schooner Mary Nau, Capt. S. Gunderson, foundered in a gale between Detroit and Pilot island.  The schooners Libbie Nau and White Squall collided in Saginaw bay and the latter was sunk.  The crew of the Squall, finding that all efforts to save her were of no avail, took to the small boat, in which for three hours they strove to reach shore, and on nearing it the boat capsized in the breakers and seven were lost.  

November: Barge Forest Queen lost on Lake Erie with all hands. Schooner Willis sunk by collision with the bark Elizabeth Jones near Point Pelee. Scow Idaho, sunk in Sandusky bay, raised November 22. Schooner Columbian damaged by collision with the schooner Smith & Post.  Scow Forwarder sunk at Black River.  Schooner Griswold lost on Lake Superior.  Steamer Arctic frozen in at Portage lake.  Steamer W. S. Ireland collides with the steam barge Trader at the Flats.  Steamer Reynolds burned at Bay City.  Propeller Carlington sunk below Bar Point.  Schooner J. W. Sargeant abandoned.


Loss of the Propeller Ironsides. - The propeller Ironsides sank in a furious gale near Grand Haven September 15, 1873. She had been built in 1864, and had been overhauled in the spring of 1873. The Ironsides lost control of her machinery, and a flag of distress was run up, but no aid was near.  The last lifeboat left the vessel shortly before she sank, but the occupants were lost in plain sight of those on shore.  Twenty-eight lives were lost.

Lost on Lake Superior. - The schooner Gilbert Mollison was lost with all hands near the South Manitou in October.  She sailed from Chicago October 25, and two days later, just prior to a terrible storm, was seen near the Manitou by the schooners Montblanc and Margaret Muir. The Mollison was 305 tons burden, and had come out in 1871.  A small boat belonging to the Mollison was found at Good Harbor November 3. The oars were lashed, and from appearances the painter had been cut.

A terrible snowstorm swept the upper lakes November 11, doing great damage to shipping and driving all craft back to harbor.  Fortunately the loss of life was small.

Other Events of 1873. - In 1873 the steamers Manitoba and the City of Montreal formed a line between Montreal and Winnipeg, the Persia being also placed on the line the same year.  

May: Propeller Arizona sunk by collision with the propeller Blanchard near St. Clair Flats.  

June: Tug G. W. Farrar explodes her boiler at Port Huron and sustains injuries thereby.  Steam barge Petronolia sunk at Sister island. July: - Canadian propeller Georgian damaged by fire at Ogdensburg. Propeller Philadelphia sunk by collision with a rock at the head of Lake Erie.  Scow Alpena waterlogged at Cleveland.  Schooners Madeira and Prince Albert damaged by collision in Welland canal.  Schooner City of Milwaukee damaged by lightning at Cleveland. Schooner Northern Belle sunk by collision with schooner Annie Vought near Skillagalee. Schooner Ida struck by lightning at Manistee and injured.  Tug W. B. Aldrich burned at Ludington.  

August: Steamer Atlantic, sunk in 1851 off Long Point, raised. Schooner A. Rust waterlogged by collision with a rock at Alpena.  Propeller Meteor, sunk in Detroit river, raised and towed to Detroit.  Schooners Flying Mist and Mary A. Wand collide in St. Clair river.  Scow H. G. Williams ashore at Cedar Point and abandoned.  Barge J. D. Morton lost on Lake Erie. Brig Sunbury waterlogged at Point Pelee. Schooners Aetna and Gifford collide off Thunder Bay island.  Barges Sunshine and St. Clair waterlogged on St. Clair river.  Schooner Maggie McRae sunk at Detroit.  

