The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
W. T. Graves (Bark), U26172, 19 Apr 1867

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      For several days past our citizens -- at least those engaged in commercial pursuits -- have been on the qui vive to see the mammoth vessel which they had been informed through the Blade would visit this port. Early yesterday forenoon it was reported that the vessel -- the new bark W. T. GRAVES -- was in the Bay, and from that time until she reached her dock, frequent visits were made to the docks or other eligible points for scanning the approach to the harbor, to see if she was coming. At about 2 o'clock the vessel was descried coming slowly up the stream and as she moved magnetically alongside H. S. Walbridge & Co.'s dock hundreds rushed from the streets to the locality, evincing a degree of curiosity that we have never seen equalled by any similar event.
It had been reported that the vessel was the largest on the Lakes, but that assertion afforded only a very vague idea of her dimensions or her appearance. As she came to she loomed so far above the adjacent craft that the entire crowd were literally struck with wonder proportions. Made fast, to reach her decks was impossible, her rail being on a level with the second story of the elevator; and it was not long before the stairway in the grain house was thronged by those eager to step upon the deck of the noble craft and become more familiar with her. Soon her deck was crowded to such an extent as to interfere considerably with the movements of the hands, but this borne with patience, and no one was disposed to complain.. On deck Captain S. Wood, her commander, and Capt. Flint, who superintended her construction, were ready to give such information as mariners and "landsmen" desired, and from them we obtained the dimensions of the vessel.
      Work was commenced on the hull in August last, at the yard of Quayle & Martin, Cleveland, under the supervision of Capt. Flint. Her dimensions are: Length of keel, 201 feet; length overall, 215 feet; beam 25 feet 6 inches; depth of hold, 14 feet; tonnage, old measurement, 1,052 tons. The hull appears of sufficient strength to resist, for a score or more of years, the wildest fury of the elements. At the keelson the depth of timber is five feet; the planking outside ranges from six and a half feet to ten inches, her bilge keelsons ar ten inches thick; the frame takes the place of bulwarks and is capped by the rail, making from the keel to the rail an almost solid timber, and about 26 inches thick; the distance between the frames is 8 inches, and each plank in ceiling and on the outside has two bolts running entirely through and clinched. The 8 inches of space between the frames is filled with coarse salt, of which 221 barrels were used. There is no bulkhead in the hold, -- below decks it is one room extending from the stern post to the stem. To render her more staunch there are eleven beams midway between the bottom of the hold and the deck extending entirely across the hold and at each end of these are two pine knees firmly bolted to the side of the vessel and to the beams. There are also heavy oak stringers about six inches thick and probably three feet wide extending the entire length of the vessel, under the deck beams supported by pine or tamarack knees firmly fastened by 1 or 1 1\2 inch iron bolts, which extend through the hull and are fastened on the outside. From this description of the hull the reader will understand that the vessel is as strong as wood and iron could make her.
      The cabin of the GRAVES is a model for elegance and convenience. It is 34 feet long and 21 feet wide; the captain's quarters are about 10 x 10 feet, with a state-room, and finished with exquisite taste. There are also four state-rooms, a kitchen 10 x 10 with a pantry, ample store room and a water closet. The floor of the main room is covered with oil cloth, the captain's room and the state-room are neatly carpeted. The wood work is grained. The cabin is well lighted and ventilated. On an even keel light, she draws 5 feet 7 inches.
      The "upper works" of this immense craft compare with those portions already described. The foremast is 38 inches in diameter and 80 feet high; the mainmast 31 inches diameter and 101 feet high; mizzen mast 21 inches and 80 feet high. All the appointments are of the best description; the rigging is new, of the best character and the canvass the choicest manufactured. We will enumerate her sails; square foresail, 2 topsails, fore topgallant sail, royal, and 8 jibs forward; main staysail, main topmast staysail, main topgallant staysail, main-sail, main, main-gaff topsail, mizzen and mizzen -gaff topsail; the whole requiring 5,000 yards of canvass.
      The bark W. T. GRAVES was built for O. L. Mimms, of Buffalo. In every respect she realizes the expectations of her owner and Superintendent Capt. Flint. On her passage from Cleveland she proved to possess fine sailing qualities, handled easily, and Capt. Wood is of the opinion that eight men will be all the help he will require in her management. Beside being the largest, she is by far the finest vessel that has ever floated on inland waters, and in no respect, we think, can she be excelled by those built for ocean service. She cost about $80,000.
      The vessel came to this port consigned to H. S. Walbridge & Co., who will load her with 50,000 bushels of corn for her owner, Mr. N. has 150,000 bushels of corn here, purchased by H. S. W. & Co., and that gentleman will send two other vessels here (one new and nearly as large as the GRAVES) and it is expected the three will remove the grain at one cargo each.
      Toledo Blade
      April 19, 1867

      Steam screw WILLIAM T. GRAVES. U.S. No. 26172. Of 1.074.52 tons gross; 821.89 tons net. Built 1867 at Cleveland, Ohio. Home port, Toledo, Ohio. 207.0 x 35.0 x 14.0
      Merchant Vessel List, U.S., 1885

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William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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W. T. Graves (Bark), U26172, 19 Apr 1867