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

S.A. WOOD

Official No: 23765
Type of Ship: schooner, wood, 3-mast
Place of Loss: Milwaukee
Type/Cause: storm
Cargo: ?
More details: Straggled into port at Milwaukee, but was too badly damaged to repair. The hulk was towed to Chicago for conversion to a barge the next year. It was destroyed by an arson fire Nov 1, 1906.
Date Built: 1868
Builder: H.B. Burger
Where Built: Manitowoc, WI
Size: 150x28x9 314g 299n

SAILOR BOY

Official No: 23105
Type of Ship: scow-schooner, wood, 2-mast
Place of Loss: 2 mi S of Milwaukee Harbor
Type/Cause: storm
Cargo: wood
More details: The crew made it to safety with the help from bystanders on the beach. Owned by Anderson of Milwaukee.
Date Built: 1866
Builder: C.E. Owen,
Where Built: Algonac, MI
Size: 75x21x7, 76 nt.

Detroit Newspaper 1865 Disasters
August Schooner Sailor Boy - Dismasted in a gale on Lake
Michigan; towed to Milwaukee.

SAVANNAH

Specs: 50t
Enrollment:
Owner: Byron Kilbourn
Date of Loss: yr 1841 & yr 1843
Place of Loss: on Lake Erie
Lake Lost: Erie
Type/Cause: sunk
Lives Lost:
Cargo:
Details: sunk but raised, details unknown
SAVANNAH
Specs: 36t
Enrollment: Detroit
Date of Loss:
Place of Loss:
Lake Lost:
Type/Cause:
Lives Lost:
Cargo:
Details:

SAVELAND

Type at Loss: schooner, wood
Official No.: 115227
Built: 1873, Wolf & Davidson, Milwaukee
Specs: 194x33x13, 689g 655n
Enrollment: Milwaukee, also Detroit
Date of Loss: 1903, Oct 22
Place of Loss: Grand Marais, MI, harbor
Lake Lost: Superior
Type/Cause: storm
Lives Lost: none
Cargo: Coal,lumber or light
Details: She was torn away from the steamer GETTYSBURG and thrown against some pilings by a norther. Punctured, she sank to her main deck, then pounded to pieces.

SCOW #1

Official No: ?
Type of Ship: (unrigged) scow
Place of Loss: foot of Wisconsin St., Milwaukee
Type/Cause: (storm)
Cargo: ?
More details:
Date Built: unknown
Builder:
Where Built:
Size: ?

SEA BIRD

Official No: 115619
Type of Ship: Type of loss: scow-schooner, wood, 2-mast
Place of Loss: Accident Place: on a line Milwaukee-Grand Haven
Type/Cause: Michigan
Cargo: 9 or 10 (all)
More details: Specific details unknown. It was thought that she capsized in a squall while bound Muskegon for Chicago and her crew abandoned in the small boat and were lost. There were seven or eight crew plus the Captain's daughter and her small daughter as passengers
Date Built: 1857
Builder: M. Woodworth
Where Built: Conneaut, OH
Size: Specs: 99x23x7 139t

Detroit Free Press, December 19, 1866
1866 disasters
Steamer Seabird, broke her cylinder on Lake Michigan; towed
to Milwaukee.

Detroit Free Press, 9 Dec, 1873
Marine Casualties of 1873
September
Propeller City of Concord ran into the scow Seabird, off Milwaukee, doing the latter serious damage.

LOSS OF STEAMER SEABIRD APRIL 9, 1868
From "Lake Michigan Disasters" written in 1925 by Herbert Pitz from newspaper accounts.

One of the most terrible disaster on Lake Michigan and which revived memories of the awful Phoenix tragedy years before, occurred on the morning of April 9th, 1868, when the Goodrich steamer Seabird was burned off Waukegan. The steamer left Milwaukee for Chicago on the evening of the eighth of April with a full load of freight, and passengers and crew that numbered in all about one hundred person, including eight or ten ladies and seven or eight children. Only two were saved, A.C. Chamberlain and Edwin Henneberry, passengers from Sheboygan.

According to the story of Henneberry, smoke was seen issuing from the main deck where a pile of miscellaneous freight had been stored around the after guards below the ladies cabin at about six thirty A.M. Just what caused the fire is not known but Chamberlain states that about six thirty A.M. as he was looking over the side of the boat, he saw the porter come out of the ladies cabin with a scuttle of coals and ashes, and going to the bulwarks, near where a quantity of freight was stored, thru the contents overboard. It is his belief that the wind drove some of the coals back among the freight as it was here that the fire started.