September: Propeller Passaic and bark Richard Winslow damaged by collision.  Schooner Conquest sunk at Milwaukee.  Schooner Etta Belle sunk off Sodus.  Propeller John A. Dix damaged by collision with the propeller Russia.  Bark Erastus Corning damaged by collision with a boulder at Bar Point.  Bark City of Painesville damaged by collision with the propeller Merchant at Chicago.  Prince Alfred and schooner Oriental collide in Welland canal.  Scow-schooner Dacotah sunk at Beaver Harbor.  Bark Cecelia sunk by collision with the schooner Oriental at Point Pelee. Schooners Skidmore and Argo collide near Racine. Schooners Annie Sherwood and Alva Bradley collide at Buffalo.  Barge Juno sunk in St. Lawrence river. Scow Whittlesey abandoned on the piers at Cleveland. Schooners John Burt and Two Friends damaged by collision on Lake Erie. October: Tug Monitor sunk at Muskegon.  Schooner Hartzell and propeller Vanderbilt collide at Chicago.  Propeller Asia sunk at Port Colborne. Tugs Frank Moffatt and River Queen collide near Port Huron.  Schooner Mary wrecked on Lake Ontario near Charlotte.  Schooner T. B. Rice and Grace Whitney collide at Cleveland. Schooner New York wrecked at Oswego. Tug L. P. Smith damaged by collision with the propeller Benton. Severe storm on Lake Huron.  Barge Ocean lost at Tawas bay.  Propeller City of Boston disabled at Mackinaw. Propeller St. Lawrence burned at Kingston. Bark Frank Perew foundered near the South Fox. Steamer Vienna foundered on Lake Superior.  Schooner Hippogriff and Josephine collide at Chicago. Schooner J. M. Nicholas sunk at Pigeon Bay.  Barge David Morris wrecked at Leamington.  Barge Globe wrecked at same place, and barge Saginaw sunk.  Schooner Sultan wrecked at Port Hope.  Schooner Champion damaged by collision on Lake Erie.  Propeller Buckey damaged by collision with scow Franklin Wilcox at Cleveland.  Schooner Pulaski damaged by colli-sion at Cheboygan.  Tug May foundered on Lake Michigan.  Schooner Annabella Chambers wrecked near Toronto. Tug Kate Reid burned in Saginaw river.  

November: Schooner R. J. Sanborn wrecked at Manitowoc.  Scow E. F. Gain severely damaged by collision with the J. P. March.  Schooner Challenge sunk at Milwaukee.  Schooner Hamilton wrecked at South Harbor. Schooner M. D. Cardington sunk off Au Sable.  Propeller City of Boston abandoned at Frankfort. Scow Rosa Ann capsized at the Flats; crew rescued by City of Dresden.  Tug Anthony explodes her boiler at Milwaukee.  Bark Canada, of St. Catherines, bound for South America, burned near Quebec. December: Schooner Granada a total loss at Mackinaw. Tug Hector wrecked at Sugar Loaf Point.  Steam barge Cormorant stranded at Fox Point Reef.


Destruction of Steamer Brooklyn. – The steamer Brooklyn, of the Northern Transportation line, Capt. Harvey Brown, bound from Ogdensburg to Chicago, exploded her boilers near Fighting island, ten miles below Detroit, October 22.  The explosion tore her apart, and she sunk imme-diately.  Five of the steamer's nine passengers were killed, and eight of a crew of 21 also perished.  Many of the survivors were severely injured. The steamer sank in about 25 feet of water, only about 6 inches of her pilot house remaining above water.  To this nine persons clung for safety till released by the propeller Cuba.  Eight others were picked up from the water by fishing yawls from the shore.  The shock of the explosion threw from their feet all who were aboard, and most of those on deck were injured by flying missiles hurled in all directions. The Brooklyn was one of the fastest boats on the line, and could make from 13 to 15 miles per hour.  She was built at Cleveland in 1866, and was valued at $45,000.

Other Events of 1874. – April: Propeller Granite State seriously damaged by collision with ice in St. Lawrence river.  Scow Snowball capsized in Detroit river.  

May: Steam barge A. A. Turner sunk near Cape Vincent by collision. Schooner R. P. Mason sunk by collision near Manistee.  Schooners J. K. Benson and M. L. Breck collide at Port Colborne.  Tug E. M. Miller burned at Willow island.  Tug Tawas explodes her boiler at Port Huron killing several of the crew.  Schooner John J. Hill sunk near Lewiston. Tug Aldrich burned at Ludington. Steambarge Mary Groh sunk at Cleveland. Schooner Octavia abandoned at Kewaunee.  

June: Barge D. V. Bell sunk on Lake St. Clair.  Schooner Enterprise capsized off Racine.  Scow Dan Baker sunk near Cedar Point.  Schooner Dolphin sunk by collision with a scow at Ludington.  

