Propeller G.P. HEATH of 117 tons, built 1872. Home port, Sheboygan. Owned by Eichmeyer. On May 2, 1887 vessel burnt with a cargo of hay on Lake Michigan and became a total loss. Property loss on hull $6,000 on cargo $600.
Casualty List for 1887
Marine Record, Dec. 15, 1887 p4 & 5
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Sheboygan, May 3 - The stmr. G.P. HEATH is reported to have burned to the water's edge and sunk, a little to the north of Centerville yesterday afternoon The wheelsman, George Olsen, of this city was drowned. The vessel was loaded with a deck load of hay, which was insured and valued at $5,000.
May 3, 1887
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The steam barge G.P. HEATH, loaded with hay, caught fire Tuesday afternoon when off Sheboygan, Wisc. and about 5 miles out in the lake. She was headed for Centerville Point and she struck the beach about 300 yards from shore. In the ensuing rescue attempt all were saved except the wheelsman who drowned. The steamer is a total loss.
Port Huron Daily Times
Tuesday, May 4, 1887
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SHEBOYGAN. - The steambarge G.P. HEATH, loaded with hay, caught fire forward Monday afternoon when off this port and about five miles out in the lake. The crew at once began to battle with the flames. The boat could not be headed in, as the furious westerly gale that was raging would have caused the fire to spread through the steamer. The HEATH was finally turned towards Centerville Point, and when near that place the crew endeavored to make a landing. She struck the beach about thirty yards from shore. The mate and the second engineer took to the small boat, but it swamped, and before the occupants could bail out the water the painter parted and it drifted a few miles north, where the men landed. The people on shore formed a volunteer crew and went out to rescue the remainder of those on board. After getting alongside, a line was connected with the steamer, but was burned away. The current carried the rescuing party away. Those on shore, seeing the fate of the second boat, sent out a third one which rescued the captain and the steward. The wheelsman, George Olsen, the first engineer Rogers refused to enter for fear of swamping it. After the small boat reached the pier the last effort to rescue the barge was made, but before the boat made one-half the distance, flames compelled the men on the steamer to jump overboard. Engineer Rogers was the first to make the leap, and after a hard struggle against the current and undertow he reached the beach exhausted. George Olsen was evidently stunned, as he appeared unable to make any headway towards the shore. Ernest Tiesmer, a young farmer, seeing the peril of the wheelsman, plunged into the waves and soon reached the drowning man. He succeeded in carrying his burden about fifty feet, when he was compelled to let go and swim for his life. The mate and second engineer attached a line to their bodies and reached Olsen and with great difficulty brought him ashore. He was dead. The steamer is a total loss. She was valued at $6,000, and the cargo at $600.
The Marine Record
Thursday, May 5, 1887 p.5
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