The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
George Nester (Schooner), U85976, aground, 30 Apr 1909

Full Text

NESTER, GEORGE Schooner. U. S. No. 85976. Built 1887 of 790 Tons Gross. April 30, 1909 Vessel stranded on Huron Island, Lake Superior with the loss of all on board (seven). Schooner also a total loss.
      Loss of U. S. Vessels reported in
      fiscal year 1909. M.V.U.S.,1909

      . . . . .

      Big Steel Lighter BATAVIA Found Deserted By Crew With Table Set For Dinner
Detroit, May 1. - Three vessels lost, one with her crew of seven men, and a fourth craft flound floating deserted on Lake Michigan, with her fate unknown, is the day's summary of disasters from storm and ice on the great lakes.
On the bleak and rocky shores of Huron island, last night, the schooner GEORGE NESTER, of Detroit, was torn to pieces by the furious gale that swept over Lake Superior, and all of her crew of seven were lost.
      On Lake Huron, lashed by the same gale, the package freighter RUSSIA, of Port Huron, succumbed to the waves after her cargo had shifted, and went to the bottom. The 22 men crew of the RUSSIA, however succeeded in safely putting over their small boats and escaping in them.
On Lake Michigan, the Ann Arbor Railway Car Ferry No. 1, picked up 19 miles south of Fox island, the big steel freighter BATAVIA, deserted by her crew and with no positive evidence as to whether they perished or were taken off the Lighter by the steamer which is believed to have towed her.
To these three stories of marine disasters was added from Saul Ste. Marie with the arrival there of the crew of the steamer AURANIA, the first story of how she was crushed by the ice and sank , and how the members of the crew made a perilous way over nearly four miles of ice floe to the steamer J. H. BARLOW.
Bound up Lake Superior for cargo behind the steamer SCHOOLCRAFT, the schooner GEORGE NESTER met the full force of the terrific gale. Off Huron Islands, the tow line was broken and, the schooner went on the rocks. The furious waves made it impossible to launch small boats from either the schooner or the light house tender MARIGOLD, which was close behind, to go to the rescue of the seven men aboard the schooner. The NESTER went to pieces rapidly and every member of the crew was lost. The MARIGOLD made efforts to take the imperilled men off the wreck with life lines, but unsuccessfully.
The RUSSIA was bound for Duluth on her first trip of the season with a full cargo of freight, when 12 miles off Detour the RUSSIA'S cargo shifted. The steamer began to fill, Capt. John McLean of Port Huron and his crew of 22, launched their small boats into the raging sea and succeeded in saving their lives. The arrived at Detroit today.
The RUSSIA was built in 1872 and was owned by C. O. Duncan of Port Huron. For many years she sailed in the Anchor Line fleet of passenger boats and was one of the best known craft on the lakes.
It is a strange story of marine mystery which the big Ann Arbor car ferry brought into port with her today when she arrived towing behind her the big steel lighter BATAVIA, which was built in 1904 for the Lehigh Valley Transportation Company. The car ferry found the lighter tossing on the waves south of Fox Islands with no crew aboard. In the dining room was evidence that there had been a crew. The dining room table was set as for dinner.
      But nothing except the severed hawser indicated a possible solution of the crew's whereabouts. Marine men think that the evidence which the hawser bore of being cut may mean that the tug or steamer which had the lighter in tow found it necessary in the gale to cast her loose, and if so probably took off the crew before leaving the steel hulk at the mercy of the storm. Lighters of this style usually carry, marine men say crews of four to ten men.
Safe and sound, after the loss of their ship, the crew of the Corrigan steamer AURANIA came into the Soo aboard the J. H. BARTOW and told a thrilling story of their experiences. Caught fast in a great ice floe in Whitefish Bay they could only watch the relentless force bear harder and harder against the sides of their ship until they were crushed and the water poured in. When it was evident that she was doomed they left the AURANIA and took to the ice.
Carrying with them one small yawl boat with which to ferry themselves over the patches of open water in the floe, the men, headed by Capt. Robert C. Pringle, made a perilous way over to the steamer BARLOW, also held so fast in the ice four miles away that she could not go to the AURANIA'S assistance. All arrived uninjured, and were cared for aboard the BARLOW. The left Sault Ste. Marie today for Cleveland.
      Buffalo Sunday Morning News
      Sunday, May 2, 1909

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: aground
Lives: 7
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 46.95437 Longitude: -87.97735
William R. McNeil
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
WWW address
Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit

My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.

George Nester (Schooner), U85976, aground, 30 Apr 1909