July: The S.V.R. Watson sunk at Point Pelee.  Schooner James Platt abandoned at the Straits. Tug Ransom sunk at Sandwich Point by collision with the tug Urania. Propeller Merchant sunk near Milwaukee. Scow Maria capsized and ashore near Lexington. Tug J. F. Belin explodes her boiler at Buffalo.  

August: Schooner Wm. Hunter, sunk at Dunkirk, raised and towed to Buffalo. Schooner Fostoria sunk near the Detour light. Schooner S. V. R. Watson, sunk at Point Pelee, raised and towed to Buffalo.  Scow Shaw wrecked at Grand River.  

October: Barge H. H. Brown sunk at Malden by collision with rocks. Barge Sherman waterlogged on Lake Erie. Schooner T. P. Sheldon sunk off Bar Point.  Steamer Latta Bernard foundered on Lake Superior.  Tug Favorite sunk on Lake Erie.  

November: Schooner Osborne abandoned near Port Colborne.

December: Propeller Rocket sunk by ice at Toledo.


Loss of the Equinox. – In a gale of great fury that swept over Lake Michigan September 10, 1875, that propeller Equinox, with all on board, about 25 persons, including three young ladies, was engulfed near Port au Sable.  The Equinox left Saginaw September 5, for Chicago, with the schooner Emma A. Mayes in tow, loaded with salt.  The gale struck them off Point au Sable about 11 o'clock on the night of September 10, blowing furiously from the northeast. The crews of both vessels were on deck.  The Equinox began reeling from side to side, but kept making steam and going ahead.  The gale increased.  The night was pitch dark, and through the roar of the wind and waves Captain Lusk, of the Mayes, stated that he heard the sudden cry, "Cut that line," It was immediately loosened and a moment later, without sign of distress, the propeller careened over to the leeward side and went down to the depths, leaving no trace behind.  The schooner ploughed onward and reached Chicago with the tidings Saturday morning.  Two days later the Schooner Havana arrived at Chicago with Reuben Burr, a survivor of the Equinox. He had been picked up Saturday morning 80 miles south-southwest of Manitou island.  He was floating on the pilot house and had been thirty-one hours on the water.  Burr said the sea had been frightfully rough.  The Equinox began to leak aft, and all efforts to keep out the water were in vain.  The water rose rapidly, and calls were made to the schooner to come alongside.  Burr thinks the schooner could not have heard the cries, as the schooner was astern several hundred feet and the noise was great.  Some of the men started to lower the boat on the port side, which was down in the water.  The passengers and remainder of the crew were aft on the fantail.  Eleven of the men had entered the boat when the vessel went down. Burr had been forward, and, with the captain, ran to the starboard side to lower the boat, when the ship went from under them.  The captain caught the gangway, and Burr and the second cook managed to climb on the pilot house.   The sea kept washing over them, but they held on.  The next day the cook became exhausted and slipped away.  Several schooners passed by, and it was not until Saturday morning that Burr was discovered by the Havana and rescued. The Equinox belonged to the Grand Trunk and Sarnia line.

Other Fatal Losses in the Same Storm. – The propeller Mendota and one of her consorts, the Evening Star, foundered in the same storm on Lake Michigan, with a loss of 12 lives.  The Mendota and two barges, Morning Star and Evening Star, loaded with coal at Buffalo for Chicago, and left September 1.  There were twenty persons aboard the propeller, including the captain's wife and the steward's wife.  Early Friday morning, September 10, 1875, the Morning Star broke adrift.  The arches of the propeller broke away, and she began to make water.  About eight miles east of Point Sable they let go the other barge.  The sea was running so high that the two life-boats could not be launched, and when the propeller went down eight of the crew reached one of the boats and were saved, among them Captain Fairbanks.  William Crossthwaite, son of the owner, had a miraculous escape. He clung to a fragment of the hurricane deck, and after he had been in the water nearly 50 hours was picked up Sunday afternoon by the bark Naiad.  When the Mendota let go the barge Evening Star, the latter was leaking.  Two pumps were started, but when eight hours later Capt. James Bennett found that in spite of the vigorous pumping there were seven feet of water in the hold, he called all hands and told them they would have to abandon the barge.  Up to this time she had answered to her helm, but now became unmanageable. The one boat, fifteen feet long, was launched and the entire crew of seven got away.  Though the seas ran high, and the water had to be constantly bailed out, the boat was kept afloat till she reached shore, 27 hours later, at Amsterdam, Wisconsin.

