The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
H. C. Akeley (Propeller), U95639, sunk, 13 Nov 1883

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The steambarge AKELY of Grand Haven, foundered on Monday, nine miles off Holland, Mich.. and it is reported that six of her crew, including Captain Stretch were lost. The AKELY left Chicago with 50,000 bushels of corn for Buffalo and Sunday she picked up in mid-lake the tug PROTECTION with the crew of the abandoned schooner ARAB, for several days thought to be lost, and had it not been for the AKELY all would have been lost. The AKELY while towing the PROCTETION, post her smoke stack and canvass, and shifted her cargo, but she held on to the PROTECTION until Monday night, when they became seperated, and soon after the AKELY foundered. Her cargo of corn was insured in the "Big Four". She measures 1,189 tons, was built at Grand Haven in 1881, is owned by Kirby & Akely, and valued at $90,000; insured for $40,000. - Milwaukee Report.
      Marine Record
      Nov. 15, 1883

The AKELEY, a steamship of 1,187 tons, left Chicago during Saturday night, or early Sunday morning, laden with 54,000 bushels of corn, and bound for Buffalo. She was a fine, staunch craft, and was well fitted and found. The wind was southwest at the time she left, and the fierce west and northwest gale set in late Sunday morning.
      The following statement of the circumstances of the disaster was made by Chief Engineer Driscoll in the office of the Government Steamboat Inspectors yesterday afternoon, the other survivors being present and corroborating it: The steamship H.C. AKELEY foundered at 1:30 o'clock on Tuesday afternoon fifteen miles off Holland, Mich., on the east shore. We left Chicago for Buffalo laden with 54,000 bushels of corn at 2:30 o'clock Sunday morning last. At 9:30 o'clock the same morning, in the middle of the lake abreast of Milwaukee, we fell in with the tug PROTECTION, disabled, and took her in tow. The wind suddenly changed from Southwest to north-northwest and blew a gale. The AKELEY labored in the sea until 4 o'clock in the afternoon of Sunday, when her rudder gearing gave out, and she rolled so fearfully that she shifted her cargo and broke her pony feed pipe from the port boiler. The engineer changed the throttle from right to left so as to hold the water in the port boiler, but found we could not feed her that way -- could not feed the port boiler through the starboard -- and keep it supplied. Just as we got ready to start again the second engineer went up to let steam run between the two boilers. He heard the guy-chain break on the smoke stack, and came down and reported. She rolled the stack off at 11:30 Sunday night, and we were then
as we could not get steam. We drifted helpless from that time until 12 o'clock Monday night, when we cast anchor fifteen miles off Holland. We lay there until 1:30 in the afternoon of Monday, when the AKELEY foundered stern first in twenty fathoms and carried down six of the crew, among them our commander, captain Edward Strech. We had but one boat when she went down, the other having been carried away the night before. The Captain and the others thought she would live longer than she did, but the Captain had told us to go aft and look out for ourselves.
      THE LOST.
      Captain -- Edward Strech, of Grand Haven. Wife and family left.
      First mate -- John Kingston, of Port Colborne. Family
      Steward -- John Babbitt, of Chicago. Family.
      Two deck hands, names unknown, who shipped in Chicago.
      Willie Stanley, of Buffalo, cabin boy.
      Chief Engineer, John Driscoll, Chicago.
      Assistant Engineer, James Connell, of Grand Haven.
      Second Mate, Henry Paulson.
      Wheelmen, Samuel R. Martin, and John Sinclair.
      Firemen, Charles Sward, and Bernard Sinclair.
      Oil Man, Walter McDermott.
      Watchman, David Lark.
      Deckhands, James Crawford, and George Murray.
      Second Steward, Robert W. Mack.
      Captain Strech was 45 years of age, and leaves a wife and family residing at Grand Haven. He was well known along the lakes, and had a reputation as one of the best navigators. He took the brig PAMLICO to Europe from Chicago several years ago. He had also sailed the schooners SUNRISE and MONTPELIER, and the Brig MARY, being the owner of the latter. There was $5,000 insurance on his life.
The AKELEY was one of the finest craft of her class. She measured 1,187 tons, was built in 1881, rated A 1, and valued at $90,000. Her cost was $110,000. Kirby and others, of Grand Haven, were the owners. The insurance is as follows:
      Shoe & Leather, Boston - - - $15,000
      "Big Four" - - - - - - - - - - - - $25,000
      Total - - - - - - - $40,000
      The cargo of corn is insured in the Continental for $27,000.
      J.W. Hall Great lakes Marine Scrapbook, November, 1883

The steamer AKELY foundered about 2 P.M. Tuesday after almost two days struggle 9 miles off Holand. 6 were lost. The schooner DIVER picked up the rest (12) of the crew. The AKELY was built 2 years ago by Kirby and Akely of Grand haven.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Thursday, November 15, 1883

H.C. ACKLEY Propeller Lost L. M., in 1883. Measures 1,187 tons. and 2 years old. Valued at $100,000.
      Lost Tonnage on the Lakes in 1883
      Marine Record, December 27, 1883

Steam screw H.C. AKELEY. U. S. No. 95639. Of 1187 gross tons. Built at Grand Haven, Mich., in 1881, by Kirby. 231.6 x 35.1 x 18.7. Foundered lake Michigan, November 13, 1883.
      Herman Runge list

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Reason: sunk
Lives: 6
Freight: corn
Remarks: Total loss
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 42.78752 Longitude: -86.10893
William R. McNeil
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H. C. Akeley (Propeller), U95639, sunk, 13 Nov 1883