The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Roswell P. Flower (Propeller), 22 Jan 1887

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Milwaukee.---On Jan. 22 the ROSWELL P. LOWER was launched, and a very fine launch it was. She started down the ways easily and struck the water evenly. It rained hard all day, but the men stuck to their task and worked like heroes, drenched to the skin, from morning to night. The launch took place Saturday, January 22, at 4 o'clock p.m. and at 4:30 o'clock January 29, a week later, the keel for the new mammoth 306 feet long steamer was in position, with four frames up, on the same place that the FLOWER had vacated. Rather quick work, but Butler don't sleep any during the day. The launch went nice and a large number of spectators being on hand in spite of the rain, among them a large quota of distinguished vessel captains. No accident occurred although the evangelist, in trying to swallow a soda-cracker whole, succeeded in getting it stuck in his glottis, but Drs. Cochrane and Gibbs inserted the nozzle of an inch and a half hose in his mouth, and by turning on a full head of water dislodged it, and he still survives.
      The Marine Record
      Thurs. Feb. 3, 1887 p. 5

      . . . . .

      The finest modeled steamboat ever turned out by Mr. Radcliffe was launched on Saturday, with many spectators present. The new boat is named FRANK L.VANCE, and she will go into the line of the Milwaukee Steamship Co., which has headquarters at that port. Quite a number of people witnessed the launch, among whom were the owners. She combines in her construction all the fine points of the other vessels of the line, launched during the summer, the ROSWELL P. FLOWER, built at Milwaukee; the WILEY M. EAGAN, built at this port (Cleveland); and the R.P. FITZGERALD, built at Detroit. The addition of the FRANK L.VANCE to the others gives to the Milwaukee Steamship Co., four of the finest steamers on the lakes.
The contract for her construction was made with Captain George Berriman, but the purchase of the steamer WILEY M. EAGAN, and the satisfaction she gave to the Milwaukee Company, led them to make overtures to Captain Berriman for the second boat, and their proposition being accepted by Captain Berriman, she was named the FRANK L. VANCE, after one of the owners of the line, and launched in that interest.
The dimensions of the FRANK L. VANCE are as follows:- Keel 255 feet, over all 272 feet, beam 39 feet, hold 22 feet. She has three steel arches, two on the outside 12 x threequarter inch. Her machinery is a fore and aft compound engine, cylinders 28 and 50 inches, with a 45 inch stroke, built by H.G. Trout of Buffalo, and two fire box boilers 9 x 15 feet, built by the same firm. She carries three masts, and is fitted out with all the modern improvements, steam steerer, and Providence steam windlass, and capstan from the American Ship Windlass Co., Providence R.I., and an iron boiler house, built by A.T. Van Tassel & Co. These gentlemen are making a specialty now of iron boiler houses, having built one on the ROBERT R. RHODES, SAMUEL MATHER, HORACE A. TUTTLE, and FRANK L. VANCE. The house on the VANCE is 24 x 25 and 18 feet high, of No.10 plate, built on T and angle iron, and the owners of the above mentioned boats are well pleased with them. The Van Tasel & Co., also did the tanks, plumbing and general outfit.
      It is said that the FRANK L. VANCE has as fine a fitout as any freight boat on the lakes, which has been done under the supervision of captain Marion Tinney, who brought out the R.P. FLOWER, this season. Captain Tinney will command the VANCE, Joseph Schumacher, chief engineer; John Gilbert, first mate; E. Harrison, second mate. The cost of the VANCE is $130,000. She will be ready for sea next week
      The Marine record
      Thurs. Sept. 29, 1887 p. 4

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William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Roswell P. Flower (Propeller), 22 Jan 1887