Propeller Comet Sunk by Collision. – The propeller Comet was struck by the Canadian steamer Manitoba near Whitefish Point, Lake Superior, August 26.  The collision happened about 8:40 o'clock in the evening. The Manitoba struck the Comet about 15 feet from her stern on the port side, and the shattered vessel sank within three minutes.  During the excitement several of the crew of the Manitoba jumped aboard the Comet, but luckily returned quickly to their own vessel.  Of the Comet's crew of 20, ten were lost.  The Manitoba, which was bound up, returned with the survivors to the Sault.  The Comet was owned by Hanna & Co., of Cleveland, and was valued at $25,000. She was 18 years old, having been built in Cleveland in 1857.

Persian Burned on Lake Erie. – The fine four-masted propeller Persian, laden with grain from Chicago to Buffalo, burned and sank 10 miles east of Long Point, Lake Erie, August 26. She was built at Cleveland in 1874 at a cost of $125,000, and was registered 1,630 tons. There was no loss of life.

Other Events of 1875. – April: Steamer Eighth Ohio sunk at Detroit. Schooner Granada, wrecked at Oswego, sold. Steambarge East Saginaw sunk off Harrisville.  Lighthouse at Port Maitland destroyed by fire.

May: Steambarge Swallow severely damaged by collision with the Fred Kelley at Toledo. Barge H.G. damaged by lightning off the Charities. Scow Maria sunk at Nine Mile Point. Schooner D.B. Wright capsized off South Haven. Schooners Scotia and Ontario collide near Forestville. Schooner Nina sunk on Lake Huron.

June:  Scow Hugh Caine sunk at Cleveland. Schooner Spray capsized off South Haven. Bark Cleveland abandoned at Pilot island. Steamer City of Sandusky collides with the barge Trader at Cleveland and sustains injuries. Severe storm on Lakes Erie, Michigan and Huron. Schooner C. Hillson disabled near Point Pelee and taken in tow by the steambarge St. Clair. Schooners Seaton and Morning Light collide at Point Albino. Schooner Petrel and scow Magdalene collide off Racine. Schooners Emmeline and R. Simmons collide off Grand Haven.

July:  Schooner Q.A. Gilmore sunk at Cleveland. Propeller Winslow disabled on Lake Superior and taken in tow by the tug Wilcox. Scow Juno sunk on Lake Erie. Schooner Elva capsized near Milwaukee. Scow Dixie burned on St. Clair river. Schooner Dan Marble sunk at Long Point. Schooner Sasco damaged by collision with schooner Hutchinson. Schooners Emma Mayes and Woodruff collide at Chicago. Steamer Northwest disabled on Lake Erie by accident to her engines. Scow Morning Lark capsized and sunk near Detroit. Steamer Dominion burned near Buffalo. Tug Cygnet totally wrecked near East Saginaw by explosion of her boiler.

August:  Barge Braley, in tow of propeller Allegheny, wrecked on Lake Erie. Schooner Pride of America waterlogged at Point Pelee. Barge D.K. Clint and propeller Pacific collide at Port Huron. Schooner Rosa Belle capsized near Grand Haven. Schooner J.F. Card wrecked at Vermilion Point. Schooner Dick Somers damaged by lightning to the extent of $1,000. Scow C.G. Meisel waterlogged at the Charity islands. Schooners Toledo, Buena Vista and Conquest wrecked near Milwaukee. Schooner Niacaragua, sunk near Chicago in 1864, raised. Canadian steamer Algerian sunk at Split Rock; several lives lost. Tug McClellan damaged by fire to the extent of $5,000. Schooner Mariner sunk near Centreville. Scow Mayflower sunk off Kelley’s island.

September:  Barge Globe waterlogged near Dunkirk. Schooner Ottawa sunk in Sarnia bay by collision with propeller Annie L. Craig. Tug U.S. Grand burned at Fox island. Schooner Onondaga sunk near Chicago. Schooner Wm. Young sunk in Detroit river. Commodore Perry’s flag ship Lawrence, sunk at Erie 62 years before, raised. Bark City of Buffalo sunk at Port Huron. Schooner Marion Egan sunk by collision with schooner E.R. Williams. Schooner Emeu sunk at Tawas bay.

