The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
V. H. Ketchum (Propeller), U25908., 4 Aug 1874

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The largest vessel ever built on the lakes is being readied at Marine City under David Lester's supervision. She is 260 feet over all, 235 keel, 41 feet beam and 24 foot depth of hold, 7-8 feet between decks, 141 frames between stem and stern and over 50 streak of plank on either side, inside and out, over 120,000 feat of seams to be caulked or about 23 miles in length and requires 8,750 pounds of oakum. Three hundred barrels of salt have been used about the hull for the preservation of the timber. To complete the work will require about 10,000 days labor or work of 75 men for 9 months. She has less shear than is usually given to smaller crafts. She has overhanging bows with a bowsprit, and has a regular vessel stern. She will have four spars, with fore and aft canvas and is also supplied with a centre board. In fact she will be a complete steamship, and can navigate independently of steam if required. The machinery and power will consist of 2 low pressure engines connected to one shaft, and having a 10 feet wheel. The cylinders are 36 inch bore by 32 inch stroke and are being built by Samuel F. Hodge of Detroit. Her boiler, which is 21 foot long, with a 10 foot shell and 12 feet 6 inches across the fire box, is also being built at Detroit by Mr. John Brennan.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Wednesday, February 25, 1874

      . . . . .

      The steamship V.H. KETCHUM was successfully launched at Marine City yesterday. The sight attracted an immense crowd of people. Built by Capt. David Lester, she is owned by the Toledo and Saginaw Transportation Co. She was launched sideways in Belle River and got off without straining a bolt or starting a seam.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Friday, April 17, 1874

      . . . . .

      The stmb. V.H. KETCHAM arrived up Monday morning from Buffalo, making the round trip from this city in 70 hours, she having passed down on Friday morning with 65,700 bu. grain. The KETCHAM has developed a much higher rate of speed than was anticipated, having averaged 9 miles per hour loaded and 10 miles per hour light, with 30 pounds of steam, cut off at quarter of the stroke, with consumption of 1,250 pounds of coal per hour. On Lake Erie she ran 250 miles in 24 hours, which is equal to nearly 10 1/2 miles per hour. This fine vessel was built at Marine City by David Lester. her dimensions are as follows: Length over all, 257 ft.; beam, 40 1/2 ft.; hold 23 1/2 ft. She is a superb specimen of naval architecture, and the results attained prove the correctness of Mr. Lester's calculations. The engines are on the condensing principle, consisting of 2 36 inch diameter cylinders by 32 inch stroke. The double crank shaft forged in one solid piece and weighs in its finished state 6,700 pounds. The journals are 11 inches diameter. Each engine is provided with an air pump, and the vacuum maintained is 25 inches. The propeller wheel is 10 ft. diameter. The whole of the machinery works admirably. The outfit of rigging, sails, etc., is complete and first class in every respect, the very best materials having been used throughout. Messrs. Dunlap & Donaldson, of Detroit, have displayed their well known skill in this department. Capt. McNeil states that he can, with the assistance of the steam winch, handle the KETCHAM with more ease and precision than any other boat he has commanded.
      Detroit Free Press
      August 4, 1874

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William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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V. H. Ketchum (Propeller), U25908., 4 Aug 1874