The fire spread rapidly among a quantity of tubs and straw that was laying near. The alarm was given as passengers and crew rushed from their rooms, the confusion was great, as all on board became demoralized, even the officers and crew seemed to lose all courage and coolness, so needed at the time and no effort was made to lower the life boats, as all discipline was gone.

With five or ten minutes after the discovery of the fire the entire after end of the steamer was in flames. When the fire was first noticed the helm was lashed hard a port, causing her to whirl round and round as long as the engines worked. The wind which was from the northeast, sent the flames forward and soon the entire engine room was in flames and the machinery stopped.

The fire now roared and burst thru the doomed steamer and spreading to her upper deck cut off all chances to reach the four life boats which were capable of carrying one hundred and ten persons.

How many of the lost burned will never be known, but as the terror stricken helpless people were driven by the heat and flames toward the bow of the steamer, they threw themselves into the heavy sea which was rolling at the time. Many of them grasped pieces of wreckage but soon released their hold and drowned.

The water around the steamer, which was now a seething inferno, with flames pouring from every foot of space, and huge clouds of smoke causing a pal(sic) over the lake was a frightful background to the scores of dying, men, women and children in the water who mingled with the roar of the flames, their pitiful cries and pleading for help which never came. One by one, unable to keep their hold on the wreckage, they slipped into the deep to eternal rest from their earthly sufferings.

At this time the schooner Cornelia, commanded by Captain Yates, when off Waukegan saw the burning craft and bore down upon her, and found one man still alive lashed to a bow sprit by a rope around his waist in which position he observed all that was going on. This proved to be A.C. Chamberlain, and he told the crew of the schooner that another man was at the stern of the Seabird. This was Henneberry, who was found floating on a gang plank and saved. Both men had suffered greatly, not alone physically but mentally, from the horrors and heart rending scenes they witnessed.

The Cornelia remained on the scene until the wreck burned to the waters edge when the hull floated near the Rockland station, where it sank.

The officers and crew were as follows:

Officers and crew: Captain John Morris, 1st mate Richard Hacklin, 2nd mate Leander Packard (Manitowoc), 1st Engineer Thos. Hanahan, clerk Jos. Hodges, Steward John Morrison, Fireman Jos. Foley, porter Theo. Kirtland, cook Josiah Burns, Ass't cook Billy ??? both cooks are colored, bar tender Ulysses Hughes, cabin boys John Brenman, Harry Simpson, James O'Rourke, waiter John O'Rourk, Michael Morrisey, Michael Malone, John Gleman, deck hands, also several other deck hands. An assistant engineer, two ore three firemen, and one or two other employees of the boat.

Passengers Geo. W. Emery, Capt. Sorenson, Jos. Lykem, Jos. Doucett, Wenzel Havlickek, Henry Pfeiffer, Chas. Reichen, Fred Henning, S.E. Watkins, all of Manitowoc.

Capt. N.T. Nelson, Casper Legro, Albert Mrwa, R.H. Hunt, Wm. Baxter, A. Meyer, Fred Flosbach, August Wilde, Geo. B. Davidson, Lowell Lincoln, Robt. E. Scott, Geo. Nieman, Ed. Neighbor, C.H. Abbott, J.E. Goss, H.M. Comstock, Miss Grace Bemis, George Merrick, three one legged soldiers, Warner, Gallagher and McCarthy, Peter Sullivan, Thos. Carpenter, H.A. Gaylord and wife, Wm. G. Mallory, Mrs. E.E. Sharpe, John O'Brien, Theo. Stein, D.C. Daggett, Ed. Henneberry (saved), Dr. F. Hahn, Dr. L. Bock, Ed. Provinski, Hy Ulrich, A.C. Chamberlain (saved), Mrs. Sprague, O. Perch, Mich. Gallagher, Mr. Peeper and wife, one young man and two travelng agents, names unknown. Two young ladies unknown, Jos. B. Wood, Mrs. E.H. Stone thought to have been aboard, John Fouchs, Franz Kliemer P.C. Dannaby.

SEBASTOPOL

Official No: none
Type of Ship: sidewheel steamer, wood
Place of Loss: near Milwaukee
Type/Cause: storm
Cargo: misc. cargo including copper, tin, lead and iron ingots, safes, etc., and 50 horses
More details: She stranded 500 feet from shore, came broadside to huge waves and pounded to pieces. Most of her crew and about 60 passengers were saved from shore by small boat in a hazardous rescue.
The accident happened during her first season.
Date Built: 1855
Builder: Luther Moses
Where Built: Cleveland
Size: 230x26x14, 863 t.