October:  Schooner St. Andrew sunk near Ranney’s Bend. Schooner Grace Sherwood sunk at Port Burwell. Tug Miller explodes her boiler and sinks in Thunder Bay. Schooner Jennie Graham sunk in the Welland canal. November:  Schooner Geo. Worthington sunk near St. Helena. Tug Swan burned at East Saginaw. Schooner City of Milwaukee sunk in Lake Huron. Schooner Wacousta waterlogged near the Manitous. Propeller Mohawk burned at Buffalo. Schooner A.M. Beers sunk at Manistee. Schooner Parana waterlogged and abandoned by the crew on Lake Michigan. December:  Steamer Phil Sheridan burned near Buffalo.


Burning of the St. Clair. - The steamer St. Clair burned to the water’s edge while off Fourteen Mile Point, between Ontonagon and Portage Lake Ship canal, about 2 o’clock Sunday morning, July 9. She had a crew of 15, and 16 passengers were aboard. Of this total 26 were lost. The fire was first discovered in the steamer’s hold, and the flames spread so rapidly that the engineers were driven from their posts before the hose could be attached. The fire enveloped all the boats except a large yawl. As it touched the water, there was a rush for the boat, and it immediately capsized. It was righted and capsized six times, and, when finally kept right side up, contained only four of the crew. They ripped up the seats and used them for paddles and cruised about in reach of the unfortunate passengers. Only two were picked up, one of whom was dead. Among the saved was Capt. Robert Phineas. When the fire broke out the St. Clair was five miles from shore. Most of the passengers put on life preservers, but the water was extremely cold and they soon perished. The St. Clair was brought out as a steambarge in 1866 at Algonac, and had been transformed into a steamer in 1875. She belonged to Ward’s Detroit & Lake Superior line, and was on her down trip from Duluth.

Other Events of 1876. - January 4:  Navigation still open at some Lake Erie ports.

February:  Propeller Depere disabled on Lake Michigan.

April:  Tug S.S. Coe burned at Port Austin and sunk in eleven feet of water.

May:  Schooner Thomas C. Street capsized near Long Point; crew rescued by the propeller Vanderbilt. Tug Enterprise sunk by collision with the Colossal. Schooner Young America struck by lightning at Cleveland. Propeller Calabria sunk near Port Maitland. Schooner Mary Grover sunk at the same place. Schooner Belle McPhee sunk off Collingwood. Schooner Australia sunk at Muskegon. Schooner Mediterranean sunk at Niagara river. Propeller Gordon Campbell and schooner Jane Bell collide off Thunder bay. Schooner Falcon sunk at Detroit.

June:  Tug Thos. A. Tillinghast burned near Erie. Schooner Libbie Nau waterlogged off Menominee. Bark Great West sunk at Chicago.

July:  Schooner Florence a total wreck at Free Soil. Schooner Eveline waterlogged near Girard. Steamer R.N. Rice and schooner E.M. Carrington collide near Cleveland. Lighthouse at Port Dalhousie burned.

August:  Tug Standard severely damaged by fire at Cleveland. Schooner Laura sunk near Oswego.

September:  Barge Wyoming sunk at Port Huron. Tug C.M. Farrar sunk at Port Huron. Schooner C.H. Walker foundered on Lake Huron. Barge Rio Grande waterlogged at Sand Beach. Steamer Lady Franklin burned at Amherstburg, Ont. Schooner T.B. Rice waterlogged at Sand Beach.

October:  Schooner Acorn sunk at Sand Beach. Schooner Mockingbird a total loss at Long Point.

November:  Scow Perry White, sunk at Fairport, sold. Schooner S.F. Gale sunk near Cleveland.


Adrift on Lake Michigan. - During a severe storm November 8 and 9, the bark Great West, bound from Caseville for Chicago with lumber, became waterlogged off Waukegan. She lost her deck-load and yawl boat, and in that condition drifted along at the mercy of the winds. A raft was built on the evening of the 10th, and the crew of seven, who had been two days without food, boarded it and pushed away for the purpose of making land. But the wind shifted and the frail raft drifted northeast under a stiff breeze. All night they drifted and in the morning land was out of sight. Relief fortunately came from a fishing tug, the Black Maria, which had gone out to set nets.

