MILWAUKEE MARINE AND SHIPPING
SHIPWRECKS AND DISASTERS

The following ships were listed in various sources, newspapers 
and publications as having a Milwaukee connection.
This list includes information collected by David D. Swayze, Lake Isabella, MI

IDA

Type at Loss: schooner, wood, 3-mast
Official No.: 12140
Built: 1867, Allen & McClelland, Milwaukee
Specs: 121x27x8 170g 161n
Enrollment: Milwaukee
Date of Loss: Sept. 29 1908
Place of Loss: 12 mi off Frankfort, MI
Lake Lost: Michigan
Type/Cause: storm
Lives Lost: none of 6
Cargo: potatoes(also reported as lumber) Details: Capsized after springing a leak and sank in a gale. Her crew were rescued by a passing vessel 2 miles North of Frankfort in a yawl boat. Major repairs in 1880

IDA CAROLINE

Specs: 22t
Enrollment: Milwaukee
Date of Loss:
Place of Loss:
Lake Lost:
Type/Cause:
Lives Lost:
Cargo:
Details:

IDA H. LEE

Official No: 100058
Type of Ship: propeller steam tug, wood
Place of Loss: 2 mi NE of Milwaukee harbor mouth
Type/Cause: collision
Cargo: none
More details:
Date Built: 1863
Builder: Hingston Bros
Where Built: Buffalo
Size: 45x10x5, 18 t.

Detroit Free Press, 19 Dec, 1868 , page 1 , column 2
Vessel Sales During the Season of 1868
C H Scoville to N S Nelson, tug Ida H Lee, at Milwaukee,
for $4,500.

Detroit Free Press, 9 Dec, 1873
AUGUST
Tugs Ida H. Lee and Dick Davis, collided near Milwaukee; the former filled with water but was got inside.

INDUS

Specs: 246t
Enrollment: Milwaukee
Owner: Humphrey & Hall
Date of Loss:
Place of Loss:
Lake Lost:
Type/Cause:
Lives Lost:
Cargo:
Details:

IRONSIDES

LOSS OF THE STEAMER IRONSIDES SEPTEMBER 15, 1873 From "Lake Michigan Disasters" written in 1925 by Herbert Pits from newspaper accounts.

The steamer Ironsides of the Eagleman Transportation Company, one of the largest steamers on the lake at the time and playing between Milwaukee and Grand Haven, sank during a furious gale seven miles off Grand Haven, Michigan, September 15, 1873 at twelve ten P.M. She carried a cargo of wheat and sundries.

The steamer which was said to be in an unseaworthy condition lost control of her machinery due to the water coming thru her bottom, flooding the engine room and putting out her fires. A signal of distress was raised at nine A.M. but the sea was running so high that no help could reach her from shore. The wrecked steamer labored in the trough of the sea from seven thirty A.M. with the water gaining rapidly in her hold, and at twelve ten P.M. she sank.

The passengers and crew of whom there were nineteen of the former and thirty of the latter took to the life boats and left the sinking ship at eleven A.M. The boat lost was in command of Captain Sweetland who with his wife and five passengers left the Ironsides at eleven fifty, and when it had gone about a quarter of a mile away the steamer went to the bottom. The five life boats now battling desperately in the raging seas were nearing shore, when the boat with Captain Sweetland capsized and all the occupants drowned in plain sight of those on shore who were powerless to help. First mate Mike Crossen was saved. Another boat with five men and four women capsized and only one man reached shore.

The statement of Peter Riley, a porter is as follows:

"I was first porter on the Ironsides. I got up at two A.M. and all was right at that time and seemed so until about eight o'clock. The sea had been getting heavier all the time. The fires were put out by the water at ten o'clock and then we took to the small boats. I took charge of the third boat which left the steamer. There were thirteen in the boat including Maggie, the chambermaid, and a strange lady, one of the passengers. Our boat did not capsize. All were saved but one, and that was Mr. Wimmel, a New York traveling agent; he and Mr. Dundasher, the cook, were washed out. Dundasher swam in all right, but Wimmel seemed exhausted and made no attempt to save himself. We then struck for the beach. A young machinist of Grand Haven whose name I don't know, came out to us at the risk of his life, and tied a rope to our boat so as to haul us in.

I saved seven hundred dollars express money. There were ten people in the boat ahead of us. There was very little excitement, the people all acted calmly, and did the best they could. All told, twenty persons were lost and twenty nine saved.

Excitement at Grand Haven was very high in regard to the disaster, as it was claimed by persons who knew, that the steamer had been in a leaky condition, several days before the wreck, and it is affirmed that when the boat was in port last, which was on Saturday before the disaster, she had three feet of water in her hold, and there was considerable amout of grain damaged in consequence, and left on the dock. Second Engineer George Cowan, states that the idea of the water going in her hatchways and putting out the fires is all humbug, that the water came thru the bottom.

The hull of the sunken steamer was found two days later four miles out in twenty fathoms of water.

ISLAND CITY

Official No: 12084
Type of Ship: schooner, wood, 2-mast, lumber
Place of Loss: 14 mi off Milwaukee
Type/Cause: (storm)
Cargo: hardwood lumber
More details: Rebuilt and enlarged in 1866, major repairs 1878, 79.
Date Built: 1859
Builder: Peter Perry
Where Built: St Clair R.[Harsonís Island], MI
Size: 81x17x6, 55g 52n

Detroit Free Press, 9 Dec, 1873
September
At Milwaukee the schooner Island City was damaged by lightning and a seaman killed.

ITASCA

Type at Loss: schooner, wood
Official No.: 100108
Built: 1873, Wolf & Davidson, Milwaukee
Specs: 139x26x12 344g 327n
Enrollment: Milwaukee, also Cleveland
Date of Loss: Oct. 5, 1895
Place of Loss: just above St. Clair Flats
Lake Lost: St. Clair R.
Type/Cause: collision
Lives Lost: none
Cargo: coal
Details: Tow of tug E. HAIGHT with schooner MARY, collided with the steamer PARKS FOSTER in a passing error. She may later have been raised, scuttled off Lexington. Owned by Chilson of Lorain, OH. 1896 dropped from registry

Oswego Palladium, Mon., May 19, 1873

A New Vessel In Port. - The new schooner Itasca arrived in port yesterday from Kingston, where she discharged her cargo, and attracted much attention of sea faring men. The Itasca is a three master, as are nearly all new vessels, is staunch and well built and has great carrying capacity - 23,000 bushels of wheat she discharged at Kingston in 11 feet 3 inches of water.

The following are her dimensions: Length over all 143 feet 3 inches; beam 26 feet 2 1/2 inches; depth of hold 11 feet 9 inches. She was launched at Milwaukee four weeks ago, and left Milwaukee for Kingston two weeks ago yesterday. She is owned by Messrs. Merrill and Porter of Milwaukee, who have spared no expense to make her first class as she is, in all respects.

The commander of the new vessel is Captain John Marrin of this city, a competent and capable navigator and one who believes that vessels are made to sail, not float along. The Captain reports her as lively by the wind but not a steamboat against the wind.