SHANGHAL

Size: 188t Owner: J.M. Jones

SHEPPARDSON

Specs: 130t
Enrollment:
Date of Loss:
Place of Loss:
Lake Lost:
Type/Cause:
Lives Lost:
Cargo:
Details:

SNOW DROP

Official No: 22377
Type of Ship: schooner, wood, 3-mast
Place of Loss: North Point, near Milwaukee
Type/Cause: storm
Cargo: cedar posts
More details: Major repair in 1861
Date Built: 1853
Builder: Lent
Where Built: Conneaut, OH
Size: 126x25x8, 190g 181n

SOLOMON JUNEAU

Specs: 90t
Enrollment:
Owner: S. Juneau
Date of Loss: yr 1836
Place of Loss: on Lake Ontario
Lake Lost: Ontario
Type/Cause: sunk/lost
Lives Lost:
Cargo:
Details: Not recovered

History of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
by John G. Gregory Vol. II published 1931
pg 323
The first vessel whose keel was laid in Milwaukee was the SOLOMON JUNEAU, built for the man whose name she bore by George Barber, and launched in the river from flats which afterward became Ludwig's Garden, near the present location of Pleasant Street bridge. The momentus (sic) event was described as follows in the Sentinel of August 22, 1837:

In the presence of something like five or six hundred people, the splendid schooner SOLOMON JUNEAU was launched into her destined element on the evening of Saturday last. It is said by those who were on the spot, we not having the leisure to attend, that it equaled the launch of the great ship PENNSYLVANIA, the trim new vessel taking her place with pomp and grace suggestive of Princess Victoria taking the crown of England. She was built by Mr. Barber, and does him credit--a handsomer model we have not laid eyes on, if we may be allowed to judge. After a great deal of hilarity and cheering, she was towed down to Mr. D. S. Hollister's wharf by the steamer BADGER, which was in attendance on the occasion, where she lay until the following day, when a party of some thirty or forty took a short trip up the river. Being the pioneer of a fleet which Milwaukee will send forth, she bears an appropriate title, which does honor to the Territory.

The JUNEAU was a schooner of ninety tons burden, and the timber used in her construction was cut in the woods nearby. Barber originally had been a contractor for houses, but, like other artisans of his day was skilled in all departments of his trade and could do excellent work on whatever he took in hand. Form 1837 to 1844 he returned to housebuilding (sic), for which there was a steady demand in the growing town. Then he went back to shipbuilding, turning out sturdy little sailing craft at the rate of one or more a year till as late as 1857.

SOLOMON JUNEAU

Specs: 51x15x7, 42gt 28nt
Enrollment:
Date of Loss:
Place of Loss:
Lake Lost:
Type/Cause:
Lives Lost:
Cargo:
Details: First owned by George J. Kohlbeck (1947-1950), various owners, in 1971 sold to Underwater Diving & Recovery Service, Inc. of Milw.

1839 Schooner SOLOMON JUNEAU was driven ashore near the Milwaukee River.(Source History of Milwaukee County 1881)

SOUTH SIDE

Specs: 140t
Enrollment: Milwaukee
Date of Loss:
Place of Loss:
Lake Lost:
Type/Cause:
Lives Lost:
Cargo:
Details: 1894 dropped from registry

SOUVENIR

Type at Loss: schooner, wood, 3-mast
Official No.: 22579
Built: 1854, Filkins, Milwaukee, WI
Specs: 89x21x6, 87 t.
Enrollment: Milwaukee, also Detroit
Date of Loss: 1872, Nov 26
Place of Loss: near Ludington, MI
Lake Lost: Michigan
Type/Cause: storm
Lives Lost: 6
Cargo: shingles
Details: She was driven into a bar by a storm and wrecked. She was declared total loss and reported in the papers as broken up, but later recovered and extensivly rebuilt. Document surrendered at Port Huron Aug 28, 1894, annotated "wrecked." Rebuilt and lengthened at Pentwater, MI, in 1868.

S. ROBINSON

Official No: 22347
Type of Ship: schooner, wood, 2-mast
Place of Loss: 40 mi E of Milwaukee
Type/Cause: collision
Cargo: 16,000 bu. corn
More details: MANISTEE struck ROBINSON square amidships, cutting her 2/3rds of the way through. The schooner's crew only just had time to launch her yawl before she went down. Owned by Finnegan & Roach, Chicago. Built as a canaller in only two months for Hanley, Warner
Date Built: 1853
Builder: Lafrinier & Stevenson
Where Built: Cleveland
Size: 127x26x12, 235 t. [309 om]

ST. ALBANS

Official No: 23514
Type of Ship: propeller, wood, passenger & package freight
Place of Loss: 8 mi NNE of Milwaukee
Type/Cause: ice
Cargo: general merchandise, flour, cattle More details: She was a total loss of $35,000. Owned by Northern Transportation Co.
Date Built: 1868
Builder: Ira Lafrinier
Where Built: Cleveland
Size: 135x26x11, 435 t.