Lost on a Reef. - The schooner Berlin, of Buffalo, struck the reef one mile above Grindstone City in the gale of November 8, and went to pieces. Four of the crew of six perished; two were drowned and two died from exposure while clinging to the wreckage. The Berlin was loaded with lumber from Marblehead to Bay City.

Two Total Losses. - Two losses which created considerable discussion during the closing of the season of 1877 were those of the schooners Kate L. Bruce and the Magellan. The Bruce and two other schooners were cut off from the tug Johnson off Four Mile Point, Lake Huron, during the storm of November 8. The Bruce was never heard of again, except that her yawl boat was picked up off Thunder Bay. The Magellan went down in Lake Superior, and it was suspected she had been struck by some unknown vessel.

The Lake Carriers. - The season of 1877 was a better one for the carriers than 1876. A few large owners made good margins, but no one was known to have cleared any large sum on sail craft. The long ice blockade in the Straits was a hindrance, and the up freights were unprofitable.

Other Events of 1877. - March 18:  Steamer Powerful burned at Quebec. April:  Tug Belle King sunk at Peach Point. Schooner Velocipede cap-sized and broken in two near Racine.  

May:  Schooners R. J. Gibbs and Pelican sunk by collision with propeller Colorado in St. Clair river.  Schooner Francis Berriman sunk on Lake Huron by collision with propeller David W. Rust.  Schooner J. P. Chapin sunk at Chicago.  Tug Wm. H. Pringle burned near Port Huron.

June:  Schooner Skylark sunk in Alexandria bag, St. Lawrence river. Propeller City of New York collides with the schooner America on Lake Superior.  Propellers Maine and Commodore collide in St. Clair Flats canal.  

July:  Scow Grand Army capsized near Kelley's island. Barge Dart burned at Sandwich, Ont.  Steamers Cutler, Jr., and Centennial damaged by fire at Grand Haven.

August:  Schooner Bolivia sunk at the Harbor of Refuge. Schooner Lillie Parsons, sunk in the St. Lawrence river, abandoned.  

September:  Steamer Francis burned near Sorel.  British schooner China, sunk at Rondeau, is raised.  scow Lydia Mac sunk near Port Stanley.

October:  Schooner Nettie Weaver wrecked near Kincardine.  Scow St. Joseph sunk in Lake St. Clair by collision with schooner America. Schooner Eliza Turner wrecked at Long Point. Propeller Badger State and schooner Helen Blood collide in a fog off Port Huron.  Propeller Tioga burned off Point Pelee.  Propeller City of Toledo sunk near Alexandria bay.  Steamer Chief Justice Waite damaged by collision at Put-in-Bay. November:  Bark City of Tawas ashore and a total loss at St. Joseph. Barge Hickory sunk off Leamington, Ont.  Schooner Ben Franklin ashore and total loss at Canby reef.  Schooner Alma sunk at Port Hope.  Lady Dufferin sunk at Erie, raised. Schooner C. North waterlogged at Chicago. Seventh Ohio wrecked at Chicago. Schooner Empire State ashore and total loss at Thunder Bay.  Schooner Berlin ashore off Grindstone City; several lives lost. Schooner J. T. Miner a total loss at Caseville. Tug Thomas Thompson burned on Lake Erie.


Events of 1878. - The season of 1878 was a good one for the regular propeller lines on account of the large amount of merchandise shipped from Eastern cities by canal and lake. For sail craft it was an unsatis-factory year.  

March:  Schooner G. C. Breed sunk off Manitowoc.  

April:  Brig Express sunk by collision with the steamer John A. Dix on Lake Michigan. Schooner Eagle Wing sunk off Bar Point by collision with a rock.  

May:  Barge Lathrop sunk by collision with a tug at Lime Kiln Crossings. June:  Schooner Tuscola wrecked near Glencoe.  Schooners Peshtigo and St. Andrew sunk near Cheboygan.  Propeller Montgomery burned at Point Edwards.  

July:  Schooner Portage sunk off Port Rowan.

August:  Propeller Java sunk off Point au Sable.

October:  Scow Mary Garrett severely damaged by collision with propeller Blanchard.  Schooner Daniel Lyons sunk on Lake Michigan by collision with schooner Kate Gillett.  Steam barge Oakland sunk at Ashtabula. Schooner J. G. McGrath foundered off Long Point.  The schooner Correspondent wrecked off Dunkirk.  

