The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Water Witch (Propeller), sunk, 1 Oct 1863

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Propeller WATER WITCH, cargo flour, foundered with all on board, in Saginaw Bay.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Wednesday, January 20, 1864

      . . . . .

Detroit, Nov. 17. -- The screw steamer WATER WITCH is reported to have foundered in the late gale, in Saginaw Bay and all on board supposed lost.
      Buffalo Evening Courier & republic
      Tuesday, November 17, 1863

      . . . . .

      THE PROPELLER WATER WITCH LOST. - This propeller has been on the Chicago and Goderich route during the season. She belongs to E. Ward, of Detroit. The engineer of the steamer FASHION was put into her when she first came out. The Captain of the B.F. WADE reports that she was lost on Lake Huron. A metallic life-boat, picked up in Saginaw Bay by Capt. J. Osborn, of the schooner HYPHEN, near Point au Sauble, on the 12th, probably belongs to the WATER WITCH. It is feared the crew as well as the propeller are lost.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      Thursday, November 19, 1863

      . . . . .
      The WATER WITCH, a propeller owned by E.B. Ward, of Detroit, and running from Chicago to Sarnia in connection with the Grand Trunk, has been wrecked in Saginaw Bay, and all hands are supposed to be lost. The Detroit Advertiser says that the WATER WITCH was built at Newport and came out in 1861, and ran last year in the Cleveland, Detroit and Lake Superior Line. She was probably the swiftest propeller on the lakes, and was of remarkably staunch build, but her machinery was an experiment, consisting of a cog-wheel engine and walking-beam working athwartships. It is possible that she became unmanageable by the disarrangement of some part of her machinery, but the disaster may have been caused by her being too heavily laden to weather the gale.
      Goderich Signal
      Tuesday, November 24, 1863

      Nothing has yet been learned as to the fate of the crew of the ill-fated propeller WATER WITCH. It is supposed that they all went down with the sinking ship. The propeller METEOR, in returning from the Bruce Mines, went in search of the crew, but her search was in vain.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      Thursday, December 3, 1863

      . . . . .

The propeller WATER WITCH which foundered about 20 years ago between Port Huron and Point Aux Barques was about 500 tons, very sharp and noted for fast running, being capable of making 18 m.p.h. A Bay City man now claims to know where she sank. It is supposed she went down bow first, which accounts for none of her crew ever being found.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Friday, October 27, 1882
Steam screw WATER WITCH. Of 369 tons gross. Built Newport, Mich., 1862. First home port, Detroit, Mich. DISPOSITION. -- Foundered October 1863 in Saginaw Bay, Mich., with the loss of 20 lives.
      Merchant Steam Vessels of the U. S. A.
      Lytle - Holdcamper List, 1790 to 1868

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: sunk
Lives: 20
Hull damage: $30,000
Cargo: $15,000
Freight: flour
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 43.75002 Longitude: -83.66664
William R. McNeil
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Water Witch (Propeller), sunk, 1 Oct 1863