In Campbell, Owen & Co'S Dock. - A visit to this establishment is productive of much pleasure, and an hour spent there shows what a number of hands are required to carry on the work, even when business is comparatively slack. The old propeller HUNTER is in the upper dry-dock, and is being rapidly transformed into a barge. The large hole in her port side, where she was struck by the COMET, has been closed up, and the upper seams have been caulked. A new and very strong hog frame has been put in, running along the keel, instead of the two she had when a steamer. It is expected that she will be fully ready by July 1st, and she will come out of the dock one of the staunchest barges on the lakes. In the lower dry-dock were two Canadian scow-barges receiving repairs, and on the stocks is the frame of a canal vessel of the largest size. The tugs SWEEPSTAKES, QUAIL and ROBB were lying along the dock front receiving or awaiting some attention. The dock is being extended, and a pile driver is at work along the lower end. As some difficulty has been experienced in moving vessels when several have been at the dock, a spar buoy has been anchored abreast of the upper dry dock, and about 150 feet from the shore, to which the vessels can make fast, and save the trouble of anchoring. Since the severe illness of Mr. Campbell the yard has been under the immediate superintendence of Mr. Steven R. Kirby, who removed from Saginaw to this city some two months ago, and who brings energy and experience with him. He has now on the table a draught for a large propeller, differing essentially from those at present on the lakes. She will be built on the plan of a double-decked sea-going propeller, and immensely strong, being intended to carry grain both in the hold and on the berth deck. The plan calls for a vessel of 200 feet on the load line (drawing 12+ feet), 40 feet beam, and 10+ feet depth; tonnage about 1,500. Her capacity will be about 39,500 bushels of wheat in the hold, and 21,000 bushels between decks. The boilers are to be placed between decks and amidships, adding materially to her steadiness in heavy weather.
Detroit Free Press
June 24, 1870
The engine of the old propeller Detroit, which has been lying in the yard of the Detroit dry dock company, foot of Orleans street, for about eight years, has been purchased by the dry dock engine works and will be broken up for old iron. This engine first did duty in the old propeller Hunter, which was dismantled after being sunk by a collision. It was taken out of the Hunter and placed in the Detroit, which had previously been a side-wheeler. After almost four years service as a propeller the Detroit was lost but the engine was recovered by the steam barge Monitor, which had appliances for hoisting heavy weights. The engine was then brought to the dry dock and has remained there since. Although large and powerful, it is of very little use, because of the improvements recently made in propeller engines.
Detroit Post & Tribune
October 13, 1882
The propeller HUNTER (US#11139) was built at Buffalo by Bidwell & Banta in 1859 and was sunk on the Detroit River in 1869 in collision with the propeller COMET. The vessel was raised and her engine was removed, as stated, and in the winter of 1870-71 was placed in the schooner-barge DETROIT (US#6189) , which had been reduced from a sidewheeler the previous year. HUNTER's hull, meanwhile, was converted to a towbarge specifically meant as a consort to the selfsame DETROIT. On September 28, 1872 the two were upbound when they were caught in a storm on Lake Huron. The barge broke loose and went ashore near Greenbush, Michigan, while DETROIT met the beach a few miles further north. In the summer on 1875 the MONITOR salvaged the veteran engine and more of DETROIT's machinery - in vain, as it turned out.
Personal note: These engines can last a long time and there are many stories of engines going on and on for decades. The engine from the old WALK-IN-THE-WATER, the first steamer on the upper lakes (1818) , which had been installed by steam pioneer Robert Fulton himself, went into the steamer SUPERIOR after the first vessel was wrecked in 1821. Later the engine was reportedly used to power a Saginaw River sawmill, after the SUPERIOR was converted to a sailing ship, and the engine was still operating there in the 1850's.
A few years back I accompanied steam enthusiast Ed Morris of Bay City, Michigan, (owns the PRINCESS, a small steam sidewheeler out of Bay City with a walking beam engine) to Ferriss Marine Salvage in Ecorse, Mich, where a compound steam engine from an old tug had been standing for many years. The thing was at least 15 feet tall. Ed purchased the engine and restored it (to run on compressed air). It had once been in the tug SUNOL (US116511), built in 1892, but was apparently, from it's markings, much older - built in the 1860's or 70's.
Dave Swayze's Notes