November:  Barge J. H. Ritter wrecked near Ludington.  Schooner D. R. Owen ashore and sunk at Manistee.  Bark Woodruff went to pieces at Whitehall.  Barge Erie total loss at Hamburg.  Barge Isabella went to pieces at Put-in-Bay.  Tugs Peck and Mystic went to pieces at Cockburn island.  Schooner James R. Bentley foundered on Lake Huron, and the Schooner Aetna foundered on Lake Michigan.


A Scow Fleet Meets Disaster. - Serious disaster overtook a fleet of four tugs, three dredges and 18 scows, which left Cape Vincent November 17, for Buffalo.  They encountered a terrific gale on Lake Ontario. Most of the tugs cut loose from their tows and many were beached or sunk.  They were near Oswego when the snow storm reached its height. About 12 lives were lost.  One dredge, two derricks and ten scows were wrecked.

Loss of the Waubuno. - The most serious disaster of 1879 was the loss of the Canadian steamer Waubuno, which foundered on Georgian Bay in November, with a loss of thirty lives.  The manner of her destruction is unknown. Other loss of life during the season brings the total up to about 50.

The series of storms which swept over the lake from November 15 to November 24, 1870, proved unusually destructive to vessel property and life.  Within those dates no less than 65 vessels met with disaster exclusive of the dredging fleet. With one or two exceptions the mishaps were all due to heavy weather.

From the shipowner's standpoint the season of 1879 was generally a good one.

Other Events of 1879. - March 7:  Scow Restless, of Racine, wrecked at Ludington. May 21:  Schooner Kate Richmond raised and taken to Cleveland.

June 21:  Tug Satellite sunk off Whitefish Point.  

July:  Scows Butcher Boy and S. B. Conkling damaged by lightning at Cleveland.

September:  Steamer Bertschy wrecked off Port Austin reef; steamer Geo. S. Frost burned at Erie.  

October:  Tug Starkweather sunk on Lake Erie, near Cleveland; schooner Wm. B. Ogden sunk at Goderich, Ontario; schooner O. M. Bond sunk at Sand Beach; schooner Eliza Garlach, sunk on Lake Erie, raised and towed to Cleveland.  

November:  Schooner Gold Hunter, ashore at Thunder Bay reef, went to pieces; schooner C. G. Breed capsized near Point Pelee; several lives lost, among whom was Capt. Harry Rose, of Detroit; schooner Sumatra wrecked off Cleveland; schooner Wacousta stranded at Presque Isle; schooner W. B. Phelps ashore near Glen Arbor and a total wreck; five of crew drowned; schooner Two Fannies went to pieces at Elk Rapids; steamer City of New York waterlogged at Ludington; steamer John A. Dix sunk at Manistee.


A Memorable Storm. - One of the storms that have great cause to be remembered in lake-shipping circles swept over Lake Michigan October 16, 1880.  The weather on October 15 was warm and pleasant, the thermometer ranging from 60° to 70°.  Light northerly winds prevailed over Lake Superior and southerly over Lake Michigan.  The storm began about midnight on the 16th with easterly shifting to southwesterly winds at the Straits of Mackinac, and southwesterly from Grand Haven southward.  Violent southwesterly gales on Lake Michigan raged all day of the 16th and part of the 17th.  The temperature dropped from 65° to the freezing point, and snow fell as far south as Chicago. The loss of life was very great, nearly 100 souls going down on the Goodrich liner Alpena, Grand Haven to Chicago.  This vessel was last seen about 30 miles from Chicago.  In all about 90 vessels were wrecked or badly damaged, and 118 lives were lost as the result of this storm.

Loss of the Alpena. - The greatest lake disaster of 1880 was the loss of the Goodrich line steamer Alpena, which went down on Lake Michigan October 16, during the severe storm alluded to above.  the Alpena left Muskegon and Grand Haven on the evening of the 15th for Chicago with a fair passenger list.  She had been sighted several times up to the following morning. Then, after several days of uncertainty and suspense as to her fate, wreckage drifted ashore near Holland.  The Alpena was in command of Capt. Nelson Napier, who had a crew of about 22.  The passenger list was about 35.  A number of bodies were recovered, and the wreckage was strewn along the shore for a distance of 70 miles.

