The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Iowa (Barge), aground, 18 Nov 1883

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Mr. George Kelderhouse, owner of the barge IOWA, ashore below Cove Island light at the entrance to Georgian Bay, received a letter from Captain Taylor stating that the barge would prove a total loss. She was uninsured. She was valued at $10,000. Her crew are doing well, and expect to be home in a few days. - Buffalo Report
      Marine Record
      Nov. 29, 1883

On the 16th. of November 1883 the American barge IOWA, launched the previous year at Bay City, Michigan, broke loose from the steamer OREGON in heavy seas off Port Austin at the entrance to Saginaw Bay. Both vessels were laden with lumber from Alpena to Buffalo. The 466 tons IOWA drifted blindly north and east across the lake, battered and tossed by a relentless storm. When the cabin was washed away Captain William's wife and two children were swept overboard and lost. The IOWA floated for almost two days before stranding on a ledge off Greenough Point at the entrance to Stokes Bay. The survivors, frost-bitten and incoherent, were taken off by fishermen and removed to Lyal Island. One of the crew later required a leg amputation.
The IOWA began to break up soon after she was abandoned and the salvage tug KATE MOFFATT arrived too late to save her. When the Detroit tug BALIZE reached her on the 23rd. she was full of water, the port quarter destroyed, and the cabin bulwarks washed out. She was written off as a total loss.
      from Shipwrecks of the Saugeen
      by Patrick Folkes

Objection is taken by the crew of the wrecked barge IOWA to certain statements which are going the rounds of the press. The following statements by the Captain and signed by all of them, has been forwarded for publication to the Toronto Mail:
"SOUTHAMPTON, Nov.23. - The IOWA, owned at Buffalo, cleared from Alpena on Thursday, the 15th. inst., in tow of the OREGON, with a cargo of lumber, shipped by Comstock and consigned to E.B. Holmes, of Buffalo. All went well until 5 p.m. When ten miles above Point Aux Barques the line parted. I then tried to work down the lake. When the line parted it was blowing and snowing so hard I could see the OREGON only at times, and if the OREGON had looked for us the next day I think she would have found us. We had the cabin buttoned up, but the sea was breaking clean over, and about 7 or 8 p.m. the cabin was washed away, carrying my wife and two children with it. The vessel was now covered with ice, so as to become utterly unmanageable. We remained in that condition till Sunday morning, when we were taken off by the John McKay. He took us to Stokes Bay, where everything possible was done to make us comfortable. When leaving I told McKay to try to save the vessel. Upon arriving at Stokes Bay, it was found that all of us were more or less frost-bitten, the pain of which was lessened by the arrival of the Tug PHEONIX and taking us today to Southampton, where we are now at Busby's Hotel, where everything care and medical assistance can do for us is being done."
This is signed by J. Taylor, Captain; Chas. Taylor, mate; John Burke, John Callaghan, Peter McGlenn, John Ralliard, sailors the witnesses are Captain James Johnson, Edward S. Busby. The IOWA had 362,000 feet of lumber ties, went down in eight feet of water, and will prove a total loss. None of the crew will lose limbs.
      Marine Record
      Dec. 6, 1883

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: aground
Lives: 3
Hull damage: $7,000
Cargo: included
Freight: lumber
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.987777 Longitude: -81.377777
William R. McNeil
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Iowa (Barge), aground, 18 Nov 1883