ST. IGNACE

Official No: 57924
Type of Ship: scow-schooner, wood
Place of Loss: between Grand Haven and Milwaukee
Type/Cause: storm
Cargo: bricks
More details:
Date Built: 1882
Builder:
Where Built:
Size: 238 t.

ST. LAWRENCE

Official No: 22584
Type of Ship: schooner, wood, 2-mast
Place of Loss: well out in the lake off Milwaukee
Type/Cause: fire
Cargo: timber
More details: The rest of the crew was rescued by the schooner GRANADA. When last seen the blazing vessel was 25-30 miles SE of Milwaukee. Owned by her skipper, Capt. M. Larkins, his wife and a partner and out of Ahnapee, WI Rebuilt in 1853
Date Built: 1842
Builder: G. Barber
Where Built: Clayton, NY
Size: 93x20x8, 111 t. [134 t. om]

ST. LAWRENCE:
See Trowell Bio
See Williams Bio

The schooner "ST. LAWRENCE" burned just off this port, during the afternoon of April 30, 1878. A kettle of pitch boiled over in the galley, and before the flames could be quenched, there being no one on hand at the time, the fire had gained the mastery. The ship was under a headway of six miles per hour, wrapped in flames, when Captain Larkins ordered the life-boat lowered. It was done and he was drowned with a passenger named Arthur Piplow, of Gifford, Ill. The remainder of the crew were picked up by the schooner "GRANADA" of Milwaukee. The "ST. LAWRENCE" was formerly owned in this city, but had been purchased by Racine parties. She was thirty years old--a New York craft--and valued at $1,000. (Source:History of Milwaukee County, 1881)

(Source:History of Milwaukee County, 1881)

ST. PETER

Official No: 23516
Type of Ship: schooner, wood
Place of Loss: 35 mi NE of Milwaukee
Type/Cause: hull failure
Cargo: wheat or corn
More details:
Date Built: 1867
Builder:
Where Built: New Baltimore, NY
Size: Specs 120t

STARKE

Specs: 124x27x9m 209gt 199nt
Enrollment:
Date of Loss: Feb 5 1906
Place of Loss: Chandeleur Island, LA
Lake Lost:
Type/Cause: stranded
Lives Lost:
Cargo:
Details: Sold to out-of-lakes interest

SULTANA

Other names : none
Official no. : none
Type at loss : sloop-barge, wood, bulk freight
Build info : 1847, Zadoc Pangborn, Algonac, MI as a luxury sidewheel steamer
Specs : 217x31x13, 725 t.
Date of loss : 1863, Nov 12 [1858 given erroneously]
Place of loss : SE of Pte Aux Barques, MI
Lake : Huron
Type of loss : navigational error
Loss of life : none
Carrying : lumber
Detail : Bound Saginaw for Buffalo in tow of tug REINDEER, she struck bottom and was stranded. Gales broke her up before she could be released. Converted from sidewheeler to barge in 1860 or 62. Her cabins were used for "saloons for pleasure parties" at Belle Isle, Detroit R.

SUMATRA

Official No: 115240
Type of Ship: schooner-barge, wood, bulk freight
Place of Loss: off Milwaukee
Type/Cause: storm
Cargo: RR ties
More details:
Date Built:
Builder: 1874
Where Built: Quelos & Peck
Size: Black R., Ohio

SUSIE CHIPMAN

Specs: 122x26x9, 216gt 164nt
Enrollment:
Date of Loss:
Place of Loss:
Lake Lost:
Type/Cause:
Lives Lost:
Cargo:
Details: Rebuilt in 1913, Canadian Sold 1921-1955, Last in Commission 1933, but not removed from register until 1955

SYLVANUS MARVIN

Type at Loss: schooner, wood, 2-mast
Official No.: none
Built: 1842, Samíl Farmin or Farnum, Milwaukee
Specs: 65x19x6, 65 gt. [om]
Enrollment: Chicago
Owner: Merrill & Caswell
Date of Loss: 1851, May 22
Place of Loss: off Grand Haven, MI or Racine, WI
Lake Lost: Michigan
Type/Cause: "lost"
Type/Cause: 9
Cargo: ?
Details: no detail