Disaster on Detroit River. - The new pleasure steamer Garland came in collision with the elegant steamyacht Mamie just below Grassy Island light on the Detroit river July 22.  The bow of the Garland struck the Mamie just back of the wheelhouse and rode right over her amidships. There was some delay in launching a lifeboat from the Garland, and, before it had cleared, the Mamie went down; of the 24 persons aboard 17 were lost.  On the Mamie was a party consisting of Rev. Father Bleyenberg, of Holy Trinity Church, Detroit, 16 lads, who acted as acolytes or altar boys of the church, and a few friends.  She was returning to Detroit from a trip to Monroe.  On the Garland was a large party of Detroit Stove Works employees.

Foundered on Lake Huron. - The Canadian propeller Simcoe left Chicago November 19 bound for Collingwood and sank on Lake Huron during a gale about noon, November 24.  The decks were constantly flooded and the fires were extinguished at 9 o’clock on the fatal day. It was impossible to make sail, and the crew worked manfully at the pumps and at lightening the vessel.  When she commenced to founder an attempt was made to launch the lifeboat, but before it got free the propeller went down stern foremost.  The upper deck and pilot house floated, but were quickly broken into fragments.  The mate and two of the crew succeeded in freeing a yawl and rescued two floating sailors.  They were benumbed by the cold and water, but succeeded in rowing ashore, a distance of 15 miles, landing at Providence bay.  They were badly frozen when they reached shore.  A number of lives were lost.

Other Events of 1880. - Barge Emerald sank in Saginaw river. Schooner Athenian totally wrecked at Oscoda.  Schooner Z. G. Simmons sunk at Manistee by collision. Canadian schooner New Dominion filled with water and sank at Buffalo.  

May: Schooner Albatross sunk in the Welland canal.  Propeller Maine burned at Port Huron.  

July: The Propeller Cleveland took fire off Charity islands and became a total loss.  The canal schooner City of Green Bay returned to the lakes after being absent on salt water for several years.  During that time she visited various ports in Europe and in South America. August: Schooner Consuelo, sunk at Kelley’s island, abandoned.  Tug D.

McFarland sunk near Port Maitland.  Barge Saginaw wrecked on Lake Erie. Steamer Henry Chisholm launched at Cleveland; said to be the largest boat on the lakes.  Steamer Marine City burned near Alcona.  

September: Schooner Hetty Taylor, sunk near Sheboygan, abandoned. Schooner Ida Bell waterlogged on Lake Erie off Cleveland.  Schooner Abbie L. Andrews severely damaged by collision with the dock at Port Huron.  Schooner Jane Bell wrecked near Geneva, Ohio.  Tug Jerome sunk by explosion at Grand Haven.  Schooner Harvest Queen foundered on Lake Huron.  Tug Katie sunk by collision at Black Rock harbor. Tug Challenge burned at East Saginaw.  Schooner America sunk by collision at Two Rivers.  

October: Propeller Wm. J. Livingston foundered near entrance to Sturgeon bay.  Schooner Ardent a total loss at Hedgehog harbor, Green bay.  Steambarge Trader waterlogged and towed to Grand Haven by the steambarge S. C. Hall.  Tug Toledo sunk at Bay City.  Schooner David A. Wells foundered in 50 feet of water near Chicago. Schooner Melvina sunk in St. Clair canal.  Steamer Alpena wrecked on Lake Michigan.  Scow Iasco sunk at Ashtabula.  Propeller Canisteo sunk by collision with the George Murray off Waugoshance. Schooner Tranchemontague totally wrecked at Oswego by collision with the piers.  Schooner Sweetheart sunk near St. Clair river.

November: Schooner Willard wrecked at St. Joseph by collision with the piers.  Schooner Norway foundered near Belleville.  Barge Orontes sunk at Toledo by collision with barge McGilver.  Propeller Jarvis Lord sunk near Toledo.  Barges Eldorado, Wesley and Bay City foundered near Erie. Schooner Falmouth foundered at Buffalo.  Barge Dictator sunk on Lake Erie.  Schooners Annie Wright, American and Mont Blanc frozen in at Maumee bay.  Tug Uncle Sam sunk at East Saginaw. Tug Annie, of Chicago, sunk on Lake Michigan.