The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Milwaukie (Ship), aground, 18 Nov 1842

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MILWAUKEE wrecked near the mouth of the Kalamazoo River, nine lives lost.
      Cleveland Plain Dealer
      Nov. 30, 1842 p.2 col.4

      . . . . .

Wreck of the MILWAUKIE - Nine Lives Lost. - We received today the first account of the gale on Lake Michigan, and terrible they are. The worst rumors in regard to the loss of the ship MILWAUKIE, to which we alluded yesterday, are proved to be true. The MILWAUKIE was owned chiefly by Messrs. Hunter, Palmer & Co. of this city. Capt. Whittemore has been a sailor from boyhood, and by a faithfull discharge of the duties of a seaman had risen to the command of one of the noblest ships on our inland seas.
We learn that Capt. Whittemore leaves a wife and 3 children. The first mate was John Conroy, formerly master of the schr. NAVIGATOR, who leaves a wife and children in the town of Eden. The second mates name was Peter Kelan, a Frenchman, who has also a family, residing we believe in this city. The cooks name was William Brown, who has a family at Black River. The manes of the two boys and other hands attached to the ship we are unable as yet to learn.
      Allegan, Nov. 19, 1842
Mr. Bates, dear Sir, The ship MILWAUKIE came ashore yesterday morning about 2:00, 2 miles north of the mouth of the Kalamazoo. There were of officers and crew 15 persons on board, of whom but 6 are saved. Among the lost are all of the officers, the cook and 2 boys. I have not learned the names of any except the Captain (Whittemore). Her freight was mostly flour, of which she had nearly a full load. Reports say that she took on 300 barrels at St. Joseph.
She came to Kalamazoo Wednesday afternoon. During the night and Thursday forenoon, she took 900 barrels of flour. She had just finished loading when the wind commenced blowing hard from the southwest. The captain attempted to get under weigh but could not. Before dark, it blew a gale, and was accompanied with snow. The night was a very cold one. About 9:00 she commenced drifting toward the shore, and struck about 2:00 the next morning.
The captain, first mate and the cook, the 2 boys and 2 sailors perished of cold upon the ship after she struck. She lay about 4 rods from the shore.
The secone mate and 7 sailors left the ship and swam for the shore, in attempting one of the sailors was drowned. The 6 remaining sailors made their way to a house 2 miles distant. On their return to the beach the second mate was perishing, and died in a few minutes. They left the ship about 9:00 in the morning.
      The snow fell so fast that it could not be ascertained from the shore, whether the ship was at anchor or not. She is said to be broken in the middle. The cargo will probabyly be mostly saved in a damaged state.
      Truely Yours
      A.L. Ely
N.B. She lay 1 1/2 miles out, while loading.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      November 29, 1842

      . . . . .

Ship MILWAUKIE, ashore near Kalamazoo, Mich. Total loss. Loss and damage to
vessel $10,000. Loss and damage to cargo $7,500. Ten lives lost.
      Losses By The November Gale
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      January 18, 1843

      . . . . .

The ship MILWAUKEE whose loss is announced today, was one of the most valuable lake craft. She was built on Grand Island in 1836, measured 286 tons, and has been in constant commission ever since. Five-eights of the vessel were owned by Hunter, Palmer & Co., and the residue by some other firm. She was worth $10,000. An insurance of $4,500 had been effected on that portioned owned by the above house. As far as we learn the following constituted her cargo:
Walbridge & Hayden, 900 bbls. flour from Kalamazoo; 150 bbls. from St. Josephs. Coit, Kimberly & Co. 740 bbls. flour from St. Josephs. Marston & Co. 300 bbls. flour from the same port. She had doubtless other property on board of which we are not advised.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      November 29, 1842

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: aground
Lives: 10
Hull damage: $10,000
Cargo: $7,500
Freight: flour
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 42.67669 Longitude: -86.21532
William R. McNeil
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Milwaukie (Ship), aground, 18 Nov 1842