The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
St. Joseph Herald (St. Joseph, MI), 1 May 1875

Full Text
A Sudden Squall Strikes the Fishing Fleet upon the Lake.
Eleven Men Consigned to a Watery Grave.
Mourning in St. Joseph.

It falls to our lot to chronicle this week one of the saddest calamities which ever happened to St. Joseph - the loss of three of our fishing fleet with all on board, consisting of eleven men. The particulars of this sad affair are as follows:

Early Thursday morning the entire fleet left their moorings in the river and sped joyously out of the harbor on their way to their accustomed fishing grounds. The sky was dark with thick clouds and rain commenced falling about 7 o'clock, but no one probably of all those who went out that morning ever entertained a thought that within a few hours a violent storm would overwhelm them and consign many of their number to a watery grave. When the boats went out the wind was Northwest but early in the forenoon and while the men were busily engaged in lifting their nets, the wind suddenly changed to the North and in an instant a fierce squall was upon them. They met it bravely however, and at once started homeward, all of the boats but six arriving safely in port before three o'clock, although some of them were slightly damaged by ice. Of these six, Planet, owned by John Genette, and in charge of Willie Genette and three men, went ashore near Bridgman; all hands saved. Sea Lion, owned by Henry Zaremba, and in charge of John Springsteen, and three men, went ashore at Grand Marr [Grand Mere]; all saved. Hooker, owned by Fred Myer and H. K. Grimm, and in charge of Fred Myer and three men, went on the beach four miles south of here. Her canvass was all carried away when about three miles out and she went ashore under bare pole; all safe. The other three boats were probably swamped in the gale and all on board perished. The names of these three were E. B. Perkins, Sea Gull and St. Joe Doll. The first was owned by Fred Dalke, and commanded by him; he leaves a wife and five children. His crew were Jimmy Fagan, Augustus Schwichtenberg, and one man, name unknown, who had recently come to St. Joseph. The Sea Gull was owned by Joseph Klamfoot and H. E. Grimm; Klamfoot was captain; he leaves a wife and three children. His crew consisted of two men, Chas. Witte, who leaves a wife and two children, and Frank Bear, unmarried. The St. Joe Doll was owned by Frank Granke and H. E. Grimm; Granke, Captain; he leaves a wife and two children. His crew were John Horntasch, who leaves a family, Chas. Erdmann, and one man, name unknown.

The families, relatives, and friends of the lost men have the sympathy of this entire community in this, their hour of extreme sorrow. The blow is a crushing one to them, but we trust they may have strength to bear up bravely under it. Flags were displayed at hal-mast on the steamers and shipping in the harbor yesterday, and in the afternoon some of the fish boats and the Corona went out to find, if possible, some trace of the missing boats. The fish boats, we learn, found nothing, but the Corona discovered two boats about six miles south, one of them close in shore, the other some distance out. The first she towed in and at this writing lies near Wells & Co's basket factory on Water street.

Media Type:
Item Type:
Frank Granke's last name was spelled Groenke. Joseph Klamfoot's name is usually spelled Clamfoot or Clamfort.
Date of Original:
1 May 1875
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Jon Wuepper
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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St. Joseph Herald (St. Joseph, MI), 1 May 1875