Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Reindeer (Steamboat), aground, 1 Oct 1857
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Steamer REINDEER, totally lost on Big Point Au Sauble, Lake Michigan. 23 lives lost. Property loss $23,500.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      January 28, 1858 (1857 Casualty List)

      . . . . .

Monday last may be set down as one of the most fatal days in the year -- fatal to life and property both on land and water. In the morning upwards of twenty lives were lost by a dreadful conflagration, and before night upwards of twenty more lives lay stiff and cold in the embrace of death on the shores of Lake Michigan. It was a hard day on the lakes. It blew a most terrific gale, with a heavy blinding snow storm. We hear of it along Lake Michigan, up Lake Superior, and can trace it, by its work of disaster, along the shores of the lower lakes. It was only yesterday, however, that we realized the full extent and the severity of the storm.
      About noon of yesterday the propeller MEARS arrived in port from Big Point Sauble, bringing intelligence of the wreck of the Canadian steamer REINDEER, about eight miles off the Point. She also brought over Charles Rowe, the mate of the schooner ALWILDAR, also lost, who communicated to us some of the particulars. On Tuesday last, two men arrived at Point Sauble, almost naked, and their feet badly frozen, who informed the people of the neighborhood that they were firemen on board the REINDEER, and that they were the sole survivors of the entire crew, she having been wrecked the previous evening.
They stated that all day Monday a most terrific gale blew from S. W. S., suddenly shifting to all points of the compass with a tremendous sea running. The steamer kept up pretty well all the forenoon, but in the afternoon, she shipped a heavy sea, which extinguished the fires, and the captain had no recourse left but set the helm up and made for the beach. For several hours in the evening the hurricane and snow-storm increased in fury, and it was utterly impossible to see or do anything. Those on board could only await with anxiety the fate which they knew awaited them. At length, somewhere about midnight the steamer struck, and almost instantly the sea broke over her, and washed the whole crew into the lake, where twenty-one of them found watery graves. The two men who escaped were firemen, and they state that they are utterly unable to relate how and in what manner they were saved. The first they knew after she struck, was when they found themselves on the rocky beach. Next day, the steamer was nearly all broken to pieces, and her timbers and cargo were strewn along the shores for miles.
      The REINDEER was a side-wheel steamer known here by sailors as a "Polly Wog." She was owned by Holcomb & Henderson of Montreal, and sailed from this port on the 16th inst. with 13,000 bushels wheat, 61 bbls tallow, and some flour, for St. Joseph, where she was to take on some flour and then start for Kingston. She had a crew of twenty-one, and two passengers. The name of the captain was Geo. Patterson, a Scotsman, who belonged to Kingston. He was much respected by all who knew him. The name of the steward was James Henry, and that of the purser Charles Bradford; but these are all the names which can be obtained of the of the steamer at this port. She was eight or ten years old, and was valued at from fifteen to twenty thousand dollars. The cargo was owned by Renaud and Frere of Montreal. Both vessel and cargo was insured.
      The schooner ALWILDA, which left this port on the 14th for Dean's Mills, near Twin Rivers, sprung a leak during the gale on Monday last, and as she was fast filling with water, the captain set sail for the shore, which she struck at Big Point Sauble on Tuesday morning. She immediately broke her back and went to pieces. It was with some difficulty that the crew reached the shore in safety. -- Chicago Press
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Monday, October 26, 1857

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Reason: aground
Lives: 23
Remarks: Total loss
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  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 44.05778 Longitude: -86.51425
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Reindeer (Steamboat), aground, 1 Oct 1857