The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Euphemia (Schooner), capsized, 27 May 1859

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May 1859 - Schooner EUPHEMIA wrecked off Black Lake, Lake Michigan, 6 lives lost.
      "Hist of the Great Lakes"
      by Mansfield p.683

      . . . . .

      SAD SHIPWRECK - FIVE LIVES LOST. - The schooner EUPHEMIA, Capt. Claussen, was wrecked on Lake Michigan, off Black Lake, during the gale on the 27th ult., and five out of the six persons on board perished. She was loaded with lumber, capsized in the gale, lay a few minutes on her beam end's, when her masts broke away and she went over bottom up. When she first capsized the crew clung to the weather side, except the cook and another who were washed off by the sea, but caught pieces of lumber and floated off. Two men got on the keel, but soon caught pieces of lumber and also floated away. Capt. Claussen had been injured by the falling of the main boom, was lashed to the wreck by Mr. Hammitt, and died by his side in about three hours after receiving. Mr. Hammitt was rescued after having been exposed to the sea and storm, without food, for about thirty hours. The wreck drifted in near shore, and was visited twice, Mr. Hammitt says, by plunderers, who cruelly left him to perish. He was at last discovered by the crew of a vessel on the beach, and taken off. The men who left the wreck on pieces of lumber have not since been heard of. The crew were shipped at Detroit, and the Tribune gives their names and ages as follows: Capt. Claussen, age about 55; John Griffon, mate, age 24; John Griebling, a Swede, age 22; Pete Reeves from New York, age 20; Peter Hammitt, American, age about 23. The cook was engaged by the Captain - name unknown.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      Tuesday, June 7, 1859

      . . . . .

      The wreck of the EUPHEMIA came ashore last week bottom up, about 3 miles north of Black lake harbor. She is badly broken up, but the mainsail was still fast to the wreck. From this, and other circumstances, we are satisfied that there is no truth in the report that a boat visited the wreck and plundered it, and refused to take off the surviving sailor. Hammitt was undoubtably insane, from long exposure and suffering at the time he was taken off, and, in such a situation, fancies and dreams of rescue, and disappointment, would be the
uppermost in a disordered brain. Since he has recovered so that his mind is restored, he is of the opinion that he was out of his head and mistaken about the boat. - Holland Register, June 7.
      Detroit Free Press
      June 12, 1859

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: capsized
Lives: 5
Freight: lumber
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 42.77919 Longitude: -86.16449
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Euphemia (Schooner), capsized, 27 May 1859