The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Terrible Disaster on Lake Superior
The Age (Philadelphia, PA), 8 Sep 1863, p. 2, column 6
Full Text
Terrible Disaster on Lake Superior -- The Steamer Sunbeam Lost with all on Board.

SARNIA, C.W.. September 7.--The steamer City of Cleveland reports the loss of the steamer Sunbeam in Lake Superior. last week, during a gale with all the passengers and crew except one wheelsman.

CHICAGO, Sept. 7th.--The steamer Planet arrived here this morning, bringing news that the steamer Sunbeam foundered on Lake Superior on the 28th of August, and all on board except the wheelsman were lost.

The wheelsman lashed himself to a piece of the wreck, and after floating for thirty hours, was washed ashore at Portage, twenty miles from the scene of the disaster.

He reports that the Sunbeam left Superior City on Thursday. Early the next morning, during a terrible gale, the steamer as struck by a heavy sea, which rolled her on her side. The small boats were immediately got out, and the passengers and crew put into them, when the steamer was struck by another heavy sea, and commenced breaking up.

The wheelsman soon afterwards saw the boats filled with passengers and crew leaving the wreck, but it was impossible for the boats to live in such a gale. They were swamped, and he is certain that all on board were lost. The Planet picked up portions of the wreck, which were floating about for miles around where the vessel went down. The passengers and crew numbered thirty-five men. The names of those lost, as far as ascertained, are as follows:

Passengers--A. Sherman and son; A. Cohen of Ontonagon.

Crew--Captain Dargal; Mr. Gardner, clerk; Thos. J. Heally, 1st engineer; Patrick and J. O'Donnell, 1st and 2d mates, of Detroit; W. H. Collins, saloon-keeper; Meechal, cabin boy, of Chicago; James Butler, fireman.

The scene of the disaster is located a little north-east of Eagle River, ten miles out.

Media Type
Item Type
Date of Publication
8 Sep 1863
Language of Item
Geographic Coverage
  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 47.41381 Longitude: -88.29566
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 47.5094803543781 Longitude: -88.2370692519531
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Terrible Disaster on Lake Superior