The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Lady Elgin (Steamboat), sunk, 30 Aug 1854


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LADY ELGIN Steamer, struck a rock and sunk at Manitowoc, Lake Michigan.
Property loss $12,000
      Buffalo Democracy
      Feb. 28, 1855 (casualty list)

      . . . . .

ACCIDENT TO THE STEAMER "LADY ELGIN."---By a despatch from Milwaukee, Received on Saturday, we learn that the steamer LADY ELGIN, on her way down to this port struck a rock off Manitowoc, Lake Michigan, on Wednesday night. She was immediately headed for the shore and nearly alongside the pier at that place, when she sunk. There were over three hundred passengers on board, and the accident at first caused considerable consternation among them; but their fears were soon allayed, and every person got safely ashore. It is believed that the fine boat has not sustained any very material damage, and means will be immediately resorted to to raise and repair her, so that her trips may be resumed the present season.
      The Democracy, Buffalo
      Monday, September 4, 1854

      . . . . .

THE STEAMER LADY ELGIN.---We learn from the Chicago papers, that this steamer, which left Milwaukee on Wednesday last, with passengers and freight for Buffalo struck a rock off Manitowoc, during the night, and sunk soon after reaching the pier at that place. She lies with the water up to her main deck. She had 300 passengers on board at the time, all of whom were got ashore in safety.
Mr.Ward, the Clerk, arrived in Chicago on Friday, to obtain the service of a steam pump. He thinks the LADY ELGIN will be raised without much difficulty.
The Milwaukee Sentinel states that the steam tug G.W. TIFFT, with the large steam pump belonging to the Merchant's Insurance Company, of that city, was sent to the assistance of the LADY ELGIN. It is thought that she will be freed from water, and raised without much difficulty.
      The Democracy, Buffalo
      Tuesday, September 5, 1854

      . . . . .

THE "LADY ELGIN" ---The steam tug TIFFT returned on Saturday evening, and reports that they have succeeded with the steam pump, in lowering the water about 20 inches in the hold of the steamer. ------- Milwaukee Sentinel
      The Democracy, Buffalo
      Wednesday, September 6, 1854

      . . . . .

THE LADY ELGIN.---The Chicago Journal, in referring to the sinking of the steamer LADY ELGIN, at Manitowoc, says that five minutes after reaching the pier, the fires went out, and the boat sank to the bottom, with 9 feet of water in her hold. The Captain immediately sent a man to Sheboygan by land, who took the mail boat to Milwaukee, and brought up a steam pump Friday night. With this and the hand pumps, she was raised by Sunday night, so as to float with three feet and a half in her hold. She had on board a large load of wool and flour, which was considerably damaged. The injury to the boat could not, up to Sunday night, be accurately estimated. It must be great however, even with fair weather. Northeastern, or indeed any heavy wind, would make her a total wreck.
      The Democracy, Buffalo
      Friday, September 8, 1854

      . . . . .

      From the Chicago Democrat, Sept. 6.
      THE STEAMER "LADY ELGIN" -- PARTICULARS OF THE DISASTER
      From some of the passengers on the LADY ELGIN we learn some of the particulars of the disaster.
      The LADY ELGIN left this port on Wednesday morning last with a load of 300 passengers. About 2 o'clock in the afternoon the passengers who were waiting for dinner, were startled by the intimation of a fog, so dense that it was impossible to see the length of the boat. A few minutes of blind sailing seemed to have dimmed the recollections of the pilot as to his "points," when the Captain checked the boat and commenced sounding, going from two and a half to seven fathoms in a short hour.
Captain Chamberlain though from his experience of the reefs between Sheboygan and Manitowoc, that the soundings placed the boat near the outer edge of a long reef, the latter part of which is frequently skirted by vessels without danger, and that seven fathoms indicated a safe course. He accordingly kept her on slowly, but it was scarcely a minute before she struck a rock, and with a shock no one on board is likely to forget, reeled fearfully from side to side, raising her bow full five feet at every swing.
      She struck on the larboard side, and in "three fathoms large," her distance from shore as near as could be learned, being about a mile and a half; from Manitowoc six miles. As soon as the shock was fairly over, the Captain backed her off, and sinking a canvas under her bows, headed her for Manitowoc, the crew working the pumps--the watching with dreadful anxiety the motion of the engine, which worked perceptibly harder at every revolution, and were thankful beyond words, when they finally reached the pier.
      Five minutes after they arrived the fires went out and the boat sank to the bottom, with nine feet of water in her hold. The Captain immediately sent a man to Sheboygan by land, who took the mail boat to Milwaukee and brought up a steam pump Friday night. With this and the hand pumps, she was raised by Sunday night, so as to float with three and a half feet of water in her hold.
      She had on board a large load of wood and flour which were considerably injured. The injury to the boat could not, up to Sunday night, be accurately estimated. It must be great however, even with fair weather. A North-eastern, or indeed any heavy wind, would make her a total wreck.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      Friday, September 8, 1854

      . . . . .

The steamer LADY ELGIN, Capt. Chamberlain, arrived at this port yesterday forenoon about 10 o'clock. She left Manitowoc Tuesday morning, about 9 o'clock and by keeping a steam pump at work about one third of the time during her passage, she was kept free from water. We are informed by Capt, Chamberlain, that the damage done to her is not great, and that it will not take over 43 hours to repair her after getting her into dry dock. Four or five small holes were found in her bottom, just forward of her forward gangway, on the starboard side. Which were mostly stopped before leaving Manitowoc. The captain had telegraphed to Buffalo, and was awaiting an answer, which would decide him whether to go into dry dock here, or proceed to Buffalo.-----Detroit Free Press
      The Democracy, Buffalo
      Monday, September 11, 1854

      . . . . .

      FOR CHICAGO. - The substantial upper lake steamer LADT ELGIN, having been put in complete repair since the accident at Manitowoc, came out of dry dock and hauled down the Creek yesterday to her dock foot of Main Street. She is up for Chicago Wednesday evening.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      Tuesday, September 19, 1854

      . . . . .

The steamer LADY ELGIN has been repaired, and left last evening for Chicago.
      The Democracy, Buffalo
      Thursday, September 21, 1854



Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Notes:
Reason: sunk
Lives: nil
Freight: passengers, goods
Remarks: Raised
Date of Original:
1854
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
McN.W.1737
Language of Item:
English
  • Wisconsin, United States
    Latitude: 44.09194 Longitude: -87.64731
Donor:
William R. McNeil
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
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Lady Elgin (Steamboat), sunk, 30 Aug 1854