Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Wisconsin (Steamboat), sunk by collision, 25 Aug 1853
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Steamer WISCONSIN, sunk by collision with Propeller BRUNSWICK, near the West Sisters, Lake Erie. Property loss $8,000
      Buffalo Express
      January 2, 1854 (1853 casualty list)

      . . . . .

The Steamer WISCONSIN was run into about twelve o'clock on Wednesday by the propeller BRUNSWICK, near the West Sister Light, and sunk in five minutes in 45 feet water. No lives lost.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Friday, August 26, 1853

      . . . . .

      Wednesday evening the steamer WISCONSIN was run into by the propeller BRUNSWICK, one mile to the east of West Sister Light. The WISCONSIN was bound to Sandusky from Toledo, and the propeller running for Toledo, struck the steamer in her bows, causing her to sink in five minutes. No lives were lost, as the crew of the WISCONSIN were all taken aboard the BRUNSWICK, which was comparatively unhurt.
The Sandusky Register says, the WISCONSIN was owned, three-fourths by Capt. T.J. Titus and one-fourth by Geo. Davis of Buffalo, and was running in the Sandusky and Buffalo Stock Line. her worth is estimated at about $15,000. She will, of course, prove a total loss, though the engine, which is a very fine one, may be recovered. A partial insurance, by a Buffalo company, covers much of the loss.
Capt. Hayes, of the WISCONSIN, arrived in town yesterday, and he says the night was clear, and he saw the propeller, while she was yet at some distance, but without the least alarm. As she approached, however, he began to regard her proximity as dangerous, and consequently stopped the boat, he thinks that the collision occurred through the misinterpretation of an order by the helmsman.
The WISCONSIN had no freight on board beyond her fuel and supplies.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Saturday, August 27, 1853

      . . . . .

We had the pleasure of conversing with Capt. Hayes yesterday, who informs us that the collision took place as stated by telegraph, but that no lives were lost, as had been reported. The night was clear, and the Captain saw the propeller, while she was yet at some distance, but without the least alarm. As she approached, however, he began to regard her proximity as dangerous, and consequently stopped the boat. He thinks the collision occurred through the misinterpretation of an order by the helmsman. The WISCONSIN had no freight on board, beyond her fuel and supplies. She was owned by Capt. Titus and George Davis, and was partially insured. - Buffalo Express, Sat.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer, speaking of the collision, says: "The WISCONSIN, was owned by Capt. T.J. Titus, and George Davis, of Buffalo, and was partialy insured. She is a total loss, though her engine may be recovered. She ran in the Sandusky and Buffalo Stock Line."
      Detroit Free Press
      Monday, August 29, 1853
      . . . . .

The steamer WISCONSIN, wrecked a short time since near West Sister Island, will be sold at auction on Monday next.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Tuesday, September 20, 1853

      . . . . .

      We are favored by Capt. Newton of West Sister Island Lighthouse, with the following item respecting the discovery of the wreck of the WISCONSIN, which as our readers may remember, was sunk by a collision some 4 years ago. Mr. Quigley the submarine inspector has, it seems, discovered the hull. He reports it lying S. and by W. 1/4 W. from Middle Sister Island; and S.E. by E. and 1/2 E. from West Sister Light in 35 ft. of water, with a heavy list aport, lying heavily on her guard. Most of her bulwarks and main decks are torn off; her large anchor and chain were on her starboard side, and her small anchor hanging at her
starboard bow. Her arches are entirely gone.
      Mr. Quigley is now busily engaged in raising such parts of her tackle and machinery as is worth saving, and has already succeeded in getting up both her anchors and chains and will be engaged at the wreck for some days longer. It will be remembered that Mr. Quigley was the chief engineer in getting up the American Express Co.'s safe from the wreck of the ATLANTIC, last summer, one of the best submarine operations ever performed. - Toledo Blade, 15th.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      August 19, 1857 2-6

      . . . . .

      "Wisconsin", sidewheel stm., 887 gross tons, 218.8' x 30' x 14.1', with an over-all length of 240'. Powered by crosshead engine of 400 h.p. built by J. Birbeck, New York. Built by
George Washington Jones at Conmeaut, Ohio, in 1838, in Gilman Apnleby's yard for James C. Evans of buffalo. Recieved engine of the stm. OHIO (2nd) and had originally been in the
Hudson River stm. INDEPENDENCE. Hull was built at Conneaut and towed to Buffalo to recieve engines. Originally built as 490 tons, 157' x 29' x 11.6' and later altered during
winter of 1843-44 to predously stated dimensions and renamed WISCONSIN, running Lake Michigan--Buffalo trade. In 1844, owned by Samuel F. Gelston; 1845 by Stephan Clark and Co; 1846 by E. S. Prosser and Co., all of Buffalo. On August 4, 1847, she collided with the stm. NILE off Milwaukee; damage to her starboard wheel. In 1851 sold to Edward Whittaker and Co., Buffalo, and later in the same year to Adolph S. Bemes and Co, Buffalo; in 1852 to Thomas J. Titus and George Davis, running Sandusky--Buffalo; August 24, 1853, struck by the stm. BRUNSWICK, one mile east of West Sister Island Light and sank in five minutes. Crew rescued by the BRUNSWICK. Valued at $15,000.
      from Capt. Edward Carus'
      steamer wreck list on
      the Manitowac Herald-News
      November 19, 1931

Media Type
Item Type
Reason: sunk by collision
Lives: nil
Hull damage: $15,000
Freight: nil
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original
Local identifier
Language of Item
Geographic Coverage
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Wisconsin (Steamboat), sunk by collision, 25 Aug 1853