The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Tawas (Propeller), exploded, 14 May 1874

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EXPLOSION OF THE TUG "TAWAS" -- The TAWAS came alongside the schooner ZACH CHANDLER about 3:30 Thursday morning, when she was several miles off shore, below Sand Beach. Just then the boiler of the TAWAS blew up and she almost immediately sank. The blast tore the rigging and sails of the CHANDLER and one officer of this boat was struck on the head by a stick of cordwood and instantly killed. The Captain, Robinson, 2nd, Engineer Dyson, fireman Thomas Conners and James McIntyre, lookout Dennis Burrow died in the explosion. The CHANDLER drifted away but returned to pick up survivors in the heavy seas. Five were saved.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Thursday, May 14, 1874

A special dispatch from Port Huron to the Commercial, dated the 14th, gives the following particulars of the blowing up of the tug TAWAS on Lake Huron, and the killing of 6 men. It will be observed that the second mate of the bark ZACH CHANDLER, which recently cleared from this port, was among the killed:
"The tug TAWAS exploded her boiler off Rock Falls, Lake Huron, at 4:00 this morning, killing Capt. James Robinson, Robert Dyson (second engineer), Dennis Barron (llok-out), Thomas Conners, and James McIntyre (fireman). At the time of the explosion occurred the TAWAS had the bark ZACH CHANDLER in tow, and her second mate, Wm. Johnston, was killed. Low water was the cause. The saved are as follows: James Lynn, mate; Wm. Hand, engineer; John Hook, and Frank Ray, wheelsman; Maggie Beach, cook."
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      May 15, 1874 3-5

The TAWAS was built at Vicksburg by Myron Williams and came out in August 1864. Her dimensions were 95 feet over all, 18 feet 6 inches beam, 8 feet 6 inches depth of hold and was 92 tons burthen. She carried the two old engines of the tug BLISH, which when new were 11-1/2 x 20 but having been bored out several times, were at the time of the explosion 15 x 20. Her boiler was built by Mr. Turnbull of Corunna, Canada
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Saturday, May 16, 1874

NOTE - Prop. E.C. BLISH altered to a schooner in 1864

Propeller Tug TAWAS, exploded on Lake Huron, May 1874. Total loss. 6 lives. Loss $10,000.
      Casualty List for 1874
      Chicago Inter-Ocean, Dec. 25, 1874

      TAWAS 122 Tons, built 1864. Exploded May 14, 1874 at Sand Beach, Lake Huron. 6 lives lost.
      Merchant Steam Vessels of the U. S. A.
      Lytle - Holdcamper List, 1790 to 1868

Media Type:
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Reason: exploded
Lives: 6
Remarks: Total loss
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 43.84168 Longitude: -82.6416
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Tawas (Propeller), exploded, 14 May 1874